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Reflection in rain drops

Autumn Colours and Macro Photography in the Scottish Highlands

£1,399 (Members price £1,349), Deposit £300
Forsinard, Sutherland
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Duration & Dates

7 days (6 nights)

15th to 21st September 24 - Full

29th Sept to 5th Oct 24

7th to 13th September 25

5th to 11th October 25

19th to 25th October 25

27th Sept to 3rd Oct 26

11th to 17th October 26

25th to 31st October 26

If you are a group of 2 or more, please contact us for bespoke dates and itineraries.

Included

  • Full Board Accommodation

  • Single occupancy rooms as standard

  • Vehicle and guide

  • Transfer from Inverness airport or railway station

Price

£1,399

Members price £1,349

Deposit £300

Anyone can join as a member for just £25 a year

Group Size

3 people per tour per 1 guide

Not Included

  • Initial transport to lodge

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Camera equipment

  • Travel insurance

 
Description

Discover the enchanting beauty of autumn in the Scottish Highlands and delve into the intricate world of macro photography during our 7-day (6-night) Autumn and Macro Photography Holiday. This unique tour is designed to inspire your creativity and expand your photographic skills as you explore the rich landscapes and detailed close-up subjects that northern Scotland has to offer.

 

Dive into the World of Macro Photography

Autumn is a fantastic time for macro photography, with an abundance of fungi, mosses, lichens, and the detailed textures of autumn leaves. Our comprehensive macro sessions will guide you through everything from basic setups and common problems to advanced techniques like focus stacking and flash lighting. Whether you’re new to macro photography or looking to refine your skills, this week will provide the knowledge and inspiration you need.

A Tapestry of Warm Hues. Autumn in the Highlands is a season of transformation, where the landscape is painted in a stunning array of warm hues. The rich greens of summer give way to a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows as the trees and vegetation prepare for the coming winter. The hillsides and forests become a mosaic of colour, providing a breath-taking backdrop for photographers and nature lovers alike.

Crisp Air and Golden Light. The air in the Highlands takes on a crisp, refreshing quality in autumn. Morning mists rise from the lochs and rivers, creating a mystical atmosphere that is perfect for capturing ethereal images. The light in autumn is softer and more golden, casting a warm glow over the landscape and enhancing the natural beauty of the region. The shorter days and longer shadows add depth and dimension to photographs, making every moment feel like a perfect opportunity.

Nature's Bounty and Wildlife Autumn is a time of abundance in the Highlands. The forests are filled with the rich scents of fallen leaves and damp earth, and the ground is carpeted with a variety of fungi, mosses, and lichens. Wildlife is also in full display as animals prepare for the colder months. Red Deer can be seen during their rutting season, their majestic antlers silhouetted against golden skies. Birds and other creatures are also busily gathering food, providing ample opportunities for great photography.

Tranquillity and Reflection. Autumn brings a sense of tranquillity to the Highlands. The bustling activity of summer gives way to a quieter, more reflective season. The serene waters of the lochs mirror the fiery colours of the trees, creating perfect reflections that double the beauty of the scenery. This time of year, invites introspection and a deeper connection with nature, making it an ideal season for contemplative photography and personal reflection.

Cultural Heritage and Historical Sites. The historical and cultural heritage of the Highlands is particularly evocative in autumn. Ancient Brochs, historic castles, and weathered croft houses stand in stark contrast to the vibrant colours of the landscape, telling stories of a time long past. The autumn light casts these sites in a new and captivating way, making them compelling subjects for photography and exploration.

Dynamic Weather and Dramatic Skies. Autumn weather in the Highlands can be dynamic and changeable, adding an element of drama to the landscape. Rain showers and sunny spells can occur within minutes of each other, creating dramatic skies and stunning rainbows. The interplay of light and weather adds a sense of unpredictability and excitement, ensuring that each day brings new photographic opportunities and challenges.

A Season of Renewal and Preparation. As the Highlands prepare for winter, there is a palpable sense of renewal and preparation. The land seems to breathe a sigh of relief after the busy summer, settling into a slower, more deliberate rhythm. This season of transition is a reminder of the cyclical nature of life, providing a unique perspective for photographers seeking to capture the fleeting beauty of a world in flux.

In essence, autumn in the Highlands is a time of vibrant beauty, tranquil reflection, and dynamic change. It is a season that invites you to slow down, breathe deeply, and fully immerse yourself in the breath-taking splendour of one of the most picturesque landscapes in the world.

 

Tour Highlights

  • Autumn Landscapes: Capture dramatic beaches, and golden hills. Explore characterful man-made structures such as Iron Age Brochs and weathered croft houses, rich in colour and texture.

  • Nature: Photograph Red Deer, spawning salmon in the rivers, and various small birds at the lodge feeders. 

  • Macro Photography: Macro opportunities include fungi, mosses, lichen, and other autumn details. Focus on small-scale subjects on the seashore and moorlands, and discover the beauty of natural textures. Learn techniques for controlling movement, using artificial light, and setting up a home macro studio.

 

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Creative Adventurers Welcome

At Wild Arena, we seek guests who are eager to embrace the creative journey of photography, rather than those merely looking to replicate specific images from a checklist. Our tours are designed for those who want to delve deeper into the art of storytelling through their photos, capturing the unique essence of the Highland landscapes, its people, and the ever-changing weather. We are committed to teaching a wide range of techniques and providing the support and encouragement needed to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a passionate beginner, our goal is to help you unlock new levels of creativity and create beautiful, original images that reflect the true spirit of the Highlands. Join us if you’re ready to be inspired, to learn, and to explore the limitless possibilities of your photographic potential.

Pre and Post-Tour Engagement

Before your holiday begins, we will arrange a Zoom call to address any questions you may have about the upcoming week. This call will also be an opportunity for you to meet your fellow guests, and you'll be invited to join a personalised WhatsApp group. On our last evening together, we encourage guests to share their favourite images from the week, fostering camaraderie and collective learning among the group. Even after you return home, you can stay connected with us and your fellow participants through WhatsApp and Facebook, continuing to engage and share your photography journey.

What to Expect

We aim to welcome everyone as a friend and help develop their personal photography on an individual level. Small groups and all-inclusive accommodation ensure guests can relax and fully immerse themselves in their hobby.

 

 
Learning Outcomes

Throughout the week, you'll receive personalised guidance on a range of photographic techniques, including:

  • Basic Camera Settings: Apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO management.

  • Advanced Techniques: Focus stacking, using flash lighting for macro, and in-camera multiple exposures.

  • Creative Approaches: Monochrome shooting, using filters, intentional camera movement, and capturing light in unique ways.

 

Daily Excursions and Studio Sessions

Your itinerary will be flexible to make the most of early and late light, seasonal changes, and weather conditions. Activities will include:

  • Excursions to dramatic seascapes and autumn landscapes.

  • Fieldwork focusing on macro subjects like fungi, leaves, and small creatures.

  • Studio sessions to refine macro techniques and explore creative ideas.

  • Opportunities to photograph stunning sunsets, night skies, and potentially even the northern lights.

 

All-Inclusive Experience

Stay at Forsinard Lodge, our comfortable base in the north of Scotland, where you’ll enjoy full board accommodation. The lodge provides a perfect retreat after a day of exploration, with facilities to review your photos, and engage in creative discussions with fellow photographers.

 

Personalised Guidance and Small Groups

Our tours are designed for small groups, ensuring personalised attention and a relaxed atmosphere. Our experienced guides will support you in developing your photography on an individual level, helping you unlock the hidden stories in your surroundings.

 

Join Us for a Creative Journey

Our goal is to provide a week of relaxation, creative stimulation, and the joy of photography. We welcome you as friends, offering an environment where you can grow your skills, find inspiration, and create beautiful, meaningful images.

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Itinerary
 

Daily Excursions and Studio Sessions

Your itinerary will be flexible to make the most of early and late light, seasonal changes, and weather conditions. Activities will include:

  • Visits to the dramatic seascapes of the northern coasts.

  • Finding macro subjects and seasonal colours in the landscape

  • Studio sessions focusing on detailed macro work.

  • Opportunities to photograph stunning sunsets, night skies, and potentially the aurora

 

Day 1
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Arrival and Welcome Dinner (D)

  • Arrival at Forsinard Lodge, nestled in the wild landscape of northern Scotland.

  • Group gathering for a welcome dinner and an introduction to the week ahead.

Day 2-6

 

Daily Photography Excursions (B, L, D) Each day will be planned to make the most of the weather conditions and photographic opportunities. Expect a mix of the following activities throughout the week:

  • Morning Departures: On some days, we may leave early to catch the morning light, taking a packed breakfast with us. On other days, we might enjoy a relaxed breakfast at the lodge before heading out.

  • Full Day Excursions: We’ll explore various locations including local sites, the wild coastline, high country to the west, and session in the studio. Opportunities will include capturing landscapes, seascapes, macro subjects and autumn colours.

  • Packed Lunches: To maximize our time in the field, we'll often take packed lunches with us.

  • Evening Returns: Some evenings will see us returning to the lodge for dinner and a review of the day's photography. On other occasions, we might stay out late, enjoying a supper on location to capture sunset or night-time photography.

  • Flexible Scheduling: We will adapt our schedule to include opportunities for sunrise, sunset, and possibly night-time or aurora photography, depending on weather and solar activity.

  • Specific Excursions: Potential specific trips include visits to dramatic coastlines, mountainous regions, seasonal colours in the landscape, searching for fungi and other macro subjects. There will also be chances to look for local wildlife such as Red Deer.

 

Day 7

 

Departure (B)

  • Final breakfast at the lodge.

  • Round-up of the week’s experiences and a final review before guests depart at 10 am.

 

This flexible itinerary ensures that we can adapt to the best photographic opportunities each day, providing a comprehensive and rewarding experience for all participants.

Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 
Venue Description: Forsinard Lodge and Surroundings

Our base for this trip is the beautifully situated Forsinard Lodge in northern Scotland. Originally built in 1870 by the Duke of Sutherland as a hunting and fishing lodge at the head of Strath Halladale, the lodge boasts a rich history. The river here was highly regarded for salmon fishing, and the surrounding area was known for its exceptionally large Red Deer stags. Forsinard Lodge has spent most of its life as part of a much wider estate, but it now serves as the perfect base for Wild Arena’s photography tours in this stunning and relatively undiscovered part of the Highlands.

Forsinard and the Flow Country

The lodge is nestled in the heart of the Flow Country, one of Europe’s most important natural landscapes. The Flow Country is an extensive area of blanket bog and wetlands, stretching across Caithness and Sutherland. This unique environment supports a remarkable variety of wildlife, including rare bird species, mammals, and plants. It is one of the largest and most intact areas of blanket bog in the world, and its conservation is crucial for both biodiversity and carbon storage.

Sutherland's Natural Beauty

Sutherland, the wider region encompassing Forsinard, is known for its dramatic landscapes, which include rugged coastlines, sweeping moorlands, and serene lochs. The area is sparsely populated, offering a sense of wildness and tranquillity that is increasingly rare. From the rolling hills to the intricate river systems, Sutherland provides an endless array of photographic opportunities, making it an ideal location for capturing the essence of the Scottish Highlands.

RSPB Forsinard Flows Reserve

We are fortunate to have amazing neighbours, including our good friends at the RSPB Forsinard Flows Reserve. This reserve manages a vast area of diverse upland surrounding the lodge, dedicated to the conservation of this unique habitat. The reserve is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike, offering a chance to see species such as the Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, and Red-throated Diver in their natural habitat.

Accommodation at Forsinard Lodge

Our guests are accommodated in recently refurbished bedrooms within the Forsinard Lodge building. Each room has its own new, en-suite bathroom and is comfortably furnished to ensure a pleasant stay. Guests will also have access to a conservatory lounge where meals can be served, and the group can gather in the evenings for relaxed conversation and camaraderie.

 

Culinary Delights and Hospitality

We pride ourselves on looking after everyone to the best of our ability. Adrienne ensures that guests are kept happy with delicious home-cooked food from our kitchen, providing a taste of the Highlands with every meal. The lodge is designed to be a perfect place for relaxation and learning, fostering an environment that encourages creativity and self-expression—a true 'home from home.'

Whether you are marvelling at the vast, open landscapes, exploring the intricate details of the Flow Country, or enjoying the warm hospitality of Forsinard Lodge, your stay promises to be a memorable and inspiring experience.

 

Kate - October 2022

A wonderful 5 days of nature and wildlife photography in a beautiful part of Scotland.An excellent itinerary which provided the opportunity to try out new subjects, techniques and skills.Thank you to David and Janet for your good company, support and for passing on your vast photographic knowledge including useful hints and tips."
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