Stephen Studd Photography

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International Photography Awards 2013, Burma, Angkor Wat & Iris

The International Photography Awards 2013 have just been announced and I received an Honourable mention in 8 categories, which I am really pleased with as there were over 15,000 entries from around the world.

Some of you might have seen my Myanmar (Burma) photographs when they first appeared on the Manfrotto website.

Travel and Tourism category and Fine Art; Landscapes category “Temples of Bagan”

Having first visited Bagan eight years ago, on my return visit in April of this year I had already pre-visualised a series of black and white images of the temples. There are over 4,000 temples on the plains of Bagan and the whole area has an ethereal, timeless feeling and is one of my favourite places on the planet. For the series I converted my images to black & white, then split toned them in Lightroom. It was important to have the same tone in the series as I wanted them to work together. These 3 photographs were the ones I entered.

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black and white

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan”

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black & white

Myanmar (Burma) Temples of Bagan

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black and white

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan”

Panoramic category “Temples of Bagan”

For this image I wanted to show a panoramic view from one of my favourite temples, from which you get an idea of what the stupa studded landscape looks like.

Myanmar (Burma) Bagan temples panoramic view

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan” Panoramic

Culture Category “Stonemasons Burma”

In Mandalay there is an area of the city where images of Buddha are carved from rock. I spent a morning in this area photographing the many processes that are undergone to make the statues. The air was filled with rock dust and it was quite oppressive in the searing heat of April in Mandalay. The boy to the left has to stand there applying water to where the man is drilling. This photograph was just one from a whole series shot that morning.

Mandalay stonemasons quarter boy and young man carving Buddha statue Burma Myanmar

Stonemasons Burma

Fisherman Inle Lake

Lake Inle in the Shan State of Myanmar covers an area of 45 square miles (116 km2) and is at an altitude of 2900 feet, it is home to the leg rowing fisherman. It was my first visit to the lake and it came as a welcome relief to the heat of Mandalay in April as the air was much cooler. I was really taken by the beauty of the place and chartered a boat to take me out for a few days. On my first dawn outing the boat captain drove past this fisherman who was completely oblivious to us. The sun had just appeared over the hills which made for a great silhouette and some warmth after a chilly start. I often see photographs of the Inle Lake fisherman which are over posed, I liked the natural feeling to this shot.

Myanmar Burma Lake Inle sunrise leg rower rowing fisherman

“Lake Inle fisherman”

Travel & Tourism Category; People of Burma

Myanmar Mandalay U Bein bridge woman watching sunrise

Mandalay U Bein Bridge

Mandalay stonemasons quarter boy and young man carving Buddha statue Burma Myanmar

Mandalay Stonemasons

Burma (Mandalay) Schwezigon Paya pagoda monks

Young Monks Nyaung Shwe

Inle lake, Myanmar (Burma) fisherman with girl on boat

Inle lake, Myanmar (Burma)

Portrait of an old Shan man in Myanmar (Burma) Lake Inle

Trees Category; “Tree Roots; Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia”

This shot is one from an ongoing project photographing nature`s strength over humankind at the temples of Angkor Wat. The trees roots of this tree are slowly pulling the temple apart returning the stone back to the Earth and creating a new form of beauty.

Asia, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Angkor wat, Ta Prohm temple.

Tree Roots; Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia

Flowers category; Iris

This image of the Iris was taken with my 180mm macro lens which is my favourite lens for close up photography. The Iris was slightly back lit from the sun which showed off its translucent petals.



I am looking forward to returning to Cambodia and Burma this winter as I host travel photography holidays to my favourite locations

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Manfrotto Pixi Tripod Review

Having only used Manfrotto tripods throughout my 25 year professional photography career, I was pleased when I was asked to review their latest tripod the Pixi.

Manfrotto Pixi tripod review Stephen Studd

It has certainly been named correctly, the Pixi weighs in at just 1.4lbs (650g) and has a height of 7 inches (18cm) when closed making it very portable.

As a professional photographer who uses high end Canon DSLR cameras, I wondered how it could be of use to me. It has been designed for holding compact system cameras (CSC`s), the iPhone® (with KLYP), compact cameras and even entry level DSLR’s using a universal ¼” screw thread. Many times on my travels and my recent photo shoot to Burma I saw people balancing their cameras on walls, bags, hats and countless other rests to get their shot; the Pixi would be perfect for those situations as it is extremely portable.

On a recent round the world travel there were countless times when I could have used the Pixi tripod with my compact camera.

Manfrotto Pixi review Stephen Studd

The tripod is very user friendly. A simple red push button (with the Manfrotto logo)releases the ball joint head to move the camera into position for your shot. When the tripod is closed it can be used as a camera grip for keeping the camera steady for making videos, though I have not tested this, I`ll leave that for the videographers.Manfrotto Pixi review Stephen Studd

Once I had played around with the tripod for a while with my compact camera and seen that it would be a very useful lightweight portable piece of equipment,

Manfrotto Pixi Tripod review stephen studd photography photographer

I was keen to really test it out with my Canon 1Ds Mark II as I started to think of photo opportunities for its use.

As well as being a travel photographer I am also a garden photographer and like to be back in the UK for summer as I have an allotment and enjoy growing my own organic fruit and vegetables. I wondered whether the tripod would hold my heavy camera?

I thought of a shot I would like to take, to try out the tripod, a very low angle view from the ground of my vegetable patch with sweetcorn and beans growing in blazing sunshine and the veg being watered, conveying that feeling of mid summer, warmth, freshness and growth.

Manfrotto Pixi Tripod review stephen studd photography photographer

My first shot using the Pixi tripod (above), with my Canon 1Ds Mark II camera with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, got to an area my Manfrotto 055 wouldn`t be able to and the resulting image was razor sharp.

Manfrotto Pixi Tripod review stephen studd photography photographer

My Canon mounted on the Pixi tripod in amongst the veg patch.

The question is, will it now be part of my kit bag?

My photography kit on a recent photoshoot in Burma (Myanmar)

My photography kit on a recent photoshoot in Burma (Myanmar)

As I can see the Pixi tripod being used in lots of different situations with my different cameras, is lightweight, small and very portable the answer is yes, I think I have found a new Pixi friend.

(Note from the manufacturer if using an entry level DSLR with the Pixi;

PIXI has been developed for entry level DSLRs fitting these basic requirements:
• Body: maximum weight of 650g/1.4lbs
• Focal length: maximum 85mm (standard non professional lens)
• Total equipment payload: maximum 1kg/2.2lbs
Please consider that any semi-professional and professional equipment exceeds these requirements.)



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Behind the Photo; Bagan Temples Sunrise; Burma (Myanmar)

My travel photography holidays feature in the latest edition of Outdoor Photography magazine. I was asked to supply 2 photographs to be included.Outdoor Photography magazine; Digital travel photography Holidays vacations tours to Myanmar Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangkok Asia

I would like to write about the Black and White image as a number of people have commented and asked about it, as it also appeared on the Manfrotto Imagine More article I wrote about Bagan;

Myanmar (Burma) Bagan temples black and white image for Outdoor Photography magazine

Having first visited the temples of Bagan eight years ago, on my recent photo shoot I had envisioned a series of toned black and white images. Bagan has over 4,000 temples of all shapes and sizes dotting the landscape and at dawn there is usually a mist rising around them. The day prior to this shot I had scouted out the vantage point and with my compass, that has travelled the world with me, I knew it would be a good location for sunrise. The next day I arrived in the darkness and set up my camera on its tripod and waited for the scene to appear through the misty dawn light. Bagan has a very ethereal feeling to the place and I wanted to convey this in a series of black and white images. For the series I converted the colour images to B & W in Lightroom and also split toned the image.

Non-photographers can switch off here!

This image was shot at 100 ISO with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (at 250mm); f16 at 1.5sec with a Lee Filters ND .6 soft grad and my trusty Manfrotto tripod.

My photography holidays and tours to Burma can be found at: