Capture the headbanging rams and Radium’s natural beauty at a photo workshop

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Headbanger Festival
All photos by Dax Justin

RADIUM HOT SPRINGS – Dax Justin had snuck onto the edge of a local golf course in the quiet hour before the sun rose. He was there to see if he could capture a spectacle of nature that Radium Hot Springs, B.C., celebrates during the cheekily named Headbanger Festival, from Nov. 3 to 5.

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Dax, an outdoor adventurer and landscape photographer with more than 105,000 followers on Instagram, loves nothing more than to head into the Rockies from his home in Calgary and spend the day photographing the serene beauty and wild side of the Canadian Rockies.

Headbanger Festival in Radium with Dax Justin

During the Headbanger Festival, Dax will run a day-long workshop, on Nov. 4. He’s happy to help people learn how to best use their smartphones cameras to capture – hopefully the rams in action – but also the beautiful landscapes, hoodoos, birds and light of this region of the East Kootenays.

Dax says just bring along your smartphone and sense of adventure and be ready for a fun day outside learning some new photography tips and tricks.

Dax Justin in Radium Hot Springs

In advance of the upcoming workshop Dax took the scenic three-hour road trip from Calgary through Banff, Lake Louise and the dramatic keyhole arch of Sinclair Canyon into Radium village, a place he’s visited many times before for its beautiful landscapes – and the resident bighorn sheep.

“The landscape is just so different once you pass through Sinclair Canyon. And the sheep, they just look so comfortable hanging out here around the community.”

Back on the golf course, on a silent morning, Dax wasn’t greeted with the showy, ear-splitting performance of head-butting rams who are vying for the love of the ewes in what is known as rutting season.

Headbanger Festival in Radium Big Horned Sheep

Instead, he quietly observed a herd of about 20 to 30 of the beasts lazing and grazing on the grass. They obviously felt quite at home, he says.

“That’s the beauty of nature; things happen not on my watch but on theirs,” Dax says. “They could see me and, as I sat in silence, I could see they were comfortable around humans.”

The festival happens during prime rutting season, so there’s still plenty of time to catch the head-butters in action, a sound which has been described as everything from a slapshot to a gunshot. “It’s almost like taking two big rocks and hitting them together,” says Kent Kebe, manager Tourism Radium. “You can hear it echo in the village. It’s pretty cool when you watch them.”

Headbanger Festival

Kebe says they recommend people stay about 100 metres away, or the sheep will run off, minimizing your chances of getting a good photo. If you want to get closer, he recommends being in your car.

“If you spend time with the sheep you will see them head bang,” Kebe says. “We tell people where to go and spend some time and they have a good chance of seeing them … it’s more of an educational festival.”

In the cool mornings, “they seem a little friskier. Boys will be boys and their mating rituals are unpredictable.”

Meanwhile, Dax says, “I’m looking forward to helping people photograph the wildlife, but also the quiet beauty of the Columbia River, the fall colours and the hoodoos.

“You’ll come away with the skills that let you tell a story with a photo and bring out the character of a moment, and then feel empowered to go out there and create great photos.”

Headbanger Festival in Radium

Join Dax Justin at Headbanger Festival

When: Nov. 4, 10 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.  Dax's photo workshop will be held at the Bighorn Meadows Resort Welcome Centre. The workshop will begin inside with an overview of tips and tricks. After lunch, participants will head out into the field with Dax to take photographs.

Where: Bighorn Meadows Resort Welcome Centre.

Registration: Friday evening at meet and greet at the Village Country Inn. Or pick up a registration package before 10 a.m. at the Best Western.
Register for the Headbanger Festival here.

What you'll learn: The day-long workshop will begin indoors with tips and tricks from Justin how to compose, frame, shoot, edit with an app and then share on social media. You’ll also learn how to crop your images to zoom in on the key elements of a photos.

Cost: $25, including lunch.

Read more about the Headbanger Festival via our festival overview.

Interested in learning more about things to do in the Radium Hot Springs region? Learn more here.

Will you be visiting Radium Hot Springs? Find out what’s in store by exploring Radium Hot Spring’s website.

Register for the Headbanger Festival here.

Connect with Dax Justin and follow his adventure @daxjustin and his website, daxjustin.com.

Ready to take part in a beautiful fall season in Radium? Share this page with your friends.