Going Wild- joining the Poland Trek expedition May 2012

One of the top goals for this year was to get completely and utterly out of my comfort zone - both physically and artistically.

Although I'm happy to travel to pretty much most places to do a shoot, usually they don't take more than a week maximum (for stills anyway) and so far they have been in pretty urban settings.

As you'll see from my work, I'm not really an outdoor/nature photographer but this year I really wanted to get out with my camera for a significant length of time and do something totally different.

Well, an exciting opportunity came up to join the Belgium explorer

Louis-Philippe Loncke

on a trek through Poland's Tatras Mountains and along its wild Vistula River. I met Louis-Philippe last year when working on an article about Belgians Living Without a Government (which ended up in The Guardian UK). I was bowled over by his unbridled enthusiasm - he only took to exploring seven years ago at the age of 27- since then, he's crossed the Simpson desert, trekked across Iceland and tackled Everest. All virtually unaided and on his own; just him and his will power.

So now the Poland Trek and organization for it have pretty much taken over my life. It's only a couple of months away so we're looking for sponsors and media partners. I'm going to be taking stills and filming and am in the middle of putting together a small film crew.

We now have the backing of National Geographic Poland behind us, which is great and I'm currently seeing if we can get some gear together which would take this expedition to another level in visual terms.

If you are interested in sponsorship or know someone who would be, please get in contact and I can send the official Poland Trek brochure.

Please contact me at :

natalie (at) nataliehillphotography.com

Motivated motion...new section on website

Film was my first love and what I studied for my Masters years ago at The University of East Anglia. One of the best years of my life, spending hours immersed in Powell and Pressburger. Since then I've always been writing but haven't had a chance to do much film. Well that's all been changing and now I'm doing more and more motion work in link with my photography work for clients and personal work. I've joined a film collective called

Webbit films

with two great creatives: Bernardo Camisao and Paul Arinaga.

There is quite a lot in the pipeline but here's a couple of fun shoots I've done so far.

Poland Trek...teaser

Can't reveal much as of yet but one of my goals this year is to test myself physically as well as artistically. I'm in the middle of organizing a photo/film trip with a great Belgian explorer in Poland this Spring...more details to be posted soon.

Great filmmaking in action - The Underwater Realm

Another catch up from last year but I wanted to write about how it's really great to see talented and dedicated filmmakers doing something brilliant, especially in this current climate. 

A friend of mine, the excellent actor,

Jon Campling

(of Harry Potter fame) did some filming last year with Realm Pictures on their project called

The Underwater Realm. 

The project is hugely ambitious with the team making a series of 5 short films which are set underwater and span different periods of time, from modern day to medieval Britain and which focus on the times in history when a race living beneath the sea meet human beings.

These guys have come up with some really amazing and innovative ways to film in challenging situations and on a tight budget. 

They had a Kickstarter campaign last year, which I donated to, that was a huge success. Apart from the shear talent and enthusiasm that came across in spades, I'm sure part of the success of the campaign was how they got their investors involved. There were a huge range of rewards and lot appealed to anyone interested in knowing more about techniques that go into independent film making. 

In my photography I'm using more and more continuous light rather than strobe and was intrigued by the very cool looking LED industry, soft lights, similar to Kino Flos that they had invented themselves- that are even water proof! I couldn't resist when they were offering it as one of the rewards. I'm looking forward to creating them- anyone in Brussels good at DIY let me know!

Also for wannabe DOPs like myself check out the excellent

DSLR lighting techniques

from The Underwater Realm's DOP - Eve Hazelton (forPhilipBloom.net)

It's too late to donate to the Kickstarter campaign but you can follow their progress on

The Underwater Realm website.

Ozzie Award - Delta Sky magazine

Back at the beginning of 2010, I was commissioned by Delta Sky magazine, the magazine of Delta airways to photograph everything Tintin in Brussels. Being a Tintin fan it was a really fun assignment, especially as I managed to blag my way up to the top of the Lombard building upon which stands a huge Tintin and Snowy sign. It was a real pleasure to work with the magazine and I loved the layout that the Art Director, Ted Rossiter, did for the piece. After it was published in May last year I didn't think much more of it.

I found out last week that the article just won an Ozzie award, which are US awards given out to magazine design and excellence. The article won best use of photography in a custom magazine!

A seriously nice surprise for this Tintin fan. Thanks to Ted Rossiter and Delta Sky magazine.

Biotech Farmers

I was lucky enough to be asked to take some portraits of Biotech farmers from China, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Brazil and the Philippines.


the European association lobbying for Biotech food and farming in Europe organised a conference here in Brussels and took the opportunity of these visiting farmers to take some more intimate portraits. We didn't have a huge amount of time,  I shot the farmers before the beginning of the Europabio conference with my new



backdrop. The idea was to highlight the people behind Biotech farming so we wanted to do a split picture showing the crop and the farmers. Thank you to all the farmers; amenable and interesting subjects.  

Park 58 Brussels

I went to check out the top of Park 58 the other week. It's this rather ugly car park in the center of Brussels. Its redeeming feature is up on the top outdoor floor where you get this great panorama of the city. I thought it would be a cool place to do some urban portraits so I dragged Sharm and Ilse, a couple of friends, up to the top and experimented. It was absolutely freezing that day but the beautiful blue skies made it worth while. The photo below is of Lady Sharm. The car park may be pulled down next year so if you're interested check it now.  For more info check out this website

Park 58

Back to Basics - Holga and Pinhole cameras

I've purchased a couple of low end film cameras recently, to get back to basics. The first I bought is a Holga medium format camera. It's inexpensive with basic settings and made of plastic. Below are few examples from my first developments. As you can see they are a bit rough and getting the focus right is a bit of challenge but I'm loving it because it's so different from what I get on my polished 5d ii. The main reason I wanted a few film cameras was to return to photography basics where each shot counts. It's sometimes too easy to run hundreds, if not thousands of shots off on a digital camera. Also experimenting with double exposure is something you don't really think about with a digital.

I also brought a beautifully crafted wooden pinhole camera. It's made by a guy in Poland who seems to sell them exclusively on ebay. I was really excited to receive it as the craftsmanship is awesome. I've taken a few shots and will post my results soon.

First Post

Finally, after a lot of mental resistance, I've got around to setting up my own photography blog.
I'd like to use the space to share inspiration and hopefully receive some in return. I'll share what's going on in my world of photography and pose some of the questions that I'm wrangling with in my professional life.

Here's to a long and happy Blog!