Robyn Connacher, St Ives Snapper
2075 magazine caught up with local photographer Robyn Connacher, and enquired about her artistic eye.
How long have you been doing photography?
I’ve always loved being in nature, the beach and bush walks and taking photos of beautiful scenery and did art at school, “back in the previous century!” Once my kids went to school I did art classes at the Blue Door Art studio here in St Ives, where I developed my eye and enjoyed doing amateur paintings, particularly of scenery.
When did you start to share your images online and why?
At the same time I studied massage therapy (pre-kids I was a business studies teacher) and in 2014 set up St Ives Therapeutic Massage, which I still do today. As my massage practice took off I no longer had time or the headspace to paint and started taking and editing more and more photos on my iPhone.
Is photography your full-time job and if not, would you be happy to share with us what you do outside of photography?
In 2017 I set up a separate Instagram account for my photography (with the help of my teenage son, who has also taught me how to take long exposure shots). I combined my love of the outdoors (I walk/run) with my love of sharing what I see.
I want more of us to connect with nature and realize that natural beauty can be all around us, although recently one of my family members said to me “you made it look way prettier than it actually is!” I am basically self-taught and use the iPhone editing function, combined with Instagram, to edit my photos. I have found the iPhone 11 Pro great - it takes lovely shots but is small enough to carry around and I can “jump around” easily (no need for a tripod). To get the long exposure shots I’ve got to make sure my hand is incredibly steady.
Where are your favourite places to photograph and why?
My two favourite places to photograph are: the local Ku-ring-gai environment, bush trails, waterfalls (there is such diversity - I love the soaring trees, the extreme natural beauty and the way the light falls in the bush).
I also love the northern beaches - beautiful for sunrise and sunsets and reflections.
The beach/sea has a certain energy - sometimes soft and reflective and sometimes extreme and dangerous - that isn’t there in the bush. I love them both.
Where would you most like to photograph, given the chance?
I’d love to go to New Zealand South Island again - I was there in 2016 and loved the scenery and would love to return just to take loads of photos and share them. After that, definitely Tasmania - same reason: extreme natural beauty.
There has been a lot of rain recently, has this had an impact on your work?
Absolutely! The rain has increased the number of long exposure shots that I have taken - rivers, waterfalls and reflections in the puddles. Obviously the light is different (more grey and subtle) and I’ve been taking more middle-of-the-day photos rather than sunrises and sunsets. I’ve kept closer to home and have taken far more St Ives photos and fewer beach photos.
What's the most interesting thing you have ever photographed?
Most probably a wombat on a recent trip to Tasmania. They look so slow and sluggish but can move at the speed of light! In February we went on a 25th anniversary trip to Tasmania, most particularly Cradle Mountain. I loved photographing wombats in their native environment at sunset - that national park is so absolutely amazing.
What's the grand plan when it comes to your photography; what does the future look like?
I would love to grow my social media following with followers who are interested in seeing beautiful places. My dream would be to travel to beautiful places to promote and to photograph them and have all my expenses paid!
On a local level, I’d love to encourage, through my photos, more people getting out to experience nature - it is so good for both our physical and mental health. It would be great if social media (and photos) encourage well-being and experiences to a greater extent, and less about wanting “things”.
What are your top 3 tips for budding nature photographers?
1) Angle - take your photos from different heights: squat low for example to get reflections in the puddles, or reach up high to get a wider view.
2) Solo - sometimes you need to be alone for the best photos; you might need to take multiple images just to get the right one.
2) Don’t zoom in – instead, take your picture and crop what you need out – or get up close to take better quality images.
3) Conducive Light - the middle of the day tends to have to brightest light, which is too strong for good photos. Try the hour or two around sunrise and sunset.
Where can we see more of your work?
Follow my Instagram @robsthroughmyeyes