29th. July 2019 – Victoria Hillman – Nature Macro

Victoria Hillman (BSC in zoology and an MSC wildlife Biology), is a young well qualified zoologist who has adapted her scientific knowledge to create images of the living world with a real focus on the well-being of all creatures at every level. Her skills have seen her become a judge on British Wildlife Photographic Awards and The Bird Photographer of the year award.
She is very keen to share her methods and techniques and equipment in order to raise the standard at the boundaries of technical photography. She lectures at major photographic events, takes parties of would-be wildlife photographers on trips and is a published author.

The first half of this evening’s presentation saw a range of projected images from a butterfly, spider, bush cricket, praying mantis, damsel fly, dragon fly, a number of frogs, salamander, lizard, gecko, snakes and some wonderful puffins, at the break of day. Each image included details of the lens that was used, the f setting, ISO value and the shutter speed – clearly her habit of photographing at the same level as her subjects requires precise set ups, very narrow depth of field, and patience to gain the reward of the desired image. Her knowledge of her tools of the trade lead to an excellent discussion on changing the contrast setting “in-camera”.

The second half of her talk took us to the rarely discussed area of “images that haven’t worked – and why”. Her method of sorting, by avoiding emotional connection, giving yourself time, eliminating failures has taught her the discipline that is essential for a high-quality professional photographer.
We were shown modifications of composition of bluebells, lady’s slipper orchids, a praying mantis a superb dragonfly roost, frogs that were technically improved by focusing on the eye and a yellow belly toad receiving post processing in Lightroom. Caution was advised when sharpening as noise too often creeps in and spoils the shot.
Victoria’s final tips were: –
• Give yourself time (one or two species at a time).
• Understand your subject and be prepared
• Research best times and locations
• Never be afraid to go to the same location several times
This was a technically demanding night, well presented and prepared and demonstrates the advances that the next generations will bring to photography.

For more information about Victoria’s stunning work please visit her website at  https://www.vikspics.com/

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