Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants


IGPOTY awards 2014 “behind the photos”

The International Garden Photographer of the Year awards have just been announced.

‘Sarracenia Flava’: Finalist, Macro Art

Sarracenia Flava all green form pitcher plant IGPOTY monochrome photography by Stephen Studd

For the shot I wanted to give the plant an air of mystery and a fine art feel. I decided to minimise the depth of field and only focus on the nearest part of the plant to the lens. By doing this it would knock all the rest of the plant out of focus. The lighting was chosen to only have the highlight at the nearest point to the lens leaving the rest of the photo to fade into shadow, which gives the air of mystery.

Finally I converted the image to black and white and then split toned the colour in Lightroom.

The photograph was shot with a 180mm Canon macro lens, at f8 with 0.5sec shutter speed at 100 ISO.

‘Watering my allotment’: Commended, Plants & Water, photographed on my allotment Old Bisley Road, Stroud.

“Watering My Allotment” commended in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition photograph by Stephen Studd IGPOTY

The photograph  was first taken to illustrate a review I did for the Manfrotto Pixi tripod

I had pre-visualised the shot using the mini tripod as I thought it would be able to get to places I couldn`t, in amongst my bean, pumpkin and sweetcorn bed on the allotment. The summer of 2013 in the UK had been a particularly long and dry one and watering became a routine part of visits to the allotment in order to keep my plants alive.

I was after a shot that would convey the feeling of warmth, heat and watering. I chose an evening when the sun was low in the sky, placed the tripod amongst the veg and shot the photo into the sun for a more contemporary feel to the image.

With a cable release I tried a couple of test shots to get the exposure spot on (this can be tricky when shooting straight into the sun.) Then I watered the veg with my watering can, the result I was really pleased with, not only had the Pixi tripod held my very weighty Canon 1Ds Mark II but the streaks of bright backlit water added a beautiful pattern to the resulting image. The only problem I encountered was keeping the water off the camera, which was ironic after such a long hot dry summer.

Woman at the Market, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma): Highly Commended, Bountiful Earth

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco Prague hosted by Stephen Studd 2014

This image is one of my crossover images, in that I am a travel & garden photographer. I was away on a travel shoot in Burma, whilst also looking for great locations for the photography holidays I run there. Markets are always a great place to visit in any country, especially for travel photography. I had in my mind some of the different categories for IGPOTY and Bountiful Earth was an obvious one at this market in Mandalay. The woman with the bamboo hat, the colours of the scene and the big bags of shallots drew my attention. The market in Mandalay was full of fresh produce and a photographers dream, a place I visited over several days.

Canon EOS 1DS Mark II 70mm f6.3 1/160th sec, 100 ISO

I am a professional garden & travel photographer, my website is

I also run photography holidays & workshops




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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Thanks for popping by my blog and “may the light be with you”



I was recently asked to guest co-host a chat on Twitter and to suggest a theme.. Each Monday at 3pm EST- 8pm UK time #travelpics is a hashtag used to chat and share travel photographs. It was founded by Kathryn a travel photo journalist with the Twitter name of @AntiTourist and also @travelpicsCHAT The community is building with a diverse range of people who all share the same passion for travel and photography.

I decided on the theme for my co-hosting to be “Waterscapes” as we live on a planet where 71% of the Earth`s surface is covered with salt water from the oceans and all the water on Earth is made up of 97.5% sea water with the remaining 2.5% being freshwater lakes, rivers and water locked up in ice as glaciers and the polar ice caps (almost 69% of the freshwater on Earth is ice).

Earth from space; image courtesy of NASA

Earth from space; image courtesy of NASA

I chose the theme waterscapes as water is one of my favourite subjects to photograph as it comes in so many different forms.

Champagne pool New Zealand

Champagne pool New Zealand

Hot water new zealand

Switzerland the Matterhorn covered in snow

Switzerland the Matterhorn covered in snow

Water makes for great reflection shots on still days.

Chateau de Chenonceau France

Chateau de Chenonceau France

Germany, Fussen, Alps reflected in Lake Forggensee, dawn

Germany, Fussen, Alps reflected in Lake Forggensee, dawn

Water photographed with slow exposures adds a magical feel.

Wales, Powys, Brecon Beacons, Waterfall

Wales, Powys, Brecon Beacons, Waterfall

I was once commissioned to take aerial photographs of an island in the Maldives, which entailed me hanging out of the open door sat on the rail attached by a rope. Well worth the adrenalin rush to see the islands from the air.

Maldives aerial shot

Maldives aerial shot

Maldives aerial shot

Earlier this year I spent a month photographing in Myanmar (Burma) where the iconic U Bein Bridge spans 1.2 km across Taungthaman Lake.

Myanmar (Burma) Mandalay sunrise U Bein Bridge

Myanmar (Burma) Mandalay sunrise U Bein Bridge

The lake itself had fantastic photo opportunities with this shot of the boat crossing the lake before sunrise being one of my favourites.

Burma Myanmar U Bein Bridge Lake water people on boat

Boat on Lake Taungthaman

Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar and has an estimated surface area of 45 square miles (116km squared). I fell in love with this place as it had a cooler climate than the other places I had photographed and was also a photographers dream as it was so unique with the leg rowing fisherman of the lake.

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

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

Burma Myanmar Lake Inle Fisherman Sunrise

Burma, (Myanmar) Lake Inle fisherman sunrise

This one of my favourite shots from the trip.

Burma (Myanmar) lake inle fisherman

Burma (Myanmar) Lake Inle fisherman

I am looking forward to taking my photographer guests on the lake in November when I host my Digital Photography Holidays

The subject of waterscapes proved a very popular Twitter topic as it had a record number of #travelpics tweets and trended for  a number of hours which is no surprise as we live on such a watery planet and over 50% of our body is made up of water.

The chat was great fun and there was some fantastic photography shared. Thanks to @AntiTourist for inviting me and to co-hosts  @wheretogoAM, @AVacationADay, @poonamparihar, and @Sihpromatum.

I can be found on Twitter at and my website is

I host travel photography holidays to some of my favourite locations, further details can be found here;

“May the light be with you”

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2015 & 2016 Photography Holidays to Burma (Myanmar), Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Vietnam

Digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Bangkok Thailand hosted by Stephen Studd

Subscribe to our newsletter here and be kept up to date and be the first to hear about any new photography holidays

I look forward to welcoming you on one of my Digital Photography Holidays.

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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:

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How many can ride on a Honda 125?

In Cambodia as many as you can fit on, though the law does require the driver to wear a crash helmet. 5 people riding on a Honda 125 in cambodia, Siem Reap

How many boxes can you fit on the roof of a collective pick up truck bus in Myanmar – the skies the limit

Myanmar Burma Nyaung Shwe market overloaded truck boxes market

How many Buddhist monks and Buddha statues can you fit in the back of a pick up truck in Bangkok? Just one of each.

Asia, Thailand, Bangkok, Chinatown, Buddhist monk and Buddha statue in the back of a pick up truck

I will be travelling in Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangkok by many modes of transport including Shanks`s pony, later in the year with my photographer guests on travel photography holidays. If you want to be the first to find out the latest news from my company Digital Photography Holidays why not sign up to the free newsletter, which includes pretty, un-watermarked photos too and you will also find out how many people I`ve seen on a Honda125

Follow my travelogue through amazing Myanmar with Manfrotto tripods every Tuesday in May;

I look forward to welcoming you on one of my Digital Photography Holidays.

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2014 Burma (Myanmar) travel photography holiday – journey through the Golden Land

Myanmar (Burma) is the pot at the end of the rainbow – photographers gold.

Myanmar (Burma) Lake Inle fisherman

Myanmar (Burma) Lake Inle fisherman

After spending 28 days in the country I can honestly say that I haven`t had such an awe inspiring photo shoot in quite some time, there is such a wealth of subject matter to photograph, from street photography through to luscious landscapes.Myanmar (Burma)Yangon woman selling water melon at street side

Myanmar (Burma) Bagan temples

Myanmar (Burma) Bagan temples

There is an abundance of fresh tasty street food. Myanmar Nyaung Shwe town market street food vegetable samosas frying

and many modes of transportHorse and carriage, Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar (Burma) people on tractor

Join me for a journey through the golden land on a Digital Photography Holiday.    Dates, itinerary and pricing for this holiday can be found on my website

Myanmar (Burma) Mandalay U Bein bridge woman watching sunrise

Myanmar, Mandalay, U Bein bridge woman watching sunrise

I have teamed up with my friends from Manfrotto tripods and every Tuesday in May they will be publishing a travelogue on their website following my journey around Burma starting on May 7th.

I also host Digital Photography Holidays to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Venice, Marrakech, Prague & Paris, plus photography workshops: Join me for the trip of a lifetime.


First light; Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

first light over stupas Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

First light; Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Nothing can prepare you for the wonder and beauty of the mist enshrouded, stupa studded plains of Bagan being revealed to you at the first light of day. It is truly an awe inspiring experience, like seeing the temples of the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia for the first time at dawn. There is a saying in this part of the world, `same same but different.`

Myanmar is an amazing place to travel and a travel photographers dream with so much to photograph and the people are so friendly. My next stop is Mandalay, but not `The Road to Mandalay` as Kipling wrote the poem about, I shall be taking the train. This should be a great journey full of local colour as most tourists fly from A to B, I will let you know when I get there!


Burma (Myanmar) photography holiday tour dates announced 2014 & 2015

Photography holidays to Myanmar (burma) Angkor Wat, cambodia and Bangkok Thailand in 2013 2014

I have just confirmed the dates for the photography holiday to Burma (Myanmar) for 2014 & 2015.

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco Prague hosted by Stephen Studd 2014

Inle lake, Myanmar (Burma)

On this travel photography tour to Burma we start in Yangon home to Schwedagon Paya. We then fly to the temple studded plains of Bagan.

From Bagan we travel by train to Mandalay.

We have secured permits to travel overland in to the Shan State to go to Lake Inle and from there we go back to Yangon.

More details can be found here;

I look forward to meeting you on of my Digital Photography Holidays.