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How to photograph Spring Flowers

Spring is a fantastic time of year to get outdoors with your camera as nature is bursting with so much energy and colour. A walk in the woods in springtime will reveal a myriad of wild flowers, our gardens and parks will have plenty of subjects to photograph too.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Photograph from: The Medicine Garden: Author: Rachel Corby

 

With the advent of digital photography and phones with cameras  we are all photographers, but what makes one photograph really stand out from the others? The answer to that is there is no single correct way to photograph flowers, however, certain elements do have to be taken into consideration to make a great shot.

Firstly before you start, in your cameras settings, select the highest possible resolution. This will give you clearer detail in your photographs, enabling the image to be used larger without signs of bluriness or noise.
Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs, the early bird really does catch the worm! Harsh midday sun makes most subjects look unflattering. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of day as the light is warmer, less harsh and the colours of the plants look richer. Mornings also tend to be more still, flowers are hard to photograph when they are moving around too much. Windy days are the toughest to photograph flowers on, unless you choose to use the blur creatively with a slower shutter speed.

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

Weather. Most people are surprised to hear that overcast days can be very beneficial for garden and flower photography. This is because clouds act as a perfect light diffuser, creating even lighting and saturation without the worry of harsh highlights or shadows.

Bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flower photography workshops Gloucestershire

Consider your subject before rushing to photograph it. Walk around and see what you are drawn to, see how the light plays on the flowers. Think about your composition, how is the subject going to fill the frame? Backlit flowers will always look good if the petals are transluscent as it accentuates the colours of the petals, giving off a luminesence and showing off the patterns. Don`t be afraid to try out different angles, getting down to the same height as a flower is very effective, or look up to flowers from below them.

Meconopsis Sheldonii Lingholm - Himalayan Blue Poppy

The background of your photograph is very important as untidy, busy, cluttered backgrounds kill a shot as the viewers eye gets distracted away from the subject. If there are shadows use them to make the flower stand out, or move in closer to the subject.

Aquilegia

For close ups I would always recommend the use of a tripod, they allow you to frame the flower perfectly and keep the image sharp. Also look at the flower to see it is free of blemishes or missing petals.

Iris close up

If you do hand hold your camera, as a very general rule of thumb with a standard lens 1/60th of a second is the minimum shutter speed to use, with longer lenses such as a 200mm look around 1/250th of a second to avoid camera shake. For checking correct exposure always check your histogram not the LCD preview.

Galanthus Nivalis - Snowdrops;

Snowdrops: 1/60s  f11

Finally break the rules, experiment and have fun, try out new angles and backgrounds, you might be surprised with the results you obtain.

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ photographed against the sun, post processed in Lightroom.

Try out different processes such as black and white such as the photograph below of a tulip.

Homage to Edward Weston Stephen Studd IGPOTY

Homage to Edward Weston – 3rd place IGPOTY : Monochrome

When photographing wildflowers be careful not to tread on other flowers, leave them just as you found them for insects and others to enjoy.

flower photography workshop Allium ursinum Wild Garlic Ramsons in woodland Sroud Gloucestershire dawn woods forest wildflowers trees medicinal herb edible

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) © Stephen Studd Photography for BBC Gardeners World.


I  am running bluebell flower photography workshops in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire in May: further details can be found here: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


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Black and white photography

Digital photography holidays vacations  tours workshopscourses to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam Wales UK hosted by Stephen Studd

I can remember in an art class at school when we developed a print from a black and white negative, that was my 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 and loved the whole process of developing the black and white film and then making the prints. I still miss this part of photography, but guess nowadays black and white photography is much easier with software and has reduced the use of toxic chemicals.

I am a freelance travel and garden photographer and also run photography holidays, and on these I always say to my guests “See in colour, think black and white”. Black and white can often work better for you on even dull days or misty ones, such as this misty morning on Ha Long Bay.

Halong Bay digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia,  Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, the Gower Wales UK

Halong Bay: Vietnam: Canon 100-400mm lens – f11 @640th sec ND 0.6ND grad soft -ISO 200

I liked the different tones in this scene and knew it would work well as a black and white image. Pre-visualising  your result is important and having a knowledge of the zone system is also valuable.

To produce digital black and white images these are some of the steps I use.

When taking the photograph shoot in colour and in RAW mode, colour space Adobe RGB. You will have far more control over the finished result photographing in colour and then making a black & white conversion using image processing software on your computer.

It is best to shoot on the lowest ISO possible when photographing for black & white images. At high ISO`s, noise (grain) is more evident, the lower the ISO the less noise. If you want to make the final image more grainy then it is best to add this afterwards in post production software such as Lightroom.

Having first visited Bagan in Myanmar (Burma) over 10 years ago for a shoot for National Geographic I fell in love with the place and it still remains one of my favourite places on the planet. There are over 4,000 temples dotted on the plains and the whole area has an ethereal, timeless feeling. I have been returning to Bagan ever since my first visit and have been working on a series of black and white images. I had already pre-visualised the set of black and white images of the temples and for this series I shot the originals in colour and converted them to black & white in Lightroom.

When you wet processed black and white prints, each make of paper would have a certain quality, feel and tone to them. A favourite of mine used to be Kentmere Bromide paper, which had rich neutral blacks, a brilliant base white and superb tonal rendition. I used to use this paper for selenium toned prints to produce a warm feel. To replicate this feel, in the develop mode of Lightroom I use the split tone function.

tones

I produced a set of photographs of Bagan that won an award in the travel category of the International Photography Awards. If you are producing a series of photographs that will be seen together it’s best to keep the same tone for each print so they work well  together.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam hosted by Stephen Studd

Bagan temples: Canon 100 – 400mm lens, f16 @ 1sec  ISO 100

In the develop mode of Lightroom, in the ‘tone curve’ you can alter the contrast of the photograph, much as you could with processing prints through choice of paper and processing. For the photograph above I adjusted the tone curve until I got the desired effect.

curve

I tend not to use the main develop functions when producing a black and white image, apart from possibly a little clarity:

untitled

On a shoot at the Grand Canyon the light was truly working for me early one morning as the sun rose above the horizon. The shafts of sunlight through the moody clouds was a photographers dream.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam hosted by Stephen Studd

Grand Canyon: Canon 24-70mm lens  f16 1/20th sec – ISO 100

I also thought this would make a lovely black and white. For this photograph I wanted a Kentmere Kentona photographic paper feel which featured a chloro-bromide emulsion to give warm deep rich blacks and a warm white base. For the image below I again converted it to B&W in Lightroom, altered the tone curves and split toned the image.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam hosted by Stephen Studd

In Cambodia I was wandering around a rural village saying hello to people in the Khmer language, when I came across this lady. She spoke back to me in Khmer and I replied back, much to her amusement. She called out all her family and got me to speak to them. They all found it funny that I was speaking their language, as they spoke no English. I was invited to their house to drink sugar palm water with them, which is highly prized, it has a lovely sweet and very earthy taste to it.

I was just about to ask if I could take some photos, when the lady had already pointed at my camera and stood up, I always find it amazing that thought always seems to have no language barriers. I took some photos of her and when she looked at them on the back of the camera she gave me the seal of approval. It is these chance encounters that really make me buzz when I am on a travel photography assignment as I love meeting the people of the country.

I was pleased with the portrait and decided to convert the photograph to black & white in Lightroom and again split toned the image.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam hosted by Stephen Studd

Khmer woman portrait: Canon 24-70mm lens. ISO 500 f6.8 @1/250th sec

I wanted a black and white image that this time had an old Ilford Galerie photographic paper feel.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Vietnam hosted by Stephen Studd

This was done by processing in Lightroom and using the tone curve and split toning to the desired effect. In this image note it has a cooler feel to it, with a little more blue hue in the shadows..

To recap, for black & white images, start thinking in black and white. Shoot in colour in RAW mode on the lowest ISO possible, then convert the final image in the post production software of your choice.

Next time you visit a photography exhibition or gallery that is displaying old wet process photographic prints take a close look at them and see the differing tones and contrasts, if you are lucky they will also display which paper they were printed on. You can use this feel of wet process photographic paper in your own digital prints.

Nowadays there are many different digital print papers on the market, these have different feels and tones too. Fine art digital printing is an art in itself, you really need a fully colour calibrated, controlled digital workflow to achieve the best results. Experiment, have fun and if you are producing black and whites for the web then try some of the techniques above, I’d love to see them.


I run travel and landscape photography holidays and tours in Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam.

I also run landscape photography workshops and weekends in the Gower, Wales and Bluebell woods photography workshops in Gloucestershire, please visit the website for full itineraries and information: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

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’



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IGPOTY Awards 2015; Behind the Photos

 

 

The International Garden Photographer of the Year awards have just been announced, I was Commended in the Beautiful Gardens category for this shot of Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco.

Morocco marrakech travel photography holidays workshops tours

Morocco, Marrakech, Jardin Majorelle (Yves Saint Laurent Garden)

I visited the garden a number of times as I was in Marrakech 10 days early before guests turned up for a photography city break I run there. The garden is a photographers dream with its bold colours and planting. The cobalt blue walls are a great backdrop to any plants in pots. The plant in this pot was just catching some sunlight giving depth to the composition.

I also converted it to black and white, and was going to send this one instead as I liked the simplicity of the shot.

Which one do you prefer?

marrakech Morocco Jardin majorelle digital photography holidays tours and workshops

I was also Highly Commended in the Monochrome category for this shot of Chitting Potatoes.

Potatoes chitting by stephen studd Photography

Chitting Potatoes

This was taken with my 100mm Canon macro lens, shot in a north facing window in natural light. It was the two shoots that caught my eye as they looked like weird alien cartoon characters. Even from the simplest of subjects you can find something to photograph with the macro lens.

Congratulations to Magdalena Wasiczek for her overall winning shot: The Ballerinas

To see all the awards for this year follow this link

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Travel photography holidays & UK flower photography workshops: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com including City Break to Marrakech & Atlas Mountains.


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Waterscapes

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 https://twitter.com/StephensPhotos and my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

I host travel photography holidays to some of my favourite locations, further details can be found here; http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

“May the light be with you”


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RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2013 – show gardens

After last years drive up to Knutsford for the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in torrential rain, the omens were looking much better this year – red sky at night – photographers delight. As always for us photographers it was another early pre-dawn start, which is always made much easier with clearer weather as we are always on the search for that perfect dawn light.

The lay out at Tatton this year has changed so myself and other professional garden photographer colleagues on press day played search the show gardens. The show gardens were split into four categories, Galaxy Gardens, Large Gardens, Small gardens and an area for the RHS National Young Designer of the Year finalists gardens (of which I have devoted a seperate blog). After a quick run round looking for where the show gardens were located, there were a few gardens that really caught my eye

The “Gravitational Pull” Galaxy Garden designed by previous Gold medal winners Brendan Vaughan and Leon Davis was the first eye catcher on my way in.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Gravitational Pull Designed by Leon Davis & Brendan Vaughan in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Gravitational Pull Designed by Brendan Vaughan and Leon Davis in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

The garden was inspired by the gravitational forces around a black hole, particularly the gravitational pull which enables it to absorb mass from its surroundings. The conical shaped centrepiece was constructed from steel and reused scaffolding boards. Inside the cone a triangular shoot of water obscured the end of the vortex, giving a great visual effect.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Gravitational Pull Designed by Leon Davis & Brendan Vaughan in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

Gravitational Pull Designed by Leon Davis & Brendan Vaughan in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

The garden had a very strong presence and was a well deserved Gold and Best Galaxy Garden.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Gravitational Pull Designed by  Leon Davis & Brendan Vaughan in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

Gravitational Pull Designed by Brendan Vaughan and Leon Davis in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

I liked its cutting edge design that appears to be Brendan & Leon`s trademark at Tatton. It is also a garden that would fit in well in the Fresh Gardens section, which showcases the best in contemporary design, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

A Stainless Century designed by Phil Hirst celebrated 100 years of the invention of stainless steel by Harry Brearley in Sheffield. There was a 3m tall central stainless steel pergola, a rill depicted the pouring of molten steel from a crucible and what at first looked like bark chippings turned out to be rusted steel highlighting the importance of stainless steel as a non-corrosive material.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 A Stainless Century Designed by Phil HirstSponsored by Sanctuary Group Built by Garden Style Awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

A Stainless Century Designed by Phil Hirst sponsored by Sanctuary Group built by Garden Style awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

Elements in the garden were inspired by Phil`s surroundings in Sheffield, such as his decorative wall panels which are an interpretation of the car park in Sheffield known as the cheese grater.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 A Stainless Century Designed by Phil HirstSponsored by Sanctuary Group Built by Garden Style Awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

A Stainless Century Designed by Phil Hirst sponsored by Sanctuary Group built by Garden Style awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

There were lots of well thought out details including this fence with cut outs of objects that are made of stainless steel.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 A Stainless Century Designed by  Phil Hirst Sponsored by Sanctuary Group Built by Garden Style Awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

A Stainless Century Designed by Phil Hirst awarded Gold Medal and Best Large Garden

This was Phil`s first show garden and he turned steel into Gold and won Best Large Garden.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 A Stainless Century Designed by

A Stainless Century Designed by Phil Hirst

The Mypod Garden designed by seven Landscape Architecture students from Leeds Metropolitan University was about escapism from stresses, pressures and about recuperation with a central Pod encased in a sedum living dome.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Mypod Garden Designed by Seven Peas in a PodBuilt by Greatscape Landscapes awarded Silver Gilt

The Mypod Garden Designed by Seven Peas in a Pod Built by Greatscape Landscapes awarded Silver Gilt and Most Creative Large Garden

The walk down into the earth had some neat details such as the circles cut out from steel on the path and the Yorkshire dry stone wall and moorland planting.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Mypod Garden Designed by  Seven Peas in a PodBuilt by Greatscape Landscapes awarded Silver Gilt

The Mypod Garden Designed by Seven Peas in a Pod Built by Greatscape Landscapes awarded Silver Gilt and Most Creative Large Garden

The path led down to the partly underground secluded retreat. The garden was awarded Most Creative Large Garden and Silver Gilt.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Mypod Garden Designed by Seven Peas in a PodBuilt by Greatscape Landscapes awarded Silver Gilt

Inside The Pod

The dawn light hitting the The Water Garden had the photographers interest.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Water Garden Designed by  Harry Levy Sponsored by The Pond Building Company awarded Silver Gilt

The Water Garden Designed by Harry Levy
Sponsored by The Pond Building Company awarded Silver Gilt

Usually I am waiting for warm light to hit a garden, however for the Reflections of Japan Garden I was waiting for the garden to be in shadow as I had envisioned a set of black and white photographs to give a more minimalist Zen feel to the garden.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Reflections of Japan Designed by  Graham Hardman Sponsored by Bury Hospice awarded Gold Medal

Reflections of Japan Designed by Graham Hardman
Sponsored by Bury Hospice awarded Gold Medal

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Reflections of Japan Designed by  Graham Hardman Sponsored by Bury Hospice awarded Gold Medal

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Reflections of Japan Designed by  Graham Hardman Sponsored by Bury Hospice awarded Gold Medal

Reflections of Japan Designed by Graham Hardman
Sponsored by Bury Hospice awarded Gold Medal

I first spotted giant pebbles in the Brewin Dolphin Garden designed by Robert Myers at Chelsea this year, their presence gave a Zen like calming influence with their polished surface. The Networks: A Garden for Cancer Research designed by Mary Hoult also made use of them.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Networks: A Garden for Cancer Research Designed by  Mary Hoult awarded Gold Medal

A Garden for Cancer Research Designed by Mary Hoult awarded Gold Medal

The Alzheimer’s Society “Remember to Reflect” Garden Designed by Louise Harrison had large stepping stones over a reflective pool that led to a contemporary stone seating area.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Alzheimer's Society Remember to Reflect Garden Designed by Louise Harrison Holland Blue Tulip Garden Design Sponsored by Mills & Reeve awarded Gold medal

Alzheimer’s Society Remember to Reflect Garden Designed by Louise Harrison-Holland
Sponsored by Mills & Reeve awarded Gold medal

Having my own organic allotment I was naturally drawn to the The Home Guard-ener designed by Gary Hillery & Ken Walton of Finchale college. It was designed to show how families relied on their edible garden during the Second World War.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 The Home Guard-ener Designed by  Gary Hillery & Ken Walton Sponsored by Finchale College awarded Silver Gilt

The Home Guard-ener Designed by Gary Hillery & Ken Walton Sponsored by Finchale College awarded Silver Gilt

The layout of the show gardens took some getting used to this year as they seemed a bit too scattered around and many had distracting backgrounds for photography, but they were not short on innovation and were packed full of great inspirational ideas.

Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2013 Gravitational Pull Designed by  Leon Davis & Brendan Vaughan in the Galaxy Gardens category awarded Gold medal and Best Galaxy Garden

Inside “Gravitational Pull”

Thanks to all the designers, builders and sponsors, I look forward to returning to Tatton in 2014 and photographing the show gardens.


 

For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com please use the contact form.

I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

I am represented by GAP Photos for my garden photography: http://www.gapphotos.com/imageresults.asp?photogref=139

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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; http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com/2013/05/14/amazing-myanmar-temples-of-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: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


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Behind the photographs IGPOTY

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) Stroud, Gloucestershire; commended Wildflower Landscapes category

Wild garlic (Ramsons) Stroud, Gloucestershire; commended Wildflower Landscapes category

Wild garlic (Ramsons) Stroud, Gloucestershire; commended Wildflower Landscapes category

This shot was from a commission to photograph medicinal plants for the book; The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby. It is one of my favourite woodlands in springtime when the wild garlic flowers carpet the wood and the new fresh leaves of the trees all burst into life, the aroma in the woods is intoxicating. For this shot it was a pre sunrise start, getting in the woods at this time is such a treat as sometimes deer can be spotted and there is an air of calmness and peace.

After reading the published book, I now forage a few wild garlic leaves to make a medicine to keep colds at bay in winter and also use them in the kitchen.

Fractal Begonia; commended in the Macro Art category.

Begonia Rex L`Escargot IGPOTY Fractal Begonia commended by Stephen Studd photography

Fractal Begonia; commended in Macro Art category

I was photographing the show gardens at Malvern spring gardening show when I came across this Begonia which really caught my eye as backlit it really added another depth to the small leaf. The backlighting really showed off a translucent quality to the leaf showing its flame red veins and patternation.  I am fascinated by the repeated fractal patterns found in nature and thought this Begonia leaf displayed a perfect fractal.

The leaf was backlit just after dawn for no more than 10 minutes and the light and pattern changed considerably in that time. I used a 100mm Canon macro lens for the shot. The result is a straight shot of the fractal leaf backlit in dawn light.

Commended in the Monochrome category;  Winter Reflection.

Winter reflection Painswick Rococo Garden

Winter reflection, Painswick Rococo Garden; Commended Monochrome category

I had gone to photograph the extensive collection of snowdrops at the Rococo Garden, Painswick, on an early winter morning when there had been the first flurry of winter snow of  2012. The morning was very still and calm creating a perfect reflection in the lake. The low level light filtering through the orchard and catching the Exedra and Red House added to the atmosphere.

The image was converted to black and white as the Rococo garden has a timeless quality which I wanted to capture.

In Lightroom 3 the image was converted to black and white. Then the image was split toned with warmth in the highlights and coolness in the shadows to give it the feel of an old Kentmere paper image. Kentona paper was one of my favourite old photographic papers in the days when I wet processed black and white images as it had a lovely warm tone to it.

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Website; Stephen Studd Photography; Travel, Gardens, Plants   http://stephenstuddphotography.com

I also host small group Digital Photography Holidays; www.digitalphotographyholidays.com                                                                           Twitter; https://twitter.com/PhotographyHols

International Garden Photographer of the Year competition; http://igpoty.com