Stephen Studd Photography

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See Colour, Think Black and White

OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

In the February issue of Outdoor Photography magazines Holiday & Courses guide, I give my tips for producing stunning black and white digital images.

Digital photography holidays, tours, workshops courses to Cambodia, Vietnam USA and landscape photography workshops courses in the UK, Wales, Gower and USA

I can remember developing a print from a black & white negative in a school art class – and this being a life changing moment. I was hooked, I knew what I wanted to be; a photographer. Printing was one of my passions when I was studying for my degree in photography many moons ago and loved the whole process of developing the black & white film and developing prints. I still miss this part of photography, but nowadays black & white digital photography can still retain its visual impact.

When leading photo tours and workshops I say to my guests, ‘See colour, think black & white as this adage has served me well over the years. It will extend your opportunities, especially when conditions don’t lend themselves to colour photography. Some locations work really well in black & white such as the Grand Canyon especially when there are moody, dramatic skies.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

Some of the steps I use when producing digital black & white images include the following: Before taking the photograph, it is important to pre-visualise your result and it is also valuable to have a knowledge of the Zone System. Shoot in colour in RAW mode, colour space Adobe RGB.

You will have far more control over the finished result by photographing in colour and then making a black & white conversion using image processing software; my preferred one being Lightroom. Shoot on the lowest ISO possible. At high ISOs the noise (grain) is more evident; the lower the ISO the less noise. If you want to increase the grain on an image, it is best to add this in post production.

To process my images in Lightroom I do not use the basic develop module apart from maybe adding a little clarity. Instead I use the tone curve and develop the image to how I visualised it when I took the photograph.

There are many different digital print papers on the market, which have various feels and tones. This is similar to wet processed black & white prints, where each make of paper has a certain quality, along with the chemicals used in developing the print with any dodging or burning adding to the final look.

A favourite paper of mine used to be Kentmere Kentona paper, which had deep warm rich blacks with a warmer base white. To replicate the feel and look of this paper, for the digital photograph of the overgrown temple in Cambodia

Digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations workshops photo tours to Cambodia Angkor Wat hosted by Stephen Studd

in the develop mode of Lightroom I used the split tone function. This adds more depth and character to the finished result.


My photography holidays & courses to Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Marrakech the USA and the Gower, can be found on my holidays website http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com
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Travel and landscape photography holidays & workshops

The travel and landscape photography holidays that I run have just been featured in the Practical Photography Holiday & Courses guide for 2016.

Digital travel and landscape photography holidays holidayvacation vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam Morocco Marrakech Gower Wales UK hosted by Stephen Studd

Pleased to see my photo of the Gower, Wales on the front cover, last years weekend workshop was a real success with guests capturing some amazing landscape photos.

My holidays & courses to Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Marrakech and the Gower, Wales can be found on my website http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Thanks for taking a look.

‘May the light be with you’



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Travel photography tours and holidays to Burma, Cambodia, Marrakech & Venice.

Join me on a photography holiday to awe inspiring locations that I have a great working knowledge of, getting you to the best locations at the best time of day for stunning photographs.

The photographs on this blog are from last years photography holiday guests.

Burma I call photographers gold at the moment, a country that is starting to open up to the outside world after years of isolation. My photography tour to the Golden Land is unique as I have secured permits to travel overland between Mandalay and Lake Inle in the Shan State, a truly memorable experience as we travel through different landscapes on the way and getting to places tourism hasn’t hit.

Myanmar Burma Digital travel photography holidays vacations tours workshops

We also travel by train from Bagan to Myingyan on a classic rail journey full of photo opportunities.

Stephen G Young Digital Myanmar Burma travel photography tours holidays vacations workshops 2014 2015

From Myingyan we take the ‘road to Mandalay’, made famous by Kipling.

Between Yangon and Bagan we fly as we also do between Lake Inle and Yangon. There is a full itinerary for the Burma photography tour on the website: http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

 

Cambodia is one of my favourite places for photography, a place I have been returning to since 1999, since then I have forged very strong friendships with local people and also NGO’s. This photography holiday is not just about photographing the magical temples it is also very much about the people too.

This photography holiday supports organisations that help street kids, disabled people and the rural poor, enabling them to receive education, training and skilled work.

Brian K Smethurst cambodia Phare circus siem reap Angkor Wat Cambodia travel Photography tours Holidays vacations workshops

On the photography holiday we spend a day with the floating village community on Tonle Sap lake, which helps to support their community handicrafts project and also the local nature reserve.

D Elder Tonle Sap Lake Cambodia travel Photography tours Holidays vacations workshops

At the time of year we visit the water level is 10 – 12 metres above ground level, exposing only the tree canopy above water.

Tonle Sap Lake Cambodia travel Photography tours Holidays vacations workshops

Last years guests in the tree canopy above the swollen Tonle Sap lake. Photo: P Lawson photography.

Release your Indiana Jones as we explore and photograph the magical temples at the best times of day for the best light, beating the crowds, literally having the temples to ourselves for an hour or more every morning.

Angkor Wat Cambodia travel Photography tours Holidays vacations workshops

Further details and full itinerary can be found on the website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Marrakech & Venice photography city break.

I have had the pleasure of photographing in both Marrakech and Venice many times over the last twenty years, this year for the first time I will be leading photography tours to these destinations. Join me as we explore these great short haul destinations for photography.

Moroccan man Souk Soukh Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco Digital travel photography holidays vacations workshops tours to Marrakech Morocco 2014 2015

Full details can be found at www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

I look forward to welcoming you on one of my Digital Photography Holidays, “may the light be with you”.


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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 www.stephenstuddphotography.com

I also run photography holidays & workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Twitter; https://twitter.com/StephensPhotos

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographyHolidays


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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.

Iris

Iris

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

You can sign up for my free newsletter on the website and be the first to hear of new locations and dates: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com/newsletter

My Travel, Gardens, Plants, Photography Website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographyHolidays and I can be found tweeting from www.twitter.com/StephenPhotos

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