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Winners Workshop Morning

25 Sep 2018


A blog by Julia Rafferty:

I called the photography session: “Seeing the world differently through the lens of a camera….” and using four different techniques, we explored how our camera can help us to see what is around us, at the wonderful Pensthorpe Natural Park, in a new and exciting way. We experimented with slow shutter speeds, black & white, macro or close-up and combining different views of the same subject.

We started our photoshoot in the Habitat Garden and experimented with black and white (sometimes called: monochrome) photography. Photographing in B&W can help you see textures in your scene and help you to improve your compositional skills. The group were pleased to find that even on their phones, they could take the photos in B&W. If that isn’t possible, you should be able to edit the images on you phone or camera to create lovely monochrome images. In the early days of film photography, it was only B&W or sepia that was available. Many cameras have what is called a Picture Style or Picture Control option which allows you to take B&W photos or sepia or other colours of ‘toned’ images.  We also photographed the trees that lead towards to Millennium Garden – remembering to look up into to branches and leaves for interesting shots.

For the ‘Macro and close-up photography’ section of our shoot, we discovered that most cameras, even on your phone and Tablet, have the ability to take close-up photos. The icon for ‘macro’ is the tiny Flower icon. You can also buy a specific macro lens for cameras where you can change the lens. So, we first selected the macro setting on our cameras and then got as close as we could to our subject. We were in the Millennium garden and so there were lots of subjects to photograph such as flowers, bees and other insects. We found that if you are too close to your subject, the camera will not focus. Now half-press your shutter to allow the camera to fully focus—hold still and then take the photo. Lots of subjects such as mini beasts, plants and fungi work are great to photograph close-up.

After a short break – it was very hot and so a quick cold drink was just what we needed, we walked through WildRootz and into the planted area near the offices. Here we talked about photographing our subject from different viewpoints. A tree, building or structure would work well here. Once we had taken a series of photos, I demonstrated how to use the Photoshop Mix software (a free App you can load onto your phone or Tablet) that allows you to combine multiple views of the same subject. You might be able to do this with your camera – it is sometimes called: Multiple Exposure or Image Overlay.

For our final photo activity, we purchased some bird food and we made our way to the Jewson Bridge to practice photographing birds in flight using slow shutter speed or a ‘long exposure’. On many cameras you can choose to set the exposure mode to Shutter Priority—S or TV and this will allow you to choose a shutter speed from 1/60th of a second to 30” (30 seconds). Any movement in your subject will then be recorded as a blur. Many photographers also use a slow shutter speed to intentionally move the camera whilst taking the photo—this is called ICM—Intentional camera Movement. It works really well with trees, big landscapes and sunsets on the beach. It proved great fun photographing the birds as they flew in for a feed – but, a very tricky photography challenge as you have to be quick to react.

I do hope the group enjoyed this session – they were lovely to work with and I wish them well in their future studies.



Below are some of the images taken by Charlotte from the morning’s session: