Although he’s only been doing photography professionally for three years, Josh Fogal already has his work being showcased in the Kootenay Gallery. Born and raised in Castlegar, Josh says he was always inspired by the local animals and scenery to pick up a camera and he finally did so when he got the opportunity to be a wildlife guide at the end of school. He’s since photographed around British Columbia, Japan, other parts of Asia and is headed to Africa later this year. His favourite subjects are the animals of the region he’s in, from monkeys in Asia to birdlife in Castlegar. We caught up with Josh to ask him more about wildlife photography and how Castlegar inspired his creativity.

Hey Josh. You live in Castlegar now. Is that where you grew up? ​

I grew up in Castlegar, specifically Kinnaird. I’m all over the place with school and work right now but I call Castlegar home.

You’ve photographed around the world. Where have been some of the more memorable places you’ve travelled?

I recently got back from a trip to Japan and have to say that was a culture shock in so many ways. It felt controlling and suppressive at times and creative and wonderfully weird at other times. The atmosphere makes for great opportunities for street and portrait photography.

How long have you been doing photography? What got you involved in it?

I’ve been doing photography for almost three years now. I got involved with it because I wanted to start sharing stories about the places and wildlife I was getting to see. I always wished I had taken pictures of the beautiful environment I enjoyed while growing up in Castlegar and because I was getting opportunities to see amazing places and wildlife through my education in the natural sciences I figured it was time to pick up a camera.

What’s the most challenging thing about photography? What’s the most rewarding thing?

I think the most challenging thing about photography is dealing with the environment. With wildlife photography sometimes the environment is wet and cold and sometimes it’s uncomfortable and even a little dangerous. Sometimes it’s all the above. The most rewarding thing about being a wildlife photographer is getting to watch animals in their natural environment. It fills me with a sense of wonder and gratitude that no other thing can replicate.

What are your favourite subjects to shoot?

Defiantly wildlife. I love the process of trying to get a photo of a wild animal. There needs to be an understanding of its behaviour, environment, and your role in that environment to take a good photo. It’s a puzzle and solving it is very rewarding.

What’s some advice you have for kids interested in getting into photography?

I don’t think I’ve been doing it long enough to give advice [laughs]. But I will share something I recently learned, which is that good gear does not equate to good photos. You really don’t need the newest camera body or lens. Use whatever camera you have and just get out there.

What do you love most about living in Castlegar?

I love the access to adventure. You want to mountain bike? Go to Merry Creek. You want to canoe? Visit Syringa. You want to go for a hike? The Seven Summits hiking trails are right here.

Where can people find more information about you and your photography?

I post my photos on Instagram at @josh.fogal. I also have photos up in the Kootenay Gallery in Castlegar.