Orchids photography

Orchid Photography
by Kristel Schneider

‘ Orchids are a far more challenging subject to capture than many people may think they are’

I have been photographing wild orchids for a couple of years now, since I have lived in France (November 2007) and every year I love it when the Orchid season starts off. There are so many different species that it keeps amazing me how beautiful these flowers are, with their great details and colours.

Although Orchids do not run or fly away like insects and birds, they are a far more challenging subject to capture than many people may think. Orchids grow in very exposed situations such as hill tops or in open grassy places and on roadsides.

Therefore I think there are two important things to bear in mind before you take an image of an Orchid: subject movement and image background.

Early mornings and late afternoons provide us normally with nice light and  that is often the time when wind shows up.  I know that some other photographers use perspex box shelters to avoid ‘the wind movement problem’,  but personally I (sometimes)  like to add some movement in my images. Like I did in the image above.
I just wait for the little times when the wind hold its breath a little bit so that the flower is in focus and then shoot the image.

The background of the image is very important for your composition. And this is the second tricky part with Orchids because of what I mentioned above, they grow in ‘busy’ surroundings. Unless you are planning to take an Orchid in its natural habitat, you need to isolate the subject from its background. This helps your eye to focus on the main subject.
I always look what kind of other flowers or grass grow behind the Orchid so that I can capture a nice colour contrast, like I did with the Common Spotted Orchid with the moth on top. I used a wide aperture to keep the main subject in focus and create a nice soft background with yellow defocussed flowers. Always use a tripod to prevent camera shake and a sharper end result.

Look for more flower photography in my flora gallery

Interested in a Macro photography workshop click here for more information

Stag Beetles series

Stag Beetles Series
by Kristel Schneider

Stag Beetles (Lucanidae) are robust insects with black or reddish brown colouration.
The smaller ones even have a bluish sheen. The males have greatly enlarged, toothed mandibles; females are often smaller. The antennae are elbowed or bent in the middle.
More info about this wonderful insect click here.

For my Beetle photo shoot I wanted to get some soft focus images and some general detailed ones. The insects were wandering around on and in  the tree trunk, the males didn’t really fight but where just getting in the defense ‘position’ what was nice for a background. The morning light provided me with some nice soft (background) light.
I tried some different angles and depth of fields and worked with my Canon 5DMark II and Canon 40D with different lenses (300mm + extension tube and the 150 macro lens).

Running team Clermont Ferrand race

Sponsored by
Kristel Schneider

Yesterday evening we had a local running event in Clermont Ferrand (Auvergne, France). An annual race with running distances of 5km and 10km. A small team was running the 10km distance in a T-shirt that I had designed for them. At 9 pm six thousand people started the to run and it was funny to see how many different T-shirts were designed for  this purpose.

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Food in Nature – workshop

Food in Nature – Workshop
by Kristel Schneider

The nice thing about organizing one-on-one workshops  is that you sometimes get funny or unusual requests from your participants.  And yesterday I had to organise a workshop with one of those special requests for a private photography workshop. The participant was a cook and wanted to take images of  Food in Nature.

After looking on the net and into my own cooking books I thought this was not going to be an easy task.  But I liked the request so I agreed to organize this workshop and the date was set for yesterday.  A whole new concept for me, normally I walk in nature and drive around to look for some different sceneries whereas yesterday I had to wait while the cook was ready with some kind of dessert or other dish so that we could place the subject on an old moss-covered tree trunk , in high grass or just in the vegetable garden.


I can tell you that food photography is not the same as taking images of wild mushrooms or  landscapes.  Personally I like images that are a bit abstract or with movement but with food you still have to see what is presented. So in the end also it was a learning process for me and although I didn’t have the time to shoot images for my own archive I took some snapshots with my 300mm to give you an idea of what we did with two little fruit pastries.

Now, if you think you also have a nice idea for a private photography one-on-one workshop feel free to contact me so that we can discuss the possibilities.  Click here

Interview Kristel

Nature photographer Mike Moats has interviewed me about Macro Photography for his Blog: Tiny Landscapes.
You can read the interview here.

Spring Flower contrast

Spring flower contrast
By Kristel Schneider

Colour Contrast in Photography

Flowers are one of  photographer’s favourite subjects. They have great colours and beautiful details. What I like about Flower Photography is to capture a nice colour contrast. Colour contrast is used less frequently because many people do not think about it.

This is a pity because an image with a good colour contrast can look so much more interesting. So it is not only the light we have to look for in Photography.

Since most nature photographers work in colour it is important to understand how colour contrast works.  My first introduction to this subjects was during on of my painting classes, a real eye-opener by playing with primary colours (Red, Yellow and Blue) to get -the best- contrast.

When later on I started to get interested in Photography I read a book by Tony Sweet, Fine Art Flower Photography.  In this book you can see what the effects are by using
-the right- colours together in your composition. Looking for the right colour in the background or in the foreground then becomes a primary goal.  Over the years I have experimented different colour contrasts and saw the difference in my work.

The colour wheel helps you look for a  good colour contrast in your image.

Click on this interactive colour experience to get a basic understanding how colours work.

Interview with Photographer | Samuel Bitton

Visions and Nature
Photographers interview

..one thing that I like less than others, it would have to be the early rises!!

‘ ‘WOW’,  that was the sound that guided my eyes when I first saw Samuels work.  The light, the colours and the openness in his work made me love it immediately. By looking at his work you can tell he loves and respects the beauty of nature. I am happy to introduce you to his work and I hope you will enjoy his work as much as I do, Kristel.

‘I  am a professional landscape photographer based in Switzerland. My first interest in photography started in 2001 after buying my first SLR camera just before going on a trip to the Canadian Rockies. From that day I was instantly hooked and have been ever since. Up until September 2010 photography was purely a passion and was selling my work here and there as a side activity to my main job as a software engineer. In 2010 I decided to make the plunge and gave up that job to go full time as a professional photographer. It was certainly a big decision, not to say one of the biggest in my life, but I already have no doubt that I will never regret it.  At the moment the main part of my work relies on fine art print sales (certainly the one I enjoy the most), photo workshops, I edit my own calendar on the Swiss Alps theme, I have various collections of postcards, sale some of my images as stock and work on a few assignments, one of them being capturing the calendar images of one of the most prestigious Swiss watch maker’, Samuel.

Who is your inspiration?
Having discovered photography while I was living  in the UK, I have drawn most of my early inspiration from UK landscape photographers, the main ones being Joe Cornish, David Noton, Lee Frost, Tom Makie. I also love the work of US photographers like Rodney Loug, Gallen Rowel and Mark Adamus, and Australian photographers  Peter Leek and Ken Ducan.  Closer to home, I admire the world renown photographer Yann Artus Bertrand and his work on the earth from above, the fantastic images of Olivier Folmi as well as Philip Plisson.

What made him/her inspire you, with what kind of image(s)?
I think the common aspect that inspires me from all these photographers is COLOUR. They are all masters in capturing amazing light and creating very colourful images, something I am very sensitive to.

What do you like about Nature Photography?
Literally everything, but mostly what I absolutely love about it is that it allows me to spend a lot of time outdoor, discovering unknown beautiful places or re-discovering known ones under the magic of ever changing light.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Samuel Bitton — All Rights Reserved

Are there things you don’t like about Nature Photography?
I can’t say that there is anything I don’t like about photography. I just love every aspect of it. It is really a deep passion that dwells in me and I embrace everything that it involves. Now, if there was one thing that I like less than others, it would have to be the early rises!!
Indeed, at times, getting out of bed really early is a bit difficult but every time the effort never fails to be rewarded. Once up, it is such a thrill to be witnessing the spectacles that nature offers us so early in the day.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become   professional nature photographers?
Every time I am asked this question, my answer is dead simple, BE PASSIONATE. If you are really passionate about what you are doing (and that applies to everything in live, not just photography), you can achieve everything you want. So if you are completely passionate about landscape photography and every aspects of it, then you have every chance to be successful.

What are your specialities?
My first passion is really for the outdoors and the mountains. So this is what I naturally photograph the most and being based in the Swiss Alps, this is without a doubt my speciality.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Samuel Bitton — All Rights Reserved

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
It is always difficult to pick just one, but I have to say that never get tired of looking at my panoramic image of the sunrise over the Italian Alps and the Portjenhorn.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Samuel Bitton — All Rights Reserved

Describe how it was taken?
It was taken one early morning from about 3200 meters of altitude while climbing the south ridge of the Weissmies, a 4000m peak in the Swiss Alps. Not only it brings me great memories as it was my first 4000m peak climb but it also represents about everything I love in a photograph, strong warm colours over a wild and pristine mountain vista.

You are now on Visions and Nature Blog, a Nature and Landscape Photography Blog from Kristel Schneider. Do you know her work?
When you look at her gallery which image pops out for you and why?

I didn’t know Kristel’s work until now. Amongst the beautiful images that she presents in her gallery, the one that has struck me the most is the “amethyst deceiver with back light and details of the gills”. I find the colours very pleasing the composition perfect. It almost looks like an image taken from the deep underwater world. Click here to see the Mushrooms and Fungi Gallery.

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