Words and images by Light & Land tour leader and Landscape Photographer of the Year winner, Antony Spencer.
Photo © Antony Spencer
When times are tough, as they are right now, long haul photographic tours may well be completely out of the question.
However, this makes for the perfect opportunity to concentrate on the areas we have easier access to, the beautiful British Isles. One does not necessarily need to be heading to a far away land in search of the epic and the new to produce world class imagery.
Some would ask, is it worth it for just one day? But it’s amazing what can be learnt in a concentrated time.
Running through the techniques and technicalities as well as the creative aspects of photography, it’s completely down to the individual client as to what they would like to learn and concentrate on for the day. One of the most positive aspects of a one day workshop is that guests can be shown a few techniques and be left to master them individually, repeating these methods making sure this valuable information will be stored safely in the grey matter!
When I host a workshop, I try and catch up with each participant as often as possible, reviewing the images made. This is a great opportunity to provide advice on any problems and if all is well encourage guests to move onto more advanced techniques.
Photo © Antony Spencer
Personally, I really enjoy the one day format, whilst it’s also great to be on longer tours and developing relationships with the group, on a one day workshop we work hard as a tutors to make sure everyone is getting the maximum tuition possible in the precious hours available.
Feedback from a recent one day workshop at Stourhead Gardens has been superb - a beautiful location for almost every single aspect of landscape photography from the large view to very beautiful intimate abstracts.
I would advise participants to bring along as much of their kit as possible, the usual tripod, camera, variety of lenses etc as well as items such as filters, especially ND graduated filters and polarisers as these are the most widely used but often not used to their full potential.
But the most important thing is bring what you use! Whether that’s a compact camera, a full DSLR outfit, or just about anything in between. All levels of experience are welcome.
The workshop leader(s) will be on hand as often as possible to make sure each participant is getting as much help as they need. As well as the usage of filters one of the aspects of landscape photography I think everyone struggles with from time to time is composition. Composition including the use of available light is for me the most crucial element of that perfect final image. If one can discover a composition it becomes something that can be re worked with the correct lighting another time if things aren't quite perfect there and then.
Light & Land Photographers
I think most photographers realise that one has to be very lucky to achieve perfection on a first attempt with landscapes. When nature is control of elements such as light, seasonal changes, tides etc it is often perseverance and dedication that leads to that harmonious moment where everything comes together.
It is therefore our mission to ensure that clients are gaining the knowledge to see images and compositions more clearly, as well as teaching the technical elements to ensure perfection when these moments occur. There is nothing worse than witnessing these moments only to realise after the event that something was fundamentally wrong. Simple things like front to back sharpness are easy to achieve, all the key skills can be learnt on a one day workshop.
Whatever your situation, a one day workshop will be a fantastic chance to really slow down, immerse yourself in photography, learn new methods and techniques and enjoy the day with like minded people. The stresses of normal daily life are gone for the day leaving you in a perfect learning environment with no distractions!
Light & Land already works with several National Trust locations and is about to extend the range of one day workshops on offer. The locations used are ideal for making images and learning new techniques. Beautiful photographs are possible in all weathers and conditions, and the properties, gardens and estates are found right across the UK and accessible to all.
Antony Spencer leads a number of Light & Land tours both in the UK and further afield. For full details visit Light & Land's website.