Duration 7 days (6 nights) 25th February to 3rd March 2023
Departure/Return Location Forsinard lodge, Sutherland
Arrival Time  After 4pm
Departure Time Before 10am
Group Size 3
Highlights
  • 5 full days of creative film photography
  • Fully inclusive comfortable, en-suite accommodation
  • Expert guidance and tuition
  • Very small group size for maximum individual attention
  • Un-discovered wild locations
  • Use of B&W darkroom included
Included
  • 5 days of fully guided photography excursions
  • Full board accommodation for 6 nights
  • Expert guide and photography tutor
  • Loan 35mm film camera if required
  • Black & White darkroom access
  • Airport transfers (by prior arrangement) and excursion transport included   
Not Included
  • International flights or domestic travel to the lodge, or to Inverness transfer points (airport or rail station)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Camera equipment (beyond basic 35mm SLR camera if required), film stock and B&W chemistry/paper in the darkroom (although this will be available to purchase as needed)
  • Travel insurance 

This trip is designed to offer the perfect opportunity to shoot some amazing Sottish Highland subjects whilst using traditional ‘analogue’ film equipment.

The obvious question before we start is; “why shoot traditional film in an age of digital photography?”

Well, there may be many answers to this, but at Wild Arena we have the view that film still offers a timeless, rewarding and challenging creative format for photographers.

Of course, modern digital SLR’s are amazing in their quality and faultless functionality, but the relatively slow and manual process involved in older film cameras, can really focus the photographers’ creative thoughts. When every picture has a material cost, the photographer starts to become more discerning about how these images are initially captured. This often then leads to the epiphany of ‘re-discovering’ a joy in the basic act of creating an image.

In short, the film process can connect the photographer, through a traditional and considered process, to an entirely different and rewarding shooting process.

By way of a short history, the earliest, practical photographic process was the ‘Daguerreotype’ in 1839 but film as we now know it was pioneered by George Eastman around 1885. Film therefore dominated and facilitated the growth in modern photography for well over 100 years. Amongst the many film formats during this time, ‘135/35mm’ stills photography film, ushered in a whole new world of smaller, lighter and more affordable cameras in the later 1930’s. The 35mm format was further popularised by the titanic rise of the SLR (inter-changeable lens) cameras and in terms of equipment, this is where we find most photographers concentrate their efforts when initially adopting traditional film formats. Guests shooting on other formats are, of course, also very welcome!

The area of the central Northern Scottish Highlands and more specifically the ‘Flow Country’ around Forsinard is an extraordinarily wild and remote part of the UK. This trip will be centred around our base at Forsinard Lodge. This location and the beautiful surrounding landscapes will offer us a huge variety of potential and unusual subjects, perfect for the slower pace of film photography.

Key subjects for the week should include:

Landscapes:

There are a huge range of landscapes accessible in the area with natural features like dramatic beaches, waterfalls and hills, all as possible subjects.

Architecture:

The region is also rich in characterful man-made structures, including Iron Age Brochs (ancient stone round houses) and more recent croft houses and cottages with weathered exteriors, rich in colour and texture. Local villages may also offer opportunities to ‘tell the story’ of modern life in the Scottish Highlands.

Skyscapes:

‘Big skies’ may often form the backdrop to our images in this part of the world, especially during less favourable weather. We will also try and use sunrise and sunset lighting, as well as the blue hour to add different moods to our images.

People:

We hope to have opportunities during the week to shoot images of people, both potentially informally as well as in more planned scenarios too.

The very small group size of only 3 guests will enable the guides and tutors to really assist everyone individually, not only with potentially new and challenging film camera support, but also with location advice and creative ideas. The diverse landscape and varied subjects will hopefully enable everyone to really try shooting with a broad range of techniques and styles in their images, particularly in such varied lighting conditions.

Film photography is not just fascinating as a nostalgic ‘retro’ discipline but can genuinely help inform and develop a guest’s photography on many levels, even when applied to modern digital shooting. The tutors and guides are all passionate about photography in the broadest sense and will aim to make the trip as developmental as possible for every visitor.

Guests will be encouraged to shoot both colour and B&W film. B&W films can be processed, scanned and even traditionally printed in our darkroom, whilst colour films can be posted out for scanning and printing externally at our recommended laboratory (this can take up to 10 days).

Each days’ itinerary will be flexible depending on the weather conditions, but the aim is to cover as wide a range of subjects as possible, making the most of our local knowledge of locations. The timings for the days will also vary, with some earlier starts and some sessions running into the evenings to make the most of the seasonal light. We will also have time during the trip to sit and review techniques and any processed B&W images for those guests that want feedback and discuss alternative, creative ideas too.

This trip is ideal for both domestic and international visitors and we welcome photographers from around the world! Transfers to/from Inverness regional Airport and Rail stations are available by request. Connecting international flights are widely available via national hubs like London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports.

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 film photography!

Venue

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 regarding 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 bast 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 as a group in the evenings.

1

Day 1: Arrival

(D)

Arrival at the expedition base at Forsinard Lodge for a relaxed, introductory briefing and welcome evening meal with your hosts (airport or train station transfers from Inverness are available by request for mid-afternoon on arrival day)

2

Day 2

(B,L,D)

After an early breakfast, we will head out as a group for our first full day of photography. For this first day, the guide usually picks simple and slow paced subjects to gauge everyone’s requirements and allow guest to ‘settle-in’ to the pace of the coming week. Depending on the location and weather, packed lunches are normally taken to maximise the shooting time during the session. Subjects might include landscapes, waterfalls or seascapes. After returning to Forsinard we can freshen up before dinner and a chance to discuss the days photography.

3

Day 3

(B,L,D)

An earlier start with a trip out in search of dramatic subjects at first light. After a couple of hours, we usually return to the lodge for a later breakfast before heading out again for another shooting session, perhaps at a local village. We will have the option to return to the lodge slightly earlier, to have the opportunity to process B&W films and look at working in a darkroom.

4

Day 4

(B,L,D)

After a slightly later breakfast, we will head out for another full day of landscape, scenic and creative work. Depending on weather conditions we may aim to be in a good position for sunset images and the ‘blue hour’. Again, we will return to the lodge for an evening meal and a chance to relax and discuss our photography, After dinner, there may also be an option for an evening session of night time photography, using local landmarks as foreground detail.

5

Day 5

(B,L,D)

Another early start visiting a coastal location for sunrise and beach images. We will then make a longer drive to the west, picking up a number of great locations before returning to the lodge for dinner as normal.

6

Day 6

(B,L,D)

The final day of photography and a chance to fill-in any gaps from the previous days shooting. We will also hopefully pick up a chance for more structured portrait shooting. After arrival back at the lodge for mid-afternoon, guests can again process & scan any B&W films and from the week, before discussing how their photography has developed over the previous 5 days. The day will conclude with a last group dinner.

7

Day 7

(B)

After a final breakfast, we will round up the week before guests depart for 10am. Transfers to Inverness Airport or rail station are available by prior arrangement.

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

25.02.23 to 03.03.23

How to Book

Please select your preferred date from the drop-down calendar icon on the right-hand side “Book Now’ tab and we will confirm if this is available and the timings available on that day. Please scroll through the months to find the highlighted available dates, then add your choice to the cart.

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