John E Marriott

Tall Tales, Long Lenses

Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, is a culmination of my 20-year career to date as a photographer.

I first visited the Canadian Rockies in September 1969 at the ripe old age of one month old. I would show you the photos, but I don’t think I look all that adorable as a small bald person in the arms of my Grandma on the shores of Lake Louise.

Six years later, I began photographing in the Canadian Rockies, snapping shot after shot of what I was sure were award-winning images on my family’s annual pilgrimages from Salmon Arm, British Columbia in the family wagon to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Of course, $20 Kodak Instamatic cameras don’t often produce award-winning shots and neither do most 6 year-olds using them, so while I still have my old photo albums of bears and moose and so on, I’ve decided to keep those for myself too!

Since those inauspicious beginnings, the camera equipment in my hands has changed and so have my skills as a nature photographer.
In 1992, I came across the incredibly fortunate situation of being hired by Parks Canada in Banff National Park to go out and shoot roll after roll of photos of people, wildlife, and scenics in the mountain environment — and from that, my career as an outdoor photographer was born.

In the mid to late 1990s, I photographed extensively in the frontcountry and backcountry of the parks in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta and British Columbia. I also spent several months over those years photographing grizzly bears and other wildlife along British Columbia’s West Coast, working out of Knight Inlet Lodge 500 kilometers north of Vancouver.

The past decade has led me to more exotic locations, from the Yellowstone backcountry to the highlands of Scotland and Ireland. However, the vast majority of my work has been done in Canada, where I’ve carved out my niche as a photographer specializing in Canadian wildlife and nature photography. I’ve sailed the BC Coast from the Queen Charlottes through the Great Bear Rainforest to the Inside Passage. I’ve climbed aboard fishing trawlers in the Atlantic seaboard in search of whales and puffins, and I’ve trekked across the frozen tundra and ice of the Great White North from the Yukon to the Northwest Territories to Nunavut. And because it’s nearby and I love it, I have spent the largest portion of my time on the Canadian Prairies and in my ‘backyard’ in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta.

I am not formally trained as a photographer, but rather have learned by trial and error as I’ve gone along. I have also been lucky enough to have met and forged friendships with some incredibly interesting and skilled photographers over the years that I have gleaned information from: Al Williams, Jeff Waugh, Alec Pytlowany, Darwin Wiggett, Tom Murphy, and Terry Berezan come to mind. Unfortunately I never did get to meet the photographer I most wanted to — Japanese wildlife photographer Michio Hoshino, who died in Kamchatka, Russia in 1997.

My business started twenty years ago and is now firmly entrenched in Canmore, Alberta on the edge of Banff National Park. I started slowly (very slowly, as you’ll read in my latest book, Tall Tales, Long Lenses), but now consider myself lucky enough to be successful at what I do.

I sell stock photography and my images have been published in a number of magazines including National Geographic Adventure, Backpacker, Canadian Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Outdoor Photography Canada, Photolife, Ranger Rick and OWL. My photography has also been used for a wide range of commercial applications, including highway billboards, transit buses, brochures, websites, product packaging, and catalogs.

I also regularly write articles for Outdoor Photography Canada magazine and in 2010 was named a contributing editor for the magazine as their wildlife photography columnist.

My first book, Central Rockies Mammals, was published in July 1997 and is now a Canadian bestseller (second edition, 2005). In 2002, my business leapt forward with the investment in a line of 24 different wildlife and scenic greeting cards, my Wilderness Moments notecard line. In 2004, I added 2 new cards to the line, 5 more in 2005, and 2 more in 2007. I revamped the line with 18 new cards in 2011 and 2012, then added three more new ones in 2016. The cards continue to be the best-selling greeting cards in the Canadian Rockies, with more than 150,000 cards sold since 2002.

In 2007, I released my first hardcover coffee table book, Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park, which I self-published. The book has been received with critical acclaim and has quickly become the best-selling photography book on Banff. It is now a Canadian and international bestseller, with more than 18,000 copies sold worldwide.

Following the success of Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park, I released Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side in June 2008. This book is now also a Canadian bestseller, with more than 8,500 copies sold.

In 2009, I released two more coffee table books, both titled The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond (large and small versions).

Then in 2010 (sorry this is such a long list!), I launched a wildlife photography tour company, aptly named, Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours, which has been extremely successful. I now lead multiple tours and workshops each year to places like the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Great Bear Rainforest, and the edges of Hudson Bay in Nunavut.

Recently, in 2016, I released The Pipestone Wolves: The Rise and Fall of a Wolf Family together with author and wolf researcher Gunther Bloch.

And finally (still with me?), in 2017, I’m extremely proud to release Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, which is a culmination of my 20-year career to date as a photographer and includes many of my favourites stories and photographs.

I sincerely hope that this site will give you a taste for my style of photography and for what the wilds of Canada are like, creating in you a longing to visit or re-visit magical areas like the Canadian Rockies and see them like you’ve never seen them before. I fell in love with this place long ago, and want you too to experience the beauty and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains and Canada and capture the secrets you discover on a camera.


  • December 6th   Book Signing Artsplace Canmore
  • December  7th  Book Signing Whyte Museum Banff

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John E Marriott

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