'Wonderful World of Macro' 23 October 2018   
Somerset based nature photographer Victoria Hillman BSc MSc has degrees in wildlife, conservation & zoology and so has a very deep knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna depicted in her images.
VH snowdropsAs a self-taught photographer she has developed her own unique way of portraying the natural world and continues to experiment with new ideas and techniques which combine nature and visual art. All her images are taken in the wild and she takes great care not to disturb her subjects and nothing is ever moved. With a great deal of patience Victoria can spend hours laying on the ground or inside a bush waiting for just the right lighting on her subject.
VH Autumn MushroomVictoria stated that to get the best results with nature photography you need to understand your subject – research the best time and location and re-visit time after time. Learn field craft skills to find the flora or fauna and know their habits. Insects are best photographed early in the morning or evening as they are still roosting and less prone to flight. Always get down level or below your subject and it is less likely to be aware of your presence.
Victoria presented her close up images starting with snowdrops - one of her favourites and then progressing through the seasons to the fungi and lichens of autumn. Taken with natural light with just the occasional use of a small LED light to get light into shadows when needed. The technical details of each image were shown and Victoria explained the use of Macro lenses. Using a wide aperture of f2.8 gives a very shallow depth of field with often just a small part of the subject in sharp focus - the head of a damselfly, the eye of a frog or just a single flower.
VH leavesoffireExperimenting with the settings until she has just the right amount of diffused detail in the background to give a suggestion of the habitat. Delightful soft and dreamy colours and shapes that complement the subject which is often set very much to the side leaving space to move into.
Using the early morning mist and dew beautiful images are created with the light hitting the water droplets and giving tiny rainbows. Another technique can give a black background using the dark shadows behind the subject with just a shaft of light on the subject. She suggested trying unusual angles to bring out the character in the subject.
VH Peekaboo With a love of frogs and toads and other small creatures Victoria says look at them in a different way when you next go out photograph them! Take images that tell a story and make people think more about the diverse world we live in.
Victoria prefers to spend as much time as possible outdoors taking her photographs and does very little post processing – just a little cropping and slight contrast adjustments are all that’s needed as everything is done in camera
After five years of research and photography Victoria has published her first book titled ‘Forgotten Little Creatures’ with enchanting illustrations showing the range of incredible species to be found within 40 miles of her hometown of Frome.

Club Chairman Steve Hardman said that he never realised that little critters had such personalities and thanked Victoria very much for her entertaining, informative and humorous presentation and for showing us her very different style of nature photography.PM
Images © Victoria Hillman Top right: Winter Sunrise Snowdrops, Top left:Autumn Mushroom, Bottom right: Leaves of Fire, Bottom left: Peek a Boo: