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
contrast.

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.

Special Winter Photography Tour

Special Winter Photography Tour
featuring Photographers Jeroen Stel and Kristel Schneider
Winter, maybe the most thrilling and challenging photography season. Rough weather conditions combine with beautiful light, high key landscapes and close-ups.

In the winter season, and if Mother Nature allows it, the French spectacular volcano chain in Auvergne wraps in a white blanket of snow. Ideal for all nature lovers, the scenery looks different every day. For us, photographers, winter offers never-ending opportunities to try out a wide variety of landscape shots as light becomes magical at that time of the year.

‘It will be a unique photography experience, as we will travel on snow rackets and dog sleds in the heart of the beautiful Auvergne volcanic countryside’ – Kristel

Read more…

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

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

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.

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