Thursday, 20 December 2012

Festive Greetings

Hello everyone, apologies for the length of time between posts things have been very busy. I have now finished work as a cave guide in preparation for new adventures and will miss everyone there, although I have been made to promise I will go back and visit them once in a while with updates! Despite all this I have managed to get out with the camera the morning after freezing fog and am very excited about a new position which I will explain more about later in the post. 

Ok, so lets start off with the freezing fog. It's been a long time since I've experienced freezing fog and definitely couldn't pass up the chance to photograph the ice that was left behind the morning after, so here are just a couple of images I took just around the corner from the house (if you want to see more pop over to my Facebook or Flickr pages). I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it, the ice crystals were phenomenal and only on one side of the branches, it was still bitterly cold and I really wanted to get this across in the images, I hope you like them and I would recommend getting out there if you have a chance next time there is some freezing fog, I know I will be! 


Away from the freezing fog, I have not had much time to get out and about, but have managed to visit the woods around the corner a couple of times to try out different techniques, my star-burst filter and polish up some techniques I have not used in a while, many for taking water shots. Although I took a fair few, these two are definitely my favourites but I will continue to work on this side of my photography in preparation for next year. 

Away from photography, many of you may or may not know that I am a scientist by training and have always wanted to use this alongside my photography. Well, the time has come, I am very proud and honoured to have been offered the position of Research Director for the Transylvanian Wildlife Project, this is a project I have contributed to with articles and photos and now really cannot wait to get stuck in to the many exciting prospects lined up for 2013 and working with such an enthusiastic, passionate and fun team. We are now very much in the planning for something very exciting but are keeping it under wraps for now, but do check out the project website in the mean time. 

The other project I'm working on is coming along nicely and we have received encouraging news in recent weeks. I have been very kindly given a copy of the book Tripwire for a Tiger which I cannot wait to get stuck into, but from all accounts this incredible book has been very well received and I can definitely recommend it to everyone, you can buy copies of the book from here: Tripwire for a Tiger 

Away from work all together, it is now just four months until the wedding and as you can probably imagine things are in full swing and we have lots to do over the coming weeks so I will be concentrating on this and spending some much needed time chilling out with the family over the festive period, recharging the batteries ready for what promises to be a very exciting and packed 2013. This will be my final post until late January as I will be away in Germany and Austria for a couple of weeks so I would like to wish you all a wonderful Festive period whatever you are doing, be safe and have fun, and don;t forget to give the camera a little Christmas love too! 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Foxes, a whole post dedicated to foxes!

Hello, hope you are all well and managing to stay dry! So, we've had hedgehogs, next up is foxes and a whole post full of wonderful images of these creatures. But just before I start with the photos just a quick update on the webinar, it went very well and was a lot of fun so a huge thank you to all those that logged. If you missed it don't fear it is now available to watch/listen to on the archives in your own time, just follow the link below and scroll though until you get to me!

So, on to the foxes and a whole selection of different images to celebrate this animal.

These are truly beautiful animals with such wonderful expressions, behaviours and colours! Hope you've had fun looking at the foxes. Not sure what will be next you'll have to wait and see! 

Just before I go though, don't forget the Christmas craft fairs for some wonderful and unique animal themed Christmas presents and cards, we'll be at the Cheese and Grain in Frome this Saturday (24th) 10am - 3pm and at the Warminster Civic Centre on Sunday (25th) 10am - 4pm so why not pop along and pick up something special and say hello! 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Autumn Colours

Hello again, I hope you enjoyed my hedgehog post, there will be a fox post coming soon along similar lines, but for now some beautiful autumn colours. I have been so busy with one thing and another that I have not been able to get out and about to capture the beautiful colours this autumn, but finally got half and hour early on Sunday morning. We had a pretty hard frost here in Somerset Saturday night and wonderful bright clear morning, well at least it started that way, which would mean only one thing getting out with my camera and new toy. I purchased a 6-point starburst filter sometime ago for using in a new project next year but hadn't actually even taken it out of the box since it arrived, so armed with camera and filter I headed out......into my parents garden! I took lots of different images, the artistic flare definitely making a welcomed returned to my photography and here are the results, so sit back and enjoy, everything has been done in camera, apart from a a slight bit of cropping on one image there has been no post-processing, who needs Photoshop!!! As always comments and thoughts are very welcomed and if you wish to purchase any of these images as prints head over to my website. 

And because I just love a good black and white, here are a couple of the sunrise in black and white, again all in camera!

Just thought I would share this beautiful morning with everyone and hopefully brighten your day. That's it for now, don't forget to register for my webinar as part of the Manfrotto School of Xcellance this Thursday (15th November) 4-5pm UK time where I will take you through some of my more unique images and how I've captured them, just follow this link: 

Until next time, when I will have a post dedicated to foxes...........

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Hedgehogs, hedgehogs and more hedgehogs!

Hello and welcome to a dedicated post all about hedgehogs! Not many words for this post just some super adorable hedgehogs that are currently being cared for ready for release in the Spring next year. So here we go.....

And my personal favourite....

I hope you love them as much as I do, if you are interested in purchasing a print (through my website) or would like to buy any of these images for a publication of calendar please contact me with the details, 10% of sales from these images will be donated to the wildlife rescue centre that is currently caring for them to help with their up-keep. And remember  if you are having a bonfire this Saturday make sure there are no hedgehogs hibernating inside before you light it! Currently Secret World have over 100 hedgehogs they are caring for and desperately need donations, so if you can help them feed these prickly friends by donating tinned cat/kitten food and any dried biscuits please head to amazon or any online supermarkets. For more information on how you can help feed the hedgehogs through the winter visit their website Secret World or call 01278 783250. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Last Month or So & some very cute Dormice!

Apologies for being a bit quiet over the last month or so not sure where the time has gone, November already! Things have been busy though with a couple of photo shoots and a whole lot of computer work in preparation for a webinar that I am giving for the Manfrotto School of Xcellence called "From Spiders to Sifakas: How to Capture Unique Wildlife Images". It has been quite challenging picking different images that show different techniques and the use of both colour and black and white, but I'm there and just finishing off the text to go with it which includes some tips and tricks to help capture different images and over coming practical obstacles of working in the field. If you want to register for the webinar that is on Thursday 15th November at 4pm UK time, here is the link:

Victoria Hillman presents From Spiders to Sifakas: How to Capture Unique Wildlife Images

The webinar and wedding planning have taken up a lot of my time, but have managed a couple of trips out in between the rain and have started work on Project X, trying out different techniques and settings, the main bulk of this project will actually take place next year after winter but here is a small taster of what I have been working on.
I have been lucky enough to be asked to take some photos for Secret World Wildlife Rescue of foxes, hedgehogs and dormice and had a very enjoyable day and even had a little help from the foxes! Some of these photos are now available to purchase through my website in the Majestic Mammals with 10% of sales being donated to Secret World to help feed and care for all the animals at the centre. Below is my favourite foxy moment from the day taken from very low down to get at the same eye level. 
So, onto the dormice. Earlier in the year some baby dormice were taken to the centre after being found, three of them survived thanks to the wonderful love and care they have been shown are doing well but will stay at Secret World until after Christmas, so we did a Christmas themed shoot using decorations and a teapot, I've now uploaded these to my website. If you are looking for unique and cute Christmas cards to send whilst helping to care for rescued wildlife you can purchase the following images as Christmas cards in packs of six or just as single cards, I have left them blank inside so you can add your own special message Just follow the link below the image for more details. 

I have also been working very hard with my mum to create lots of wonderful very unique handmade gift ideas for Christmas which will be available from all the following craft markets where we will have our Christmas and animal themed stand. 

Christmas Craft Markets

Saturday 17th November 
Craft Market at St. Aldhelm’s Church, Doulting 10am - 4pm 

Saturday 24th November 
Crafts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, Somerset 10am - 3pm

Sunday 25th November
Warminster Christmas Market, Civic Centre, Warminster 10am - 4pm

Friday 7th December
Nunney Christmas Market, Village Hall, Nunney, 5pm - 10pm

Saturday 8th December
Christmas Bath Craft and Gift Fair, Guildhall, Bath 10am - 4pm

Saturday 22nd December
Crafts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, Somerset 10am - 3pm

Monday, 24 September 2012

Competition Success


It seems that Autumn is well on it's way now here in the UK and rumour has it the autumn colours are going to be spectacular this year due to the weather we've been having, that is if the leaves aren't blown from the trees before they start turning! Things have been hectic the last month or so, but I'm slowly catching up. I have some fantastic news however with regards a competition I entered earlier in the year run by The Zoological Society of London. Firstly here is a little more about the competition: 

The ZSL Animal Photography Prize aimed for more than just pretty pictures, they were looking for images that would form part of the exhibition and ongoing collection of work which would challenge the viewers' perception of and relationship with the natural world and its inhabitants. 

The competition attracted entrants from around the world and the calibre of the work entered has been truly remarkable. The winning and highly commended images in each category of the junior and adult divisions will now form the basis of an outdoor exhibition to be displayed in the heart of ZSL London Zoo.

Now for the news:

I entered several images and two of them were short-listed, a few weeks later I received news that one of the images (The Weevil and the Fern) won its category and the second image (Mating Bubbles) had been highly commended and that both of these would now be part of the exhibition in the grounds of London Zoo until the end of the year. Both images are of insects and both taken in Somerset, they are available as prints via my website or as keyrings and magnets from craft markets (details later in this post). So here they are, the images and photos of me standing next to the images at London Zoo. 

The Weevil and the Fern - Winner in Size Matters category  Green nettle weevil taken at Westhay Moor Nature reserve on the Somerset Levels. 

Mating Bubbles - Highly Commended in Birds and the Bees category. Mating yellow dung files silhouetted against the sky in Shepton Mallet

In other news, I am now very much gearing up for Christmas and starting to prepare winter and Christmas themed products to sell at the craft markets, new dates and venues are been added all the time so keep checking the list on my website and why not pop along and pick up some wonderfully unique presents, cards or stocking fillers! 

Right back to work on some very exciting projects which I will bring you more news about in the coming months but just to wet your appetite one involves tigers and India and the other insects!

Take care and keep safe

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Mini Projects

Hello, just a quick update on what has been happening. 

Excitingly I was asked by Somerset Wildlife trust if I would write an article about my endeavours to photograph the dippers I have been following for several months now, of course I said yes and put together a lovely little piece complete with images and a short video, if you would like to read the article you can find it here:

Dippers on the River Axe

I have finally be able to get out and about in search for my beloved insects and have a fair bit of luck, I am still going through the photos but I decided that a little mini project would be in order, so I decided to try to photograph the complete emergence sequence of the Southern Hawker dragonfly. It has taken me a couple of weeks to collect all the images I needed and managed to get the last few just the other day of the dragonfly splitting the casing and first starting to emerge (this was actually the first time I had ever seen this stage!)

I have compiled an image and a short video of the images set to a piece of music of this wonderful event so here they are:

I hope you enjoy them, I am off for a friends wedding this weekend and back to a full week of work next week. But if you are looking for something to do the weekend of 11th & 12th August why not pop along to Upton Country Park (Upton House, Upton Country Park, Poole, Dorset, BH17 7BJ) where I will have a stand at the August Craft Fair. 

That's it for now, must go pack, so until the next update........

Friday, 13 July 2012

Well, it’s been a while since my last post and I can honestly say I have no idea where the time has gone but it sure has been hectic. The exhibition was a great success and a huge thank you to all that made it, it was great to meet and talk to so many people and as promised here are just a handful of comments that were left in my book:

“Thank you for sharing your excellent pictures – they are so inspirational – awesome.”

“A truly inspiring exhibition. Your photos are absolutely stunning and magical.”

“Stunning images! Creativity with great technical ability”

“A truly wonderful exhibition, Victoria has a very special gift! The talk was fascinating and most entertaining, packed with delightful stories that support the pictures – inspiring.”

“Have never seen wildlife photographed so spectacularly.”

And one of my favourites by a young boy “EPIC”

I am humbled by so many wonderful comments that really help spur me on and drive me towards the next exhibition, still looking for a venue so if you know of anywhere please get in touch! Although the exhibition has now been taken down, all the magnets, keyrings, calendars, cards and framed images have now joined my stock for the craft fairs, details of which can be found hereby clicking on this link Craft Fairs 2012 so if you’re in the area why not pop in and say hello, I’d love to see you.

So, onto other matters. I finally finished the video of mine and Chris’s trip to Madagascar which can be watched by clicking on this link: Madagascar Video and despite the horrendous weather we have been experiencing, I have continued to follow the dipper family on the River Axe. There is some bad news though, dippers nest early in the year and with all the rain we had there was a flood on the river and the dippers lost their first nest, but this didn’t deter them and I observed them collecting more nesting material once the river level receded. For weeks I have only been seeing one parent except on one occasion when the second adult came out form under the bridge to have a quick feed and disappeared back under the bridge again. Spending so much time with these little birds has enabled me to capture some different and unique images of their daily life.

First up is a peaceful image of the dipper having a clean on a rock as the river flows by.
A rare shot of the dipper in the waterfall looking for insect larva.
And one of the dipper sitting still long enough for me to capture it with its reflection!
I have also been able to capture some video footage of one of the adults going about its daily life of foraging and preening, just click on this link Dipper video footage. I will be continuing to follow these birds throughout the summer, capturing more images and footage and will update with further news in a few weeks, but if you can't wait that long then you can keep up to date via the flickr album Dippers on the River Axe.

Away from work, wedding plans have been going well and the dress has been started and with the wedding less than 10 months away excitment is definately growing along with the work load! Time to get back to article writing for now, details to be annouced in a few weeks. Keep safe and dry if you can and thank you for reading.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dippers & Damselflies

Well, it has been a very busy few weeks, another very successful talk at the museum and just over one week left until the exhibition closes so if you haven't been yet, time is running out! The last day is Saturday 9th June and I will be there in person most of the day so why not pop along and say hi and you can ask me as many questions as you like.

I have been continuing to work at the caves part time which has allowed me fantastic access to a family of dippers on the River Axe and they have been busy collecting nesting material and feeding on the insect larvae in the river. I will be following their progress through the season and keep you up to date, fingers crossed for healthy and bouncing chicks in the near future! But for now here are a couple of images of their daily life so far....
Just coming up with an insect larva but before it broke the surface tension of the water

I will keep up-dating the album on Flickr as this progress so do please checking back, here's the link: Dippers

I have also been out and about with one of my favourite insects with all the good weather we've been having, the damselflies of the Somerset Levels. There is one particular photo I've been trying to perfect for some time now and finally managed it so here it is:

And something slightly different, I spent quite a while with this character as it made its way up the grass to the top and eventually started warmng its wings

but it's not just damselflies, as of a few weeks ago I had never photographed a mayfly so it has been on my list and I finally managed to capture the following image as they were emerging from the water

 I have a few more mini projects in the planning stages at the moment, so fingers crossed I will be able to bring you news and of course images and maybe even some video over the next few months! I have been trying out some new and more creative techniques (all done with in the camera of course) and these images will start to pop up on my pages so I shall leave you to hunt them out and let me know your throughts, to get you started here's one of a lovely woodland in spring sunshine complete with bluebells

I can see the next few months being very busy, with things picking up at the caves with school holidays, plenty of wedding planning and the mini projects I will certainly be busy and keeping out of trouble! Well, this is it for now what ever you have planned for the weekend and weeks ahead have fun. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Hello and welcome to a post dedicated to my current exhibition at the Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, "The Natural World Through My Lens". 

The exhibition has now been open for just over six weeks with six weeks remaining and has been a great success thus far. If you haven't been to see it yet, why not?! The last day is Saturday 9th June and it is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm with free entry. 

The exhibition displays three aspects of my work, including studies made over a period of time in Somerset, images from a trip to Madagascar and a selection of photographs from around the rest of the world.  There are also panels with lots of information on where it all began for me, my equipment, the Somerset Levels, Madagascar and some of my plans for the future and booklets that contain all the technical details of each image and also the stories behind them. 

With over fifteen years experience behind the camera I have a real passion for the natural world and the exhibition promises to bring to life both familiar and unfamiliar creatures in a whole new way along with some special landscapes. I have printed al the images on Ilford Gallerie paper, hand mounted and framed with a wood frame made in the UK using wood from sustainable forests. Each image has an information sheet on the back (same as that which is in the booklet at the exhibition) and is titled and signed on the front of the mount underneath the image. 

All the images are available to buy for £85 each, there is a selection of 11 note cards at £1 each (images from the exhibition), a 2013 Madagascar calendar at £10 and a wide selection of magnets and key-rings at £2 each available from the front desk for the duration of the exhibition. All the proceeds from sales go straight back into future projects. 

In addition to the exhibition, I am running free lunchtime illustrated talks about the what, where and why of what I do including video footage. The first one was a great success but hugely over-subscribed so I am now running a second talk on Saturday 5th May at 12 noon. The talk is completely free but you will need to book as places are limited due to the size of the room. If you would like to book a place please call the museum on 01458 831197. I will be around both before and after the talk to meet people and answer questions so why not pop along. I hope to see you there and just before I sign off I am going to leave you with the walk through video to wet your appetite, but don;t forget it's much better to see the exhibition in person for the full impact! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Seals, Sunsets and Wedding Planning!

Hello, I know it's a little late, but Happy new Year to everyone I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new Year. Things have been more than hectic with wedding planning and finalising exhibition details but more of that later. 

First up is my trip to Norfolk to photograph the seals at Blakeney Point. I was very lucky with the weather on the day I picked to walk out to the point with a friend and in total we walked nearly 10 miles on shingle and sand, trust me it was very hard work and my legs were in pieces the next day! But the pain was worth it as there was no-one else in sight and we had the point to ourselves apart from the seals which meant opportunities to capture some unique images and I had my mind set on images I wanted. I am still going through the images but have picked out a couple, so here is the first one of a seal pup looking into the sunset with a beautiful sparkle in its eye.
And one taken close to sunset of a male and female grey seal on the beach, but have chosen to show them in their environment. There will be more once I have had a chance to go through them all thoroughly. 
It wasn't just seals, although that was the point of the trip! The following day with legs aching a lot we decided on a gentle walk around one the the reserves with plenty of hides to rest in, which is where I took this next image of golden plovers and lapwings resting with watery reflections, slightly overexposed to isolate the birds with their reflections.
It was a successful trip to Norfolk and someone I will certainly be returning to in the coming years but will look to spend much longer over there visiting the point a couple of times. On returning to Somerset, things have been very busy trying to write the information booklet for the images for the exhibition as well as pricing everything up and printing all 32 images, which I am happy say are now mounted and framed and filling my living room. So, the exhibition is now just over 3 weeks away from opening, the main images are all done except the mirror plates which will be added the week before, the information panels, 2013 calendar and note cards are sorted and I have brand spanking new business cards. The advertising has begun with posters going up and invites for the pre-view evening being sent out, it's weird that two years of work comes down to this it is very exciting and a little scary at the same time! I will take some photos and post a special update. 

Despite all the exhibition preparation, I have managed a couple of days out and made the most of the very clear but chilly weather last week by heading out to the Somerset levels to capture the sunset. I had in my mind a few images to try to achieve and am very happy to say that they came out a lot better than I could have expected so here are a couple of images of the sunset the way I see it! First up is an image of the sun setting behind a reed head
And second is a more creative image where I have used the reflection of the setting sun on the water to back light the reeds creating a wonderful shimmering appearance. 
I have also found a wonderful place close to where I am now living and am planning trips to explore this area fully, updates and images to follow once half term is out of the way. I have also committed to monthly craft fairs at the Cheese and grain in Frome which I will be using as a monthly shop so if you're in the area why not pop in and say hello, the dates are on my website Craft fairs and I will be selling cards, prints etc and will be keeping it fresh. 
SO, wedding plans! They are well under way with a venue and date all booked, fabric and pattern for my dress sorted, pattern sorted for the bridesmaids and colour scheme selected. I'm so excited to be marrying the man I love more than anything and am really looking forward to getting into the planning of our special day when he gets home from North America and doing it they way we want! 

Well, I think that just about brings everything up to date for now. I'm back cave guiding for half term and then it will be time to set up the exhibition and host the pre-view evening. The images I have selected are some of my favourites and I'm excited to be sharing them with everyone and I hope that you will be able to pop along, enjoy the exhibition and maybe leave a comment in the book. All the details on the dates, times etc can be found here Exhibition and I will be giving a talk on Wednesday 11th April at 12 noon in the exhibition but places will be limited. best of all entry to the exhibition is free! 

Until next time, stay safe and warm, but remember to head outside and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.