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February 20, 2014

Nokia Lumia Instagramer of the Week: Darren Sproat

Ansel Adams, the famed North American landscape photographer once said, “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.”

This week’s Nokia Lumia instagramer, Canadian Darren Sproat, has passed that test with flying, big sky colours. Happily, you don’t have to take out word for it because right here, right now you can feast your eyes on the work of a man who lives and breathes the prairie life. Before we do that, though, here’s what Darren had to say about his passion for Nokia Lumia photography.


Which Nokia Lumia do you have and what do you like most about it?

I was one of the first in Canada to own a Nokia Lumia 920. I fell in love with it, and Windows Phone 8, right away. Not much time passed before we were picking one up for my wife and, since then, the whole family has switched to Windows Phone from various other mobile operating systems — All of them are Nokia Lumia devices from the affordable and very capable 520 and 620 to the powerhouse 1020 I carry around today.

Once I had experienced the camera on the Lumia 920, I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on the Lumia 1020. Frankly, I didn’t believe, at the time, that it would replace my high quality point and shoot camera… it did! I haven’t carried a dedicated camera since the first time I took the Lumia 1020 with me on a rural hike.

For photography hobbyists such as myself, there is no other device available that offers the kind of pure experience and dynamic range that the Lumia 1020 does. I can’t wait to take it with me this summer to capture some Canadian prairie storms in action!


Where do you shoot most of your photos and what sort of photos do you like to take best?

While I’ve been known to post an occasional cat or dog to Instagram, most of my photos are of rural Saskatchewan, Canada. I am inspired by the serenity, beauty, and ruggedness of the Saskatchewan prairie and everything that goes with it. Saskatchewan is known as the “Land of Living Skies” and I try to encapsulate that into every photograph I capture.

What are your top tips for taking Instagram photos on your Nokia Lumia?

Instagram’s greatest benefit is the ability for users to experience scenes from all over the world, instantly. My first tip for those sharing their photographs is to write a caption that summarizes what a person may be looking at. Share a bit about what brought you to the scene you’re capturing and what it is you’re capturing or, even more interesting, the feeling you have as you view the scene. Secondly, if you’re interested in exposing your photographs to the widest audience, tag photographs with applicable and common Instagram tags. It will do wonders to broaden the audience viewing your photographs and will help you discover others from around the world with similar interests.’

Which five Nokia Lumia instagramers do you recommend everyone should follow?

I follow a vast range of Instagrammers and find inspiration from just about everyone I follow. If I were going to recommend Lumia Instagrammers to follow, and narrowing this down to just five was difficult, I would likely start with these incredible people:



Saskatchewan is known as the “Land of Living Skies”… I am fascinated by clouds, trees, rural landscapes, and the sun and believe this photo encapsulates all of that.


Most people don’t believe that this photo was captured with a smartphone… especially when I explain just how dark it was. The Lumia 1020 has an incredible low-light camera.


 One thing the Lumia 1020 cannot do is capture just how bitterly cold it is when a photo is taken. The photograph below was taken at sunrise on a bitterly cold morning. It was -36 degrees Celsius (-33 degrees Fahrenheit) when this picture was captured. The Lumia 1020 has never given me a problem in the cold and the sensitive touchscreen allows me to use it with gloves on.


The Saskatchewan Legislature, where the Government of Saskatchewan is located, is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Saskatchewan. For that reason, I usually avoid capturing it. When this scene presented itself, however, I couldn’t resist capturing it.


Every sunset offers its own inspiration.


Sometimes, the best photographs are captured by stopping and looking back at where you’ve already been.


Sometimes, the best photographs are captured by stopping and looking back at where you’ve already been.

This photo was taken with my Lumia 920 just before harvest last fall. The Lumia 920 is an amazing smartphone. The only reason I replaced it is because the Lumia 1020 came along.


Abandoned homesteads are a wonder to me. I imagine what stories must be contained in the walls of these houses that used to be home to prairie families.  There are many on the prairies as farms have become much larger today than they were 100 years ago.


This photograph is my favourite taken with my Lumia 1020. In December of 1988, my wife and I were in high school and on one of our first dates when we decided to take a walk around Wascana Lake. Our walk started and ended at the tree featured in the photo below. It was much smaller at the time. Then, just a few weeks ago, I was walking near Wascana Lake when the tree caught my eye against the sky of a cold winter night. It looked like a heart and, combined with the pinks and purples in the sky, the timing was right to capture it. My Lumia 1020 caught it even better than I would have imagined.

If you’re as loved up with Darren’s work as us,  be sure to check out more of his wonderful photos on Instagram or find out more about him here.  And if you’d like to be featured as Nokia Lumia Instagrammer of the Week, make sure you follow us on Instagram and/or hashtag your photos Lumia. We look forward to checking out more of your work! In the meantime, why not tell us which of Darren’s shots you love best, in the comments below.