advice for the workshops
do I need to be an expert to attend?
No you don’t. The groups are small (a maximum of 6) and it is possible to mix abilities. You need to be able to work your camera, and have an understanding of the basics of camera operation (aperture and shutter speeds) is helpful. At the other end of the skill range, I have had real experts do the workshops who’ve been surprised how there is always something new to learn.
do I really need to spend a fortune on photoshop?
No you don’t. Photoshop Elements has become a very versatile program. It costs about £60, is often free with new cameras, and does nearly everything photoshop does. The current version even does stitching of multiple shots to make panoramas. Take a look at it, it may well be all you need. For more casual use and less sophistication in the control you have, Google’s Picasa (free but very basic) is worth trying and if on a Mac, Apple’s (free with most macs) iphoto is also pretty good. I use Adobe Lightroom for my picture processing, it is versatile and also a pretty good datatbase and manger of large picture libraries. Adobe do a 30 day free trial, if you want to buy it, it costs around £100, though Adobe are trying to force everyone onto subscribing for it rather than buying. Affinity photo shows great promise, is about £50 (one off- no subscription) and seems to do most of what photoshop can. It is no bad thing that Adobe is at last getting some serious competition.
what sort of camera should I get?
Most people who do the workshops are using a digital SLR. It allows the greatest degree of control over your pictures. It is possible to do the workshop with a compact, but they are often tricky to get them to do what you want rather than what they want. Ideally you should be shooting in RAW (see link on the left), all SLRs do this and some compacts. In most cases an SLR will delivery much higher quality results. The exception to this is the new style of compact cameras with large sensors. In general if you can swap the lenses on your camera then it’s a high quality camera. The £3-600 Nikons, Canons and Sonys are all very capable cameras these days. The lenses that come with this price range are often the weak link. I can lend any Canon users my lenses on the day, and the results from a really good £600 lens on a £300 body can be remarkably good. Fixed lenses are usually better than zooms, and an old style ‘standard lens’ (usually 50mm) is the cheapest and highest quality lens you can get.
shooting on the beach
It is a good idea to wear waterproof shoes even in good weather, so you can walk on the wet sand or paddle a bit if necessary. On warm days it is still possible to get quite cold on the beach in the wind. Bring clothes for a day that is colder and windier than it might seem to be.
tripods and a cable release
I use a tripod for pretty much everything. Even in good light it does make a difference to the very fine detail. It won’t spoil your day if you don’t have one, but if you can borrow one it will be useful. In the woods it is pretty much essential on any day. A cable release of some sort, or remote control, or working out how to set the self-timer on your camera will allow you to take longer exposures on a tripod without jolting the camera.
The kind of tripod that has several handles sticking out at all angles is a menace. With a few exceptions, they work but they are slow and fiddly to use. If you are buying a tripod then get one with a ball and socket head. It means you can move the camera in all directions at once and only have a single locking control to secure the camera. All but the cheapest tripods should have a quick release plate that screws into the bottom of the camera to allow quick mounting and removal of the camera. Keep an eye on the maximum height that the tripod will go up to. Some basic models will oblige you to shoot everything from waist height. I make sure mine can go up to eye level or above, though this makes for a bulkier item.
charge your batteries
If you have spare camera batteries, charge them and bring them. If not make sure you charge up the night before. You’ll be giving your camera intensive use and the battery may run down sooner than you expect. I carry a spare Canon camera body for anyone who does run out of power.
If at all possible I like to carry on shooting in the wet. It is often when you’ll get the most atmospheric pics. It is rare for the weather to be so bad that you can’t shoot for any length of time. These workshops have been going on for almost 10 years with neaklry 1000 people through the door to do them, and we have only rarely lost any time to the weather. Do bring a plastic bag to cover your camera and a cotton cloth to dry off the worst water. You have to use you own judgement as to how much rain you are going to allow on the camera itself.
ALL DAYS ARE FRIDAYS
march 16 advanced
april 6 intermediate FULL
april 13 night
may 4 intermediate FULL
june 1 beginners FULL
june 22 intermediate
july 13 intermediate
september 14 advanced
october 5 night
october 26 intermediate
november 16 intermediate
The cost of our workshop days is £130 for most days, £170 for the smaller advanced group days. Please check the page for the day you are interested in to see the price.
To book please email or ring the gallery - full payment with the booking needed and please read the cancellation policy
106 high street
01797 226 937