‘Anyone active online would have to agree that it is easy to become visually overwhelmed as you browse from page to page. In fact, you could forgive yourself for feeling that contributing to what can be seen as visual noise is pointless. From time to time a photographer’s soul reaches through and touches your heart, the connection can be quite profound. This is the first of a series of ‘Inspiring Photographers’ posts I will be making as we build the Nature Connect website to enhance our relationships between humans and nature.’ Steve Parish
Directory of Photographers
‘The work of Ricardo Da Cunha, seen below, I noticed while browsing early one sleepless morning. Ricardo’s use of space, and his ability to artfully balance images with limited content shows profound connection with content. Taking the extra step, I visited his site, which I don’t often do, and I was delighted to see his connection expressed in words.’ Steve Parish
Ricardo Da Cunha
The philosophies and thoughts on a man’s journey as a Photographer
In a noisy and busy world photography gives me the silence that I increasingly desire. It is where I find the balance I need and it represents the window to my soul. My images portray a world that I seek; one that is simple and void of the clutter and noise that increasingly dominates our lives.I like to give my subjects space for them to breathe; just like I need to find space so that my soul can breathe.My images are often not true renditions of what my camera sees but more importantly they are true representations of what I felt or I thought I was seeing. To me this is more important as it enables for the photographer to enter and become a part of the photograph, and therefore adds the personality that helps make them unique.We are all different from each other so why not communicate who we are and what we represent through our images? To me this communication of a message is what represents “art” in its true sense.
Once much more complex, today I keep my equipment very simple. Currently I am shooting exclusively with the small Sony A7r mirrorless camera equipped with just the one lens – the Sony/Carl Zeiss FE f/4 24-70mm. I like to impose restrictions on myself as I believe it helps us develop as photographers; by limiting how much choices we have we then free-up our minds and energy to see more; the camera should be a natural extension of our hand. The only other gear I carry with me is a 10 stop ND filter and a polarising filter.
I alter my capture approach depending on the scene. Given that my images are void of details, I will often just focus on the subject using manual focus in combination with 100% magnification using Live View on the camera’s rear LCD screen. I typically shoot in Aperture Priority mode and shoot within an aperture range of between f/8 and f/13 for the best balance between sharpness and depth of field and whilst avoiding the signs of diffraction. Unless I can achieve a fast enough shutter speed with a clean-enough ISO setting, I always use a very sturdy tripod. The higher the megapixels, the more important it is to achieve stability in your images during long exposures; high resolution cameras are a harsh teacher.I perform most of my work in post-production in Photoshop. 90% of my post-production work here uses just Curves and Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers. Occasionally I will use the Nik Effects filter collection which works as a plugin within Photoshop or as standalone program.
‘Yvonne McKenzie and Kirsty Faulkner are a force of and for nature. I met these ladies during a photography workshop on Christmas Island with Kingsley Klau late in 2014. I often wonder what Yvonne and Kirsty have in front of their cameras as they both are consumed by nature. Apart from being ambassadors for the nature of Christmas Island, these ladies are also what some would see as rivals for a very small tourist market on the Island. Both produce paper products, yet have developed a ‘let’s work together and play together’ mentality. Personally, I love it and I do see this sort of relationship popping up around the country. These two make stunning images, I am sure you will agree.’ Steve Parish
My life on Christmas Island began 7 years ago when my husband & I decided to bring our 3 young children to this beautiful remote paradise. Immersing myself in nature is one of the things that makes me truly happy. Seeing tiny red crabs emerge from the ocean and start their journey into the jungle, or watching another glorious sunset over the water is a wondrous thing. I’ve loved taking photos since I was young, however my passion for nature & landscape photography has been transformed since moving to Christmas Island. There is something magical that happens when you are able to capture the awesomeness of nature in an image. I feel a great sense of personal achievement when I’m able to capture all the elements in a single photograph.
My images are all about trying to capture nature at its best, whether it’s out in the jungle, or diving our amazing reef systems. The changing seasons bring new life to our environment and I often find myself going back to the same locations to capture the essence of these changes. I love to take images that people can connect with & finding the best way to capture an image is both challenging and fulfilling. Of course, there are always those moments when you doubt yourself & question whether what you are doing is really worth it but, all it takes is one special moment and those doubts & fears are gone & I’m swept away once again by the beauty around me.
After traveling a good part of the world followed by the decision to settle in Australia and saving up while working in the mining and construction industry, it was Christmas Island that caught my eye. Originally from The Netherlands, it might or it might not surprise you that I love the tropics combined with the peaceful and quiet island lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to live in paradise?
I first visited Christmas Island on my honeymoon back in 2008 before moving here permanently mid 2010 with my family. A busy mother of two energetic young boys, a wife and working part-time, doesn’t leave much room for hobbies. I try to reserve two half-day sessions a week to go out and take photos, be it diving or venturing into the jungle. Besides spending time with my family, these sessions are a highlight of my week.
Even today, I still remember my first “camera”: a flat rectangle shape, yellow and black in colour, made of plastic where the flash and 35mm film took up most of the space and left very little room for a “lens”. It was a present with the opening of a bank account. This is how it all started…
Ever since, I have loved taking photos and never went anywhere without a camera. Having only started taking photography more seriously since October 2013, I still see myself as a novice and amateur photographer.
I love being outdoors and have a huge passion for nature and animals above and under water. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the beauty of Christmas Island, my home for nearly five years now. Being out in nature, observing the stunning surroundings and taking photos of our wondrous world is mesmerising and therapeutic. It’s like being on a never-ending journey. I can listen to the sounds and watch the behaviour of the island birds and intriguing crabs for hours. I also love looking for unusual flowers or insects. I am captivated by beauty, colours, sounds, behaviour and new life. The experience slows my heart rate and it stops my mind; I just live in the moment. Another passion of mine are people – their behaviour, facial expressions and culture intrigue me – and history.
To be able to enjoy the journey and live in the moment try to “Stop, Look and Listen!” Once that’s established it’s amazing how much more you will feel, see and hear: it’s like you become one with nature… In this frame of mind I feel I have the best chance to succeed in trying to capture that special image that creates “Wow”-factor. No matter how busy life is, sometimes you have to find and take time for yourself…it makes you a better person from within. Being able to try and tell a story with my photos is just a bonus!”
We discovered we shared a love for photography, Mother Nature and diving. This made us decide to venture out together to share some time away from the rush of family life.
While on the hunt for moments to capture, we have found that our different strengths have helped us to become more creative in ourselves because we are seeing the same subject from two different points of view. Yvonne’s love for wildlife and its behaviour combined with Kirsty’s love for the natural environment has proved to be a formidable combination. While looking at the same, the outcome is always different! This has ensured that we continue to grow, learn, teach and support each other in what we love.
Our mutual love of Christmas Island combined with our shared passion for photography has seen our friendship grow and gave us the focus to promote Christmas Island and its unique natural environment.
Although to most people we may be seen as commercial competitors with our photography, we have discussed this and agree that nothing is worth losing our special friendship over.
Fortunately our direction with photography products is mostly different and where it overlaps, we’ve decided it could be beneficial to work together and combine forces. After all, two are stronger than one. We are now passionately pursuing a joint project which we are very excited about and excited to share.