This week we are bringing it back to Vancouver, where you’ll get to hear from one of our local photography guides, Nafees Shams. Nafees is a very passionate traveler, photographer, and hiker. Having traveled over 50 countries throughout the world, Nafees has learned culture diversity firsthand and has a plethora of experiences that he loves to share with those around him. Through these travels and experiences, he has learned how to capture the feeling of the moments and turn those moments into memories that last a lifetime.
Although Nafees teaches landscape photography, there is more to the concept than photographing just mountains and lakes. There’s a fine line between landscape and the abstract, which allows the traveler to capture more than the ‘I was here’ photos.
Check out Nafees’ Guide Profile here.
When was the first or most memorable time you went on an outdoor adventure?
It’s hard to pick one, but climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa was definitely a memorable one. As if the trek itself wasn’t challenging enough, I got food poisoning the night before and was basically bed ridden. My guides warned me I’d have a very rough first day and if I wasn’t up for it I’d have to turn back. But I didn’t come all the way there, trained this hard, and spent this much money to turn back. On top of that, I was climbing to raise money for the famine victims of Africa. So I had to will myself to get better.
At the end, not only did I feel 100% by the second day, I was leading the pack pretty much the whole way up and eventually made it to the top. The hike wasn’t that challenging as I was in great shape and had trained for it; however, the altitude sickness caught up with me by the last day. Pretty much everyone was struggling; struggling to breathe, exhausted from the previous 5 days of strenuous trekking, having nightmares due to lack of oxygen, and sleeping only 2 hours before starting our final ascent at midnight. By the time we reached the top, we were too tired to even take photos and rather than opening up champagne bottles, we were puking, falling asleep and limping our way back. But we all did it together! Our common struggle made it much more bearable, enjoyable even. And the group I hiked with became the best of friends because of this experience.
What drew you to outdoor photography?
I love the outdoors and nature, and my travels took me to some amazing places. I wanted to capture these memories on camera and realized I didn’t have to be a professional to take these photos; the scenery itself made the photos spectacular. When my friends complimented me on my eye for photography, I decided to develop my skills and pretty much taught myself everything.
What one thing is a “must have” item that you bring along with you on all your trips?
A camera of course. But the accessories like extra batteries, tripod, charger, are just as important.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from travelling those 50+ countries that you’ve been to?
No matter how much you plan and organize your trips, the most memorable places are those you come across by chance. Whether by hearing of hidden gems from locals, or getting last minute advice from fellow backpackers, or just going off the beaten path and exploring by myself. You realize that the world is much more vast than what travel guides or books tell you.
What is the most rewarding part about being able to teach outdoor photography?
As I traveled and shared my photos on social media or blogs, my friends would say how they loved living vicariously through me. To which I would respond: you don’t have to, you can do it yourself! You don’t need to go far, travel huge distances to exotic locales and spend tons of money, you just need to look in your own backyard and capture its wonders by being a good photographer. Learning photography can be easy and enjoyable with the right guide and teacher. And once you learn, you can then travel far off places and capture your memories like a pro!
Nafees currently offers three different photography adventures that you can join him on. They are listed below, each link will take you to the full adventure listing to provide you with more information.
Check out Nafees’ full Guide Profile here to see what he is up to.
Did you miss our previous Guiide Profile on Jenna Nodding? You can find it here.