The Exposure Photography Festival is returning for its 17th year and this year's lineup includes a couple of local Cochrane artists.

The Calgary-based non-profit Photography Festival is set to take place for the entire month of February.

Last year the festival received over 850,000 visits.  As it stands, Exposure is preparing to house in person audiences this year, but it will ultimately be a game-time decision in line with provincial COVID-19 health and safety protocol. 

190 visual artists are preparing to display their exhibits in Cochrane, Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, Lethbridge as well as an online format.

Local Wildlife Photographer Jo-Anne Oucharek will be showcasing her exhibit entitled "Nature in My Backyard" which features photographs that capture her adventures in and around the Cochrane area.

Oucharek says that capturing moments with her camera lens has always been a passion of hers. She says after moving to Cochrane in 2014, she was inspired to bring her camera out of retirement and mark the beginning of a new photography adventure.

"I previously was a sports photographer and I put my camera away because I was done taking pictures of people," says Oucharek. "In 2014 when we moved to Cochrane I was amazed by the birds and the wildlife that was literally in my backyard."

Oucharek says that Cochrane's beautiful backdrop inspired her to once again start snapping photos. She says that while she is passionate about photographing wildlife, she is respectful of the animals' space. She says that sometimes being in the moment and capturing the memory is just as beautiful. 

"One of the things I'm very respectful of is that is not about the shot it's about being in the moment with the wildlife," says Oucharek. "I have a long lens so I am far away. Sometimes you get the opportunity to capture that in photography but other times you just get to see it. You get to be there and be part of that moment." 

If COVID protocol allows, Oucharek's latest photography exhibit will be on display at The Gentry Espresso & Wine Bar located at #9 312 5th Avenue West in Cochrane. The exhibit can also be viewed here. 

Local artist Brenda Kelly will also be featured in The 17th Exposure Photography Festival. Kelly is preparing to showcase her "Yoga Haiku" exhibit at The Corner Coworking located at 225 Railway Street East and alternatively, Kelly's display can be viewed here.

Updates regarding in person viewings will be made available on the links above.