His Instagram feed explodes with visual poetry, giving followers an inspiring dose of eye-candy with every post. If you haven’t yet followed @wyattandthewhale you really must. A junior at Harvard College studying Psychology, Wyatt Roberston epitomizes an ethical muse core belief: you can sustain your soul by feeding and fueling your passion. What could be more of a sustainable luxury than that?
While his home is in Newport Beach, California, his zest for life, passion for photography and lust for adventure take him all over the world capturing memories in unique and creative ways – broadening his follower’s horizons while he travels to broaden his own.
We caught up with Wyatt while he is currently in Sydney, Australia taking a semester abroad to study. Let’s get to know a bit more about this Instagram sensation who describes himself with these five words: Headphones in, happily, sleeplessly adventuring. Aren’t you curious…?
Have you always been interested in photography? I began experimenting in photo editing in January of 2015 when I took a road trip to Seattle and was astounded by all of the beauty. I had a friend show me some apps to edit my photos and it took off from there! I almost only use iPhone apps to edit my photos (I can think of just a few that require my computer), and all of those photos were also taken with my iPhone. But I received a Canon Rebel t5i camera for my birthday last year in 2015, and since then, about 80 to 90% of my Instagram photos are taken with that. I still only edit with apps, though.
Are you self-taught in photography or have you taken classes? Until a week ago, I’d consider myself more self-taught, as it’s a lot of trial-and-error with the apps I use. But at the same time, I hesitate to say I’m “self-taught” because I’ve been fortunate enough to learn skills from some great Instagrammers. I just enrolled in my first photo class at the University of Sydney, though! It’s a class that introduces beginners to photography studios and focuses mainly on object photography.
Tell us about your journey from Wyatt Roberston to your Instagram persona “Wyatt And The Whale” I frequently scroll back through my Instagram to see the past five years of my life and I feel grateful and lucky to have been able to experience so much. When I found my passion for photography—which did not happen in a single epiphany—I think that’s when my photos began to look more refined and when I started traveling more.
How did you come up with your Instagram name? I love indie/alternative music; my favorite band being Noah and the Whale. They produced four full-length albums before disbanding over a year ago (one of the darkest days in mankind’s history). When I was thinking of a name for my profile I had just purchased tickets to see them for the first time, so the name stuck!
You always post the most perfectly fabulous photos. We especially love your use of mirrors. How many photos do you take to get the perfect one to share? I generally post one photo for every ninety I take. That’s an honest average including the times I manage to take three photos of something and get a banger, or when I go to a place like Iceland and take 4,000 photos and end up posting ten total.
Has traveling always been a part of your life? Thankfully, my family traveled a bit when I was growing up and I was fortunate enough to go on school trips to Uruguay, Iguacu Falls, Buenos Aires, London, Paris, Florence, and Rome. But once I got to college I had a taste of taking a solo trip to Iceland for a weekend and I couldn’t get enough. After I went to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., on another solo trip, I knew I had to take at least a semester abroad to continue seeing the world.
What type of camera do you use? I use a Canon Rebel t5i with either a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens or a fixed 50mm f/1.4 lens. Or, just my iPhone 6s.
How many trips a year do you take? That’s a hard question to answer because of tripceptions. I’m currently living in Sydney for four months and planning on taking two or three trips while I’m here, but does this all count as one? I tend to go on about fifteen flights a year.
Your instagram profile says “captions = lyrics”. Are all your captions literally lyrics to songs? Yes! You can usually tell what I’m listening to based off of my captions. They’re generally all lyrics from songs that either I associate with that place, have a lyric or lyrics that capture a moment, or is just a song I love at the time. If a band I love releases a single, I’ll try fitting a lyric of that song into my next Instagram, and I always love when my followers realize what song the lyrics are from. For example, I’m listening to Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm album and noted the lyrics “To be lost in a forest, to be cut adrift” from the song “This Modern Love,” and now I know I’m going to use that with a photo I take when I adventure to the Sugarpine Walk in the Bago State Forest tomorrow.
What does sustainability mean to you? In my mind, sustainability means living in such a way that you will always be able to be in good mental and physical health; to live how you’re living for years to come, and to make sure that every place you travel is in better condition after leaving it than how it was when you came.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your own life? I think sustainability can be reached by always being respectful of the natural environment, as well as treating the local people wherever you are as well as you can treat someone.
What is it about travel that sustains your spirit? I feel life is a finite journey and that the purpose of it is to have as many experiences that make you feel indescribably and immensely amazed as possible. Traveling helps 🙂
Who or what inspires you? The Instagrammers @asenseofhuber, @waterproject, @thesamgraves, @space.ram, and @canahtam all inspire me. I’ve been lucky enough to have cultivated friendships with all of them, and their passion and creativity is unbounded. They are all uniquely gifted and they’ve helped me both with Instagram and in life.
Favorite travel destination? Iceland. I’ve been twice now, both times on my own, and I will always fail at describing the sense of awe and wonder I am so filled with upon traveling there. The natural landscape is unparalleled, and the people are the nicest I’ve encountered.
What’s next on your list of places to travel in the upcoming year? New Zealand and Bali, and then hopefully either Thailand or Bhutan!
Early bird or night owl? In most cases, a night owl. However, if there’s reason for me to get up in the morning—adventures often require early-morning starts—I can adjust to early bird habits.
What’s on your iPod? Too much! Music currently takes up 45GB on my phone… In my recently played playlist, you’ll find everything from Broods, The Kills, The Lumineers, and Noah and the Whale to Beyoncé, Gorillaz, Imagine Dragons, and Jimmy Eat World. I could go on and on…
Do you have a tried and true jet-lag remedy? Cheeseburger and fries!
What 5 things do you never travel without? Phone (with my iTunes library and editing apps), headphones, tripod, mirrors of all sizes (#wyattandthemirror), and an auxiliary cord because you never know when you’ll be in a car without Bluetooth.
Any great travel tips to share? Check out whatever place you’re going to on Instagram first. You’ll find the best locations to go to, and you might just meet some cool people first.
Favorite cuisine? Mexican food. Something Sydney is definitely lacking!
If you could have a super-power what would it be? Telekinesis, including being able to fly by lifting my own body off the ground.