Born and raised in Nantes, France, since the day Anthony Robin discovered landscape photography, his camera hasn’t stopped shooting.
He has now been on the road for the past 7 years, going from down to the shores to up in the valleys, carrying always the satisfaction of having been where anything has been barely touched by another human being, and hoping that it will stay that way for the years to come.
When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you start?
I always liked images, illustrations, paintings... I consistently felt connected with visuals in general. I love creating and building something from scraps and photography made that possible for me.
I started to be interested in it pretty late, I would say in my early or mid-twenties. Slowly, year after year, the need to take photographs became more and more important in my life. As a self-taught photographer, I always enjoyed looking for answers, trying to understand it all and experimenting different things. Doing so can make us do weird stuff or bring us to places that we didn’t even know about. It can make us feel sad or happy, but today I know that photography is a part of myself, it’s running in my blood. It’s always here, inside me. I find it a magical way of seeing the world around us and I love it.
Why did you choose landscape photography?
I wouldn’t say that I chose anything, it just came to me naturally. It’s like a connection with our deepest roots; I am just trying to show how beautiful our planet is, to share my personal vision of our world. Nature is a source of inspiration for many of us and I simply fell in love with it when I was younger.
For me, hiking, canoeing, traveling, all of that is landscape photography and it’s what I enjoy the most in life. It’s a wonderful mix of sensations and discoveries. By being outside and exploring around, I want to feel as connected and close to Nature as possible, and this is, I think, how we can understand who we are and create great memories.
Watching the sun rising from a high mountain peak is an unforgettable experience, and I wish that every one of us could have the chance to see that once. It’s a real explosion of beauty, a colorful cocktail of natural wonders.
As photographers, we are always looking for this kind of moments, intense and powerful. We don’t mind enduring the rain and the cold nor feeling the sun burning our neck in a desert of rocks; it makes us closer to what we capture, it’s a part of what we like. And some of us enjoy that even more than photography itself.
What’s in your bag for when you are in remote locations to get the perfect shot?
I am pretty happy today with my Fujifilm X-T2. It’s a strong «little» camera, very versatile and efficient, with a great IQ. I used it in harsh and difficult environments without real big issues. From the snow and extreme cold in the far north of Canada to the hot red desert in the west of the US. We kind of worked it out together; we both need to learn to know each other, our strength and our weakness, and I think we are in the right direction.
I most of the time use only two lenses: a wide angle and a tele. I find this combination perfect for when I’m on the field. There is no strict rule about landscape photography and I find myself using my telephoto lens more and more often, trying to capture details on rocks or mountains tops. It’s sometimes a great way to isolate an element in a messy environment, like a tree in a forest, for example.
A small list of the lenses you can find in my backpack: a Fujinon XF10-24mm F4, the XF55-200mm (very resourceful and light), the XF23mm F1.4 and an old manual Canon FD 55mm F1.2, which I love for its bokeh and smoothness.
My tripod is one of my most important pieces of gear. It has to be steady and strong for long exposure, but light at the same time for when you have to hike for few hours, carrying all of your gear on your shoulders. I use a carbon tripod 3 sections, from Manfrotto, and I am pretty happy with it so far.
Apart from that, I want to share with you my absolute necessity; something I carry with me all the time, my talisman. There are actually few of them... In two words; Silica gel —I love these guys! I’m not sure they really help, but I like the idea that they keep my gear dry. No humidity inside my backpack and, trust me, I never had fungus on my lenses!
What’s your favorite image and why?
I don’t know whether it’s my all-time favorite, but I love the memories around it. This photograph was taken in the Canadian Rockies this winter, and I can tell you it was freezing cold.
At this time, I was travelling in my minivan with my girlfriend for a 3-4 months trip between Canada and the US. I wanted to catch the first glimpse of golden light on a frozen snowy lake. I got up very early and drove to the nearby lake, just outside Banff. I left the van on a small carpark; my girlfriend was still sleeping at the back and I knew straight away that it would be an unforgettable battle. The wind was not so strong, but my breathing was painful and it was still -30°C.
After a while walking around out there, it started to be really tough for my camera, my fingers and my toes. I was bracketing few shots and instead of 3 pictures, my camera just couldn’t stop shuttering. I had to take out the battery a few times in a row. Annoying but expected at this kind of temperatures.
So between that issue, my frozen fingers playing with my tripod, me jumping on the ice to stay warm, my eyelids frozen, stuck and of course, me looking for a nice and balanced composition, I can say that it was a particularly difficult, tiring and memorable experience.
But when the sun popped out and the golden light began to shine, I was delivered and in love with what I could see in front of me: the beautiful calm and peace of a frozen morning in the mountains. I didn’t get warmer at all, but today, when I see this photograph and think about this moment, I love the result and the memory behind it! And by the way, I did come back to my van and made a good cup of coffee for my girlfriend and myself! What a beautiful way to start a cold day during the Canadian winter.
What advice could you give to aspiring landscape photographers?
We need to know what we like so we can be happy with what we do! Enjoying our work is what will make people remember our images; they will see that you’re inspired and that your heart and mind are within every shot you take.
I spent hour after hour watching different photographs for the last few years, just to know what’s working or not, what is a good composition, what I’d like to create and where I’d want to go in my photography. It’s important to know the rules, but it’s even more important to understand what you love and where you are going.
Few last words or advice... Wake up early, go to bed late, drink coffee, embrace the weather, don’t forget your tripod and chase the light! It’s all about the light, guys!