Meet the Good Morning, Richmond photographers: Johnny Choi

Meet the Good Morning, Richmond photographers: Johnny Choi


We spoke to our regular contributors to put a face to the beautiful photos of Richmond featured on GMR.

To kick off our series of profiles of regular Good Morning, Richmond (GMR) contributors, we spoke to Johnny Choi, who is best known for his fiery sunset photos.

Choi started off as an avid reader of The Richmond News’ paper edition. His tenure as a regular contributor began after he found out about the News’ website and saw GMR.

“I saw other people sending in the photos, I thought I would give it a go,” he said.

Choi, who’s approaching 70 years old, has lived in Richmond for more than a decade.

For a long time, Choi worked as a tour guide in Canada for trips to Banff and even the U.S. When the travel industry took a downturn, Choi switched careers to work in food production factories, where he stayed until his retirement almost a decade ago.

Nowadays, Choi can often be spotted around Richmond in some of his favourite photo spots such as the West Dyke Trail, where he often takes photos of birds, animals, and Garry Point Park for the beautiful sunsets.

“I never thought there would be so much nature in Richmond (before I moved here from East Vancouver),” he said.

Choi’s love for photography began almost 50 years ago with film photography, but he decided to switch to digital cameras around the same time he moved to the city.

“Before I started using digital cameras, I never took photos of birds,” said Choi, explaining that the focus ability and faster shutter speeds for digital cameras make it much easier to capture the movement of birds.

Choi described his photography as capturing whatever he sees, whenever he sees them. The best thing about photography, he explained, is that it’s good for his health.

“Because you have no choice but to go outside (to take photos),” said Choi. “And when you take photos you have to think, and then think some more when you go home and process the photos on the computer.”

Choi told the News that he enjoys taking photos of Richmond’s many creatures as much as the scenery. But more often than not, Choi is out and about around the city capturing a beautiful sunset.

“(Sunset photos) can look very different and they’re not monotonous, especially between Spring and Fall,” he explained.

“If there are drastic changes in the weather, the clouds become exceptionally pretty as well.”

But there is one Richmond scene that eludes Choi, more than a decade after he started taking photos in the city ⁠— the sunrise.

“Sunrises vary a lot and there are many animals who are active early in the morning,” he said, adding there are many “beautiful sceneries” to be captured before sunrise.

“But I just can’t seem to be able to wake up early,” he said.