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insights into photography
Category Archives: Wildlife Photography
February 5, 2017Posted by on
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
The winner is
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
The exhibition is toured and here are dates
|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|
December 29, 2016Posted by on
I saw this on the BBC website and thought you might like it, there are many more images there to see so go and have a look, here is a link
Vote for the People’s Choice Award here before 10 January 2017.
The exhibition runs until 10 September 2017. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
October 19, 2016Posted by on
It is that time of year when the various award and competitions in photography announce their winners. This is always a very popular award with many different sections. The images are universally remarkable and express the dedication and technical skill of the winners.
Images from both professional and amateur photographers are selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity.
Swedish photographer Mats Andersson triumphed in the black-and-white category with his touching photo of an owl mourning the death of its partner, taken in a forest near his home in Bashult, southern Sweden.
Other winners included Luis Javier Sandoval, from Mexico, with his photo of a playful California sea lion pup for the Impressions category. And Ganesh H Shankar, from India, with his image of a rose-ringed parakeet harassing a monitor lizard.
The exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum on October 21, before touring across the UK
You can book tickets for the exhibition
May 25, 2016Posted by on
I have seen a number of the images Levon has created and have to say I am blown away by the beauty and technical expertise.
Levon Biss is a British photographer based in the UK who has been shooting campaigns for international brands for the last 18 years. His work has graced the covers of publications such as TIME Magazine and he has produced a best selling book on the global game of soccer titled ‘One Love’.
Here Levon explains how he works on his Microsculpture project
“Each image from the Microsculpture project is created from around 8000 individual photographs. The pinned insect is placed on an adapted microscope stage that enables me to have complete control over the positioning of the specimen in front of the lens. I shoot with a 36-megapixel camera that has a 10x microscope objective attached to it via a 200mm prime lens.
I photograph the insect in approximately 30 different sections, depending on the size of the specimen. Each section is lit differently with strobe lights to bring out the micro sculptural beauty of that particular section of the body. For example, I will light and shoot just one antennae, then after I have completed this area I will move onto the eye and the lighting set up will change entirely to suit the texture and contours of that part of the body. I continue this process until I have covered the whole surface area of the insect.
Due to the inherent shallow depth of field that microscope lenses provide, each individual photograph only contains a tiny slither of focus. To enable me to capture all the information I need to create a fully focused image, the camera is mounted onto an electronic rail that I program to move forward 10 microns between each shot. To give you an idea of how far that is, the average human hair is around 75 microns wide. The camera will then slowly move forward from the front of the insect to the back creating a folder of images that each have a thin plane of focus. Through various photo-stacking processes I flatten these images down to create a single picture that has complete focus throughout the full depth of the insect.
I repeat this process over the entire body of the insect and once I have 30 fully focused sections I bring them together in Photoshop to create the final image. From start to finish, a final photograph will take around 3 weeks to shoot, process and retouch.”
Microsculpture The exhibition
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
27 May – 30 October 2016
Microsculpture presents the insect collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History like never before. The result of a collaboration between the Museum and photographer Levon Biss, this series of beautifully-lit, high magnification portraits captures the microscopic form of insects in striking large-format and high-resolution detail.
Levon is holding a workshop at the Museum:
Photography Workshop with Levon Biss
Levon Biss’ photography is a masterclass in lighting. Pick up some expert techniques using specimens at different scales from the Museum collections. Special workshop to coincide with the Microsculpture exhibition.
Details to follow after Microsculpture exhibition opens on 27 May.
Saturday 9th July
Formed at scales too tiny for us to perceive and with astonishing complexity, the true structure and beauty of insects remains mostly hidden. Their intricate shapes, colours and microsculpture are dizzying in their variety, but it takes the power of an optical microscope or camera lens to experience insects at their own scale.
At high magnification the surface of even the plainest looking beetle or fly is completely transformed as details of their microsculpture become visible: ridges, pits or engraved meshes all combine at different spatial scales in a breath-taking intricacy. It is thought that these microscopic structures alter the properties of the insect’s surface in different ways, reflecting sunlight, shedding water, or trapping air.
Alongside these elements are minute hairs adapted for many purposes. They can help insects grip smooth surfaces, carry pollen, or detect movements in the air, to name but a few. The shape of these hairs is sometimes modified into flattened scales – structures so small they appear like dust to the naked eye. In some insects, such as butterflies and beetles, these scales scatter and reflect light, creating some of the most vibrant and intense colours seen in nature.
The evolutionary process of natural selection should account for all this wonderful diversity of microstructures, but for many species their specific adaptive function is still unknown. By observing insects in the wild, studying museum collections, and developing new imaging techniques we will surely learn more about these fascinating creatures and close the gaps in our current understanding.
Dr James Hogan
Life Collections, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
March 25, 2016Posted by on
So you may have gathered if you are a regular here that I am not bothered about wild life photography. You know they are animals, get over it. But I also understand the pleasure so many people get from taking pictures of animals, I just don’t get it. As for owning animals, just that phrase makes me wonder, why would someone want to own another living being, anyway beyond all that I do admire great animal photography if only for the sheer doggedness of the perpetrators. So when I found this article in the Guardian by Becky Barnicoat I knew I was on to something, that is something most people would benefit from, how to photograph wildlife by Andrew Forsyth a Wildlife Photographer of the year 2014 finalist. Someone who knows what it takes.
“I want to see you crawling. Get down lower. Crawl!” I am crawling – my elbows hooking uselessly into the large, loose pebbles of Brighton beach, dragging my body another inch forward, while my hands and wrists wobble beneath the weight of a hefty Canon 5D MK III camera. It might look impressive if I wasn’t so embarrassed. Through the unsteady lens, my target bounces about: a flock of seagulls, squatting 10 metres away.
Along the shore people duck and dodge the gulls, which swoop with menacing confidence towards chips, children and ice-cream. Yet, I’m having the opposite problem – every time I get within striking distance of a bird, it soars off into the distance.
I am in Brighton with Andrew Forsyth for a crash course in wildlife photography. In 2014, Andrew was a finalist for the ultra-competitive Wildlife Photographer of the Year for the second time, with an atmospheric photo of Brighton’s starlings swarming above the sea.
The first lesson I learn, when Andrew places his huge, heavy, long-lens camera in my hands, is that wildlife photography is tough. When he tells me to take a clean, well-composed portrait of a seagull I think “easy!” but it seems to require the same stealth and effort as photographing a lion in the Sahara. Once you’ve scrambled silently towards your subject, there’s a three-way struggle to focus, compose and shoot before it scarpers.
To improve my chances, he says, I need to know my subject. It took four months for Andrew to take his winning starlings photo, which was one of 25,000 shots. For the first few weeks, he stalked the prom and pier, watching where the birds roosted, how they flew, what time they woke up and went to bed.
“At first the photos were quite conventional, and after a few days of shooting I was sick and tired of it. But I pushed through, and that’s when something interesting happened. I became wildly experimental, trying out whacky things with aperture and shutter speed, more in hope than expectation, but my photographs were more original and exciting.”
For whatever reason, Andrew tells me, it is impossible to jump straight to this wild, creative phase – you always have to push through the slow, methodical bit first.
If you would like to read more of this and get further insights into wildlife photography go to The Guardian here Andrew Forsyth holds one-to-one sessions throughout the year. For details visitthewildlifephotographer.com/workshops
You might also like to see some truly spectacular wildlife photography by Marina Cano go here
March 24, 2016Posted by on
There are many superb wildlife photographers, their work a testament to their skills, patience, understanding and determination. We can wonder at their ability to capture that most elusive of animals, to be there when that special moment happens, we think how lucky they are. In reality the most impressive wild life photographs come not from luck but from exceedingly hard work and hours spent in the most uncomfortable locations. Some photographers specialise in certain animal groups, some in specific locations and some have that thing which sets them apart, style. A photographer who has their own style is memorable. Think of all the great photographers you know and I am sure you could recognise one of their pictures even if you had never seen it before through it’s style. Marina Cano is one of them, she has style. You will have seen her pictures before, they are widely distributed, here is her website in case you need a reminder.
In her own words:
I’m a Spanish wildlife photographer, based in Cantabria, Northern Spain. I’ve been taking pictures since I was a teenager, started with my father’s camera. My work has been published around the world and have won international awards. In 2009 I’ve published my first book, Cabárceno, with the pictures I’ve took for three years in the largest park of wildlife in Europe, with the same name. In December 2012 I published my second book: Drama & Intimacy, a carefully selection from the pictures I took in South Africa, Kenya, England and Cabarceno. I’ve also made exhibitions in Cape Town, London, Spain, La Habana, I’m currently exhibiting in Korea. My talks took me to different places like Finland, Cuba, South Africa, Israel, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom. In 2015 I’ve been finalist of the most prestigious Nature Photography Contest in the world: Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
So as a little Easter gift here are some of her pictures to put a smile on your face
Marina gives talks, has exhibitions, books and guided safari tours all accessible from her website
I hope you enjoyed these
February 16, 2016Posted by on
This rather excellent article on Lightstalking seems to sum up all the difficulties that most people would prefer to ignore when approaching wild life photography. Don’t be put off by the explanation that you need to know your equipment, that you have to know your subjects and that you need endless patience because when you get a great shot of an animal it does all seem worthwhile. There is a most apposite line in the article : “The goal is to relax and enjoy the full experience, not to succeed immediately whenever you try. Once you have patience and are prepared for any subject that might cross your path, you’ll be ready to face whatever challenge comes your way…….If you’re under the impression you only need to go out for an hour or two and will come back with a slew of keepers, don’t bother going out at all. It won’t happen (unless your luck is supernatural).”
I am not much of a wildlife photographer, actually I am worse than that, I can’t much see the point, let someone else who has the gear, the learning and the patience do it, I will admire their pictures. I doubt I have ever taken a worthwhile animal picture in all the 50 years I have been photographing but I do understand that for many people it is their burning desire. This article is very good, if you are interested in wild life photography read it.
Photo by Michele Burns
Getting Started in Wildlife Photography
Many new advances in camera equipment have made better gear more affordable for everyone, bringing a lot of photographers closer to realizing our goals in photographing wildlife.
For those of you who have never tried a style like this before, don’t worry. Though wildlife photography is a demanding art form and requires practice to balance the many variables and technicalities involved, the rewards far outweigh any difficulties. These seven steps will help you as you begin your adventure in the great outdoors.
Understand Your Gear
Whether you’ve just upgraded to a new camera or you’re using one you’ve had for a while, you need to know your equipment like the back of your hand. In the wild, getting or missing the perfect shot often comes down to the span of nanoseconds. Consequently, the only way to succeed in wildlife photography is to know instinctively how each part of your gear operates and at what speed each function responds.
When out on a shoot, you will need more than preparation beforehand (such as micro-adjusting your lenses for focus inconsistencies) to carry you through successfully. You must know, among other things, the exact time required for a specific lens to focus when on certain settings, how much time you have in a burst before the buffer maxes out, whether the meter will be right, and how much you can recover the shadows and highlights if need in post-production.
Memorizing every little quirk of your gear is a crucial accomplishment for all types of photography, but has the most immediate benefits for action photography (wildlife, sports, etc.), since instantaneous movement is part of what you want to catch.
This might be a bit over the top, most lenses do have variations in focusing and it is worth knowing about it but micro adjustments will not make a great difference in most situations unless you are working at the shallowest depth of field but certainly knowing how best to use the exposure functions on your camera is essential. If you don’t try one of our DSLR Courses
here are some more tips to help you
October 14, 2015Posted by on
This time of year sees many of the major competitions coming to a close and awards being made. Now it is the turn of Wildlife Photographer of the Year Here is a quick look at this years winners, we will return with a more expansive post later
“A Tale of Two Foxes”: Don Gutoski’s picture captures a symmetry in life and death,
To the victor the spoils. An image of warring foxes has won the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Taken by amateur Don Gutoski, the picture captures the moment a red fox hauls away the carcass of its Arctic cousin following a deadly attack in Canada’s Wapusk National Park. “It’s the best picture I’ve ever taken in my life,” Don told BBC News. “It’s the symmetry of the heads, the bodies and the tails – even the expression on the faces.”
These scarlet ibis were photographed by Jonathan Jagot (France), off the island of Lençóis on the coast of northeast Brazil. Jonathan is the category winner in the “15-17 years” of age group
14-year-old Ondrej Pelánek from the Czech Republic for his image, Fighting Ruffs.
The “Under Water” winner is Michael Aw (Australia). This is a Bryde’s whale ripping through a sardine “bait ball” offshore of South Africa’s Transkei coast
Edwin Giesbers (Netherlands) pictures a newt from underneath as it moves across the surface of a stream. The picture wins the “Amphibians and Reptiles” category
Juan Tapia (Spain) wins the “Impressions” category. It is a staged scene in which a broken canvas has been placed over a broken windowpane that barn swallows have been using to enter an old storehouse in Almeria, southern Spain
There is an exhibition at NHM, details are here
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015-16 exhibition
The Natural History Museum
16 October 2015 – 10 April 2016
10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)
September 21, 2015Posted by on
ZSL ANIMAL PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE – WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION AT ZSL LONDON ZOO
Friday, September 18 to 28 February 2016
The tigers, snakes and penguins won’t be the only thing entrancing visitors this autumn at ZSL London Zoo, as the winning images from the 2015 ZSL Animal Photography Prize have been unveiled to the public.
Until 28 February 2016 visitors to ZSL London Zoo will be able to admire the stunning shots entered into the Zoological Society of London’s fourth annual photography competition, displayed in a striking exhibition.
Combining mesmerising imagery with the enthralling sights, and sounds of the creatures at the Zoo, the exhibition is on show within squawking distance of the flamboyant flamingos and picturesque pelicans.
The exhibition’s top wildlife photographs were chosen by a panel of judges including ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble, and renowned ornithologist Bill Oddie.
The ZSL Animal Photography Prize Exhibition is free with every standard admission ticket to ZSL London Zoo. With more than 17,000 incredible animals to see and a packed schedule of brilliant talks and demonstrations, ZSL London Zoo makes the perfect autumn day out.
The Strongest Bond by Tom Way The Perfect Moment category Adult runner up
Timeless by Andy Skillen Judges’ Choice Size Matters category Adult winner
Sleeping Beauty by Tianha Williams Last Chance to See category Runner up
Bright Eyes by Carolyn Collins Weird and Wonderful category Adult winner
August 3, 2015Posted by on
The BBC has an extended article with lots of images from Travel Photographer of the Year This award has been going for some years and attracts a really marvellous set of images from around the world, if you are interested in travel, peoples, landscapes, cities, in fact pretty much everything then the TPOTY site is a must and you should bookmark it now.
This is from the BBC site
From the harsh reality of the natural world, to stunning beauty seen at some of the planet’s remotest locations – the best images from the latest Travel Photographer of the Year competition are now on show in London.
For a photograph to stand out from the crowd, says Caroline Metcalfe of TPOTY‘s judging panel, it must provoke an immediate emotional response.
“It then has to draw me in and make me want to linger for more than a few seconds.”
A former director of photography at Conde Nast Traveller magazine, with a 20-year pedigree in the business, Metcalfe has been looking through some of the images which made the judges’ final selection for TPOTY 2014 – including two sets from Philip Lee Harvey which earned him the top prize.
TPOTY website says: The Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) photo contest is run by photographers for photographers. Whether you are amateur or professional, beginner or expert, young or old, wherever you live in the world, TPOTY is for you!
2015 sees TPOTY’s 13th award, with new categories and new opportunities to showcase the best travel photography. Entries open from 28th May. You can view the latest winners in the 2014 Winners Gallery or in our latest book, Journey Seven.
Riviera Maya, Mexico – Terry Steeley/www.tpoty.com
Norway – Piotr Trybalski/www.tpoty.com
Java, Indonesia – Sue O’Connell/www.tpoty.com
El Tatio geyser field, Chile – Ignacio Palacios/www.tpoty.com
Salar de Uyuni (salt flat), Uyuni, Bolivia – Ignacio Palacios/www.tpoty.com
North of Svalbard in the Arctic – Joshua Holko/www.tpoty.com