Seeing the Light – 25 Years of Landscape and Nature Photography Techniques 1 September 2020   

Guy Edwardes 1Our 2020/21 season started with a bang on Tuesday 1st September with the welcome return of Guy Edwardes with his latest presentation entitled Seeing the Light. Despite still having to conduct our meeting's over Zoom!,
Guy set his stall out saying he had over 300 images to get through so directed us to his website for background on his photography career.
Guy started in his native Dorset with images including Colmer’s Hill, Corfe Castle and Sturminster Mill. Showing a picture of Man O’ War Bay in winter, he explained that he doesn’t use graduated filters now, preferring to take 7 bracketed images and blending them in Lightroom. An image of Durdle Door in the snow, taken with a fish-eye lens demonstrated his technique with this lens of setting the horizon in the centre to reduce distortion at the edges.
Some wide field astro photography images followed including Kimmeridge Bay, Dorchester Hill and Portland Bill. Guy explained the use of a (relatively) cheap Star Tracker to enable shots to be taken at lower ISO and aperture settings to improve the quality and structure of his photos.Guy showed us a number of images taken from a drone which helped to place the subjects in their surroundings. These included Old Harry Rocks and several Iron Age Hill Forts.
Guy Edwardes 2Some photos taken in the New Forest were followed by images in Cornwall and the Brecon Beacons. Guy recommended the Magic Seaweed App to obtain information about storms and wave heights, demonstrated in pictures of Longships Lighthouse and Portcawl. Showing landscapes in the Brecon Beacons, he explained how he uses Live View and the DOF button to achieve hyperlocal focusing.
Then on to Northumberland with images of Northern Lights and Sycamore Gap, Dunstanburgh Castle and St Mary’s Lighthouse. And then to Scotland including images at Glencoe, Etive More and various locations on the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Many of these images demonstrated his use of slower shutter speeds to show the movement of water and to create additional drama.
After a breathtaking race around a range of world-wide locations, including Namibia, Iceland, Finland Tuscany, Provence and Slovenia, where Guy has led photography workshops, we paused for a cup of tea and a break before the second half focusing on Wildlife.
Guy Edwardes 3Starting in Costa Rica, Guy’s favourite wildlife location, he showed us a range of stunning images including frogs humming birds and bats. He described the range of equipment he uses from head torches, Godox flash units, soft boxes and snoots, to water pumps, reflection pools and a range of artificial backgrounds to achieve images focusing on the wildlife without too much of a cluttered background.
Many images were taken with very long lenses and extenders. Guy is aware that people have difficulty with achieving sharp images with such a combination and recommended using LensAlign to calibrate cameras, lenses and extenders for improved focusing and sharper images.
He also talked about the difficulties of photographing animals in the gloom of the forest canopy with high ISO, fast shutter speeds and wide apertures leading to excessive noise. He recommended using Topaz Denoise AI in post-processing to remove noise and enhance detail.
We saw lions and zebra in Africa; red foxes, red-crowned cranes and sea-eagles in Japan; snowy owls in Canada; pelicans in Greece; and golden eagles and griffon vultures in Bulgaria. Guy described which lenses he uses in which situations and how he approaches post-processing on his return. He often has little time for post-processing so he has to be very disciplined when assessing the 20-40,000 images he has, reviewing shots in groups, choosing one to check and deleting all but the best.
Guy finished by talking about his approach to macro photography, showing amazing images of spiders and fungi. With a macro lens and extension tube fitted, he uses the in-camera focus stacking facility to take lots of images with slightly different focus points and then blend them using Helicon Focus software. For example, an insect image from 25 shots at f/5.6 in 10 seconds resulted in an image that was sharp from front to back of the insect with a diffused background.
This was a wonderful, fast-paced presentation with so many high-class images it is impossible to do it justice in this article. After a question and answer session, Steve Hardman thanked Guy for a great evening and many comments from members backed up this sentiment. DF
Images © Guy Edwardes