Meet the Member: Tanya Rowe, a nature photographer

"Coastal Christmas Tree" by Tanya Rowe

Tanya, tell us about you!

I’m from Wellington so I get to practice my bird photography at Zealandia, our local ecosanctuary. I fit my photography around working a full time job at Land Information NZ where I assess property boundary plans completed by Surveyors.

"Group Hug" by Tanya Rowe

How long have you been a photographer and what are you shooting with?

Like most photographers, I often had my hands on whatever camera I was allowed to use as a child, but I feel that in my late teens I became properly interested in photography and by the time I was 18, I was given my first digital camera so I guess that’s when I became a photographer? That was about 10 years ago.

Now I use a mirrorless Canon M3 camera which I brought in 2015 and I use a variety of lenses (my favourites are my telephoto and my macro). I’m looking at all the new cameras to find one to replace my current camera someday though since it's getting on in age.

"Bubble-o-scope" by Tanya Rowe

You're primarily a nature photographer... tell us more about the things that catch your eye...

I really like being out in nature and just watching for the movement of a bird nearby or seeing a pop of colour which could create a memorable photo.

"Love standing out" by Tanya Rowe

"Rainbow in the wind" by Tanya Rowe

What are the main principles you follow as a photographer when photographing nature?

My main ‘rule’ is having the animal looking into the frame, never looking out of the frame as that will encourage the viewer to look away from the photo. Or to make sure to always allow room for the animal to move into the composition. I feel it helps the photo not look static. As with any rule knowing when to break it is equally important. A good example of this is my cat photo titled Cameo as there is absolutely no room around the cat but it still is an eye catching photo which just seems to work.\

"Cameo" by Tanya Rowe

"Lambie rumble" by Tanya Rowe

Do you find the experience of photographing nature relaxing?

Yes and no. Because of the speed required to capture wildlife sometimes its not relaxing but as I’m not trying to earn a living from my photos I can be a bit more relaxed about just taking my camera for a walk.

"New Forest" by Tanya Rowe

Do you ever feel under pressure to create a good shot?

Definitely! Sometimes I remind myself to put down the camera and not think about the photo opportunity I missed and spend more time on watching the wildlife in person rather than through the lens.

"I have a soft side too" by Tanya Rowe

Tell us about your flower photography...

The way I enjoy photographing flowers the most is by purchasing or collecting flowers and then being able to photograph them in a photo tent at home. I prefer being able to take my time with my camera on a tripod, using all different angles to get the most out of each flower – all without having to fight the Wellington wind for sharp photos!

"Painting the world" by Tanya Rowe

What has been your biggest learning curve in photography and how did you break through it?

Learning how to use the manual mode of my camera has been my biggest learning curve. Originally, I was very stubborn about this, I thought I could be a better photographer through using the automatic mode and spending my time focusing on the composition of my photos. But now that I’ve gotten over the struggle of learning how to use the manual mode, I wouldn’t look at the automatic button again!

"Welcome to my forest" by Tanya Rowe

"Mirror mirror all around" by Tanya Rowe

Do you have any formal training?

Yes, I completed the Certificate of Digital Photography through Otago Polytechnic in 2016. It really pushed me far out of my comfort zone, as the course included studio photography – which was daunting for me as a nature photographer!

"Cascades" by Tanya Rowe

You can see more of Tanya's work on Excio and on her website.