Victoria McNeill

My name is Victoria and I am an ocean, seascape and landscape photographer living in Sydney. I have always been passionate about design and contemporary art in its many forms, and this originally led me into a career as a Graphic Designer.

Many years ago, I began to explore that passion in the form of photography and found that I really enjoyed the freedom of expression that it allowed me to continually develop.

Photography has taught me to slow down, to appreciate my environment, to make others aware of how precious our world is. It’s taught me to live in the moment and to be comfortable sharing how I see things.

My first camera was a 35mm film SLR the Nikon F60 with the Tamron 28-200mm lens, I then bought my first digital camera about 12 years ago, a second-hand Nikon D200 with kit lenses.

Once the mirrorless cameras came along, because of their lighter weight, I switched to Olympus and the OM-D E-M10 Mark II to get used to their menu system and soon moved to the OM-D EM-1 Mark II, and I love it.

Camera

I am outdoors a lot, in all conditions, so I need my equipment to be reliable, sturdy and weatherproof. The Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II is certainly well-equipped for dealing with the elements.

Weight and size are important to me, I don’t want to be stuck shooting for hours with a heavy camera and if I need to have two bodies on me – my second camera is the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark I – they don’t weigh me down.

If I am carrying two cameras, they are held in place by my super comfy Black Rapid Double Breathe Camera Harness.

Lenses 

My go-to lens is the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO which delivers excellent image quality in all conditions. This zoom lens is compact, lightweight and fantastic for shooting the ocean, wildlife, and any sport photography – I am a keen cyclist and shoot a lot of road races and criteriums. It’s also great for shooting more distant landscapes and abstract compositions.

For other landscape work, I use the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO as it captures so much detail with its sharpness. I don’t mind the slight blur/distortion at the edges with the wide-angle, to me, it’s all part of drawing the viewer in.

Another lens always kept in my bag is the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro which enables me to shoot just about anything in nature close up. It allows me to mix things up a little and reminds me to always look at the smaller details around me.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro are always kept on hand if there is ever the urge to shoot an event or for portrait photography.

Bags/Straps

Many photographers seem to have a few camera bags for different situations and I am one of them. The most versatile for me is the Think Tank Turnstyle Sling 20. It is water-repellent, lightweight and can hold my camera and up to three lenses comfortably.

There is plenty of space for an iPad, Olympus BLH-1 Batteries, my waterproof Pelican memory card case, cleaning cloths and sunscreen.

I usually head out knowing what I am shooting so I don’t take anything with me that I won’t use. Being a cross-body sling, I don’t need to remove it to access gear either.

The other bag I use when I travel is the LowePro ProTactic BP 250. This bag is versatile, light, comfortable and comes with a few different access points to my gear. It’s still big enough for two camera bodies, four or five lenses, a laptop, cleaning gear, my Peak Design Slide and Peak Design Cuff which I use because of their unique anchor links which makes them quick and easy to use.

Tripods

One thing that won’t fit in my Think Tank Turnstyle Sling 20 is my Benro Tripod but it goes with me on every outing just in case. I make sure after every shoot at a beach I give it a good, thorough clean from sand and salt and a little lubricant to stop any rust. I have had it for three years and considering how much saltwater it has stood in, it is lasting well.

I also take with me my Vanguard VEO Monopod – it’s super lightweight and compact with an anti-slip rubber foot. Perfect for holding up my camera and its heaviest lens when I capture slow shutter moving objects like waves or sports photography.

Filters

I use the Nisi Filter System 150mm and carry around with me the NiSi 150x170mm Nano IR Medium Graduated Neutral Density Filter ND8 (0.9) 3Stop, NiSi 150x150mm Nano IR Neutral Density Filter ND64 (1.8) 6 Stop, NiSi 150x150mm Nano IR Neutral Density Filter ND1000 (3.0) 10 Stop, a Circular 6 Stop and a Hoya Infrared R72.

If the opportunity arises to shoot from the ocean, I will. I have a custom-made Salty Surf Housing for my Olympus OMD-EM1 Mark II. I use the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Premium lens in the house and a flat port. I find I can get quite creative with this lens.

Hardware & Software

I have always worked with Apple and recently upgraded my MacBook Air 13” to the MacBook Pro 16”. On this, I work in Adobe Lightroom Classic and very occasionally Adobe Photoshop 2o20.

And that’s about it! My advice would be don’t be afraid to try different brands, experiment with your photographic creativity, and always be out there extending yourself.

Olympus OMD-EM1 Mark II
M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro
M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro
M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro
M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro
M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro
M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Premium
Think Tank Turnstyle Sling 20
LowePro ProTactic BP 250
Black Rapid Double Breathe Camera Harness
Peak Design Cuff and Peak Design Slide
Benro Tripod
Vanguard VEO Monopod
Olympus BLH-1 Battery
Nisi Filter System
Salty Surf Housing

www.victoriamstudio.com.au | @victoriammcneill

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