Stephen Studd Photography

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Macro Art – IGPOTY 1st Place

Pleased to hear this morning that the photograph I entered for the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition has won 1st place in the Macro Art category.

Giant Carrot

Giant Carrot – 1st Place IGPOTY Macro Art

This was taken at the Malvern Autumn show where they host the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship, all sorts of vegetables are on display as part of the competition.

People at the show were photographing the whole size of the giant veg, but to me the oversized veg look rather grotesque. This made me think outside the box as a photographer and look at the subjects and interpret them in a different way, as on closer inspection they reveal patterns that are not usually seen on ordinary sized veg. I decided to produce a series of abstract images of the giant veg instead.

When I teach my photography workshops, I always talk about what is the ‘end use’ of the images you take, for these it is a series of fine art framed abstract photographs. For this set I used a Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro lens to focus in close to the vegetables I photographed.

Each giant veg I photographed revealed their own unique abstract patterns as can be seen in the very small selection from the series below. Can you guess what any of them are?

onion

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Pumpkin

My website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

The judging panel for IGPOTY said: “Stephen’s image has emphatically answered the brief by executing a simple idea extremely well. We get lost in the extraordinary shapes, colours and textures of the carrot, which is anything but the ordinary vegetable we think we are so well accustomed with.”

Congratulations to all the other entries from the competition which can be found here: IGPOTY Macro Art


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

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Malvern Autumn Show 2011

Spent a fantastic couple of days at Malvern Autumn Show on a photography commission. I really like Malvern Shows as the showground has such a spectacular backdrop of the Malvern Hills behind.

A 5am start on both days to arrive at sunrise paid dividends as always. The early bird really does catch the worm!

I headed straight to the show gardens which were undercover, a bonus for the designers at this time of year, good for me in that the plants remained still, although the lighting was not that brilliant, especially on the Sunday. Amazing though to get down to 5 second exposures at 100 ISO and no movement in the plants.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Old Kiln Yard designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens, sponsored by The Cottage Herbery celebrating their 35th Anniversary

"The Old Kiln Yard" designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens, plants supplied by the Cottage Herbery

I really liked Mark Walker`s “Somerset Pride” garden, though “The Old Kiln Yard” designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens was also a favourite for me. Both gardens had that rustic retro feel which I am drawn to at the moment. The Cottage Herbery sponsored Pauls garden celebrating their 35th year of Organic production. My allotment and garden are also organic so was very drawn to this.

Having worked as a Travel photographer for 20+ years, a chance commission three years ago, by Rachel Corby to illustrate her book “The Medicine Garden” a guide to Herbs and their uses, sent me on this journey as a Gardens & Plants photographer.

Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby Cover, Photography Stephen Studd
Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby Cover, Photography Stephen Studd

All gardens featured a great selection of herbs, especially Pauls, the Malabar Spinach and Mitsuba Japanese Parsley were both really eye catching plants.

 
Best in Show was awarded to Mark Walker for his rustic retro garden “Somerset Pride” awarded Silver Gilt Flora.
 
Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Best In Show; Somerset`s Pride, designed by Mark Walker, Walker`s Garden Retreats

"Somerset Pride" designed by Mark Walker, old photo feel from Lightroom

 

This shot has been worked in Lightroom 3 to give it the vintage photo look and feel. The garden was about the encroachment of building land on to old farming land. Losing valuable farmland in these times of  Global food insecurity, peak oil  is an important issue which Marks garden dealt with visually and with great planting and styling.  The film “Food Inc”  shows to me how important grow local eat seasonal is to me
 
 
The home made produce and old sign were very nostalgic. In times of austerity there is a place in the past we hanker for, when things were simpler and less complicated.
Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Best In Show; Somerset`s Pride, designed by Mark Walker, Walker`s Garden Retreats

Produce for sale down on the "Somerset Pride" farm

So few people have the time to make wonderful chutney`s and jams in their busy lives. I consider myself fortunate that I have an organic allotment which provides produce for my chutneys and killer picalilli, yes I also grow very hot chillies, a taste acquired from my years as a travel photographer.

Mark used reclaimed materials for his garden, something that has been put to good use on my own allotment.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Best In Show; Somerset`s Pride, designed by Mark Walker, Walker`s Garden Retreats

Reclaimed and reused elements of the garden

 My favourite part of the garden was the rusty old bike with an old metal bucket with mulched strawberry plants in, behind this an amazing harvest of different veg and actual wheatsheafs.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Best In Show; Somerset`s Pride, designed by Mark Walker, Walker`s Garden Retreats

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Best In Show; Somerset`s Pride, designed by Mark Walker, Walker`s Garden Retreats

Paul Taylors “The Old Kiln Yard” was another garden using reclaimed materials, herbs and veg giving it a very rustic feel too.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Old Kiln Yard designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens, sponsored by The Cottage Herbery celebrating their 35th Anniversary

"The Old Kiln Yard" designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens

 There was a great mix of edible and medicinal plants in the garden all tightly packed to keep the weeds out. This garden did make me want to taste the plants as there was such a great variety. I couldn`t resist buying some packets of seeds from the Cottage Herbery, especially cannot wait to grow the seeds of the climbing Malabar Spinach and Mitsuba Japanese Parsley.

Dark leaves of Japanese Spinach and top right climbing Malabar Spinach

Pauls rill was really subtle but highly effective, the water passing through the planting into the rusted grate above, giving a pleasing sound and lovely flow.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Old Kiln Yard designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens, sponsored by The Cottage Herbery celebrating their 35th Anniversary

Water flowing down the rill.

 Caroline Butler who was the winner of the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship 2011 designed the Bradstone Vitality Garden. Her garden concept was based around the seed and the vitality they give to us, the start of it all. The planting was mixed and represented some of the plants used for herbal remedies as well as food. Unlike the other gardens all materials were new and for my taste the two walls were slightly dominant, though to be fair with weathering in the UK would be softened quickly. The seat laid into one of the walls was a great touch.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Bradstone Vitality Garden, designed by Caroline Butler, Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Winner 2011

Stone seat laid into wall, designed by Caroline Butler

Caroline has a great artistic eye and is not afraid to try out new things, I really liked her use of lines and curves taking your eye through and around the garden.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Bradstone Vitality Garden, designed by Caroline Butler, Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Winner 2011

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Bradstone Vitality Garden, designed by Caroline Butler, Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Winner 2011

The two curved walls worked well and showed the plants off against its darker stone.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Bradstone Vitality Garden, designed by Caroline Butler, Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Winner 2011

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora; The Bradstone Vitality Garden, designed by Caroline Butler, Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship Winner 2011

The Malvern Autumn show for me is a celebration of all the hard work put in through the year and the fruits of our labour. Giant veg is not really my thing but there were some true giants to be seen.

Giant Cabbages

Giant Cabbages

Great displays of  grown produce and Dahlia competition.

Prize winning veg

Prize winning veg

R.V Porter had an expansive display of Orchard fruit, gaining a Gold Medal. The display showed an amazing array of Heritage varieties of apples and pears.

Heritage British Apple and Pear display at Malvern autumn show 2011

Heritage British Apple and Pear display at Malvern autumn show 2011

The Dahlia competition showed them off to perfection. This one was my favourite as it reminded me of the last of the heat from the sun in Autumn before we all start turning inwards to be warmed by the heat from our fires.

Fiery Dahlia

Fiery Dahlia

Thanks to all at Malvern for their entheusiasm and passion for all things horticultural. Now for me a few days off to make use of this hot weather to get my garden and allotment into shape for winter.


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Malvern Spring Gardening Show May 2011

Well the show is over and the processing in Lightroom 3 has begun. This years show was blessed with good weather and some fantastic show gardens. A 4.45am start to the day paid dividends with the most beautiful sunrises at 5.45am. Sun rising perfectly casting low warm light onto some of the gardens. Perfect conditions only thing to contend with was the wind. But this actually worked on a couple of the gardens, especially the Chris Beardshaw/Bradstone scholarship gardens, where the theme was “Atom”, marking the UN`s International Year of Chemistry.

Graduate Gardeners took Gold and Best in the Show Gardens, for their garden entitled “A Garden for Life”. The garden was centred around an A frame house with wildflowers at the front and a very practical grow your own veg patch to the side. On a photography technical side Lee Filters .6ND soft grad was used to balance the sky and foreground. White marquees were taken out of the windows by Jaincotech, thanks.

Gold & Best in Show, "A Garden for Life" designed by Stuart Gibbs (Graduate Gardeners Ltd)

It really looked like it had always been there!

The details were also amazing

The veg garden

The other Gold Winner was  “My Very Local Veg Garden” designed by Hannah Genders (Hannah Genders Ltd). This was a garden that touched me as Hannah set herself the challenge of sourcing all materials for the garden within cycling distance of her home in Worcestershire. On my own organic allotment all the raised beds are made from slab, wood that isn`t used in the timber industry. For a book commission “The Medicine Garden” by Rachel Corby I too set myself a mission of photographing as many of the Medicinal Plants from a 5 mile radius of my house. The only ones not possible to do were by the coast.

I love the ethos of making an amazingly productive garden from recycled, reused materials!

Awarded Gold "My Very Local Veg Garden"; garden designed by Hannah Genders (Hannah Genders Ltd)

Super styling; and who wouldn`t want to sit around the centrepiece table and tuck into a  meal made from the produce at picking distance from your chair.

Fantastic veg garden!

The Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship gardens sponsored by Bradstone threw up some delights and some maverick designs!

My personal favourite was “In the Balance” designed by Caroline E Butler. I remember being immersed in the photography when Caroline came up for a chat, I was in the zone. Caroline asked what I was doing and I explained I was a garden photographer and that i was spending alot of time on the garden to get it right and I remember saying “which is a good sign”.

The next day Caroline at the awards ceremony was handed the Chris Beardshaw scholarship!

This first image was where I thought the windy conditions aided me. I liked the concept of the mathematical equations and what they meant to me. On going back the next morning at 5.30 it was windy but with good light. I had thought overnight what the equations were representing and to me fluidity and movement.

Chris Beardshaw scholarship winner; "In the Balance"; garden designed by Caroline E Butler

The Fibonacci numbers integer sequence is a mathematical equation that Carolines planting of Sempervivum in the nucleus displays well.

Great use of Bradstone materials

Another scholarship winner was Paul Cantello`s garden “Breathe” designed around the oxygen atom.  The raised platforms I liked with their thought out metal rod bordering.

Awarded Silver Gilt Flora and Chris Beardshaw Scholarship "Breathe" ; Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2011 garden designed by Paul Cantello (Batello Garden Design)

It also displayed lovely tight planting, no room for weeds.

Another scholarship winner was Rachel Phillips “Budding Scientists”. I loved the structure with the turf roof.

"Budding Scientists" Awarded Silver Gilt Flora & Chris Beardshaw scolarship, garden designed by Rachel Phillips & Designs With Nature

Awarded Gold best Trade stand and best in show was  the garden from Garden Interest designed by Roger Higgins. I had seen this garden earlier in the week and wanted to get there before any light hit it. There at 5.45am with the Malvern winds blowing I needed a 4 second exposure to get the waterfall cascade right and patience needed for a lull in the wind to keep the planting still.

Patience paid off and I must say the sound of the waterfall made me really want this in my own garden.

Trade Stand Gold and Best in Show awarded to Garden Interest Landscape Design and Construction designed by Robin Higgins

Fantastic attention to detail;

I did want to sit in the deckchair sipping a warm cup of tea from a flask listening to the seagulls and waves lapping the breaks and shore below at the “Westhaven School by the Sea” garden designed by  Mark Walker of Walkers Garden Retreats.

The Gold Schools garden went to a garden designed by Pershore college students with Jake Peloni`s design. What a central feature the pebble globe. Plus it lent itself well to being photographed at midday, always a bonus.

Awarded Gold "The Astrology Garden"; garden designed by Jake Poloni and Pershore College

I also really liked the pathways which one of the students told me were made from old school locker doors a wonderful use of recycling. Plus they rusted really well fitting in perfectly.

As this is a garden photography blog then I must show a few of the gardens that leant themselves well to photograph, which is something garden designers at shows miss sometimes. To gain publicity it must be easy to photograph.

I really liked Keni Lee`s “From Laozi to Heisenberg”. After a recent month long photography trip to Shanghai I really got his garden. I thought it was very Zen and Tao. I thought the low lying planting with tall rocks reminded the viewer of the mountains and from the top of them looking onto the landscape below. The pathways zig zag to keep the evil spirits out. There are ying and yang elements in the garden.

"From Laozi to Heisenberg" garden designed by Keni Lee

Circles worked well;

Rhea Lyn Parkes “The Rain Garden” was one of my favourite shots of the show purely for the simplicity of the grasses against the ochre wall at dawn. Something to look at and contemplate.

Another slow exposure shot that worked well was Lindsay Warwicks bubbley “Chemistry… all that matters” garden with the effervescing test tubes.

Finally “Collision” by Christopher Tessier. His simplicity and the spiral rill I really enjoyed and nowadays thanks to Photoshop the distracting cordon around the garden could be removed thanks to my friends at Jaincotech! (This shot would not be here with it in!)

Like to drive away in this car? “The Morgan Garden” designed by Craig Hamilton Smith in association with Morgan Motor Company.

A really big thankyou to all the designers, gardeners, landscapers mavericks for a truly great show. Wishing you all the best. A really big thankyou to Sharon Gilbert from the Three Counties Showground Press Office for running things so magnificently. Finally to the plants the sun and all people passionate about gardens!

Next blog coming soon will be magnificent plants from the Floral pavillion, here`s a taster!

Mecenopsis Sheldonii Lingholm grown by Kayes Garden Nursery