Capturing Calgary: My Favourite Photo-Ops In and Around YYC

by Chris Malloy

The search for fresh and innovative subjects is always a fun challenge for a photographer. Whether it’s during the day or in the middle of the night, I have spent countless hours exploring Calgary with the purpose of finding a new and exciting perspective. As a result, I feel more connected to my city and capturing Calgary has become one of my favourite ways to spend time. I want to share this experience with others, so I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite places to shoot images for you:



There are many bridges around the city, from overpasses to pedestrian walkways, and they all have their own distinctive form and setting. For me, a bridge is the final destination, rather than simply part of my commute. Old and new, I love them all.


Calgary is home to some expansive parks: Nosehill, Fish Creek, Bowness, Bowmont, Prince’s Island, and Edworthy to name a few. Whether you are a dog-walker, mountain biker, bird-watcher, picnic enthusiast or photographer, there is a park for you. I have photographed everything from wildlife, to landscapes, to engagement photos in Calgary’s parks and every time I go I find something new


Beakerhead is one of Calgary’s most exciting and awe-inspiring photo ops. It is a week-long celebration of science, art and engineering that unfolds to the public as a diverse and visually stunning series of events. As a member of their 2014 Photo Team, I was given the opportunity to photograph some of the wildest things I have ever seen (a giant scrap metal flame-throwing hydraulic octopus, for example). The good news is that most of their events are free and open to the public. Bring your family, bring your camera and bring your curiosity.


The Calgary Stampede is obviously one of the city’s headlining annual events. Finding iconic photo opportunities during Stampede is about as hard as shooting fish in a barrel. Look for rides, food, people, animals, shows, lights and even scenic overhead views from up on Scottsman’s Hill.


Although it may not give you the same street cred as true wildlife photography, the Calgary Zoo offers some unique opportunities to photograph animals that you would not normally have access to within the city limits


Calgary is teeming with public art that enhances our streets and enriches our lives. That being said, the installations also make for stunning photographs! The sculptures and murals are best appreciated up close, so park your car and go for a stroll!


Calgary hosts a variety of festivals in the spring and summer months.  From the Lilac Festival, to the Canada Day celebrations, to Global Fest I challenge myself to photograph these events not only from a wide-angle perspective but also from up close to tell different stories. Wide festival photos provide scale and perspective, while images of smaller details highlight the human element of these festivals.


I love working C-Trains into my photographs. They often provide an element of motion or a leading line that adds a great deal of interest to an image. I especially like photographing them at night. The lights are fantastic and the stations themselves are vibrant and interesting as well.


Heritage Park is another one of my favourite places to capture images. There is a wide variety of scenic vistas overlooking the Glenmore Reservoir, farm animals doing their thing, costumed interpreters, charming buildings and the train! I had the opportunity to shoot Heritage Park at night once and the images are some of my all-time favourites.



Chris Malloy is a freelance photographer and teacher living in Calgary. You can find his photos on his website or by following him on Instagram @mistermalloy.


For more inspirational Calgary photography, follow #CAPTURECALGARY on Instagram!

Capture Calgary instagram account


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