Seeking new adventures and exploring the outdoors has become even more present through social media; among the different networks, Instagram has been a force in a new whole outdoor movement gaining momentum. Through the platforms, outdoor enthusiasts can easily connect with others and share their adventures with their followers on a daily basis, which in turns blesses us fans with some of the most amazing wildlife photography from all around the globe. We had the chance to chat with up-and-coming photographer Connor Merrick about his passion for nature and photography.
Born and raised in Ontario, Connor Merrick spent the majority of his childhood camping and roaming around the outdoors with his two brothers. His amazing single mom taught them to appreciate and enjoy nature; what started as a spark of passion as a kid has now turned into a roaring bonfire. Last summer, Connor lived and worked in Banff, Alberta and fell in love with the Rockies and the culture out in the West. As soon as he graduated university, Connor knew he wanted to return to the mountains and, for the past three months, he has been living proudly in British Columbia.
When was the first time you got in touch with photography?
It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly I first picked up a camera, as my brothers and I have always made random short films for fun. We entered a few short film festivals and would always just be goofing around taking photos and videos. I think my passion for photography came hand in hand with this and for the past two years now I’ve really begun to pursue it wholeheartedly. I’m still constantly learning and striving to improve all the time, but now I don’t leave the house without a camera in hand.
What did you study and what’s your job now?
I recently graduated from a four-year university program, studying media studies and communications. It was a really unique program in the way it wasn’t all about textbooks and memorizing facts and more focused on critical thinking and applicable material. It feels so awesome to be applying everything that I learned in my job as right now I work as the Production Manager for Toth Media.
Tell us a little bit more about Toth Media and the story behind the company.
So Toth Media is a start-up social media marketing agency that Braedin Toth and Ryan Magdanz started about a year or so ago, based in Vancouver. Its inception was the combination of a love of capturing outdoor lifestyle content, traveling, and a knack for business and entrepreneurship. I’m the third member of the squad and we work to create video and photo content for brands, run various social media accounts, and organize trips with influencers and Instagrammers. We feel super blessed to be able to do what we love and most of the time it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ at all.
When did you start with social media – especially Instagram – and why should we follow you?
I started my Instagram account @adventureconwards about 3 years ago and I strive to make it a reflection of my passions and who I am. I love sharing my interest in traveling and the outdoors in hopes to inspire others to get out and chase down what makes them happy. I always try to create content that is creative, unique, and tells a story.
You have also started a YouTube channel, what can your viewers expect?
Yes, I’m really stoked about YouTube! For me, it has always been the perfect balance of being on camera and embracing my weird personality and controlling the behind the scenes production of videos. Viewers can definitely expect some big things as I’m working to create weekly videos documenting my travels, entertaining skits, and informative tutorials. I would love to pour more time and energy into my YouTube content and would be honored for y’all to follow along!
What are you passionate about, what’s your motto in life?
Besides my obvious passion for nature and anything with a camera and ice cream, I am really passionate about seeking out amazing people and places that inspire me to capture their essence or story. Whether it’s photography or film, or another medium, I think there’s so much greatness and positivity out there that deserves to be shared with everyone. So many people focus on the negatives or the downfalls that are portrayed in mainstream media and I’m passionate about sharing these good vibes through visual art.
Tell us more about your adventures, where have you been so far?
I feel fortunate to have visited the majority of lakes, forests and provincial parks in Ontario throughout my childhood. I’ve been slowly exploring further regions of Canada, especially Alberta and British Columbia. I’ve done a few mission trips which have brought me to further, international places. Overall, I feel truly blessed to have visited so many great places and there’s a list of places I still want to explore that grows longer each day!
Do you have a particular story from your trips or a place that you really enjoyed?
This is a tough question to narrow down to just one story! I feel like there are so many memorable moments from the various trips. A constant highlight is that wherever we travel, we always meet new friends from legit all around the world! One day, we’ll be hiking a mountain with a dude from Switzerland and the next, road tripping with photographers from Colorado. The Instagram community blows my mind as to how it brings strangers together through shared passions.
What collaborations with clients and brands have you done so far?
On our Toth Media ‘Field Trip’ to Banff a few months ago, we worked with Gregory Packs, a really cool Jeep rental company called Hastings Overland, and the North Face Banff. We’ve also created content and done Instagram takeovers for Tourism Squamish and Tourism Whistler. I love working with like-minded brands that share a passion of the outdoors and it makes creating content together highly enjoyable and rewarding!
How would you describe yourself and what’s most important to you?
I would describe myself as an outdoorsy version of the Energizer Bunny. I don’t drink coffee, yet I’m always high energy and super outgoing. I love people and can’t sit still for too long. What’s most important to me is making the most of every day and seizing every opportunity. I don’t want to have any ‘what if’ moments and I constantly strive to get outside my comfort zone.
For me, it’s important to be doing what makes my soul happy and to be seeking out places and people that amaze me.Connor Merrick
Finally, what are your plans and upcoming projects or your next travel plans?
My plans generally change day to day, but I definitely want to explore more of British Columbia. I keep finding new places or get recommendations for good hikes and I want to conquer them all! Long-term travel goals are New Zealand, Norway, Mount Assiniboine, and Iceland. I’ve also been working on a personal project that’s going to take the next year or so and I’m going to document all of the cool places I visit in a unique way. I’m really excited for it!
*numbers current at time of writing
Copyright: All images are copyright protected and property of Connor Merrick.