Photography in the Cotswolds

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Despite the threat of rain and the dark clouds lingering overhead my camera was ready and my enthusiasm undampened as I arrived at Cotswold Lavender.

I was here for a Light and Land Photography course with Sue Bishop – an expert at taking stunning images of flowers.

Over cups of tea and coffee Sue took us through some of her photographs and explained how she’d achieved these intricate, macro views. It’s easy to assume that taking a close-up of a flower is as simple as getting in as tight as you can and clicking the ‘take the picture’ button. But as we soon discovered, there is a lot more to it.

Poppy in the rain

It’s not just about choosing the right specimen, it’s also about the composition – and most importantly the light.  Sue showed us some images, that looked very nice and seemed a lot like the sort of macro photograph I would take. Then she showed us the same flower – but taken with a light diffuser overhead, and suddenly it all made sense. It was immediately obvious why her photo worked, and ‘mine’ didn’t.  

This is exactly the sort of revelation than can shift your skills, in any area, and why spending time with an expert is worth the investment.  There is nothing wrong with being self-taught – and it’s often a great way to start. But in my experience, some time in a small group, or one-to-one, with someone who really knows what they are doing can make a big difference.

Flower and bee

With our new found knowledge the group headed out to the lavender fields and started snapping away. Soon the promised rain appeared – but rather than seeing that as an excuse to scuttle indoors, Sue was able to show us a whole new dimension to our photographic subjects – droplets of water.

These tiny sparkles decorate the plants and offer opportunities to see the world reflected on their surface. Ignoring soggy knees, we crouched on the ground looking for interesting angles.

Droplet of rain

The Snoshill Lavender fields offer lots of opportunities to practice both macro and landscape photography and by the end of the afternoon my camera was full of acres of a variety of rich purples and pale lilacs. And, thanks to Sue, my head was inspired to venture out into the garden and the local park to practice my new skills – even if it’s been raining.



Light and Land –



Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist and travel writer, and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio, and Panpathic Communications. Follow her on Twitter @ChantalCooke

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