Victoria Hillman: Creative Nature

It was a virtually full house last night for our invitation evening with Victoria Hillman who presented images from her talk 'Creative Nature'.

If you were expecting traditional wildlife or nature images then you might have been disappointed but then the clue for Vicky's photo style was all in the title. As a scientist, wildlife researcher and wildlife photo judge, Vicky's approach was to create technically sound images which at the same time broke many of the rules. You want an image of a puffin? Fine - here's one taking off but minus its tail feathers and only just appearing out of the lower corner of the frame. Fancy a macro shot of a dragonfly? - well what about this one in which only the tips of its legs clinging to the edges of a leaf are sharp and the rest is totally out of focus. Or how about this butterfly which is about 10% of the image and virtually camouflaged when set against its leafy backdrop. A set of disasters some judges might think but actually these images forced you to see the subjects in their natural habitat and as if you were peering through the foliage.

Throughout her talk Vicky was keen to enforce her conservationist philosophy at the same time as pushing the boundaries of macro photography. Spray water on a flower to create fake raindrops? Forget it - just get up extra early to capture the real dew. Clean up the leaves around a plant for better view? No way. Keep the leaves in even if they cover the puffin's nose.

It was a forceful and confident presentation which merged a scientific approach with artistic flair.

Vicky will be at the Photo Show in Birmingham this week, speaking on the stage and as an ambassador for Manfrotto. Her website can be found at