Serena Vachon – The Photographer’s Interview
Expertly composed, richly coloured, fascinating. There are just a few words to describe Serena Vachon’s Nature and Wildlife photography. Not only are her images described as above, Serena manages to capture exquisite light within her photos bringing out the finest detail and colours in birds, insects, flora and fauna, reptiles, small mammals and a personal favourite of mine, Spiders.
In her images, where Serena focusses in on a subject she manages to create a shallow depth of field, bokeh, that is always clean, and colour contrasts with the sharpness of the subject beautifully. Macro shots of flowers, leaves and tiny mushrooms reveal the deep colours, natural and interesting shapes and the smallest of details. Serena’s work is always eye-catching.
You can purchase Serena work on https://serena-vachon.pixels.com/
Catch up with her on Facebook
She is also on Instagram
And on Twitter
Please talk a bit about where you are from and any photographic education that you have had…..
I am from and live in Alabama. Right now I am living in Millbrook, AL on 3-1/2 acres of woods. I have had no formal photographic education, but have learned from books, articles, and trial and error. I just love photography, so I work on it daily. I feel that experience is my best teacher!
You seem to have a passion for Nature and Wildlife photography, what is it about this photographic genre that interests you?
I love nature and have always loved animals! Photographing animals in the wild is challenging, but so much fun. I love to photograph all kinds of wildlife and anything in nature in a different way than people usually see. I hope that giving a different view to nature will make people appreciate it a little bit more.
You shoot your wildlife and photography in beautiful settings, how do you find the right locations for your work?
I travel some and always search for surrounding areas of nature. I also enjoy street photography when I am in a big city. Candid shots, not posed, are my favorite. I enjoy being near the water for landscape photos as well! Anything new and different is what I look for. When I am home, I shoot right here in the woods, and any park or area nearby. The great thing about nature is that it is always changing, and there is always something worth photographing.
If you were teaching a novice photographer how to capture images of fast moving birds and small creatures what advice would you give them before they go out to the location?
Patience is key when shooting birds and fast animals! Putting food like seeds out for birds will attract other small animals as well. Your camera should be set at a large aperture and sometimes a higher ISO to increase the speed to catch a good shot. Good lighting is really helpful when shooting a small animal. An area with places for the birds to perch, or animals to climb, like a tree with not too many leaves, is the best way to capture a sharp photo. I usually take quite a few shots when I have the chance and go through them later to see which is sharpest/best. No matter what animal you are shooting, focus on the eye closest to you. If an animal is facing a certain direction, allow space in the photo to show where (or toward where) he is looking. This helps to tell the story in the photo.
Please describe your weekly shooting and post-processing schedule…
I try to go out most days, depending on the weather and what kind of time I have. I take my two dogs with me and just walk around looking, sometimes for tiny things, and sometimes for large landscapes, just whatever catches my eye. In the morning is when I usually do post processing, taking a couple of hours when it’s quiet. I enjoy this as much as taking the photos! Photography is a passion for me. I love every part of it.
What camera do you use and what are your favourite lenses and why?
I use a Nikon D810, a wonderful full frame camera. I love my Nikon 105 2.8 macro lens, and use it for flowers, insects, and anything else tiny! It’s a fast, sharp lens. For birds, I often use a Sigma 150-500 for close ups. It’s great for any animals that are not close to me. It’s an excellent lens and takes wonderful photos. Another great lens is a Nikon 70-200 2.8 ED, a full frame lens which takes amazing photos with rich color and sharp focus.
You’ve mentioned that you are a stock photographer, what advice would you give a photographer who wants to make a steady income from stock photography?
Stock photography requires extremely sharp photos with very little or no noise. It requires providing many photos at a time and on a regular basis to achieve a steady income. The nice thing about stock photography is that when you send some photos in and they don’t use one, they will tell you why, so it is kind of a good learning experience. To make the most money with a photo, you can sell the rights to it for someone to use it exclusively. I don’t usually do this, but it is a possibility.
What memorable and challenging shoots have you had on location?
I enjoy being anywhere new. I travelled to Burlington, Vermont last year and was able to photograph boats, mountains, water, and leaves changing! It was beautiful. Every trip I’ve taken to the beach in Florida has been memorable for the beautiful sunsets and ocean views. Anytime I spend at the local zoo is also memorable and it is so much fun to photograph the animals.