Award winning photographer Victoria Hillman is a scientist by training, with a BSc in zoology with marine zoology and an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. Her passion is to share the way she sees the natural world in the hope that she can help to change peoples’ perceptions.
Zoologist and conservationist Victoria Hillman has a passion for the small but mighty subjects of the animal kingdom. In this Wild Planet Photo magazine feature article sponsored by Sigma Imaging UK LTD., Victoria explains the techniques needed to create artistic and intimate macro pictures:
Macro Marvels by Victoria Hillman
As a zoologist and conservationist I’m always looking for new ideas to showcase familiar species and demonstrate not only the relationship between my subject and their habitat, but also the relationship between myself and my subject. My background in science and wildlife research has become an invaluable part of my work process and is now the starting point for all my photographic work. As you’ll see from my images they are more artistic and in some cases a very different view point to a lot of images you see of these subjects, and I’m really looking to challenge the way they are perceived and encourage people to see them in a new light. All of these images are taken within 40 miles of my home in Somerset in the UK and are taken exactly as found in their habitats. When it comes to processing my images, I only carry out minimal work to keep the image true to when I took it, what you see is pretty much what came out of the camera. So, how do I go about it? Well, let’s start with equipment.
Around two years ago, I decided to take the plunge into specialising in macro photography, but creative macro photography that could be shot with a regular macro lens. After a year of exploring the possibilities I upgraded to the Sigma APO Macro 180mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens (from a 100mm macro lens) and hand on heart this honestly made such a huge difference to my photography and I use this lens about 95 per cent of the time on a Canon 5D Mk III. That said, it’s not all about the camera and lens, there are some other accessories to think about.
For many of my plant and invertebrate shots I also use a tripod (Gitzo Mountaineer legs with Gitzo centre ball head) as well as little LED lights (Manfrotto Lumimuse). The reason for using lights instead of flash I will explain in more detail later, but one thing it is important to consider is whether flash could be harmful to your subject when working in such close proximity to them, particularly those that are more active at night.
Click here to read the FREE article on the Wild Planet Photo Magazine website.
Victoria also offers talks, workshops and one-to-ones in creative macro photography including how to make the most of your subject and their habitat. You discover more about Victoira on her website: www.vikspics.com