Duration & Dates
7 days (6 nights)
1st to 7th September 24
18th to 24th May 25
Arrival & Departure
Forsinard Lodge arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am
A special week concentrating on photographic compositions and working on finding your own style
5 amazing days of creative photography excursions
Daily picture reviews and constructive critique of work
Fully inclusive comfortable, en-suite accommodation
Very small group size for maximum individual attention
Un-discovered wild locations
3 people per tour per 1 guide
Full Board Accommodation
Single occupancy rooms as standard
Vehicle and guide
Initial transport to lodge
Photography might be considered to be the mix of inspiration and creative ideas with the technical skill and capability of operating the camera. Indeed, many people find that it’s much easier to learn technical features and controls than it is to conceive the ideas that inspire their use. Whilst most of our holidays look at both sides of this process, our ‘Making compositions that work’ week, concentrates more heavily on all of the creative elements that go into making a great image.
This holiday will begin with ensuring everyone has a good set of foundation ideas that enable us to make images that conform to our normal visual preferences. These thoughts might include:
Making the picture simple
Finding the best angle
Creating tight compositions with detail
Using symmetry and balance
Using shapes and colours
Rule of thirds and cardinal points
Identifying and using light
Once we feel confident in these thoughts, we can think about what personal preferences we might have in terms of what we individually like in pictures or what we feel our photographs should ‘say’. This is the beginning of us understanding our own preference for style in our photos’.
Throughout the rest of the week, we will then work through the daily routine of shooting images with control, editing them and then reviewing the photographs to understand not only what we think works but also what we like personally in terms of style. At the end of each day, guests will be encouraged to share their pictures and really take time to explore why we create the photos’ we do, and what connection this makes to those that view these images afterwards.
During the 5 days of photography, we will carefully explore the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish far north. As with all of our trips, we will take a broad view of subjects, always searching for opportunities to find intimate photographic stories in the things we encounter. The tutors and guides will encourage a wide range of creative interpretations of the things we find and will demonstrate alternative techniques and ideas to maximise our creativity.
Subjects during the week, might be very diverse, from majestic upland landscapes, to hidden history in abandoned crofts plus, of course, the chance of nature and wildlife. The ‘Flow Country’ of the central far north of Scotland is one of the least densely populated areas in Europe, and this vast, wild location is rich in both natural and human history.
A core idea we strongly believe in, is to treat each excursion as a visual ‘treasure hunt’, looking for subjects where stories can be unlocked in a carefully created picture. There is nothing better than returning home feeling that we can share something undiscovered in a photograph we have been able to reveal during our day’s exploration.
The small team at Wild Arena are all passionate about photography and sharing our love of the Scottish landscape with our guests. Our creative photography tours are designed to make the most of our wild and unspoilt location to provide the perfect place for digging deeper into the world of making images.
Equipment for the week is less important than our creative output, but cameras with less automation and more functions often allow a greater freedom of expression. Of course, the tutors will always be on hand to offer advice on how best to use the cameras to make the pictures we are hoping for. We will also run through a number of more unusual techniques that may broaden our artistic output.
Outside of the time spent capturing pictures, we usually encourage guests to slow down sufficiently to appreciate the sights, sounds and feelings present in the places we visit. These opportunities to simply ‘explore’ with no agenda, can often lead to the most rewarding outcomes!
What can you expect during your week with us?
Well, we hope to welcome everyone as a friend, creating a comfortable ‘home from home’ feeling whilst staying with us at Forsinard Lodge. During this trip we will be especially mindful of providing itineraries that offer room for individual creative expression and we hope everyone will return home feeling inspired by their stay with us.
Key subjects for the week should include:
Wild Landscapes, with hills, burns and lochs
Coastal locations with cliffs, beaches, and buildings
Wildlife we encounter
Smaller subjects showing details in the scene
People we may meet
Abstract and artistic interpretations
Above all else, we want our welcoming, small group trips to be relaxing and creatively stimulating, providing the perfect combination of rest and enjoyment of the wonderful pastime of photography!
Our base for this trip is the beautifully situated location of Forsinard Lodge in northern Scotland. The building was originally built in 1870 by the Duke of Sutherland as a hunting & fishing lodge at the head of Strath Halladale. The river here was highly regarded for Salmon fishing and the surrounding area boasted Red Deer Stags of unusual size. The lodge has spent most of its life as part of a much wider estate, but now provides Wild Arena a perfect base for photography in this beautiful and relatively undiscovered part of the highlands.
We also boast some amazing neighbours including our good friends at the RSPB reserve at Forsinard, who manage a vast area of diverse upland surrounding the lodge.
Our guests are accommodated in recently refurbished bedrooms within the Forsinard Lodge building. Each room has its own new, en-suite bathroom and are comfortably furnished for our visitors stay. Guests will also have use of a conservatory lounge where meals can be served, and the group can come together in the evenings.
We pride ourselves on looking after everyone to the best of our ability and Adrienne will ensure guests are kept happy with delicious home cooked food from our kitchen. We also hope that the lodge is the perfect place for relaxed conversation, providing an environment that encourages learning and self-expression – a true ‘home from home’!
Our making compositions that work holidays may run at various times of year, and no doubt the subjects we encounter will vary as the seasons change. Therefore, this itinerary should act as an approximate guide only.
(D) Arrival at your base for the week, Forsinard Lodge in the heart of the wild landscape of northern Scotland. On our first evening together, we will introduce the ideas central to the week and let the group share their aspirations and ideas.
(B,L,D) After a relaxed breakfast, we will set out with a packed lunch, for our first day of exploration. We will likely spend our time at locations relatively close to base and begin the process of slowing down and considering the stories we wish to tell through our photographs. For the evening, we will return to the lodge for a chance to review the days photography before dinner. We will then encourage everyone to share some pictures and we can constructively discuss them as a group. (NB: Each evening we will also check the weather forecast and conditions so, depending on the season, there is always the chance for some sunsets or even night-time shooting too!)
(B,L,D) After an earlier start, we will head for a day at the coast, using the sea as an inspiration for our images. Again, we will take out a packed lunch and the guides will begin to introduce alternative ideas to broaden our creative opportunities. Again, back to the lodge for the same evening of image review and dinner.
(B,L,D) After a slightly later breakfast, we will once again set out with a packed lunch for very quiet places in the hills. This wild landscape can be both challenging and stimulating for pictures, but we will encourage the widest possible interpretation of what we discover. Later in the afternoon, we may specifically look for Red Deer at locations where we know they are more accessible. Again, back to the lodge for dinner and the chance for image review. At this stage in the holiday, the tutor might encourage everyone to consider their own image style preferences.
(B,L,D) After breakfast, we will set out with a packed lunch again for more time in this beautiful part of the country. We will return to the lodge slightly earlier for dinner, allowing us an opportunity to venture out again afterwards, as the evening light fades for an alternate view of the things around us as day turns into night.
(B,L,D) The final day of photography. We will set out for a final morning of exploring the landscapes for photographic inspirations returning to the lodge for a late lunch. During the afternoon we might spend a few hours considering the process of editing our pictures (in terms of basic reduction in numbers and possible use of software), before preparing a final set of images for presentation after our last dinner as a group. This can be a great way of acknowledging what we have achieved through the week in terms of photographic creativity and enlightenment
(B) After a final breakfast, we will round up the week before guests depart for 10am.
Please note: – The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.
Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Who should attend
All of our trips are targeted at anyone who has a love of photography, a desire to shoot great pictures, plus learn new things along the way. However, our ‘Finding your style’ trips are set out to specifically concentrate on helping guests work on compositions that work and identifying what style of image they would individually like to refine.
Wild Arena Tours are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.
Fitness level: You will need reasonable fitness and the ability to be able to walk a few miles with your camera bag, over rough terrain. If you have any concerns about your fitness suitability – just get in touch.
Camera Knowledge: It is useful if you have a good working knowledge of your camera, but the Wild Arena guide will be on hand to talk through settings, ideas, and techniques to make the best of the opportunities.
During this week of creative photography, we hope to cover many useful techniques for various genres of photography, constantly making use of the light and opportunities our subjects present us.
Specifically, we will then concentrate our time on refining compositions to make sure they deliver the stories we wish to tell. We will also consider alternative ideas of style, working towards identifying what works for everyone individually.
However, beyond all of these thoughts, there is massive scope for developing ideas the guests feel they wish to explore!