Oxford School of Photography

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Category Archives: Garden and Plant Photography

Garden Photographer of The Year

IGOPTY is an annual competition to find the great images of plants and gardens from photographers around the world. If you have any interest in this area of photography then this web site and the associated exhibition is an absolute must for you. The images are universally beautiful and engaging; you ask yourself if it is this easy, it is photography in a garden, why can’t I do it. I guess it is about a great understanding of the use of your camera, huge amounts of patience, the desire to be there at the best moment and attention to detail. We can help with the camera bit with our courses on understanding your camera and with help on improving your composition and the use of software to make the most of your images we can help too. However the getting up before dawn to be in the right place at the right time that is up to you. To see the full gallery of winning and placed images go here to the IGOPTY site

http://www.igpoty.com/

Volker Michael – Finalist First Rays Jistrum, Friesland, The Netherlands

http://www.igpoty.com/

Rosanna Castrini – Commended The Ring Piedmont, Italy

http://www.igpoty.com/

Jianjun Huang – Commended Charming Dongjiang Guangdong Province, China

http://www.igpoty.com/

Lili Gao – Finalist Waiting Dandong City, Liaoning Province, China

http://www.igpoty.com/

Stefano Coltelli – Commended Plitvice Falls The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia

The winner is

http://www.igpoty.com/

This late autumn photo – from Snowdonia National Park in North Wales – has been crowned the overall winner of the 10th annual International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

Taken by Lee Acaster, and entitled Left, this stark image won the Trees, Woods and Forests category – and then beat thousands of other entries to win the top spot.

Garden designer Chris Beardshaw – one of the competition judges – says the photo “perfectly encapsulates both the extremes of fortune and personality of these giants”.

While Clare Foggett – who edits The English Garden Magazine – says the image “draws the viewer in, to reveal the still surface of the lake behind. It demands closer inspection”.

If you wish you can see these and many more on the BBC website that has a major feature on the competition and winners

http://www.igpoty.com/

The exhibition is toured and here are dates

Venue Exhibition Photographs
November 1st 2016 – Feb 28th 2017 The Beth Chatto Gardens, Colchester, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor selection from Competition 9
January 14th – March 5th National Trust Sissinghurst Castle & Gardens, ENGLAND 9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
January 21st – March 1st 2017 Willis Museum Gallery, Basingstoke, ENGLAND 9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
Feb 4th – March 12th 2017 Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, ENGLAND 10 IGPOTY Annual launch ceremony – winners of Competition 10 [indoor exhibition] announced to the public.
March 24th – June 18th 2017 de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS 10 Outdoor selection from Competition 10
April 1st – June 4th 2017 RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Rettendon, ENGLAND 10 Outdoor selection from Competition 10
April 1st – November 15th 2017 The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyrol, ITALY 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10
April 1st – November 15th 2017 Gibraltar Botanic Gardens (The Alameda), GIBRALTAR 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10
August 28th – October 29th 2017 National Trust Sheringham Park, Norfolk, ENGLAND 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10

International garden photographer of the year – in pictures

From the Guardian

The international garden photographer of the year in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have announced the winners of their annual photography competition

The overall winning entry was of Tekapo lupins taken by Richard Bloom Photograph: Richard Bloom/IGPOTY

The overall winning entry was of Tekapo lupins taken by Richard Bloom
Photograph: Richard Bloom/IGPOTY

Patrizia Piga’s masterly still life of harvested plants and vegetables Photograph: Patrizia Piga/IGPOTY

Patrizia Piga’s masterly still life of harvested plants and vegetables
Photograph: Patrizia Piga/IGPOTY

Christine Blanchin dos Santos snapped this collection of seed pods Photograph: Christine Blanchin dos Santos/IGPOTY

Christine Blanchin dos Santos snapped this collection of seed pods
Photograph: Christine Blanchin dos Santos/IGPOTY

A close-up of a giant poppy by Stuart Hall Photograph: Stuart Hall/IGPOTY

A close-up of a giant poppy by Stuart Hall
Photograph: Stuart Hall/IGPOTY

See more from the Guardian Gallery here

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International Garden Photographer of the Year is the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography.

International Garden Photographer of the Year is wholly owned and organised by Garden World Images Ltd.

It is run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. The main exhibition is held annually at Kew, with a rolling programme of touring exhibitions in the UK and all over the world. Exhibitions are linked to events such as workshops and lectures on garden photography.

Exhibition dates

February 13th – April 29th 2016 NT Hanbury Hall, Droitwich, Worcestershire, ENGLAND 8 Indoor Competition 8
February 6th – 13th March 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, ENGLAND 9 Competition 9 Winners Revealed To Public ~ Winners and finalists from Competition 9
March 4th – 28th 2016 RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Rettendon, Chelmsford, ENGLAND. 8 Indoor selection from Competition 8
April 12th – September 19th 2016 de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS 9 Outdoor selection from Competition 9
April 23rd – June 26th 2016 Sunderland Museum, ENGLAND. 9 Indoor selection from Exhibition 9
April 23rd – 28th August 2016 Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, ENGLAND 9 Winners from Competition 9
May 29th – September 3rd 2016 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor exhibition, winners from ‘Captured at Kew’ category
May 28th – 7th August 2016 Garden Society of Gothenburg, SWEDEN 9 Competition 9
28th June – 6th September 2016 NT Sheringham Park, Norfolk, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor exhibition, competition 9
October (tbc)- December (tbc) 2016
Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton, ENGLAND
9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
September TBC 2016 – January TBC 2017 Falkirk Community Trust, SCOTLAND 2,3,4,5,7,8 Mixed indoor selection from comps; 2,3,4,5,7,8

 

 

International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015

Back in the winter the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015 award announced it’s winners. The Guardian had an article and gallery of the images

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The Ballerinas by Magdalena Wasiczek. Overall Winner
‘This stunning image of Hydrangea petiolaris is a worthy winner of IGPOTY. What I particularly like about the shot is the way the photographer has melted the rich purples and oranges of the hydrangea into the out of focus background, creating a delicious melange of colours. The focus on the single delicate hydrangea flower is spot on, creating a striking and unusual winter portrait,’ said Clive Nichols, IGPOTY judge

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Parallelism by Jefflin Ling, first place in the Monochrome Photo Projects category

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Vineyards, by Albert Ceolan. Winner of the Bountiful Earth category

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You can see more of the gallery here

Here is a link to the IGPOTY site

A beginner’s guide to garden photography

The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries. What could make your picture a winner? In The Telegraph

Britain is seeing a surge in amateur garden photography. Over the past decade, the hobby has flourished and now has a cult-like following.

The growing talent and quality of photographs means garden photography competitions are inundated with exceptional entries. One leading competition is the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY), which receives more than 20,000 entries.

“We’re looking for images that are absolutely special,” says Clive Nichols, one of the founders of the competition and a judge. “Not just technically, but also in terms of what they show. To win it, you really have to have a standout image.”

Philip Smith, managing director of the competition, has some practical advice (see overleaf) if you are looking to improve your garden photography. His favourite IGPOTY winners from previous years are shown here.

“The first is by Magdalena Wasiczek,” he says. “It is the rhythm of this photograph (Upside Down, below) that expresses its subject so well. The delicate soft light and the impossibly balanced butterfly – all the elements come together in a fleeting moment of fragile beauty. It is like a soft melody in a minor key.

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want more?

Focus Stacking: how to extend depth of field in Photoshop

Focus stacking is the new lens flare, which was the new off camera flash, which was the new HDR, which was the new….. there are always trends and fads and now it is focus stacking. This does make it sound as if I think this is a pointless activity but I don’t, in the right situation it is utterly brilliant and if you like making sharp pictures front to back, whether landscapes or macro flowers this is for you.

Shooting anything up close requires incredible patience and extreme precision. If your close-up photography isn’t sharp then you’re not only wasting pictures, but you’ve wasted hours of your time. In this in-depth tutorial we’ll show you how to use one of the most amazing Photoshop effects macro and close-up photographers can use: focus stacking.

Below we’ll show you step-by-step how to focus stack and extend depth of field when shooting close-up by shifting your point of focus in multiple images, which you’ll later stitch together so you can produce images that are sharp throughout the frame.

Focus Stacking: how to extend depth of field when shooting close up

One of the best things about close-up photography is the wonderful softness that results from working with such a shallow depth of field.

Even at the smallest apertures the plane of focus will stretch to a couple of centimetres at most, and anything outside this range will fall off into beautiful bokeh.

At times, however, this can be a problem –especially if you’d like a completely sharp subject. Stopping down the aperture will increase depth of field, but sometimes this simply isn’t enough to achieve sharpness across the subject from front to back.

The solution: fix the camera to a tripod and shoot several frames, each with a small shift in focus, then use Photoshop to combine the sharp areas to create a single pin-sharp image.

Read the rest of this very useful article from Digital Camera World here

we have an advanced DSLR course where one of the things we teach is focus stacking, go here for more information

Shoot brilliant bluebell photos

I have noticed that the blue bells in my garden are now at their best, visit some woods now. If you do go down to the woods today then this advice might help, from Digital Camera World

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You have to be watchful at this time of year, because it’s almost time to go down to the woods – not for the teddy bears’ picnic, of course, but for something much more inspiring than that… it’s time for bluebells!

Their wonderful carpets of blue and green are one of the signs of spring, and make for fantastic photos.

Depending on seasonal temperatures and how far south you are, there’s a short window from about mid-April to the end of May during which you can see bluebells. With this year’s mild winter in the UK they may be early, so don’t miss them!

One of the joys of spring in Britain is walking through a woodland to enjoy the birdsong, smell the scented air, see the wildlife and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

An established beech wood is best for photographs, as you get tall, straight trees with little undergrowth and not many offshoots or branches protruding from trunks.

You ideally want an open aspect to the east or west side of the woods where you can shoot towards a low sun that’s not too strong.

Longer lenses to compress the image and make the display look more dense, attention to white balance or shoot in RAW and correct it later. Tripod, particularly one that goes low to the ground.

There is lots of good advice here

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Travel Photographer Of The Year Exhibition

TPoY Lacock

Image: Japanese Macaque © Jasper Doest/tpoty.com

An exhibition of images from the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards are to go on show in an outdoor exhibition for the first time at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, the birthplace of photography.

These award-winning photographs, submitted by amateur and professional photographers who beat entrants from almost a one hundred countries in 2013, drew some 37,000 visitors when they were displayed in London last summer, giving visitors who may have missed the London exhibition a chance to enjoy them now.

The photographs in the exhibition offer a glimpse into our magnificent and poignant world. From sweeping landscapes to bustling city scenes, from a lion on the hunt to a ‘snow monkey’ having a relaxed bath in Japan and some fascinating moments of human life, these images will take people on a journey around the world.

Running from 5 June to 12 July, Travel Photographer of the Year at Lacock Abbey gives photography fans the chance to view these images in the unrivalled and highly appropriate setting of the National Trust property which is considered the birth place of modern photography where Henry Talbot captured the first photographic negative.

The exhibition will be on show in the abbey’s Tudor courtyard, an historic part of the building’s 800 year history. It was also a location Talbot often used to take pictures and many of his famous photographs, including ‘The Open Door’, were taken there. This year the National Trust team at Lacock closed the courtyard to vehicles, making it a more relaxing and enjoyable space for visitors. TPOTY will be the first event held here.

Travel Photographer of the Year, 5 June to 12 July, daily from 10.30am to 5.30pm, in the Tudor courtyard at Lacock Abbey. National Trust members and under 5s go free. For more information please call 01249 730459 – 

Here is a link to our previous post

Travel photographer of the year 2014 winners – in pictures

There is also a showing of the 2014 winners in London, here is the information on that

2015 exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society in London

24th July until 5th September 2015

One of the joys of doing well in TPOTY is having your images displayed at the TPOTY exhibitions and being seen by thousands, sometimes millions, of people.

The home of the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibitions is the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). The Society’s gallery is situated close to Hyde Park on the corner of Kensington Gore and Exhibition Road, and adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall, in the heart of London’s museum area.

Exhibition dates:

The 2015 exhibition is open every day from 24th July to 5th September 2015.

Opening hours

Sunday to Thursday – 10.00 to 17.00 hrs

Friday & Saturday – 10.00 – 19.00 hrs

The main exhibition is FREE

We also run a Travel Photography Course, here are the details, next starts 25th June 

 

Best photography competitions to enter in 2015

What a useful site DCW can be, here is a list of some of the most prestigious competitions for you to enter this year

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015

The brainchild of renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year celebrates British landscapes. Although only landscapes taken in the UK are accepted, photographers from any country are welcome to enter, and with the grand title winner taking home a total prize worth £20,000, you might find entering is worth your while!

A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, Scotland

Image: A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, Scotland, by Mark Littlejohn

Travel Photographer of the Year 2015

Founded in 2003, Travel Photographer of the Year has grown to become one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world, receiving entries from around 100 countries each year.

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Image: By Philip Lee Harvey

International Garden Photographer of the Year

Run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the IGPOTY’s Ninth annual competition will take place this year, with an award of £5000 for the grand title winner, and an award of £2000 for the Portfolio winner.

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Image: My Prairie Garden by Rosanna Castrini

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

The long-running and well-respected Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, now in its 50th year, is co-owned by the prestigious Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. It now receives entries from around 100 countries across the globe. The top award for best single image is £10,000, along with a trophy and personalised certificate. There are other generous prizes for awards in other categories.

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Image: The last great picture by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols

Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Priding itself on being the largest photography competition around, the Sony World Photography Awards attracts a large number of submissions from entrants – of all ages and skill levels – across the world.

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Image: by John Stanmeyer, winner of Contemporary Issues category

 

 

A beginner’s guide to garden photography

I found this useful article in The Telegraph

The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries. What could make your picture a winner?

Britain is seeing a surge in amateur garden photography. Over the past decade, the hobby has flourished and now has a cult-like following.

The growing talent and quality of photographs means garden photography competitions are inundated with exceptional entries. One leading competition is the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY), which receives more than 20,000 entries.

“We’re looking for images that are absolutely special,” says Clive Nichols, one of the founders of the competition and a judge. “Not just technically, but also in terms of what they show. To win it, you really have to have a standout image.”

Philip Smith, managing director of the competition, has some practical advice (see overleaf) if you are looking to improve your garden photography. His favourite IGPOTY winners from previous years are shown here.

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How do you plan a shoot?

What is the best light to shoot in?

Which colours work best together?

How do you compose a shot?

What is the ideal time of day to shoot your garden?

These are basic questions answered here follow the link for further advice on becoming a better plant and garden photographer

Photography Courses For 2015

well we have done it again, created a new course to get you making better pictures. It has the most unwieldy title because we couldn’t think of anything better, sorry.

Basics of Landscape, Travel, Flower and Black and White Digital Photography

The course is based on our observations that these are the main subject areas along with portraiture, (which is covered in our separate Portrait Photography course), that interest our students. Each session we look at one of the four subject areas.

This course is aimed at students who already have a good understanding of how to use their cameras. There will be no instruction on camera use therefore it might be worthwhile taking our Understanding Your DSLR course first if you tend to use the fully auto mode when photographing. All areas of photography rely on technical and visual skills and although there will be references to camera use and composition there will be no in depth discussion of these areas and if you do not understand basic compositional methods our Composition In Photography course would be a great asset to you. Get full details here

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We now have our course schedule sorted out for the next term, here are the dates

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Evening Class £85 Start Dates: 26.01.2015;  11.03.2015

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Saturday Morning Class £85 Start Date: 07.03.2015

1 Day Understanding Your DSLR Camera £95 Dates:  01.02.2015; 01.03.2015; 29.03.2015

Intermediate Photography £97 Start Date 26.02.2015

Flash Photography £85 Start date 05.02.2015

Understanding Lightroom £85 Start Date 03.02.2015

Introduction to Photoshop and PS Elements £97 Start Date 25.02.2015

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures £85 Start Date 03.02.2015

Portrait Photography £85 Start Date 10.03.2015

Basics of Landscape, Travel, Flower and B&W Photography Start Date 09.03.2015  £85