Club members had a very entertaining and informative evening when Phil Savoie gave us an excellent presentation on how to get the very best out of your photographs.
Phil describes himself as a biologist, photographer and filmmaker and his dream came true when as a photography obsessed, field biologist he joined the BBC Natural History Unit based in Bristol. He was able to photograph wildlife subjects around the world and has amazing stories to tell about his time filming for ‘Planet Earth’ and making his own wildlife films.
Living in a beautiful part of wales Phil enjoys photographing the local scenery and wildlife as well as a range of different genres and showed some excellent monochrome portraits, sports shots, panoramic landscapes and even some astro-photography.
Keen to help others get the most from their photography Phil maintains that a photo needs to tell a story and emotionally engage the viewer. He suggests focusing on subjects of personal interest and be prepared for any photo opportunities.
Phil says plan ahead, compose the image and stick around as the image can often change in minutes. Take time and try to show a fresh point of view and try out new ideas.
Photographers should have projects and Phil has many of his own which he works on for years aiming to get the ‘perfect shot’. We were shown some of the images taken of swallows as they dived about catching insects. Another project he works on is the life of bees and macro shots of them collecting nectar. Members were amazed at the extreme close ups where even the hooks on grains of pollen used to attach to the hair on a bee can be seen. Another project is the night sky with impressive images of the milky way with ruined castles in the foreground. When photographing at night let your eyes get used to the darkness and you will see more.
Phil says it is very important to get as near eye level with your subject so in most cases get down low. Use depth of field to direct the viewers eye to the main subject. Check that the background compliments the subject. Study the pattern of behaviour of wildlife subjects and get to know your subject really well. Set up your camera, set the manual focus and wait for often repeated actions. The blue tit repeatedly came to the same branch with insects and Phil was able to get very detailed close ups that even showed the hairs on the insects legs.
Phil has a great knowledge of the technical side of photography and has worked out in great detail how to get the very best images from his range of lenses. Phil often makes up his own contraptions to enable him to get just the image he is striving for and he shared lots of the tips and tricks that he uses.
Be creative, experiment and enjoy your photography!
Members very much enjoyed the humorous presentation from this great character who clearly enjoys sharing his passions and skills with others. PM
See Phil's website for amazing images