Skye Photography workshop review

Last March I spent an enjoyable week with a small group on the isle of Skye doing a photography workshop, and Duncan Fawkes, one of the participants has written a review of the week.

I'm pleased that Duncan has given himself a bit of distance between the actual workshop and the writing of his review. As he points out, he has found that it's taken him a while for things to simmer, bubble away in his subconscious.....

His review, I feel - is a good guide to what you should be looking for in a workshop.... for instance, I would agree that you shouldn't go to a workshop looking to come home with killer images (although it's a nice bonus if you do).

I'm pleased to say that most of the things that Duncan says he got out of the workshop, are really what I strive for, and he covers most of them in his review. Thanks Duncan for letting me know about this. I'm also glad you didn't mention too much about the rubber chicken and the gloves ;-P

Last week's Skye Workshop

Last week I was on the isle of Skye, at my usual fantastic haunt - the Glenview hotel. The group I had were excellent, despite the really rough weather we had.

I thought I'd share a photo of everyone, including Kirsty and Simon (and their children) who own the hotel. Simon is by far the best cook I've experienced on any trip, and it's always a delight for me to see participants get very enthusiastic about the food.

Anyway, I had a slight mishap at the hotel last week, which involved the near-use of the fire-extinguisher you see Simon holding in the photo. Needless to say, I'm the one holding the rubber chicken (don't ask - but Gerallt - my first Welsh participant deemed that I should hold his rubber chicken).

Here is a contact sheet of the groups efforts. We had some pretty terrible weather, but I'm always surprised that we end up getting something over the week. I've never had a trip happen where we couldn't produce some excellent work.

I've just published dates for the 2013 workshop on Skye. This year's trip proved to be very popular, despite several cancellations, the trip filled up very quickly, so I'm expecting a similar demand for next year's trip.

Skye Workshop - March 14th to 18th

Just a quick posting today to let you know there are only two spaces left for the Skye workshop this March if you're thinking about coming.

I made the shot above on the last workshop on Skye in December. We had terrific weather for the week we were on the island and the light as you can see was amazing too. This image was used by Outdoor Photography (UK publication, not to be confused with the US Outdoor Photographer magazine) for their February front cover. It's the second time I've had my images used by OP.

Often the coldest time of the year here in Scotland is around February and it often extends into March. Winter light is the best light so I'm looking forward to what March may bring in terms of dramatic light on Skye.

Painters as Influence?

When I was making the image you see below, I couldn't help but think there was something 'dreamlike' about the Storr landscape. It reminded me of a fantasy-like castle from a book for a while, but then it struck me that the scene seems to have some echoes of Van Goch's Starry Night picture.

Perhaps it's the swirls in the sky and the curve in the landscape (I've illustrated the flow and curves in the 2nd picture).

Certainly, when I'm making pictures, I'm often aware of the flow of clouds through the scene, how the curve of the land sits, but mostly, I'm just engaged in a mood or feeling that the landscape is projecting at me.

As well as getting inspiration from other photographers, why not painters too?

I've just recently started to read about Edward Hopper, who's 'empty' scenes of people in isolated settings almost feel as though he should have been a street-shooter. Capturing the moment of someone in thought. Likewise, surely if Van Goch had access to a camera, maybe, just maybe, he might have worked with that instead of, or along with paint?

Certainly for us, we have a wealth of art work to get inspiration from, to learn from, and I often suggest to folk on my workshops that taking an art class in the evenings would help them with composition.

The Storr Loch

During my workshop on Skye this December, we visited the Storr loch and found a tree that had been frozen, half submerged. It was a very beautiful subject to photograph and Peter, Simon and myself had a go at making an image of it.

What was interesting for me during the workshop, was that I kept on wanting to crop most of the images from the participants into the square format. I should perhaps let you all know that I've just recently acquired a Hasselblad with three lenses. I've been feeling for a while that I would like to see what it's like to compose for square. The Hasselblad also focusses closer than the Mamiya 7 does, plus, I have a nice macro for it, so I'm curious to see if this is perhaps a new beginning for me, or just something else to add to my own way of making images in the future.

I doubt very much that I'll finish scanning all my new images before I head off to the USA next week, which I guess means I've got some exciting new images to look forward to when I return home.