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Instagram #LoveIt

On April 4, 2015
By Connie
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There is nothing instant about Instagram.  This was my first surprise when I started using the extremely popular app that all the crazy kids seem to be using now a-days.  Or maybe not the kids, but the young adults.  I hear there’s this other app the young ones use called SnapChat.  Did I just show my age?  Sigh.

In any case, back to my original complaint.  Instagram is not instant as the name implies.  I decided to try out Instagram because it looked like people were having a lot of fun posting highly processed photos on a never ending news feed.  Take a photo, play around with some filter options, post, and wait for the likes to pour in.  Sounded easy to me.

I should have known that that little process already hinted at a ‘less than instant’ status.  I couldn’t get through that process in less than 5 minutes, usually much longer.  There are just too many filter options to choose from.  Every time I took a photo that I wanted to post, I’d get sucked into my phone making minute adjustments to my grainy photo with all the pickiness of someone trained in advanced Photoshop.

I was becoming one of those people whose eyes are glued to her phone instead of the world around her.  Sucked in.

And yet so fun.  There is something to be said about the supposed downfall of real life social connections due to smart phones, but that’s a whole different rant.  I’m not blaming Instagram for what seems to be an entire generation of socially awkward sometimes rude youth of today.  Instagram is just an app.  A tool.  I love it.

Instagram is a great platform for sharing photos whether it be happy snaps or professional marketing campaigns.  I’ve seen it used as a powerful brand shaping tool used to open a dialogue between companies and its customers.  It’s been used to create social awareness and perhaps even social change through its global reach. It’s also a great way to bring photography back to some basics for the little everyday people such as myself.

I use it as a reminder to take those happy snap pictures that I spy everyday instead of walking right past them.  With no technical aspects to consider such as shutter speed or aperture, my camera phone allows me to focus more on composition and timing my shots.  It’s relaxing and easy.  It makes photography a hobby again, something that it ceased being for me over a decade ago.  It’s like it’s retraining my eyes to search for pictures everywhere I go because I have this handy platform to share my little snippets with to friends and a whole community of strangers who also share my love for memorable moments.  I work in a very controlled studio environment with professional models and a skilled team.  My camera phone lets me shoot something different for no other reason than just because.  I’m observing and exploring more, and In that way I’m refuelling my creativity.  I just need to remember to do my editing after returning home.

Find me on Instagram under Photographiser to see what I shoot when I’m not shooting.

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Sabah Wildlife

On March 22, 2015
By Connie
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This year has already been so full of amazing experiences and personal changes for myself.  To sum it up, last month I went and got myself married!  The lead up to the wedding was a haze of endless emails, to-do lists, big eating, and so much love.  I feel truly lucky to have so many wonderful, generous and loving people in my life.

Of course, one of the best perks of getting married is the indulgent honeymoon that follows.

Sabah, the Malaysian province on the northeast side of Borneo, was the perfect choice for us.  We had a perfect holiday of lazy luxury (required after many weeks months of hectic wedding planning) mixed with a little adventure.  The highlights were a visit to Selingan Island, a turtle sanctuary where we had the unforgettable experience of releasing baby turtles to the sea, and the boat trips up and down the Kinabatangan River watching for endemic wildlife.

Before we left Sydney, I treated myself to a brand new point and shoot camera since I didn’t want to be lugging around my heavy camera gear on what was supposed to be a relaxing, romantic honeymoon.  There are times when it’s more important to not be focusing on getting that perfect shot.  This trip was one of them.  I wanted an easy-to-use, light-weight, little point and shoot camera to grab my happy snaps without any fuss.  After lots of internet reading, I had decided on a Canon Gx7.  It had the wonderful flexibility to choose fully automatic settings or to use any combination of manual settings.  Having not bothered with point and shoot cameras for several years, I was happily surprised with the beautiful results of this camera.  Camera technology sure has come a long way in recent years!  Below are a few photos from Malaysia, all taken with the Canon Gx7.

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New Zealand Getaway

On January 4, 2015
By Connie
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Happy New Years!  I spent a very relaxing few weeks unwinding in New Zealand with family and friends.  After several days of the usual holiday feasting, we took off for a beautiful little spot in Whagaruru, a bit east of the Bay of Islands.  We camped on a friend’s patch of hilltop in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed a little tranquility (and a little rain) for a couple days.  Here are a few photos from our getaway.

 

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Catriona Rowntree BTS

On November 23, 2014
By Connie
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I love living in Sydney.  One of the greatest perks of working in this city is the many times I’ve found myself shooting on location at a gorgeous beach.

I was the stills photographer on our Catriona Rowntree shoot for a few travel spots we were filming.  As the star of the popular travel show Getaway, Catriona Rowntree was a true professional on camera and a pleasure to watch.  I was really impressed by her ability to nail her lines on just about every single take.  Talk about a seasoned pro!

I also managed to learn a great deal from the team filming the spot.  They were really receptive to my newbie videographer status and they were happy to answer my questions and explain their workflow to me.  The skies were overcast for most of the shoot so our lighting situation was pretty ideal considering we had to shoot in the later morning due to schedule constraints.  Lighting I get.  What I was interested in learning was capturing quality audio.  As a still photographer, by entire career up until this year has been purely visual and completely silent.  As I understand it, poor quality audio can really ruin any video because bad audio is too hard to ignore while a slightly out of focus subject or somewhat poorly exposed image can be forgivable.  It was a windy morning and wind plus microphones can equal not fun.  I learned a lot from watching the crew problem solve the noisy wind by choosing our shooting angles very carefully to mic placement relative to Catriona.  Again, talk about seasoned pros!

In the end, we nailed those shots with the help of an amazing team and some very cooperative clouds.  The whole day ran so smoothly that we actually managed to wrap up ahead of schedule – such a rarity!

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Photos by Montana Wilson

Ice Storm

On January 4, 2014
By Connie
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Happy New Years everybody!  It’s been so wonderful spending a white Christmas with my family, and catching up with old friends in Canada.  The good food and restful days were exactly what I’ve needed after the big rush leading up to Christmas.

This year Toronto was hit with a big ice storm just a few days before Christmas.  It was a huge blow to the city as hundreds of thousands of residents were left with no power for days.  With temperatures plummeting to -20C, no power resulting in no heat became a serious problem across the Greater Toronto Area.  But our family was incredibly fortunate to escape the power outages.  We spent Christmas Day hunkered down in the warm comfort of home.

After piling on layer after layer of clothing, I did venture outside to grab a few photos of the beautiful, yet amazingly destructive ice storm of 2013.

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Seoul Stopover

On December 20, 2013
By Connie
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The long haul flight over the Pacific is never an easy stroll through the park.  This year we decided to make a short stopover in South Korea on our way to Toronto.

Visiting Mount Namsan was definitely a cultural experience.  Aside from the typical amazing views most major cities make accessible in order to attract hoards of tourists every year, this particular tourist attraction was also geared specifically at couples.  Named Kiss Kiss Paradise (what?!?), the viewing platforms had been advertised as THE place for couples to pronounce their unending love by symbolically attaching a personally decorated lock to the wall of lovers’ padlocks.

There were countless locks of all shapes and colours.  Animal shapes and the random phone covers were particular standouts but not uncommon. Not wanting to miss a deep cultural experience, we promptly bought our own little green lock from the conveniently placed gift shop.  Can you spot our special little green lock?  I drew the panda myself.

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About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).

 

Accolades

Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine

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