Thursday, 3 February 2022

In the news... IGPOTY Portfolio finalist, CUPOTY results and Amateur photographer article.

  Happy news today, on my second year of entering the Portfolio section of the International garden photographer of the year ( IGPOTY), I have managed to get a finalist position. I am thrilled with this, even more so as it is judged by the esteemed Royal photographic society ( RPS). Totally over the moon. What is also lovely is that it is a still life portfolio, a subject which I put a lot of time and effort into trying to improve and learn this last couple of years and hours pondering which to enter. 

 I also managed to get an image placed in the new Fungi category, which is very pleasing as its yet another subject which I have endeavoured to improve upon recently

So here is my fungi image, a strange one as I added textures to it. The mushroom shapes in the background bokeh were created by a tiny mushroom between the lens and the main mushroom. I added my own textures and edited it using Exposure 5 software for a bit of a different feel. Lovely to see fellow photographers Tony North and Barry Webb ( Barry produces the most fascinating macro shots of slime moulds) doing so well in this category too, check them out here -Fungi results

So I can now finally share my still life portfolio with you all. It was a project I embarked on partially in a bid to focus on learning how to light still life images better and also on bringing the beauty of wild flowers indoors - quite a personal one for me as I find it too exhausting photographing outdoors due to having M.E., so adapted to creating something indoors where I can take my time and sit down as much as I need. This is another example for all those who say  that they cannot get out to take floral photos, all the flowers were obtained very near our home ( literally in our garden and our street for some)

I wanted to showcase the beauty of wildflowers in still life settings. These days it is more common to see vases full of flowers bought at florists, but I prefer to enjoy wildflowers in a style similar to the Old Masters’ paintings, with light cascading across them. So, I set out to produce a collection of still life floral photographs, using my own interpretation of the classic still life style.

All plants used were local to me, mostly growing in my garden, a nearby garden, or wasteland. They include; rosebay willowherb, purple loosestrife, salsify, chamomile, dill, and buttercups.


This first one is Rosebay willow herb which has fabulous shapes, like tentacles reaching out.

Purple Loosestrife from a wild garden at the end of our street provided a bright splash of purple spikes to contrast against the greens of the vegetables from our local farm shop in this image.

These incredible Salsify seed heads from our garden were screaming out to be photographed, I felt they complimented the wildness of a mini faux birds nest and look quite special adorning  this decorative pewter vase. With subtle colours and creative lighting they pop nicely.

This lovely bunch of Chamomile is a sight I will not see in the same spot again as it is now been used to build houses upon, so it is quite fitting that they have a special place in my local wild flower project.

Wild Carrot or Dill? I am still not sure -  reply with your answers :) Nice vibrant flowers with intricate shapes.

The much over looked humble Buttercups with more Salsify feature with a kind of farmhouse table look.

 I hope you all enjoy my still life portfolio as much as I enjoyed creating it. The lighting was quite tricky in a small room and mostly featured 3 or 4 lights, with reflectors and home made Gobos. Quite time consuming to get it all just how I wanted it as even a slight shift of an inch or two made massive differences to how the light fell.

Do check out the other truly jaw droppingly beautiful portfolios that were placed and the other wonderful images from so many talented photographers in the rest of the categories. I absolutely adore the 1st place image. IGPOTY winning portfolios

In more good news, this week saw the publication of an excellent article ( in Amateur Photographer magazine ) written by the very innovative photographer, Tracy Calder, about mindfulness and photography, an approach I whole heartedly believe can help many people. Tracy kindly put my name forward for inclusion in the subsequent article which was superbly written by the lovely Geoff Harris. Geoff rang me for a little chat about the part photography has taken in my life, my struggles to actually manage photography with the symptoms of M.E. and benefits of using photography as a coping strategy. Its a great read with eye opening interviews from others who have employed photography as a tool to help themselves, its a sensitive subject and handled so well with Geoff's thoughtful and compassionate writing. Worth a read.

Today also saw the results of Close up photographer of the year's Two of a kind challenge. I was lucky enough to have two images make the stunning shortlist. Very chuffed to say that my image of the two Cyclamen made it to the gorgeous finalist selection. CUPOTY TWO OF A KIND WINNERS

This is one of my favourite images taken last year, sadly I can no longer reach this spot on my mobility scooter as it has been devastated by two storms within 2 months, with trees uprooted and hanging precariously. The paths are blocked for the second time in 2 months and I am told that the park is in a much worse state now. So this image is even more special to me, capturing a treasured spot where I practiced mindfulness for the last 2 years during the pandemic. Its a happy image, but tinged with loss of a much cherished woodland habitat.

Above "The Kiss" exquisite, delicate form and shape mixed with romantic pink ethereal haze in this portrait of winter Cyclamen.

A selection of images and tips from winners is to be published in Amateur photographer magazine next week, which could be interesting for those who enjoy a bit of close up imagery. ( I think I should get a commission for plugging a certain magazine this week! :D )

Now I have a question to ask you all, what would you like me to blog about on here?

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