Wild Spring Snowflake flower photography

Wild Spring Snowflake flower photography
by Kristel Schneider

Yesterday I drove to Haute-Loire ( Auvergne, France)  where I met Photog

rapher Sébastien Lamadon. Together we walked up the Suc de Bresse hill to look for Wild Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum).  As far as we know this is the only place where they appear in the Auvergne.

We were lucky and found a big patch of very fresh flowers. You could tell they were just out, impressive. The first thing I did was to put my camera bag down and I walked around.  I enjoyed the sight for a while as I was thinking what kind of technique to use and what kind of compositions.  The promised overcast day did not occur so the light was a bit harsh, but there was a lot of wind on one side of the hill.

I used my Canon 300mm L F4 IS, lens and I tried out various things:
– different focus methods, with and without a tripod
– shades and against the light
– blurry background
– smooth background

Spring is a great time for photography! Join me in the field during one of my
workshops. Other images in my Flower gallery.

Click on:  Sébastien  to see his images.

Print of the Month, February 2012

Print of the Month, February 2012
by Kristel Schneider

I am happy to announce the first —  Print of the Month. Every month, I will offer a different  print for only € 39 ! More information about my Art Prints click here.

Print of the Month, February 2012 —a photograph from Montpeyroux, a medieval village located in the Puy de Dome – Auvergne (Massif Central)- France.  Classified in the list  ‘most beautiful villages of France‘.

Pink Morning Glory, a magical moment with the sun rising over the hills gradually enlightening  the medieval village in the frozen scenery.

Page size
(metric stds.)
  cm   inches Paper finish
A4  21×29.7 8.27×11.69 -Matte

Read How to order and then click here to purchase the Print of the Month February 2012.

This image—at this price—will only be available for the month of  February 2012!

For gifting or decorating

Any image in the Art Print folder can be purchased as an ART PRINT.
Each print is quality-checked and signed by Kristel Schneider before it is sent out to you.

Images will be added to the Art Print folder regularly. So, check back for new additions!
and every month a special, Print of the Month will be announced. See this Blog for more information.

Autumn Photography

Autumn Photography
by Kristel Schneider

Autumn, one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. A season full with colors and atmosphere .

Every year the Autumn season makes a photographer’s heart go faster and every year is different. This year the season was late, the climate was too warm to bring out the nice autumn colors on the trees. But when the trees finally are at their best, photographers have to act quick because the top season does not last long. Rain and wind can destroy the scenery overnight.  The sun is not always required for Autumn photography an overcast day and mist are great weather conditions to get these colors popup.

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TIPS for successful Autumn Photography:
– go out even if the weather is cloudy and grey
– get up early to get the first light even in combination with mist.
– use a polarization filter, the colors  get more intense and the filter is also very useful for
wet leaves reflection .
– look at your white balance settings, try out different modes.
– when taking photos of mushrooms look at your background to create a nice color

Even the late Autumn colors (red/brown tints) are nice to capture in landscape photography. So although this year may not have been the top Autumn season, even now,  in November, it is still nice to go out and enjoy some mushrooms and  the late season colors.

New autumn workshop/tour dates available for 2012.

Soft Focus and colour contrast

With some hesitation, because of the low light and weather conditions I decided to go ‘mushroom hunting’. Like yesterday there was a lot of wind. The ground was very wet and the temperature was mild, a good combination for mushrooms to grow.
Local people say that when we have a full moon mushrooms grow best ?!

I found what I was looking for, some very small Bonnets and one of my favorite mushrooms the Amethyst Deceiver. Because of the wind I decided to try out some different Soft Focus shots with color contrast. Not an easy task when everything blows away around you. A stable underground is a must, so I set my tripod very low to the ground and my little silver reflector screen provided the mushrooms with enough light. Because of the overcast day the colors gave a nice clear contrast.

I like to play with the point of focus in the image frame. In this image I focused on the tiny little mushroom with a small fly on it.

Look for more mushroom images in my Mushroom and Fungi gallery.

Horsetail plants

Horsetail Plants
by Kristel Schneider

One of my favourite places in  Auvergne is the Massif du Cézallier. An open area with lots of  different landscapes.  There are volcano lakes, little brooks and wetlands. The amount of different wild plants that grow there is enormous.

Driving up to the Cézallier   always means new discovery to me. This can be a plant I have never seen or a certain  light that appears in front of my eyes  because of the fast changing weather conditions.

The last time I was there, the weather was not that great. But along a little lake there were these nice Horsetail plants in bloom.

I decided to spend some time with them  and try to get some different angle and background shots. My eyes were constantly pulled towards the  white blooming bud with the brown little patches on it, so fantastic to look at.

The wind provided me with  the background I wanted, just a little bit of movement to get rid of the static look of the stem. I definitely will go back there to get some more detail shots of the stem and try to get a nice back-light shots, but that is for later.

The images on this page were all taken with a 5DMII Canon body in combination with a 150mm Sigma Macro lens .

Marsh Horsetail
Equisetum palustre

Horsetails (Equisetaceae) are perennial, ornamental plants that grow from creeping rhizomes. They look like miniature bamboos because of their single hollow, jointed stem with bristle-like branches. During prehistoric times, they grew as large trees.

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).

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