Stephen Studd Photography

Travel Gardens Plants


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Behind the Photo: New Shoots

Spring is bursting at the seams at the moment, each and every day bringing new shoots to the surface. I thought I would share with you some photography tips on one of my shots that has sold for a multitude of uses.

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May planted in greenhouse

A very simple shot to achieve, just a little patience is required whilst you wait for the seedling to emerge.

For this shot I grew the seedlings in a large seed tray with the seeds spread wide apart as I just wanted one seedling in the shot.

The advantage of growing the seedling in a seed tray was once it emerged I could move the tray to the best light. I always prefer using natural light in my photography, so I placed the tray in a window, not one that has direct sunlight. Doing this gives the lovely fresh feeling to the seedlings leaves as they are backlit. I was after that feeling of fresh new growth and nature bursting out, the compost can be seen pushed away at the base of the seedling.

If you were to photograph with the window light behind you the seedling would look much duller as in the photo below.

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May planted in greenhouse

For the main shot I used a macro lens, if you don’t have one, extension tubes can be used. I also used a tripod as this was essentially a studio style shoot. With the tripod I had control of where I could put the seed tray in front of the camera for the light I was after (backlit window light). I could also use a low ISO of 100.

I always use mirror lock and a remote release when I’m taking shots like this with the camera on a tripod, reducing the chance of camera shake.

I shoot on manual so I can control the exposure, look and feel of the shot. When shooting with the camera on a tripod getting the right exposure and depth of field is made much easier once you have the composition you are after as you are working in a controlled environment. Focus on manual, especially when using a macro lens.

I always shoot in RAW mode so I can process the image afterwards.

Finally for me it is important to know what variety the seedling is for captioning afterwards, so keep a note.

As the shot was intended for commercial use I left lots of room at the top of the shot for text, (for a magazine or book cover), with space at the bottom and sides for copy too. (Graphic designers will love you for it).

To recap for the shot:

  • Tripod used
  • Low ISO
  • Macro lens (or you can use extension tubes)
  • Mirror lock & remote release
  • Backlit window light
  • Control depth of field so just the seedling is in focus
  • Shoot on manual (especially when using a tripod)
  • Manual focus on the seedling
  • Use single shot drive mode
  • Shoot in RAW format

When the seedling first emerges like this act quickly, they grow and change very quickly overnight.  After I had finished photographing I grew the Kale Nero de Toscano seedling on and planted it on my allotment once the seedling had established. I was able to eat the leaves of the plant once it had grown to maturity, whilst receiving royalty cheques from it too.

 


Websites:

My travel and garden photography website: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

My travel photography holidays & UK photography workshops website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


Social Media:

Facebook:

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Office V Horticulture

The Bombe designed by Heather & Gareth Battisson-Howard awarded Silver Gilt Tatton Park RHS flower show 2012

The Bombe designed by Heather & Gareth Battisson-Howard awarded Silver Gilt Tatton Park RHS flower show 2012

A recent survey showed that gardeners and florists topped the list of happiest workers.

Having travelled the world as a travel and landscape photographer, a few years back I was commissioned to illustrate the medicinal plants that featured in the Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby.

The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby

The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby

I already had a keen interest in horticulture as I have an organic allotment and love tending to my garden whilst also letting swathes of it run free. This particular book commission changed my direction, I fell in love with photographing plants and gardens.

Travel and landscape photography can be quite a solitary profession, this all changed when I was asked to photograph at the RHS Malvern Show. I met the most amazing friendly passionate people involved in so many different areas of horticulture. I was hooked and from that point I now divide time between garden and travel photography.

My personal reasons why I love garden and plant photography is because the photos can be taken in all seasons, whatever the weather, and I get to meet amazing people who are involved in all aspects of horticulture.

Enough said cut to the photos:

Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, view across pond to Exedra and Red House both reflected in pond

Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire, view across pond to Exedra and Red House both reflected in pond

Palm trees reflected in pool, Marjorelle garden, Morocco, sunrise

Palm trees reflected in pool, Marjorelle garden, Morocco, sunrise

Interior of Hartley Botanic greenhouse Chelsea flower show 2012

Interior of Hartley Botanic greenhouse Chelsea flower show 2012

Echinacea "Green Envy" dusk

“Grasses with Grace”, Awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) Awarded Silver Gilt Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

Un Poco de Hogar ( A Little Bit of Home) designed by Alchemy Gardens & Villagio Verde, Awarded Silver Gilt, Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012

The M & G Garden,  Designer Andy Sturgeon;    Sponsor; M& G Investments   Awarded Gold

The M & G Garden, Designer Andy Sturgeon; Sponsor; M& G Investments Awarded Gold

     Show Gardens; The Brewin Dolphin Garden   Designer Cleve West;    Sponsor; Brewin Dolphin   Awarded Gold & Best in Show RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The Brewin Dolphin Garden Designer Cleve West; Sponsor; Brewin Dolphin Awarded Gold & Best in Show RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Photography     Show Gardens; The World Vision Garden Designer Flemons Warland Design ;    Sponsor; World vision Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The World Vision Garden Designer Flemons Warland Design ; Sponsor; World vision Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Stephen Studd Photography     Fresh Gardens; Rainbows Childrens Hospital Garden;   Designers Chris Gutteridge,  Ant Cox & Jon Owens (Second Nature Gardens);        Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Fresh Gardens; Rainbows Childrens Hospital Garden; Designers Chris Gutteridge, Ant Cox & Jon Owens (Second Nature Gardens); Awarded Silver RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

For the florists;

Awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio: NAFAS, Tatton Park RHS Flower show 2011 Cheshire

Awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio: NAFAS, Tatton Park RHS Flower show 2011 Cheshire

Monday blues:

Grow your own

Allium Purple Sensation against the sun

Allium Purple Sensation against the sun

Borage Officinalis from The Cottage Herbery garden, Malvern 2012

Borage Officinalis from The Cottage Herbery garden, Malvern 2012

Gardens can regenerate abandoned spaces

"Urban Oasis" by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

“Urban Oasis” by Groundwork UK & RHS, Designer Chris Beardshaw, RHS Show Cardiff 2012

Recycle and reuse materials

Garden made with recycled and reused materials "Regeneration" Designed by Jane Grenan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Garden made with recycled and reused materials “Regeneration” Designed by Jane Grenan & David Lewis Awarded Silver Gilt RHS Cardiff Show 2012

Gardening involves community;

allotments overlooking Crown & Sceptre Stroud

Allotments overlooking Crown & Sceptre Stroud which runs Britain’s only pub-run Country Fair

Crown and Sceptre stroud country fair marquee with exhibits

Crown and Sceptre Stroud country fair marquee with exhibits, evening a good old knees up takes place.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire 2011, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

woman holding organic garlic bulbs Thermidrome ready for planting late autumn Allium sativum

woman holding organic garlic bulbs Thermidrome ready for planting late autumn Allium sativum

Garlic Article PM69 Spreads-1

Longor shallots ready for planting late winter, hazel dibber and bag full of shallots

Longor shallots ready for planting late winter, hazel dibber and bag full of shallots

Begonia Rex L`Escargot IGPOTY Macro Art Begonia Fractal by Stephen Studd

Begonia Fractal, commended Macro Art category IGPOTY competition 2012

Awarded Silver Flora "The Rain Garden"; Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2011 garden designed by Rhea Lyn Parkes

Iris

Homage to Edward Weston

3rd place IGPOTY; Homage to Edward Weston

Garlic chive seedhead in snow, winter

DIONAEA MUSCIPULA, Venus fly trap

Punk; IGPOTY commended monochrome

Sarracenia flava (heavy veined), pitcher plant

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May planted in greenhouse

Organic kale seedling Nero de Toscana emerging in May

Dahlia

A big thanks to all those who have welcomed me into the wonderful world of plants and to those who I am yet to meet and to all those that have become friends along this path. Wishing everyone an amazing 2013 and years ahead of happiness in the horticultural field.

Special thanks to Rachel Corby for The Medicine Garden book commission.

More pretty pictures at http://www.stephenstuddphotography.com

For the tweeters https://www.twitter.com/StephenPhotos

I can be contacted for photography commissions on  00447706119609

I am a member of the Garden Media Guild and secretary of the Professional Garden Photographers Association

PGP_Logo_sRGB_Keyline_AW


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Snowdrops, Rococo Garden, Painswick, Gloucestershire

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Close up detail of snowdrop

This is an update from my blog entry last week on the snowdrops.
 

 Setting off this morning and seeing the thermometer in the car at -7C I knew I was in store for a cold one. Driving to Painswick Rococo Garden with the most layers on so far this winter I felt like the Michelin man. Despite the cold, the light when it is so crisp I really love, it has such clarity and warm tones. Everything feels so fresh and clear, even your thoughts.

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire
Snowdrops backlit.
This morning I was lucky in that the air was still as I needed some close ups. When working with a macro lens, snowdrop flower heads move with even the slightest whisp of air movement, so are always tricky to capture a sharp image.
Today especially I really wanted it to be still as I was using the 180mm macro, which shows up any tiny movement. Even managed to shoot with 1/15th sec exposures! (Don`t try this at home unless you have a steady tripod).
 
 It was far colder than when I was here last week when there was snow on the ground. Today my hands were sticking to the tripod and dials harder to use than normal, but worth it.
Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Sweeping vista of bank of snowdrops

 The light for me was perfect and the air still, the snowdrops looked like iridescent fairy lanterns lighting up the woods.

On my way home listening to the radio it seems we are in for another cold night.  If you get chance to visit the gardens, then enjoy that crisp, clear, clean winter air that we seem to have avoided so far.

On Radio 4 I heard that on Candlemass/ Groundhog day, there is a saying that if a hedgehog casts a shadow on that day, it means 6 more weeks of winter! Keep warm wherever you are.

Galanthus - Snowdrops; Painswick Rococco Gardens, Gloucestershire

Snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden

 

I am leading Garden and Flower Photography workshops at Painswick Rococo Gardens through the seasons. Please see my website for further details (there is a discount for RHS members) www.stephenstuddphotography.com
 
 
 


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Guest on the Alan Titchmarsh Show

Blue shed on allotment covered in snow, wintertime

Blue shed on allotment covered in snow, wintertime

Friday was a really busy day being called by the RHS to ask whether I would be available to go on the Alan Titchmarsh show to talk about one of my photographs.

I had entered some images into the RHS Photographer of the Year 2011 and forgotten about it until the call on Friday. The RHS press office called to ask whether I would be free on Monday to go on the show.

Later researchers from the show called and made arrangements to get me to the studios in time. I shall be talking with some other photographers about photographs that were entered into the competition. First tv appearance for me so really looking forward to the day and also to meet Alan Titchmarsh as I know he is as passionate about gardening as myself.

My Grandfather when he was alive was a head gardener and would have been really pleased with my work. I can always remember as a child visiting his allotment and in the summertime eating fresh peas from the pod. The beautiful smell of cracking open a pea pod straight from the plant is one of those great aromas of summer. Also remember eating raspberries straight from the canes, still my favourite fruit.

There must be some gardening gene that runs through the family as my father has the greenest fingers of anyone I know. His skill and patience in getting difficult things to germinate is remarkable. I have been lucky as I have always been surrounded by plants.


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International Garden Photographer of the Year; Weather Eye

“Garlic Chive Seedheads in Winter Landscape” Finalist in the 4 Seasons Category.

This shot was taken on my organic allotment last December. There had been really heavy snow the night before. I went up to the allotment to photograph and these garlic chive seedheads immediately caught my eye. They looked so fragile but were obviously really tough as they were still clinging on to their valuable seed. I used my 100mm macro lens to just concentrate on the seedhead in the foreground, knocking the rest out of focus, which created  beautiful pattern and shape. 

Garlic chive seedheads in winter landscape with snow, differential focus

Garlic Chive Seedheads in Winter Landscape


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Tatton Park RHS Flower Show 2011; Show Gardens

This was my first visit to Tatton Park RHS flower show and I was greatly impressed. A very friendly, fun and professional show, billed as the North`s greatest garden party.

I had access to the site from 5am for 3 days. Having not been to Tatton before the very first 5am start was a very quick orientation. The light was flat and grey for most mornings, which does work for show gardens, though at dawn I do prefer the warm soft light. This happened some evenings around 8pm.

Awarded Best in Show and Gold was the garden entitled; “Save a Life, Drop the Knife”;  garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe. The message was clear and the garden moved from gnarly, sharp, angry urbanism through to gentle contemporary softness and peace.

"Save a Life, Drop the Knife"; garden designed by Glen Jackson & the Offenders at HMP Everthorpe

 “Grasses with Grace” by Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens & Nursery was my personal favourite that I kept coming back to at different times as it changed constantly. The planting was just superb, especially for a photographer, as there were so many vistas that were eye catching. I have to admit that the Echinacea “Green Envy” was also my favourite flower in the show as it was so well offset with the Sanguisorba obtusa and the  Grasses: Stipa capillata (front); & Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (back).

"Grasses with Grace", Awarded Gold Medal, Designed by Sue Beesly, Bluebell Cottage Gardens

 Early evening back lighting on the Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and Agastache ‘Black Adder’ also showed off the grasses  Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back)

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’, Grasses: Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’ (left) ; Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster (back),

Sue`s expert planting is shown here. One of the reasons this garden was my favourite as it really won its well deserved Gold through its planting. As a garden photographer often at shows the structure seems to be thought of first then planted around it. This garden shows that brilliant planting can win Gold.

"Grasses with Grace", Achillea ‘Red Velvet", Anthemis ‘E.C. Buxton’, Agastache ‘Black Adder", Sanguisorba obtusa, Grass: Stipa calamagrostis

 “The Schedule”, awarded Gold Medal was also one of my favourites. The styling was immaculately executed and it transported me back to the 1970`s visiting my Uncle Harry`s garden in Ipswich. A time when life was alot simpler and people took pride in growing things. This was another garden I kept popping back to and once again was rewarded one evening with the backlit brassicas.

"The Schedule", awarded Gold Medal, designed by Gary Hillery, Ken Walton, Finchale Training College

 The garden looked like it had always been there, I really liked the lean-too greenhouse.

 
I even had a bike just the same as this one! The canvas saddle bag too was classic. Hot Pot for tea! 
“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” awarded Gold Medal, designed by Daniela Coray, winner of the 2011 RHS National Young Designer of the Year Competition. This meadow garden swayed beautifully in the breeze underneath the crab apple trees, Daniela has a bright future ahead of her.
 
 
OXFAM`s “When the Waters Rise”  was part of their “Grow” Campaign” for better ways to grow, share and live together. The garden was full of meaning and the message very clear. It showed the ways people across the world are adapting to climate change, particularly flooding. Here veg is grown in containers that are portable. The sculpture of woman with child on her back looking after the garden highlights womens role in subsistence farming.
“When the Waters Rise”

 Great details like the carrots growing in the wellies!

“Inside Out”,Designed by John Everiss was a great feat of engineering and design. When I was photographing late one evening a couple of the onsite construction crew were having a real good look at the structure. This for me really worked on a few levels. The roof was amazing with the outdoor living area below,

"Inside Out", Awarded Gold Medal, Designer John Everiss

 The “Outside” nestling up pefectly to the “Inside”, the Hornbeam hedging also dividing areas off.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On designed by Sam Youd was a very calm reflective garden also awarded a Gold. Sam is Head Gardener at Tatton and was asked to design a Japanese Garden commemorarting 100 years of a Japanese Garden at the park. Sam has been Head gardener for over 30years and was instrumental in bringing the show to tatton park. He will also be retiring next year and I personally wish him a happy and content retirement.

“Paradise Isle- 100 Years On”, designed by Sam Youd
 
“Painting with Plants“, awarded Silver Gilt Medal, designed by Jan Lomas, Nicola Sweeting, Eaton Garden Team, sponsored by Grosvenor Estate had another of my favourite plants the  Eryngium ‘ Cobalt  Star`

Eryngium ' Cobalt Star`

I also liked this water feature that was blended in nicely to the planting.

Water feature amongst Agastache ‘ Blue fortune”, Eragrostis curvula ( African Love Grass ), Helenium ‘Waldtraut’,

Finally I wandered through the Floral Design Studio and came across this flower display, “Hidden & Revealed” that won Gold & Best Exhibit, by NAFAS. It mesmerised me and really stopped me in my tracks. I found it very peaceful, Zen and calming. I decided to photograph it with a slow enough shutter speed to catch the copper and willow circle spinning enough to still make out the shape amongst the stillness.

NAFAS were awarded Gold & Best Exhibit in the Floral Design Studio

 

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the show and look forward to returning for next years show in 2012.


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20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses by Rachel Corby

Good Life Press have just published 20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses by Rachel Corby. I was commissioned to photograph the illustrations showing the 20 plants in various forms, from food to furniture, clothing etc.

Really enjoyed this commission as it was a quite open brief. Had to find different craftspeople that worked on particular materials, from willow weavers to Monkey Puzzle wood turners to chair makers etc. I really enjoyed meeting people who are as passionate about their work as I am about my photography. Crafts in Britain are still alive with some amazing practicioners of their art. I was fortunate to meet only a handful of them as there are people all over the country who could also have had works included.

The book is a practical guide to 20 plants or trees that have a myriad number of uses for them whether it be as herbal medicine or canoe making! All the images were shot full colour on my trusty Canon 1ds Mark II.

A selection can be seen below.

This was an amazing sculpture by Guido Oakley who was exhibiting at Westonbirt Arboretum at the Festival of Wood.

Walnut wood sculpture by Guido Oakley

Below a studio shot of Quinoa illustrating its food use.

Quinoa with red peppers and parsley

Dave Jackson from Wildwood Coppice Crafts made the stool below. I had been photographing at Malvern Autumn Show and noticed a willow fence that had been made by Dave. On contacting him he kindly allowed me to spend the afternoon at his workspace where he had many fine crafted pieces from dibbers to chairs to a compost loo.

Hazel frame stool with woven willow seat made by Dave Jackson

A radiant sunflower in full bloom.

Sunflower

Alfalfa sprouts shot in my studio with Elinchrom lighting.

Alfalfa sprouts

Norah Kennedy a local willow weaver allowed me to photograph at some of the workshops she was teaching on. The shot below was taken on a very snowy morning the day was freezing cold but the sun was filtering through the clouds giving a nice warm winter glow. It was taken at the Organic Farmshop in Cirencester.

Willow baskets made by Norah Kennedy

I have started to read the book which is an interesting read. Pre plastics and oil we made things that had to last, in the case of furniture for generations. We live in such a disposable society nowadays. Where do we dispose? into the Earth, when in the past we had to create things that grew from the Earth! Around 1 in 7 people on the planet live in a home constructed from bamboo.

Thanks to Rachel Corby for the commission and to all the crafts people who gave their time and showed their amazing skills.