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Photographic Composition

The critical base of all great imagery

Photographic composition: an online talk by Nigel Hicks.

An online photography talk by Nigel

The second of my new series of online talks was held on 14th October 2020, covering photographic composition. As I explained in the talk, the critical base for all great imagery, photographic composition lies at the heart of all photography. This is so whether we’re talking about travel, landscape, nature, people or architectural photography.

A recording of the talk is now available to view at any time, both on You Tube and in this blog. To see the video, just scroll further down this page.

Photographic composition: an outline of the talk

I covered many of the main aspects to consider when creating a photographic composition, much of it hinging around the double mantra ‘Keep It Simple: Less is More’. This essentially covers the need to ensure that each image contains just one main subject that dominates the image frame, with the rest of the image free of clutter and distracting or competing elements.

I used my own photography throughout the talk to illustrate my main points, dissecting a number of images to illustrate how the various components worked together to support the main subject. These included such processes as the use of diagonals both to direct attention towards the main subject, and very simple backgrounds to enable the subject to dominate the frame.

Photographic composition: analysis of a palm tree image.

Watch the recorded photographic composition talk here

The full 37-minute talk can be viewed here. To watch it at full screen, simply click on the full-screen icon in the bottom right. If watching it full screen, make sure you are watching it in HD format.

I hope you enjoy the talk!

Looking beyond photographic composition

Of course, great photographic composition is absolutely fundamental to quality photography. A badly composed image will always be a bad photograph no matter what else is done to the image.

However, composition is not the only prerequisite to the creation of great imagery. A second component is also light. Every great composition needs the right light be make it almost literally shine. This will show the subject of the photography off to its best, creating an image with the greatest impact.

The role of natural light in photography is the subject of my third talk, which will be held on 11th November. This talk will then published online shortly after that. Keep an eye out for its appearance!

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy this talk. In addition, you can also see the previous talk, Goals in Photography, which was held in September, by clicking on the link below.

Photographic composition: an apartment building in evening sunlight.

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Goals in Photography

The first talk in Nigel’s new series of online photography talks

I held the first of my new online photography talks on 23rd September, the inauguration of a planned ongoing series of free talks that anyone can attend. This first talk, entitled Goals in Photography, saw me explore some of the photography I’ve done during my lengthy career as a professional photographer. Images shown included some of my personal favourites, as well as images that have marked important points in my career, and/or illustrated and explained some of the goals that I constantly strive to achieve with my photography.

Mt Everesty, one image in Nigel Hicks's Goals in Photography talk.
Mt Everest seen from the North Face Base Camp; Tibet, China.

Watch a video of the talk now

The talk was recorded and can now be watched on both You Tube and right here, lasting about 34 minutes.

To watch the talk just click on the link below:

Naturally, I really hope you will enjoy the talk. Feel free to leave any comments or queries in the comments section of this blog. I’ll do my best to answer anything you’d like to ask.

Young boy with bubble gum and toy guny, one image in Nigel Hicks's Goals in Photography talk.

Programme of upcoming talks

This Goals in Photography talk was hugely successful, with about 40 people taking part. There will now be three more talks before Christmas, which will be:

14th October – Composition

11th November – Light

9th December – Landscape photography

All the talks will be free to attend. All I ask is that you register in advance so that I know to send you the link to enable you to join.

To find out more and to register for any or all of the talks click on the button below.

Golden Snub-nosed monkey, one image in Nigel Hicks's Goals in Photography talk.
Golden snub-nosed monkey.

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Fabulous Philippines

Nigel’s Birdfair talk about Philippine birds can now be seen here and on You Tube

The talk that I recently gave to the virtual Birdfair 2020 about Philippine birds (called Fabulous Philippines) is now on You Tube, and hence can be seen here. The talk is just over 16 minutes long, and to watch it just click on the link below. I really hope you enjoy it!

About the Fabulous Philippines talk

The talk introduces some of the Philippines most important forest habitats, and then showcases a few of the country’s most significant bird species, concentrating on those that are endemic, or unique, to the Philippines. These include the Philippine Eagle, several hornbills, the Philippine Bulbul, the Coleto and the Bleeding-heart pigeons.

The photography used comes from my Wild Philippines project, which was published a few months ago as a book, called Wild Philippines. Video clips in this talk, showing me working in the Philippines, were shot while I was gathering material for the project.

Bleeding-heart pigeon, a Philippine bird.
Negros Bleeding-heart pigeon.

About the Birdfair

The Birdfair is an annual UK event, usually held on the shores of Lake Rutland, in eastern England, that celebrates everything to do with birds and bird conservation. Not surprisingly, for 2020 the event was forced online, with a virtual event running for a week in mid-August.

Hopefully, for 2021 the event will be back in its rightful spot in the English countryside!

Getting a copy of Wild Philippines

If you find this talk interesting and would like to find out more about Philippine wildlife, and in particular the Wild Philippines project, click on the link below.

The Wild Philippines book is widely available from high street and online book shops (including Amazon). In the Philippines, it is stocked by National Book Stores. You can also buy it directly from this website: just click on the link below to go to my book shop.

Wild Philippines cover

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A Wild Philippines talk at Birdfair

The UK’s annual festival of all things to do with birds, Birdfair, has started and will run 18th-23rd August. I’m so proud to be able to say that in the line-up is a talk by myself, in which I’ll be showcasing the birds of the Philippines, a talk entitled by the organisers Fabulous Philippines.

Using photography from my recent book, Wild Philippines, the talk will explore the avian wildlife of that wonderful country, highlighting mainly just a handful of the many species unique to the country. These include the mighty Philippine Eagle, all 11 species of hornbill, and a host of pigeons and doves, to mention just a few.

Philippine Eagle
A Philippine Eagle

Birdfair goes online

Normally held on the shore of lovely Rutland Water, a major sanctuary for birdlife in eastern England, this year of course Birdfair has to be wholly online. That hasn’t stopped the organisers pulling together a superb event, with a huge line-up of talks, events and exhibitions.

To go to Birdfair’s home page click on the link below:

My Philippines talk at Birdfair

My talk on birds of the Philippines, which the organisers have entitled Fabulous Philippines, goes live at 8am (UK time; 3pm in the Philippines, 3am USA east coast) on Saturday 22nd August, so you’ll be able to watch it online from then and for the next three months. The talk will also be published next week on my You Tube channel.

Consisting of a mix of videos and stills photography, with my own narration, the talk runs for 15 minutes, introducing the Philippines’ main terrestrial habitats and some of their representative life. As already mentioned, the photography comes from my recent book project Wild Philippines.

Naturally, I really hope you’ll watch the talk, and that you’ll find it enjoyable. You can find my talk at the address below. The page is already live, but it won’t be possible to launch the video until Saturday 22nd Aug.

An early morning view across farmland near Tumpis (at about 1350 metres) to the summit of Mt Apo, Mt Apo Natural Park, Davao, Mindanao, the Philippines.

Getting hold of a copy of Wild Philippines

Wild Philippines is widely available from both high street and online book stores around the world, including Amazon. In the UK, the main high street outlet is Waterstones, while in the Philippines it is National Book Stores.

It can also be bought directly from me through my website. Just click on the link below to go to the relevant page.

Wild Philippines cover

I hope you’ll enjoy my Birdfair talk!

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Wild Philippines in Geographical mag

I’m really pleased to be able to say that the July issue of Geographical magazine (the monthly publication of the Royal Geographical Society) contains a prominent feature on my book Wild Philippines.

Consisting largely of extracts from the book’s first two chapters, it also features some of the photography, focussing largely on the Philippines’ unique, or endemic, animal species.

You can see the article here, by clicking on the image gallery below:

Moving forward with Wild Philippines

This is a fantastic new development, as I have to say in all honesty that we’ve been having all kinds of trouble managing to promote Wild Philippines. Not surprisingly, much of that is down to the Covid-19 pandemic, which completely wiped out plans to promote the book in the Philippines itself. So the Geographical article is a major boost and step forward in getting news about the book out there, at least within the UK.

Wild Philippines cover

About the Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society (RGS), founded in the 19th century, is the UK’s most well-known research and exploration body, specialising in the promotion of study into geographical issues, both in the natural and the human worlds.

Some of the UK’s most famous explorers have been and indeed still are members of th RGS.

Geographical magazine is its monthly publication, going out automatically to all RGS members. It is also available generally, normally on sale in many good newsagents.

To find out more about the RGS click on the link below:

Find out about the RGS

To find out more about Geographical magazine click on this link:

Find out about Geographical magazine

Find out more about Wild Philippines

Wild Philippines is a major publication, written and published by Nigel Hicks and published by Oxford-based John Beaufoy Publishing. Its 208 pages give a hugely valuable overview and snapshot of the status of Philippine wildlife and its conservation. In addition, Wild Philippines features over 300 photos that focus in on the country’s huge numbers of utterly unique plant and animal species, ranging from the mighty Philippine Eagle to the vast numbers of orchid and medinilla plant species.

To find out more about Wild Philippines, and to see sample pages click on the link below:

Find out about Wild Philippines

Getting a copy of Wild Philippines

Wild Philippines is available around the world through all good book shops, both high street and online.

To buy directly from me contact me by phone (+44 (0)7977 546961) or click on the link below:

Buy a copy of Wild Philippines online

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A moody nature video

A little while ago I started to increase the amount of video work I’ve been doing, and as a part of that I recently signed up with American agency Pond5, an organisation renowned for supplying video to the broadcasting world. My small part in all that is to supply short clips, which for me means concentrating on material that is my first love: nature and landscapes.

Nigel introducing a moody nature video.

Creating an illustrative video

To start telling the world about this new side to my work, I’ve put together a short video that is an medlee of moody nature and landscape clips, shot mostly in southwest England, though with a few from the Philippines.

This short video, just 2 mins 37 secs long, illustrates the kind of video work I will be doing into the future. It has been published on my Youtube channel (Nigel Hicks Photography), and you can view it below.

I hope you enjoy it! If you do then of course feel free to subscribe to my channel. Hopefully, there will be many more videos to come.

To find out more about my work for photo libraries and agencies click on the link below:

Photography talks move online

Nigel’s first webinar

With all but one of my in-person talks this spring cancelled, I’ve started moving my talks online, thanks in the first instance to an invitation from the Sodbury and Yate Photography Club (a group near Bristol).

Nigel Hicks in front of his computer, about to start his first online talk.
Nigel about to run his first online talk, for Sodbury and Yate Photography Club. 1st June 2020.

Setting up the first online talk

That invitation came through just a few weeks ago, and the talk went ahead last Monday, on 1st June, using Zoom software. Although I’ve participated in webinars before, as a listener, this was my first experience as the presenter. Initially, I found it slightly unnerving, talking to an invisible audience, just the photography I was presenting visible on the screen. I felt as though I was talking to myself, and with no audible feedback coming from the audience I really couldn’t be sure there was anyone out there in cyberspace!

Still, I got used to it, and pretty soon I was losing myself in the on-screen photography, to the point that the time flew by.

For subject matter, things stayed pretty close to home, the remit to talk about photography in southwest England’s two national parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor. So it was mostly landscape photography, though there was also a little wildlife material, most especially around Exmoor’s well known Red Deer.

Nigel in action, delivering his webinar.

I hope you like the short video showing a few highlights of the talk: just a taster. Sadly, of course, I’m not looking at the camera shooting the video: instead I’m talking at the on-screen photography and to the online audience that was hopefully at the other end of my webcam. Needless to say, there was an audience out there – as the line of questions at the end proved, reassuringly!

So, if anyone out there has a society or club that you would like me to talk to, get in touch and lets see if we can organise an online event.

Photography courses

Finally, a short note about my photography courses. All the spring events that were postponed have been rescheduled, with the first one set for 4th July. That will be Dartmoor in Spring (I guess that should now be renamed Dartmoor in Summer!). For further information about the courses click on the link below.

Red Deer on Exmoor, one of the images from Nigel's online talk.
Red Deer in countryside near Dunster, Exmoor National Park, Somerset, Great Britain.

Welcome to our new-look website!

Welcome to our new-look website! It has taken a while to come about, and it is still something of a work in progress, but we are now up and running. A few more behind-the-scenes tweaks will be needed, but nevertheless we hope you find the new site already looking good and performing well.

Looking familiar

The basic navigation, and even layout are deliberately relatively similar to the previous website, thus (hopefully) helping those of you already familiar with the site to find your way around easily. The main navigation route, as before, is through the page-head navigation menu, though there are also plent of links on each page, including fixed links on the right of each page (when seen on a computer) to the courses, tours, gift vouchers and latest images sections.

Website homepage
A partial view of the homepage on the new Nigel Hicks Photography website.

Looking new

Those things that have been greatly improved include the following. There is better security, working mostly behind the scenes but made visible by the padlock icon visible in your browser next to the web address. The image galleries display with brighter, clearer photos. We now have booking forms back up and running, to make it quicker and easier for you to book course and tour places, as well as to buy gift vouchers (although at the time of writing, the actual online payment process is still be tested).

What’s more this new blog page is now integrated into the same Nigel Hicks Photography website, instead of being restricted to a linked, but separate site. Hopefully, this will result in better integration between the news, tips and instruction articles that will appear here and what’s happening on the rest of the website.

Site development

Progress with developing the new site has been very slow in recent months due to there being not enough hours in a day (sound familiar?). So it’s amazing what can be achieved with a lockdown and collapse of business in general, even if accompanied in our case by a good dose of Covid-19. All is back up and functioning properly now (and not just the website!), so things are moving ahead.

Scillies photo gallery
A partial view of a photo gallery of the Isles of Scilly,

Exploring the site

Feel free to take a tour around the website. I hope you’ll enjoy the photo galleries, especially. As with the previous site, there are also, of course, sections on commercial photography, books, photography courses, photography tours, and Nigel’s products. Click on the links below to go straight to these.

If you find anything not working please let me know – nicely! I think we’ve checked everything over, but it’s possible something has been missed. The one remaining issue – online payments – should be up and running shortly.

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