Vancouver’s Winter Wonderland (Part 1)


For those of you who took my last blog post literarily – unfortunately I do not drive an Aston Martin! Keep in mind I am a photographer.

As many of you know, for the last year I have been working on a project called R-A-I-N. The objective of this endeavour was to document visuals of the city during the rainy season, which can last for months. I never thought that my R-A-I-N project would turn into S-N-O-W!

Although there is plenty of snow in areas surrounding Vancouver, the city itself very rarely goes white and even if it does snow, it turns into rain in a few hours. Therefore, after reading the forecast for heavy snow I decided to drive downtown and hope for some white magic to happen.

I chose to take with me the X-Pro2 and XF 50-140mm F2.8, both weather sealed. Usually when I go shooting I go with one camera and one lens and it is almost always one of my primes. This time I decided to go heavy but strong on optics.

I spent a few hours shooting the streets of Vancouver during a very heavy snowfall. Visuals for the city, which rarely sees winter, were truly stunning. Here is the first part of the series “Winter in Vancouver” – this time in black and white (ACROS film simulation with some minor adjustments).


















I met this couple from South America during a walk in Vancouver’s Gastown. They were visiting Vancouver for the first time and asked me to take their photo with their cell-phone near the famous Steam Clock. After taking a few images for them I said that my repayment is a few minutes of modelling for me. They laughed and agreed. I often like to shoot through the Steam Clock glass at people on the other side. I positioned them on the other side and got this image (see below).


next time…





2016 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

24 thoughts on “Vancouver’s Winter Wonderland (Part 1)

  1. Just started to follow your blog and photography style. I love your pictures. What settings on my Fuji do you advise me to b on and how I can practice to take great pictures like yours? I am a total newbie.

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for reaching out. We will be discussing the settings in great details shortly. Also please look for a very important announcement you might be interested in.



  2. Oalf,

    This is a very nice series. I have several favorites;

    o) the heart on the table,
    o) the “W. Hastings cross street” looks tricky to set up at the bottom of that (slippery) hill from the traffic lane – glad you are still with us,
    o) two below that – the side view of the man’s face with transparent umbrella behind – captures winter in the city for me
    o) and the last color image – could be french impressionist pointalism (in reverse) and a nice punctuation mark to the series

    Great set – inspires me to do more as soon as the temp creeps toward freezing (from below here).


  3. Really strong Images, Olaf! Your feeling for black and white photography is amazing and truly inspiring. It’s really amazing to see the “winter-mood” in your Images, everybody wrapped up in thick coates, serious faces which are barely noticeable (with the exception of your couple). Great series!


    1. Dyanne,

      WOW! I really appreciate your kind comment.

      It is a very good question. I am going to publish an article about this very subject on our new website and as soon as it is ready I will send it to you. In short, while deciding I usually ask myself the following questions: (1) does colour add anything to my image? (2) does colour distract from my main message? (3) is colour a necessary element in my design/composition?

      I hope it helps.

      Looking forward to see more of your amazing work from far north.



  4. Terrific photos Olaf!! Your b&w photos are outstanding and I think the last (color) photo is a real prize. Will look for your comments regarding post processing. Did you have any issues with the weather resistant lens or camera? I have not used my Fuji equipment in snow or wet weather yet. I live in Colorado with plenty opportunity for showy outings.
    Thank you.

    1. Jerry,

      Appreciate your comment.

      No, I haven’t had any problems with my WR-rated cameras or lenses. In fact, while shooting for my R-A-I-N project my gear took quite the beating; rain, snow, low temperatures. Of course, everything within common sense – no submerging in water of course.

      Go ahead and enjoy it. Looking forward to your future comments/experiences.

      All the best,


  5. fantastic series and feeling of the sudden snowy day. i really want to see and to feel this here in Israel but snow is coming to us rarely, mostly to the northern area or around Jerusalem. two years ago i managed to visit Jerusalem one day after snowfall cos impossible to drive there during the storm cos all the roads blocked very tight by police.
    i have even a few posts about and really hope to have this action also this year.
    many years ago i did some project for my customer in Vancouver and fallen in love with this city. and yes someone told me that the snow is not a usual attraction.
    thank you for the reportage

    1. Victor,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Indeed, such scenes are quite rare and difficult to photograph. I have been trying to capture real winter in Vancouver for years and there was always something missing. This time all conditions were just right for the reportage.

      Next time you are in town, please give me a shout so we could grab a coffee.

      All the best,


    1. Photographing heavy snow is very tricky, therefore, some LR adjustment were necessary; mostly exposure, whites, blacks and in some cases contrast. Any metering system would go bezerk in such conditions. Will write more about it in our upcoming posts.

      Thanks for visiting.

  6. Cool work Olaf, [haha] Nice shots, so the wr zoom worked out? In retrospect were you happy with the decision not to take a prime? Acros suits the light and the mood but the last colour shot is lovely too. Well done..

    1. It is always great to hear from you.

      I never regret of not taking any lenses on an assignment. I make my decision, never look back and just enjoy shooting. I will write more about the experience in our upcoming posts.

      All the best,


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