Winter Photography in Glencoe

January 24, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

I've been leading Light & Land photographic workshops for almost thirteen years now and been lucky enough to travel to amazing places like Yellowstone, Namibia and Iceland, yet a five day workshop in the chilly and windy Scottish Highlands in winter stands out as one of my favourites.

The location is important - though perhaps not for the reasons that many might think - but it is the winter weather, with all its challenges, the low light and the short days that combine to make this one of the most enjoyable Light & Land workshops that I lead. And it's one of the most satisfying professionally because it's the one where I can see clients make the most progress in the shortest time.

The pleasure is also in no small measure due to my co-leader, Phil Malpas. He's not only a talented photographer but also a brilliant educator with a knack of explaining even the most complex photographic problems in a clear and straightforward way. We've now run ten of these and carefully refined the formula so that, hopefully, each year gets even better.

Winter Photography in Glencoe

We run the course in the last week in January each year not only because this gives us a good chance of proper winter weather but also because this far north the days are reasonably short daylight hours. We are based in the comfortable and wonderfully situated Kings House Hotel on the very edge of Rannoch Moor, the largest area of easily accessible upland wilderness in the British Isles. The workshop is billed as an intensive workshop because we actually work the participants quite hard! Typically, we will gather outside the wonderfully situated Kings House around 07:15 for a pre breakfast foray out to shoot dawn on the wide open Rannoch Moor. We have two 9-seater minibuses to get us to locations quickly and there are numerous possible locations within fifteen minutes of the hotel. After our dawn shoot we will return to the hotel for breakfast - fuel is essential when the conditions are near or below freezing - and then venture out to spend all the daylight hours that we can making images.

Winter Photography in Glencoe

This workshop is specially designed for beginners and those at an intermediate level. We spend our evening reviewing participants images with constructive and in depth feedback from Phil and I. It's this aspect that makes it especially effective at improving their photography in a relatively short time. This provides the very best opportunity to learn the mechanics of photography and new techniques and gives everyone a chance to implement them. Because we never have to travel too far to locations we have the opportunity to make images, review them in evening sessions and return to that spot to implement the lessons that have been learnt. This virtuous circle has a hugely powerful effect. Both Phil and I also present a series of evening seminars on different aspects of landscape technique, compositional and deeper questions about photography as art.

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