Self-taught photographer Darcy Monchak got serious about photography following his retirement from forestry and has captured countless images of the pristine landscape surrounding Golden.

Local photographer honed his craft following forestry career

There are few places that offer as much as the Canadian Rockies for the wildlife photographer and one local has taken full advantage.

There are few places that offer as much as the Canadian Rockies for the wildlife photographer and Darcy Monchak is one person who has taken full advantage.

After a career in forestry, Monchak began to explore Golden’s backyard in a different light when he got serious about photography.

His camera started out as an accessory on his backpacking trips, but it eventually turned into his motivation.

“Photography sees things differently than people’s eyes do. Everytime you put a different lens on a camera, be it a wide angle or a telephoto, it changes the way it looks,” Monchak said.

Self-taught, Monchak spends much of his time exploring the six national parks in the region, armed mostly with his Canon and a desire to return with something special.

And he almost always manages the latter, compiling an impressive array of photos that will leave even the most avid backcountry explorers wide-eyed.

Despite such a wealth of places to choose from, it’s surprisingly easy for Monchak to answer when asked about his personal pick for the most photogenic place in the area.

“Bar none it’s Lake O’Hara…it’s a small area but it’s jam packed with photographic goodies. There’s all sorts of different light angles and mountains. If a photographer likes to get people, such as hikers, in the landscape, it’s one of the best places I know to go,” Monchak said.

While he freely admits there is a certain degree of luck involved in some of his finer shots – such as when a pair of climbers walked right into his frame in the Bugaboos at the absolute perfect moment – it’s also about practice and plain old hard work.

“If you keep practicing you get better and better at it and see results…to make it happen, for the average person, you’ve gotta get out there and take a lot of pictures,” he said.

Monchak and his wife, painter Dawna-Lea, have recently opened their own studio and have plans to offer viewings.

Monchak also gives photo presentations, such as the one he will be giving tonight (Mar. 24) at Jita’s Cafe starting at 7:00 p,m..

To view more of Monchak’s work, log on to


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