Ivan and Liz Hardwick said it was ‘pure luck’ that brought them to Horsefly 15 years ago.
Close to home the couple capture amazing photos of animals with their Nikon D500 cameras on their property and enjoy everything about their rural life.
“A lot of what we photograph happens in our yard, which I’ve, for more than a better word, cultivated to benefit the wildlife,” Ivan said. “It’s not unusual to wake up in the morning, lay in bed and see moose, deer, lynx and all sorts of birds just outside the window. What more could you want?”
Originally from England, when the Hardwicks retired — he from owning his own sporting firearms and wildlife management business and she from work as a paralegal — they emigrated to B.C.’s Sunshine Coast
By 2005, the community of Sechelt was becoming too crowded for them, so they embarked on a three-month search for a new place to live somewhere else in B.C.
That pursuit led them to Horsefly.
“We passed a ‘for sale’ sign on a road and you couldn’t see the property from the road,” Ivan recalled.
“Something made us want to have a look so we drove up the driveway.”
Two people were having lunch, the Hardwicks apologized for having interrupted them, spoke with them and fell in love with the rancher-style home and the surrounding five-acre property.
They overnighted in a nearby bed and breakfast and made the decision to buy the property the next day.
Ivan said the only reason it took that long to make the purchase was because the realtor was on holidays so they waited three days for her to return.
“We wanted to be as wild as we could but still have modern conveniences for when we aged and needed them,” Ivan said of what drew them to the community, adding they were also overwhelmed by the friendliness of residents they met in a local café who raved about the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department, the school and the 4-H club.
Horsefly also reminded him of the small East Coast village in England where he grew up in at the end of the Second World War where children could play on the street and at lunch time could go up to any door that was open
and get fed lunch.
“If you had a problem everybody came to help and it’s like that here, even now. It’s a wonderful community.”
Photography has been a hobby of Ivan’s since he purchased his first camera in 1963 after he joined the British Air Force.
He’s carried a camera every day since then everywhere he has been in the
“You could say, in a way, that it’s a disease,” he said, chuckling.
Liz, who grew up in the middle of England in Oxfordshire, said she only starting taking photographs a few years ago.
They were going on a cruise and she encouraged Ivan to upgrade to a digital camera in 2016.
“He grew out of that camera quite quickly so he said ‘you might as well try it’ and that’s when I started. I’d always used a little snappy camera, that sort of thing.” Comparing their photography styles, Ivan said he is more of a recorder of what is there and sometimes gets lucky and sees a particular good angle whereas Liz is very creative and artistic and sees things he doesn’t see. As for her husband’s praise for her abilities, she said she doesn’t really know why he thinks she’s more creative, but added she grew up making things.
“My brother is a web designer, I’ve got cousins, nieces and nephews who write, paint, and run media companies — you name it. I grew up surrounded by people making things and I thought it was normal that if you didn’t have what you needed you made it.”
She photographs wildlife but enjoys capturing flowers and other things in her garden, such as bugs. “It’s a way of looking rather than waiting for something to jump up in front of you,” she said.
“To me photography is not looking for a subject, but seeing what’s out there. What can I look at, what can I see?” The biggest problem is finding the time when there’s washing, cooking and shopping to do. “Sometimes what you have to do gets in the way of what you want to do. Not always. Supper can be ready and — oh look the owl is outside — so you turn the stove off and will have supper later on.”
An active member of the Horsefly Women’s Institute, Liz was the editor of the Horsefly Buzz and still helps draw up the ads and formats photographic pages.