We last chatted in 2015. Since then, how has life and work in Banff been treating you?
Life has been wonderful since we last spoke back in 2015. The last few years have been pretty busy. I met my true love, Chris, and we've moved in together. I've given up my government job to focus on my photography business and Tuzo my pup has broken many hearts of the people he's met. Banff has been treating me well. It's gotten noticeably busier during peak summer months since we last spoke but it's great seeing people enjoy the National Park.
How has your personal photography developed over the past 3 years?
Over the last few years Iíve been in a bit of a creative rut. Iíve felt my photography has become a bit stagnate. In 2016/2017 I felt a bit drained and uninspired and generally not as creative personally as I used to be. I continued to shoot a lot because I was out a lot but I had very limited motivation to edit and publish new works. I decided instead to put all of my creativity into helping clients capture their photographs. I believe the excitement of helping others, in turn, rekindled my inspiration. This year 2018 has been completely different from the last two. I feel re-inspired and have gotten back to editing new and old photographs.
How is business? Any recent highlights?
The business the last few years has been steadily growing and it's been amazing! Last year, 2017 was my first year being able to go full-time teaching and guiding since the business started 6 years ago. This year has been my busiest year to date and I am on course be doing teaching over 200 workshops this year. This past summer was wonderfully busy and I believe I worked over 350 hours in July alone. My theory is, I will sleep in the winter. It's been so wonderful to see so many different age groups more getting into photography. This year I have seen an increase in young people eager to learn.
What effect has teaching others had on your development, both photographically and personally?
I really love teaching and guiding. I think I learn something new from every client I have. Whether itís discovering a different way some people learn or just watching someone create and how differently they approach locations I am so familiar with. Seeing the excitement and awe of the locations we visit reminds me of the days when I was first discovering the area. I think having the opportunity to see landscape photography in general from fresh eyes constantly allows me to not get bogged down by some of the internal struggles the photography community sometimes goes through.
I see you're extending your workshops to Iceland in 2019. What unique challenges will that pose?
Yes! I have partnered up with Iceland Photo Tours in 2019 for an Aurora and Ice Cave adventure. This will mark my very first international group tour which I am really excited about. I've been to Iceland twice before both in winter so it will be nice to be back on familiar ground for this adventure. The most challenging part of this tour is definitely going to be the Northern Lights. Iíd love to be able to have all of my participants experience the best displays possible so I plan on picking up loads of trash and helping Mother Nature out so, hopefully, she can help me out.
What other future plans are in the pipeline for Dani Lefrancois and Banf Photo Workshops & Tours?
I have a few plans in the works for Banff Photo Workshops & Tours. Starting October 2018 I have started offering longer multi-day adventures in the Canadian Rockies. The new adventures are 5,7 and 10-day adventures which are privately guided true one-on-one experiences. These adventures have no set itinerary and can be fully customized. I am also in the process of adding new guides to the business because this year I have learned I canít be in two places at once even if I really want to be.
As for myself, I am planning a few personal photography and family adventures to help with my ongoing reconnection with the landscape and my love of photography. One thing Iíve learned after these last few years of a creative rut is that even if you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world...there are still new places close by and far away that deserve to be photographed. This is something I had always known and often spoke about to others. But I didn't actually listen to my own advice. Now I've smartened up.
Dani Lefrançois is a professional landscape photographer located in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, specifically Banff National Park, Alberta. She has been shooting for 12 years and has been focusing strictly on landscapes for the last 6 years. When not teaching photography workshops, she is out exploring the mountains or planning her next Canadian road trip.