Natural wonders – a chat with Janette Hill
Award winning photographer Janette Hill is passionate about wildlife and nature. Her love of photography began many years ago with her first camera, a Kodak Instamatic. Now she fully embraces the digital age with several DSLR camera bodies and a selection of specialist lenses to capture wildlife, travel and landscape images across the world.
I currently live in Mid Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park, just outside Hay on Wye.
I have been taking photographs since I first had a Kodak Instamatic. From that day on I was hooked. My Dad was also a keen photographer and I was influenced by him.
Where are you now and what are you shooting (or what is your next big trip)?
I own and run Natural Wonders Photography to provide photography holidays and workshops. My aim is for everyone to enjoy photography in an informal and relaxed manner. Underlying this is my deep enthusiasm for the conservation of our environment and the preservation of habitats, so essential for the survival of wildlife.
I am currently in India for three weeks photographing Royal Bengal Tigers and other wildlife in Ranthambhore National Park. In February I spent four weeks in Uganda for chimpanzee, gorilla and other wildlife photography. My next trip after this is Zambia, South Luangwa Valley.
I also like travel photography, street and people in particular as I enjoy interacting with people but I am equally at home taking images of architectural features in towns and cities.
What are your favourite destinations/subjects to photograph and why?
I love the thrill of capturing wildlife and nature. Seeing natural behaviours in the wild is a privilege and to capture it in camera is just fab. I love India for its vibrance, colour, wildlife and calm amongst the chaos!
Enthusiastic. Not sure that I have a style as such. I enjoy the creativity of being a photographer and interpreting each scenario before me in my own way. I think it is important for everyone who picks up a camera to enjoy what they do. It is an art form and so an image that means something to one person will mean nothing to someone else! If you take pleasure in what you do then that is the most important thing to me.
Can you recall a favourite experience on your travels?
Too many! Swimming with Manatees, every encounter with elephants, being up close and personal with wild brown bears, watching wild Bengal tigers, the list is endless.
Can you recall a particularly challenging experience while taking photos/travelling?
Some encounters can be very challenging (extreme heat, cold, water etc…) but it is always worth it in the end for ‘the shot’.
What camera/s and equipment do you use? Do you have a favourite piece of equipment?
I use a Nikon D5, D850 and D500 and I use 70-200mm f2.8, and 180-400mm f4 lenses with built in converter. The 300mm f2.8 and 105mm macro are probably my favourite lenses. A toothbrush in your kit bag is always useful to get the dust out of all those nooks and crannies in your camera!
Be calm and patient. Learn to look and see. Hold your camera correctly and look around the frame before you press the shutter! Remember to breathe.
Practice, practice, practice! Make many mistakes and learn from them.
I am currently developing new and exciting workshops and overseas wildlife tours. I have many repeat clients who have become good friends. I work hard to provide a wonderful experience for everyone, whatever their level of expertise, and try to provide something a bit different for people with the emphasis on enjoyment in a calm and relaxed way.