The modern age can learn a lot from Stefanie Harron. The Castlegar-based photographer specializes in wildlife and astral photography and for both disciplines she says the ability to sit still and be patient is an asset. A graduate of video journalism at George Brown College in Toronto, Stefanie says she had contracts near the East Kootenays and she fell in love with the region. She moved to Castlegar in 2008.

For this article, which is part of our monthly series that celebrates and showcases local artists, we’re concentrating on Stefanie’s wildlife work and how she gets all those amazing photographs of bears, birds and butterflies.

Hi Stefanie. You live in Castlegar now. Is this where you grew up?

No, I was born in Belfast Ireland in 1968 and then immigrated to Toronto in my teens.

What’s your professional background? Have you always been doing photography?

My family introduced me to photography at the young age of nine developing film and prints in the darkroom. My interest and education in Photographic Arts progressed to studying video journalism at George Brown College in Toronto and getting a Diploma of Photography, from the accredited photography institute. Since then I’ve founded the non-profit organization called Canada Photographic Arts Society, which raises funds for formal organizations that help abused children and troubled youth such as The Little Warriors Foundation and The Vancouver Police Foundation. I am also a member of The Royal Astronomical Society, The Planetary Society, and The Canadian Association of Journalists.

You have so many amazing wildlife photos. What’s your secret to capturing them without disturbing the animals?

No secrets. I just go for a hike in the wilderness or sit down by a river and make myself a coffee: wildlife comes along eventually! That said, being well hidden and sitting still works every time.

What other subjects do you like to photograph?

Pretty much everything, although my favourites are landscape and astrophotography including the moon, stars, the Milky Way and nebula.

What do you do when you’re not behind the lens?

I’m always behind the lens. Is there anything else? (Laughs)

What do you love most about living in Castlegar?

Castlegar is the most friendly and welcoming community I have ever had the joy to live in. I also love that access to the wilderness is a short walk or drive away and, boom, you’re in the Selkirk Mountains. It’s just peaceful and beautiful — a photographer’s dream!

What’s the funniest moment you’ve had while photographing an animal/animals?

I haven’t had much in the way of funny moments. More scary than funny I think, although this could be considered funny, I guess: I was photographing butterflies on wildflowers and I heard a sound right behind me. So I turn around to look and there’s a black bear not 10 feet from me eating dandelions. I don’t think he knew I was there either. It was a tense moment but it turned out well for both of us and I got some exceptional bear and butterfly photos.

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

Education is always the best way. I would recommend getting a diploma or degree in photography. There are lots of great colleges out there and many offer beginner courses. It’s also important to never ever approach or feed a wild animal as it could result in terrible consequences. Wildlife really needs its room and I can’t stress this enough! When you’re first starting out, wildlife conservation associations are a great resource as are guided tours at conservation areas and provincial parks.

Where can people find more information about your photography?

More of my work can be seen on Facebook at and on Instagram at @stefanieharron.