Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants

Leave a comment

Photographing sunrises, be in place early.

There is a time between night and actual sunrise that is really magical in photography. This time of day is my favourite, it has a unique light and colour and is generally still and quiet. You also get to witness the sky lottery; what colours are going to be produced, how long will it last, is it going to completely cloud over, which quite often happens. When the conditions all come together a joy fills the heart and you know instinctively that you have the photograph you came for.

digital travel photography holidays tours to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Marrakech and Gower Wales hosted by Stephen Studd photographer myanmar hosted by Stephen Studd

Angkor Wat, before sunrise. Manfrotto tripod and head: Canon 6D, Canon 24-70mm lens: ISO 400 – 30 sec @f8 – 0.3ND soft grad filter

You will need a torch to get you to your location pre sunrise, it also helps you with setting your camera dials in low level light conditions. For the photograph above, the scene was really dark to the eye. I set my camera up on my tripod and used a remote release for mirror lock as exposures can be long and you don`t want camera shake. I took a test shot at an extremely high ISO to see whether I had focussed correctly with manual focus. If you use autofocus it is best to move it to manual focus as cameras find it hard to focus in very low light conditions. Once I knew the camera was focused I locked the focus and set my ISO to 400, which still gave a 30 second exposure at f8. I always photograph on manual mode and as the light changes quickly from near dark to sunrise don’t forget to keep adjusting your camera settings. I always have my camera set to RAW for high quality images. I used a 0.3ND soft grad filter to balance the sky with the foreground. I could of used a 0.6ND but wanted the water to be slightly darker than the sky.

Depending on where you are photographing on the planet determines the length of time before first light and sunrise, in the tropics you generally only have about half an hour pre-sunrise.

When it starts to get much lighter, be ready for the actual sunrise, which will give you a whole new feel to your scene. As you can see between the two photo’s the cloud had completely disappeared in the photograph below, which was taken 45 minutes after the photograph above. I had waited for the sun to rise to give me another saleable image from the same morning. Both images have been published in several travel magazines and books.

For the shot below, in my last blog post ‘How to Shoot into the Sun’, it explains how to achieve this effect in your photographs

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, photo tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, sunrise: Manfrotto tripod and head; Canon 6D, Canon 24-70mm lens:              ISO 100, f16 @ 1/500

Get out and enjoy this spectacular time of day, it stills the mind and fills the soul with joy!

I run photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and in the Gower, Wales, please visit the website for full itineraries and information:

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holidays and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here

‘May the light be with you’

Keep connected: Social media:




Instagram: @stephenstuddphotography/




Google +




Leave a comment

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

Thanks for taking a look.

‘May the light be with you’

Keep in touch:

My travel and garden photography website:

Social Media:




Google +


Leave a comment

Arctic Circle Photography Adventure

digital travel photography holidays tours vacations workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam Marrakech with Stephen Studd Svalbard Norway Spitsbergen arctic circle

My travel photography adventure for Manfrotto has just been published on their website.

Photographing in such cold conditions has many challenges, how do you keep your hands warm? Stop your gear from freezing? Keep yourself warm? Photograph when you’re dressed like this.

digital travel photography holidays tours vacations workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam Marrakech with Stephen Studd Svalbard Norway Spitsbergen arctic circle

Stephen Studd in the Arctic Circle

Whilst in Svalbard I went on a 10 hour snow mobile trip

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen snow mobiles, Adventdalen valley

Svalbard, Spitsbergen, snow mobiles, Adventdalen valley

from coast to coast in search of polar bears.

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen, East coast, polar bear footprint

Svalbard, Spitsbergen, East coast, polar bear footprint

Is it worth going to such extremes for photographs?

Svalbard Panoramic4.jpg

The answer to that one is YES, when you get to see views like this.

Did we see polar bears? Unfortunately not, only footprints, but my time in the arctic circle was enough for me to fall in love with this unique place.

Follow the link to Manfrotto’s website to find out more about the adventure, with more photography:


I run small group travel and landscape photography holidays and workshops.

My travel photography holidays website can be found here:

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holiday and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here

Keep in touch:

My travel and garden photography website:

Social Media:




Google +




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



Leave a comment

New for 2014: Travel Photography City Break holidays to Paris, Prague, Venice & Marrakech

I have just added new travel photography city break destinations for 2014 on my Digital Photography Holidays website.

Digital Travel photography holidays holiday vacations vacation tours workshops workshop tour City Breaks to Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice  Marrakech Burma Myanmar Angkor Wat Cambodia Bangkok Thailand hosted by Stephen Studd

Travel Photography Holidays

The photography city breaks will take us to fantastic iconic photographic locations and the time away will be packed full of photography. The photography city breaks are aimed at all levels of photographer as I tailor the photo shoots to your individual needs.

All the hotels I have hand picked to be in the centre so you won`t have to waste time travelling long distances as there are great photo opportunities as soon as we leave the hotel door. As with all my photography holidays there is no single person supplement and non-photography partners are welcome. The holidays, dates and itineraries can be found at

Subscribers to my newsletter are always the first to hear about new photography holidays and they also receive voucher codes for special offers. (In January 2014 I will be announcing brand new UK photography retreats, workshops and courses)

To sign up for the newsletter please follow the link:

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

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

1 Comment

Travelling light in Myanmar (Burma) – On the road again

At present I am in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) on a 28 day photoshoot and fact finding mission for the photography holidays I will be hosting later in the year. After arriving here from Angkor Wat in Cambodia, there are certainly some striking similarities.

Old colonial building in Yangon, Myanmar, (Burma), still in use

Old colonial building in Yangon, Myanmar, (Burma), still in use

This old colonial building in Yangon is still in use. Nature really does want to spring into life everywhere it can if it is given the chance, these trees have certainly taken hold to the building.

It is always good to be on the road travelling and Myanmar is an amazing place to be, despite the 40C heat (in April). In these kind of conditions it pays to travel light, if only!

Travelling light?

camera kit photography kit in Myanmar (Burma) on photoshoot

My trusty Karimoor back pack that has travelled the world with me for over 20 years and still going strong has a clothes allowance of 5 T Shirts, 1 shirt, 2  pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of shorts, 5 pairs boxers (better in the heat), 2 pairs of socks (not needed in the heat), 1 jacket (incase it gets cold!), all packed into a small compression bag so it doesn`t take up too much room. Footwear; 1 pair of flip flops and 1 pair of shoes for when I get home to the cold! The shoes are always a pain to find a place for.

There was a  miscalculation on the T Shirts, need 2 or 3 a day in the heat of April in Yangon, evening spent washing them in the sink, dry time less than half an hour. Now I truly know the meaning of `It ain`t half hot Mum`


UPDATE 2014My travel photography tour to Burma is now live with dates in 2014 & 2015, for further details please click here: (these are held in cooler times of the year for the tropics).


As I am on the move again tomorrow, thought I would post the equipment list as I am ticking off the tick-list to make sure nothing is forgotten.

Equipment list comprises of;

2 x Lowepro camera bags including 1 which has a pouch for my computer and is on board baggage allowance size and has wheels.

1 x Manfrotto tripod and Manfrotto head (would be lost without it, my oldest piece of equipment been with me since my old Mamiya RZ days) Plus Mamiya riser for long lenses and spare camera mounts.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, a dear old friend.

Canon lenses, 17-40mm; 100mm macro; 24-70mm; 70-200mm; 100-400mm and Tilt and Shift lens and lens hoods for each.

Mirror lock release (plus spare as v important piece of kit.

2 spare Canon batteries and charger.

Various Lexar CF Cards and Lexar pro card reader.

Sandisk memory sticks for essential back up and DVD`s to be on the safe side.

Various Lee filters and mounts, including ND grads (hard & soft), ND`s, polariser and Big Stopper.

Toshiba computer (fits in my Lowepro camera bag pouch for flying.)

The essentials; Multi socket extension plug, plug adaptors, phone, plugs, more plugs and cables, screwdrivers, Swiss army knife, torch, hotshoe spirit level – got to keep those spirits level, elastic bands, safety pins (for a bit of punk rock nostalgia amongst loads of practical uses), yet more plugs and cables, pens, pocket book for writing info about locations and my very oldest piece of kit the trusty compass, oh yeah and a guide book.

Finally the most important thing as a photographer which is the lightest bit of kit; bags and bags of patience.

You can follow me on Twitter at and and Like on Facebook at

Leave a comment

Travel photography holidays 2014

The photography holidays that I am hosting featured in Digital Photo magazine.

2013 Digital Photography Holidays 2013 Myanmar Burma Thailand Bangkok Cambodia Angkor Wat

Photography holidays to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma). Plus travel photography city breaks to Venice, Prague, Paris and Marrakech You can sign up for the newsletter here;

The holidays are also on Facebook;