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Why I Love Photographing Cambodia

I first travelled to Cambodia in 1999 and it was the first place after visiting countless countries as a travel photographer to truly capture my heart. I have been returning to Cambodia ever since this first visit and I am still truly in love with the country.

The reason I originally travelled to Cambodia was of course to visit the vast and sublime Angkor Wat complex.

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

However it was the friendly and charming nature of the Cambodian people that so quickly stole my heart.

South East Asia Cambodia Siem Reap Angkor Wat temple complex UNESCO World Heritage site portrait of Cambodian Khmer old woman with traditional headscarf digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia

During my early visits travel around the country was incredibly slow going. Quite often I would find myself clinging on to the back of a motorbike for hours on end as the bike balanced on the banks between paddy fields, slowly picking its way to a far destination promising unique treasures such as deities carved in river beds on sacred mountains.

Digital travel photography holidays to Cambodia ANgkor Wat Asia hosted by Stephen Studd photographer

Nowadays the roads and transport have greatly improved, opening up more of this rustic and unspoilt country.

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

Despite the improvements to roads, it is still very rare to see other tourists anywhere but the hot spots around Angkor. The bulk of the country remains undeveloped with red dust tracks

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

and rice paddies peppered with the tall spikes of sugar palms.

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

Combined with the traditional wooden Khmer houses that rest on stilts and the occasional passing ox-cart

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

this landscape is rich with photographic gems offering a literal plethora of amazing locations for photography.

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

The coast of Cambodia boasts amazing sunrises and sunsets

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

and small towns like Kep, famous for the crab market, are places to head for at sunset to see the days fresh catch hauled back to shore.

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

I have been taking photographic groups to Cambodia since 2012 and one thing that I hear being said again and again is “I can’t believe we are the only ones here”.

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

Cambodia still feels fresh and vibrant in comparison to its tourist weary neighbours and moves at a gentle slower pace.

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

For the discerning travel and landscape photographer Cambodia has it all and in my opinion is Asia’s best kept photographic secret.

Digital travel photography holidays vacations workshops tours to  Cambodia Angkor Wat, Burma, Myanmar, Vietnam,  Wales the Gower, Bluebell woods of Gloucestershire UK


I run travel and landscape photography holidays and tours in Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam the USA & UK.
Please visit the website for full itineraries and dates of tours: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


Stay connected:
Facebook: DigitalPhotographyHolidays
Instagram: @digitalphotographyholidays
Twitter: @PhotographyHols

Google +: +Digitalphotographyholidays

 


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How to photograph snow

When it snows it is a great time to go out with your camera and capture its pure white freshness, but how many times do your photos appear dull and grey and lacking that freshness and purity? When photographing snow scenes or ones that have lots of white in, be attentive to your meter readings, it’s very easy to underexpose a predominately white scene.Watering can in snowSnow is much brighter than the 18% medium grey that your camera is averaged to expose for. Your camera is trying to capture the bright white scene as 18% grey which results in underexposed photos, making them look dull and grey like the one above.

So how do you make the image look bright and fresh whilst keeping detail?Watering can in snowIf your camera has an exposure compensation dial then you should dial in about 2 stops overexposure as a starting point. Exposure compensation is used to move the camera away from the cameras suggested exposure to brighter or darker ones. Look at the histogram and make sure the image preview isn`t blinking (indicating overexposed highlights). It takes a bit of practice but after a while you will be able to expose the shot perfectly. It is a good idea when practicing this technique to bracket the shot.

This scene below was a tough one to get right as the bud is against snow and the ice crystals on the bud I wanted to show with all their intricate detail.

Blackcurrant "Ben Nevis" branch with buds covered in snow and ice crystals, winter

As a starting point I added 2 stops overexposure in the exposure compensation dial, which gave a decent image with no highlights (snow & ice) overexposed. As the camera was on a tripod I then bracketed around this exposure for a perfectly exposed image which retained all the detail in the ice crystals.

On a photo shoot for Manfrotto in Svalbard this technique was essential as the whole place was covered in snow and ice at the time of year I was there. At -30C it was important to act quickly and know the way around the camera, as I had 3 pairs of gloves on, a thick outer extreme weather glove, then inside a woolen glove and a silk glove, this was a technique that Alan Hinkes told me about when I met him and asked his advice. I thought he should know, as he is the only British mountaineer to have climbed all 14 mountains with elevations greater than 8,000 metres and he also photographs his ascents. Basically you keep the 2 outer gloves on for as long as possible and for the shot remove the 2 outer gloves on the one hand leaving the silk glove when you are ready to take the photo.

For the shot below I dialled in 1 & 2/3rd stops overexposure in exposure compensation. This kept detail in the snow and also held detail in the blowing snow on the ground. The camera was mounted on a Manfrotto heavy duty 055 tripod as the strong wind blowing, nearly knocking me off my feet!

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen,  view towards Hiorthfjellet mountain and Adventtoppen mountain across Adventdalen valley

Again for the dog sledders below, overexposure was needed to keep the shot looking fresh, with full detail in the dogs and dog sledders.

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen, husky dog sled, dusk

Nowadays many people use their smartphones for blogging and for social media. In your phones camera settings there should be an exposure value / EV setting. Try shooting a snow scene without adjusting this and then shoot the same scene with it set to 1.5+ see those whites whiter, try moving it to 2+ brighter to see if this makes a difference, but be aware of over exposing the scene.

Arctic circle, North polar region, Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, view from Longyearbyen towards Hiorthfjellet mountain across Adventfjorden fjord, Advent Bay, woman taking photo across the bay

With this easy technique your snow will look snow white and not a dull flat grey. Have fun in the snow and keep warm!

This technique also works well with any scene that is predominantly white, such as with white flowers or buildings.

Dahlia

When you have finished photographing snow don`t forget to set exposure compensation back to 0



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’



Stay connected: 

Facebook:

DigitalPhotographyHolidays

StephenStuddPhotography

Instagram: @stephenstuddphotography/

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@PhotographyHols

@StephensPhotos

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+Digitalphotographyholidays

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Myanmar (Burma) travel photography video

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Morocco hosted by Stephen Studd 2014 2015

Rough Guides published a short video about my travel photography in Burma, with a few photography tips in there too. I’m really pleased with the final video they put together, enjoy the journey:

There are also some photography tips on their website, which can be found by following this link: http://www.roughguides.com/article/why-myanmar-burma-is-a-travel-photographers-gold/

My newsletter subscribers are always the first to hear of any new destinations and receive reward codes for selected holidays and workshops throughout the year, you can subscribe here: http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com/466457/newsletter/ (I never send more than 12 newsletters per year.)

My travel photography holidays to Cambodia and Burma have also been launched on the Responsible Travel holidays website.


For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

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

I am represented by Getty Images and Robert Harding for my travel photography.

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https://www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographyHolidays

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Photography tours & holidays to Burma, Cambodia, Marrakech.

I am running travel photography tours and holidays to some of my favourite places in the world for photography.

Book now to ensure your place, there is no single person supplement.

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Marrakech Venice 2014 2015 South East Asia

U Bein bridge, Burma

Full itinerary for the Burma photography tour click here: http://digitalphotographyholidays.com/516995

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Marrakech Venice 2014 2015 South East Asia  South East Asia

Angkor Wat, sunrise

Full itinerary for the Cambodia photography holiday click here: http://digitalphotographyholidays.com/388262

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Marrakech Venice 2014 2015 South East Asia  South East Asia

Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

The Marrakech photography city break itinerary can be found here: http://digitalphotographyholidays.com/559913

We welcome non-photographer partners on all our holidays and city breaks, each location we go to there is a special package for them.

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

 

 


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Angkor Wat, Cambodia, A Journey, part 2, The Power of Nature

267-2-2-2

Part 2 of my travel photography blog has just been published on the Manfrotto Imagine More website. This week is all about the power of nature.
Angkor Wat Cambodia Ta Prohm Temple

You can follow the journey each Friday in March: http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com/2014/03/14/angkor-wat-cambodia-journey/

Thanks for popping by.


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Angkor Wat, Cambodia, A Journey, travel photography blog

My travel photography blog has just been published on the Manfrotto Imagine More website. It is a 4 part series, following my journey to the temples of Angkor Wat. I first visited them in 1999 when some of the temples were still heavily land mined. This weeks blog looks at these early years pre- digital photography and when I was photographing for an exhibition, giving some of the proceeds of sales of prints and cards to land mine clearance.

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 2015

You can follow the journey here on the Manfrotto website each Friday in March:

http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com/2014/03/07/angkor-wat-cambodia-journey/

Part 2 next week is the “Power of Nature”, thanks for visiting.


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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