Return To Blog 15 October 2014

Snapshots: Bryce McQuillan

Bryce McQuillan is a Hamilton, New Zealand based macro & wildlife photographer. Bryce, a regular contributor to the Canon New Zealand Facebook page, is responsible for some of the most detailed & impressive macro photography we've seen!

How did you come to the world of photography?

I have always had a huge interest in bugs and spiders ever since the age of about 4 or 5.  So, over the many years my parents have somehow put up with me having pet spiders, skinks, frogs, and all sorts of different creatures. As I got older, I got better at finding and looking after spiders, so one day I got mum to come help me find some Avondale spiders.  From then, I started to breed them and got all sorts of different attention from breeding them. One afternoon I had a photographer by the name of Don Horne (who has now sadly past away) come around and take some images for my Avondale spiders.  After seeing his photos I was so blown away by the detail that I decided I want to try taking photos myself, so I ended up “borrowing” my Mum’s camera.  After a while she ended up telling me to go and buy my own as every time she wanted to use the camera it either wasn’t there or it was flat. So it all started from there really.

What keeps you inspired?

What keeps me inspired and going… well, probably the same question as… what’s around the next corner? What’s over that mountain? What’s under that rock? The most amazing thing with photography is, you never know where it will take you and who you are going to meet.  I have made some amazing friends though photography. I would not know my partner if it wasn’t for photography.  So in my eyes there is always something to learn and share… There’s no point learning something if you’re not willing to share it. 

What motivates you on a daily basis to pursue your love of photography?

Probably a similar answer as the above.  Each day brings new light, new light brings new subjects… Today, on the plants outside there might not be anything worth photographing… but the sky maybe different and interesting so I may end up photographing that.  Tomorrow, the sky may be dull and grey, but the bee on the plant might look nice in that light… Often the best days for me for photographing are actually the days when I haven’t planned to go and capture a certain image.  Just going for a nice, casual walk with my partner will often get me the best images as I am relaxed and just enjoying being out and about.

I find if I set out to get a certain subject in a certain pose or certain light I never really get anything special, as I spend so much of my time and energy chasing a shot that often isn’t there

Do you have a unifying theme that flows throughout your photographs?

I prefer to try capture nature as I see it.  I love being able to see detail in creatures that I wouldn’t normally get to see with my eyes.  I find this helps me learn and understand my subjects better.

If there's one piece of advice you could give to your 20 year old self, what would it be?

To slow down and take a closer look at what is around you, learn to appreciate and enjoy what you have around you.  Take each day as it comes and make the most of what you have in that day.  Learn to take your time and wait for that moment to shine.

What’s that odd or quirky piece of equipment in your kit bag?

That would by far be my amazing homemade diffuser.  When people see all my camera gear… then see me pull out a bit of wrapping foam they often give me a weird look and reply… what is that for?  When I explain they often reply… and with all that camera gear you can’t get results like that without your rubbish from a skip bin… I reply… it’s not the rubbish that makes the shot, it is how I use the rubbish that makes the shot.

Have you injured yourself in pursuit of a shot?

Yes many times.  Dislocated shoulder, hypo extended knee, multiple cuts and bruises.  Nothing has really changed… I just try to land a bit differently hoping to hurt myself less often…

Is there an area of photography you'd like to explore more?

Probably wide angle macro. There are many places I would love to explore in New Zealand and many subjects I would still love to be able to photograph. I would like to play with a 14mm wide angle lens a bit more.  This would help me to get wide angle macro shots of creatures within their habitat, as often with a macro lens you can’t show much of their habitat.

What piece of equipment is next on the photography shopping list?

Probably a 14mm wide angle lens. As it would be good for landscape/group shots of people interacting with subjects or enjoying photography. Also it would be great for wide angle macro photography which I am very keen on doing.

You can stay up to date with Bryce and his adventure in the world of macro via his Facebook and personal website.