Ice climber

Penticton photographer Dave Mai has been given $55,000 to help with production costs of his upcoming film, “Higher Perspective.”

A Penticton photographer is taking his career to new heights.

Rock climbing enthusiast Dave Mai has been selected to participate in Telus’s STORYHIVE project, receiving $50,000 in production funding.

“I got topped up to $55,000 by Creative BC,” added Mai, “which was very generous of them.”

Mai’s film, “Higher Perspective,” will show what it takes to capture the perfect shot during some of the most daring climbs.

“It’s quite a process over the years,” he said. “I’m still trying to refine it and figure out new ways to do it.”

Mai explained the complexities of getting that perfect shot: planning the route, finding the spot where he needs to be and getting himself to it.

“I rig a rope down and then I drop myself down on that rope into the position I feel that’s best,” he said.

For Mai, that could mean scaling the mountain himself, only to propel halfway down for a shot, then climb back up again.

“Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can hike around,” he said. “Or if there’s a neighbouring route, I can climb up and go up that way as well. But it made me quickly realize I needed to be just as good as these guys I’m photographing and filming.”

Mai has climbed all over Canada, the United States as well as in Thailand, but for him, his favourite place will always be home.

“I think I’m going to show a side of the Okanagan that a lot of people haven’t seen yet,” he said.

Mai has been practising the sport for six years now.

“It’s always something I wanted to do growing up,” he said. “But you really need someone to mentor you. I had some friends who invited me out once and I was addicted immediately.”

He’s been a professional photographer for almost 12 years, but was always playing around with his dad’s cameras when he was younger.

“I’m also a recording engineer,” he added. “I’ve always had this thing about capturing things and documenting media.”

Mai is no stranger to documentaries, already creating and producing one titled “Ephemera” that’s on tour with film festivals around the world.