I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of office based work that seems to have dominated the last few weeks. The sights, sounds and colours of autumn are shortly going to get me outdoors on a more regular basis again, but among the recent indoor activities was a day running another Studio Macro Workshop for Natures Images at the studios of The Flash Centre in Birmingham.
I have run 2 or 3 of these days every year for the last 4 or 5 years now and thanks to Stuart and his ever growing and changing menagerie we are getting more and more colourful and dramatic subjects to work with every time it seems: this Northern Spotted Grasshopper (a resident of Thailand) is a typical example.
One of the aspects of working in the studio environment is the opportunity to really consider the different elements that go into making an image work – changing the setting and changing the background are fully under your control and being able to see the subtle and at times quite dramatic impact this can have on the final image is a great reminder as to how important these elements are wherever you are photographing. This high-key Fire-Bellied Toad, the head-on White’s Tree Frog and appropriately placed Gray’s Tree Frog show their subjects off in completely different ways.
The next consideration is how to use the lighting options we have at our disposal to add another element, and this pair of images of an Amazon Milk Frog are a perfect example of the opportunity to think creatively and use the lighting to your advantage – low and side-lit on a dark-ish background to best represent the rainforest or backlit through a leaf for something completely different.
The same applies to this pair of images of a Giant Asian Mantis – one in a classic studio setting and on exactly the same branch using coloured backlighting for a dramatic and impactful silhouette – it was good to see Neil Parker’s image taken on this workshop being used as a double-paged spread in Digital Camera Magazine last month too.
We’ve even created an area allowing us to work with water in the studio too now with eye-level images of Frogs in the weed an enjoyable highlight!
All in all it’s a great learning environment as as you can hopefully see a chance to really get in touch with the creative side of your photography which can only help when back in the great outdoors and working with nature’s changeable lighting, backgrounds and subjects too.