What is your favourite piece of equipment?
My favourite pieces of equipment together with my Nikon D810 and old D90 are my beloved Tamron lenses: the SP 90mm and the SP 150-600mm. I simply couldn’t live without these two lenses because they correspond to what I like and need the most in photography. What’s more, they really are excellent lenses and not only because I’m a Tamron ambassador! The SP 150-600mm is perfect for me and I guess this particular telephoto lens is widely appreciated among female nature photographers: it’s great and not too heavy so long walks are much easier. As far as the 90mm is concerned, I very recently got the new version and it seems even better than the previous one.
Define your photographic style.
I think it’s very difficult to define our own photographic style, especially since I’m convinced our styles and with them expectations evolve quite a lot throughout the years or depending on our states of mind. It would be a shame to be stuck in one specific style or even area or limit oneself to them. Experimenting is an eye-opener and we all need novelty and surprises from time to time. What I can tell you for sure is that I think our photos are mirrors of our selves. They reveal our emotions, beliefs or dreams and this is why it is important to let photos speak and sometimes even shout out loud. When an image is the result of something you strongly and intensively experienced, it never lies and always offers more than meet the eyes!
What are your photography goals?
I like to show the treasures we unfortunately tend to forget in our busy hectic lives. Nature photography suspends time’s flight and invites people to enter a world of wonders they didn’t even suspect. It turns everyone into witnesses of the beauty we have at hand. All wildlife photographers hope their humble work can somehow help nature. Although I hardly ever travel (although I’d love to) and work mostly around and about my house, it’s important for me to open people’s eyes. Should they be gentle, dreamy and soft or harsh and shattering, photos are always made to open people’s eyes. There is so much to do in our immediate environment.
We sometimes focus on exotic species (and thank God, it’s vital that we do! One of my dreams is to work with wonderful people such as Jane Goodall to preserve apes, especially Orangutans) but we forget about local issues too often and these issues are the ones we can really do something about. Although I have more of a contemplative than a warrior attitude, I like to think I humbly help children to become aware of the natural treasures surrounding them and make sure they do their best to take care of them. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’m always full of dreams…
What is the biggest lesson you've learnt as a wildlife photographer?
So many really, but the most life-preserving one is do not cross a daddy Swan! (Keeping in mind I’ve never come across a mummy Bear). Do not drive in the wonderful Scottish Cairngorms past 9pm if you do not wish to deal with crazy suicidal bunnies!
What is your favourite subject and why?
I do have favourite subjects such as Deer or Owls that I’m just totally fond of but photography has always been a magnifying glass for me and has enabled me to discover and study many other species such as the amazing Springtails. It is stimulating and important for me to go on learning day after day and to focus on different species or issues. It is ever so interesting and rewarding. Even the simplest things such as tiny insects or mushrooms take you to an overwhelming journey when you let them lead the way.
What advice would you offer other wildlife photographers?
I suppose you mean beginners for I wouldn’t dare offer advice to other wildlife photographers. I’d most certainly learn an awful lot from fellow photographers and I’d love that! I think we must try and go on learning for ever: if we know something well, then it’s easier to show it well because we’ve come to love it too. To beginners, maybe to stay true to themselves while practicing a lot to develop their photography. But really, everybody has different expectations and one has to respect that.
As far as art is concerned, it’s always difficult to give an advice. As a teacher (a former teacher actually although I may soon propose workshops and masterclasses in photography), I can explain many things, technically speaking, and be generous and happy to provide people with hints and tips. Yet the most important thing in art has nothing to do with technique and once one masters what he can then forget about, one has to find the key, deep in oneself. That was a difficult question actually and a terrible answer I’m afraid… Such a pity when I’ve always been taught at school that conclusions were crucial!