ABBOTSFORD PHOTOGRAPHER ZACK MELHUS INVITES US TO JONES LAKE TO EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS.
Waking up to the breathtaking view of Jones Lake is something Abbotsford native Zack Melhus does often. On this peaceful foggy October morning, we caught up with Zack and his good friend Nathan Henczel (@natehenczel) at the lake just east of Chilliwack. Impromptu camping trips are common for the friends who’ve known each other since high school, they not only share a love for outdoor adventure, but also photography.
“I was travelling in Uganda in 2014 with Voice of Voiceless, a YWAM Ministry,” Zack shares, “through photos and videos, we told people’s stories to raise awareness for social injustice.” This is where Zack first picked up the camera. “I learned how to use the manual settings,” Zack recalls, “a photographer I was travelling with showed me some tricks and then I watched a bundle of YouTube tutorials and since then, it’s been a lot of trial and error.” Known for his stunning and moody photography in nature, Zack’s work can be seen on his namesake Instagram channel @zmelhus. “After I came back from travelling, life seemed boring here,” Zack tells us, “then I realized, we live in a really cool place, why not live like I’m on vacation at home?”
With that sentiment, Zack explores the province with his camera in hand and friends, new and old who share his sense of outdoor adventure. This includes Braedin Toth (@braedin) and Ben Prescott (@itsbigben), who Zack met through the Instagram community. The three recently hosted an Instagram meetup at Golden Ears Park where 50 people came together to explore the park through a photography lens. “We are so much stronger by working together,” Zack explains, “if we can all team up, it’s more fun and we can go a lot further.”
Zack’s always spent his time outdoors. “I really wasn’t into watching a lot of TV growing up,” Zack remembers, “I spent a lot of time outdoors, camping and playing outside.” His childhood also included fond memories with his father, hiking local trails like Elk Mountain. And last summer, the father and son duo hiked the Grand Canyon together.
Creating a sense of community has always been important to Zack. As a youth pastor at Chilliwack’s Broadway MB church, Zack mentors middle school and high school students. “It’s important to me,” Zack shares, “people invested in me when I was that age, I want to make sure our youth know they’re valued.” Whether it’s sitting down with a student at a coffee shop to talk about tougher life issues or taking the students on a camping trip to explore and share his love for the great outdoors, Zack is keen on making a difference.
This Friday, meet Zack and five other adventure Instagrammers at Cabin, a social gathering at Highstreet celebrating the spirit of adventure in all of us.
Photo Credit: Tanya Goehring, Post Photography