Duration & Dates
7 days (6 nights)
19th to 25th May 24
13th to 19th October 24
20th to 26th April 25
19th to 25th October 25
Arrival & Departure
Forsinard Lodge arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am
A special week of photography concentrating on the world of macro
5 full days of learning with the aim of taking guests knowledge form beginner to expert in the genre of shooting close-up subjects
Daily sessions will work through a whole range of techniques, building our understanding of getting great quality macro images
We will spend time out on location and in the fully equipped macro studio
Fully inclusive. full board, comfortable, en-suite accommodation
Special focus on individual learning to your specific level
3 people per tour per 1 guide
Full Board Accommodation
Single occupancy rooms as standard
Vehicle and guide
Initial transport to lodge
This is a wonderful week completely centred on shooting smaller subjects! We will cover the whole genre of close-up photography from basic set-ups and overcoming common problems, to complex techniques like focus stacking and using flash lighting.
We will carefully plan a learning itinerary for the week, but topics are likely to include:
Basic introductory settings - apertures and depth-of-field
Basic introductory settings - controlling movement with shutter speeds
Basic introductory settings – using ISO as a third exposure management tool
Using tripods, accessories, and camera settings to control movement
How best to use constant artificial light for macro
The advantages of using flash-light for smaller subjects
Best practice ideas for working in the field
How to set up a simple home macro studio
A comprehensive introduction to focus stacking
Useful simple software actions in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Macro Photography is a massively popular subject for many photographers but can prove a little daunting, with perhaps more technical issues and creative challenges than other genres. At Wild Arena, we have specialised in the world of close-ups for nearly 20 years and have a huge range of expertise to share with our guests. We also have decades of experience looking after guests and structured learning in an organised and fun way. So, if you really want to get to grips with shooting some awesome close-up images, but feel you need an injection of knowledge and inspiration – this could be the week for you!
The 7-day (6 night) course includes full board accommodation, in our wonderful base of Forsinard Lodge in the north of Scotland. The surrounding wild landscape should provide a wealth of different subjects especially during autumn, where fungi, autumn leaves and smaller creatures will all feature. When we are not out exploring these opportunities, we will be able to come inside, slow down and really work through macro techniques in our fully equipped macro studio. This facility will be perfect for demonstrating more complex ideas and also give us some shelter if we have an unlucky day with the weather!
This week-long trip is about so much more than techniques, we also want to build understanding on creative ideas too. Throughout the sessions, the aim is to mix in creative appraisal of our pictures and hopefully gain a better understanding of what makes an image really work for you.
Each day, we hope to provide a structured and rewarding itinerary for our small group, where we can systematically work through close-up photography ideas, ensuring everyone gets the time they need to achieve their goals.
At the end of each day, guests will be encouraged to share their pictures and really take time to explore the creative thoughts and motivations in the image capture process. We often find, this time with like-minded guests can be very rewarding!
Equipment for the week is not massively important, but guests are likely to get the best outcome if their kit includes a lens that has a good close-up capability. We would encourage everyone to have a chat with us before the trip to make sure you bring what you may need. We have lighting, studio and specialised accessories to demonstrate the ideas we wish to cover and will hopefully suggest ideas which will allow you to elevate your images for minimal cost.
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 unusually be focused on a specific area of photography, but at the same time we will not ignore other fun opportunities, so there may well be the chance for other pictures!
This tour is particularly about learning, so our goal is not only to make the trip comfortable and fun but also game changing in terms of our guest’s close-up photography capabilities.
Key subjects for the week should include:
Key subjects for the week should include:
Moss, Lichen and Fungi
Ferns, leaves and flowers
Insects and moths
Seashore details - shells, seaweed and crabs
Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
Textures – bark, rock, paint and rust
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’!
Whilst our ‘Zero to Hero’ macro photography tours are targeted at spring and autumn, they 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 sit down for our first briefing where basic ‘foundation’ ideas will be covered, and the tutor will assess everyone’s individual needs. After lunch, we will head out to find some wild subjects to put these basic ideas into practice and allow everyone to get a sense of the landscape around us.
At the end of the day we will head back to the lodge for a relaxing dinner and discussions amongst the group. (NB: Each evening we will 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 breakfast we will have a morning session in the studio, looking at reinforcing introductory ideas and working with shutter speeds, apertures and ISO. This will then set us up for an afternoon of creative macro work possibly using backlighting and water droplets. Again, back to the lodge for dinner and conversation. We will then encourage guests to share a few pictures from the first 2 days of shooting for constructive thoughts and feedback (it can be super interesting to see what everyone else has created!)
(B,L,D) Depending on the season, we might head out earlier to look for insects and catch morning dew in the first light of the day, before heading back to the lodge for a later breakfast. After this we will set out with a packed lunch for a day of location work. Subjects will be varied (and seasonal) but will likely include plants, fungi and smaller creatures. Returning to the lodge a little earlier, we will have a second presentation on more advanced techniques with a special section on focus stacking. Guests will have ample opportunity to ask questions and understands how these ideas relate to their own work and equipment. After dinner, there will be another chance for relaxed conversation and image review.
(B,L,D) After breakfast, we will spend a few hours in the studio refining our thoughts on focus stacking and artificial light. After lunch depending on the weather, we can either create more pictures in the studio, or head out for more location work. As usual, we will return to the lodge for dinner and a chance for conversation.
(B,L,D) The final day of photography. We will begin the morning with a session on useful editing ideas and simple software use. After this the group can decide on the best use of the last shooting session with opportunity to ‘mop up’ any missed opportunities. Later in the afternoon, we might spend a few hours putting some editing ideas into practice before the optional chance of 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 techniques and photographic creativity!
(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
Anyone who has a love of photography and wishes to learn more about the fascinating genre of close-up images. Photographic experience level is not a requirement with such a small group size, so we are just looking for a willingness to learn and try new macro shooting ideas.
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 some distance with your camera bag, potentially over rough terrain. If you have any concerns about your fitness suitability – just get in touch.
Camera Knowledge: This week is entirely focused on close-up photography, but in order to achieve the best results, we will need to ensure a good grasp of foundation ideas, relevant to all types of photography. Whilst basic camera knowledge is not essential, familiarity of your camera is always useful. If you are unsure of your suitability for this week, you are very welcome to get in touch and have a chat with one of the tutors!
Our learning outcomes on this tour, may be somewhat more specific than our generic trips. The intention is to systemically run through ideas that relate directly to capturing great close-up images, beginning with foundation thoughts and then building to more advance techniques like flash lighting and focus staking. Whilst basic camera knowledge is not essential, familiarity of your camera is always useful.
In summary, we hope within the week to take everyone from beginner to expert in the genre of macro.