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Nature Photography and Beads

Nature photography and beads, Katie Dean, Beadflowers
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Now, if you are someone who keeps an eye on this website, you might have noticed I published a new pattern yesterday. And if you have been following this month’s blog posts, you may have a question… What has a camera got to do with nature? Well, the connection comes through my brother and nature photography…

Natural Inspiration

Now, I started this month’s blog series by talking about inspiration from nature. Well, this led me on to thinking about the connection between different art forms.

I’m sure the inspiration that Nature offers all us beaders is not ‘news’. But have you thought about the ways in which nature inspires other artists? Nature connects us all and underlines the common ground between different art forms. Literally, it feeds our souls.

Camera beaded box, Katie Dean, BeadflowersCheck out the camera beaded box pattern here>>

How a camera fits the nature theme

So, maybe I haven’t really answered the question of what I’m doing publishing a camera in a month of nature. Well, I made the camera beaded box for my brother.

It’s always tough trying to think up beading projects that are suitable for men. My brother definitely isn’t ‘into’ jewellery. So, that rules out that area of beading.

But what else can you bead? Well, a box is suitable for anyone, provided the subject matter is right.

My brother is an accountant by trade, but his passion is for photography. He does sell some of his work and he has entered and done well in loads of photography competitions.

This iceberg (still a favourite of mine) actually won him his first competition several years ago…

Naturalworldphotographer, Stephen Dean ImagesMore recently, he made it to the finals of the incredibly prestigious BBC Wildlife competition. That one gets literally thousands and thousands of entrants from around the world. Full-time professionals are competing and the handful of winners get their own exhibition at the Natural History Museum. So, it’s a huge deal. I’m sure that one day he will come up with a photo that takes him to the next level and I would be so proud to see his work on display!

Nature Photography Inspiration

So, yes, you’ve probably spotted this: I’m really proud of my brother. And I thought I would devote this blog to talking about how his nature photography inspires and delights me.

The walls of my house are covered with photos taken by my brother. Some are simple prints in frames. Some are full size canvases. (Yes, you can print a photo onto a canvas and the effect is rather like a painting!). The only problem is, he keeps taking more photos and he’s getting better all the time! Because, for him, nature photography is as addictive as beading is for me!

So, I always find it hard to choose what I want to be looking at as I wander around my house. I’ve had to set myself some pretty strict rules…

Rule number one

Almost all of them have been taken while I was with my brother. So, they’re not just beautiful images, but they also hold personal memories for me.

Visit my brother’s website here>>

I have to confess… the stunning bear actually breaks that rule! Now, I have been on some bear watching trips with my brother, but I wasn’t on this particular trip. I just couldn’t resist the photo because it works so well in my room and it does evoke memories of other occasions.

Rule number 2

Follow your heart. So, yes, I do have some photos that just appeal to me. I may not have been part of the excursion on which they were taken, but I love the skill involved.

Naturalworldphotographer, Stephen Dean ImagesI’m not about to share all my brother’s nature photography secrets here (and I don’t know half of them anyway). But I have learned that there are tricks you can use to help capture the kind of split-second timing required to get this dolphin jumping.

Then, there is the ‘silky water’…

Naturalworldphotographer, Stephen Dean ImagesThis is all down to clever exposure and hundreds of hours of experimenting. This particular photo also happens to be from Cornwall, which, as you may know, is very special to me. Oh, and if you are a fan of cute cats, make sure you check out his full Cornwall gallery here>>

…all I’m saying is, fisherman’s cat…

Rule number 3

This brings me neatly to my rule number 3: cuteness factor. So, my personal favourite is a canvas of two sea otters. They are some of my favourite mammals and they really are hard to beat for cuteness (I think). If you want to see if you agree with me, then take a look at the mammals – my sea otters are on page 1!

But it seems that not everyone shares my taste, so these are the ‘cute’ photos that have been proving really popular on his Facebook page.

Find Stephen Dean Images on Facebook here>>

Nature Photography and Beads

I do have one more connection here. When I first started beading, my brother took all my photos for me. Now, this might seem obvious and you might be thinking how lucky I am to have a great photographer in my family.

But, the skills required for photographing in the studio are very different from the skills you need for nature photography. And, I think you’ll see what a lovely, kind person my brother is, when I tell you that his passion really isn’t for beads! Yet, he still took photos for me anyway.

Nowadays, I don’t pester him to photograph my beads! But he has set me up with good equipment and advice when I need it.

Food for thought…

I’ve spoken a lot in the past about copyright in beading. But since I started out by inviting you all to think about some of the things us beaders share with other art forms, may I invite you to think about copyright?

I know you are all too familiar with the copyright issues in beadwork. But have you thought about what a nightmare copyright is for a visual artist? My brother’s website relies on him showcasing his nature photography in the hope of selling prints.

The problem…

Yet, do you know how many people look at that and think, ‘why do I need to buy this when I can just save a copy and print it out myself’? Yes, for all the issues us beaders face, the problem of literally displaying your intellectual property is huge.

So, how do you get around it? Well, you’ll notice that many of his nature photography images have a watermark stamped on them. This isn’t ideal for showcasing the image, but it is essential for preventing theft.

But Facebook is another story altogether. We all know how much stuff gets shared and finds its way into realms beyond our control. Well, the watermarks may still work for Facebook, but he has also shared images without the watermark. So, it proved easy for me to save copies of these.

Happily, it’s not so easy to print them. They save at such tiny resolution (size) that there’s no way I can print off a copy for my wall (not that I would!).

But wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived a world where we could take inspiration from others without hurting them? And we didn’t have to think about how to protect ourselves from theft of our intellectual property or our actual possessions…

Thank you!

Anyway, I do hope you’ve enjoyed a little break from beads. I want to thank my brother for all his support and for giving his permission to share these images with you.

If you have any questions for him, or indeed if you feel like brightening up your walls with some nature photography, I know he’ll be happy to hear from you!

Check out Stephen Dean Images>>

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