Duration & Dates
7 days (6 nights)
29th Sept to 5th Oct 24
23rd to 29th March 25
21st to 27th September 25
Arrival & Departure
Forsinard Lodge arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am
A special week of photography concentrating on ‘Water’ as a subject
5 full days of capturing water in many forms
Creatively stimulating and challenging as we push the boundaries of ideas
Time spent in amazing wild locations as well as in our fully equipped studio
Fully inclusive 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
Over many years of interacting with photographers, we have often heard how challenging some people find the task of maintaining creativity in their work. One way of tackling this issue, is setting yourself projects, or targeting particular subjects. By narrowing our focus, we might find this challenge opens up unexpected thought processes and sparks fresh creative ideas. Well, this week aims to do just that with the deceptively varied subject of ‘water’!
At first, this seems a simple enough brief, but with thought one begins to realise just how crucial and universal water is within the living natural world around us. If we think on a large scale, it is present in the wider landscape within lochs, rivers, burns and the sea. As we move closer, the glistening shine of water in mist, dew, and droplets can also be seen.
As well as a clear focus on broadening our creativity, we will of course, look at useful camera controls and techniques to help deliver these ideas. During the week we should cover:
Basic compositional principles
Considering photographs as art with a more creative approach
Controlling movement with shutter speeds both fast and slow
Pushing exposure lighter and darker for best effect
A run through on good tripod technique
Broadening creativity with intentional camera movement
Looking at in-camera multiple exposures
Shooting exercise on the widest range of lens focal lengths
The use of flash for high-speed illumination in the studio
A session on filters with common use and recommendations
Photographically, water has a way of reflecting and refracting light and as we know, light makes pictures, so it is often a silent participant in the images we create. As the seasons change to colder days, water also has another trick up it’s sleeve, changing into ice and snow, so temperatures below zero, present a fresh set of magical possibilities!
So, with all of these thoughts in mind, this week will stretch our photographic creativity and push us to find amazing images, both in the glorious landscapes of the northern highlands and hidden in the small details of the miniature world around us. We will explore subjects on a huge range of scale and employ different techniques to emphasis the dramatic, dynamic and graphic nature of water. Whatever your speciality, water should provide a great subject to channel and develop your creativity.
During the week our excursions and subjects will depend to a degree on the season and weather, but we will likely spend time with the following:
Visiting the dramatic seascapes of the northern coasts
Exploring the possibilities of moving water in rivers and waterfalls
Looking for more abstract interpretations of water in the environment
Concentrating on water and light, with reflection and refraction
Exploiting any opportunities made by snow and ice
Focusing on detail with studio work
Considering colour as an element in our pictures
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 winter when ice and snow may well feature. When we are not out exploring these opportunities, we will be able to come inside, slow down and really work with water on a smaller scale in our bespoke studio. This facility will be perfect for trying some creative 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 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 particularly important, but guests are likely to get the best outcome if their kit includes close-up, wide and telephoto capability. We would perhaps encourage everyone to have a chat with us before the trip to make sure you bring everything you may need. We also have lighting and specialised accessories in the studio for everyone to use, and we hope to demonstrate simple ideas for replicating this at home.
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 of course be concentrating on water as our subject, but at the same time we will not ignore other fun opportunities, so there may well be the chance for other pictures too!
This tour is particularly about broadening our creative thought process by working to a specific brief. Our hope is, that this will re-invigorate our passion for making photographs and open up fresh ideas well beyond the end of the week!
Key subjects for the week should include:
Key subjects for the week should include:
Seascapes, waves and the ocean
Lochs and nature
Waterfalls and Rivers
Water droplets and water on a small scale
Water and light – reflections and refraction
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 this Water focused photography tour is targeted at winter for the chance of snow and ice, 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 head out with a packed lunch for a day on the wild northern coast looking for waves, seascapes, and ocean details. At the end of the afternoon, 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 sunset reflections or even night-time shooting too!)
(B,L,D) After breakfast we will once again set out with a packed lunch, this time looking for water inspiration in rivers, lochs and waterfalls to the west. 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) After breakfast we will spend the morning in the studio for a switch of emphasis to water in a smaller sense with water droplets and reflections. After lunch we will head out again into the surrounding area to continue our search for watery details. After dinner, there will be another chance for relaxed conversation and image review.
(B,L,D) After breakfast, we will plan an exploration of the area with a shift to images that portray maximum creativity. We might use slow shutter speeds and deliberate camera movement for a more impressionistic feel. Later in the day there might also be a chance to go into the studio again for more experimentation with this artistic theme. After dinner, there will be another chance for relaxed conversation and image review of the day’s creative thoughts.
(B,L,D) The final day of photography. After breakfast, 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 preparing a final set of images for an optional 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!
This week works on the simple idea of forcing our creativity by concentrating on a specific brief. This makes it ideal for those photographers who feel they struggle with the inspiration or technical ‘tools’ to feel truly creative in their work.
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 shooting ideas to maximum expressive output.
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: 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!
By concentrating a week of photography around the simple brief of water, we hope to really get our guests to expand their creative horizons.
We will cover a number of key techniques to provide ‘tools’ for this expression, whilst also encouraging everyone to try out these new ideas and bring individuality to their work. Specific techniques, should include; controlling movement in water with shutter speeds, the creative use of intentional camera movement, varying image framing using different focal length lenses, shooting images in both colour and monochrome, the use of in camera multiple exposures, manipulating colour in camera, and the use of filters to influence our images.