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Aurora behind the RSPB tower at Forsinard Flows

Winter Photography Tour

£1,399 (Members price £1,349), Deposit £300
Snowy landscape

Duration & Dates

7 days (6 nights)

29th Oct to 4th November 23

9th to 15th December 23

7th to 13th January 24

27th Oct to 2nd November 24

5th to 11th January 25

Arrival & Departure

Forsinard Lodge arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am

Highlights

Dramatic winter landscapes

5 full days of creative photography

Fully inclusive accommodation

Expert guidance and tuition

Small group for individual attention

Un-discovered wild locations

Price

£1,399

Members price £1,349

Deposit £300

Group Size

3 people per tour per 1 guide

Not included

Initial transport to lodge

Airport transfer

Alcoholic drinks

Camera equipment

Travel insurance

 

 
Description

If you are looking for drama and the harshness of the natural world to add power to your images, then winter is without doubt the season to visit us! It is also, of course, the season for snow and it is not unusual for us to have 2 or 3 months of snow through the winter, especially on the higher ground. 

 

There is just something different about photography in the winter. The weather can be extremely changeable, but this gives a wild and unexpected twist to every day. The light can be crisp and ‘raw’, and skies are often described as ‘arctic’. The shorter days can make both sunrise and sunsets much more achievable and there will also be dark evenings to provide a chance for night sky and even aurora photography!

Beyond our usual broad search for images with narrative, our main photographic focus will be on capturing the seasonal conditions which add a whole element of their own. Snow, ice and winter light can act like ‘the icing on the cake’ making every image stand out as different. Winter is also a very good time for photographing Red Deer, again with the added bonus of a wintery setting.

 

Our guides and tutors will, as usual, be on hand to encourage a wide creative interpretation of what we discover and will encourage guests to try out alternative ideas and techniques to maximise their photographic expression. 

Whilst winter can sometimes create logistical difficulties, our well-equipped lodge, 4-wheel drive vehicles and a wide range of locations should allow us to keep creating images, even in tough conditions!

 

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. 

 

During these wonderful 7-day trips, we will be delighted to welcome a small group of customers to northern Scotland and spend some quality time, immersed in the process of searching for, finding, creating and carefully editing images that reveal the stories we want to tell. The trips are not genre specific, but instead aim to access whatever subjects we find to provide inspiration for great pictures. The guides and tutors are all extremely experienced and will encourage everyone with locations, ideas, techniques and settings to maximise the opportunity for learning. 

What can you expect during your week with us? Well, we hope to welcome everyone as a friend and help develop their personal photography on a very individual level. Very small groups and all-inclusive accommodation should allow all our guests to relax into the week and really feel they have provided their hobby with the time it needs to grow and develop!

 

Our goal is always to treat each day as a journey of exploration, taking time to really look at the things we discover. Very often, the most unexpected subjects provide the inspiration for amazing photographic stories, our task is simply to unlock them in the creative process of crafting a photograph.

 

Group of Red Deer in the snow
Sunset house and tree
Flowing water
Flowing water
Highland Cow in the snow
 
Key subjects for the week should include:

Key subjects for the week should include:

Skyscapes: Both during daylight hours and at sunrise/sunset for amazing colours and clouds. We should also be able to shoot images at night, with the moon, stars and hopefully the northern light all contributing to the opportunities.

Landscapes: There are a huge range of landscapes accessible in the area with natural features like dramatic beaches, waterfalls and hills, as possible targets. The region is also rich in characterful man-made structures, including Iron Age Brochs and more recent croft houses and cottages with weathered exteriors, rich in colour and texture.

Nature: The iconic Red Deer of the highlands are often best photographed in the winter months, when they are lower down on the hills. We also have resident river otters, and a broad selection of upland birds. There will also be potentially interesting close-up subjects with mosses, lichens, and fungi in abundance.

 

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!

 

 
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 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’!

Forsinard Lodge bed and breakfast
Forsinard Lodge ensuite bedroom

Itinerary
 
Black and white Sheep in the snow
Day 1


(D) Arrival at your base for the week, Forsinard Lodge in the heart of the wild landscape of northern Scotland. We will bring the group together for a welcome dinner and introduction to the coming week.

 

Day 2

 

(B,L,D) After a relaxed breakfast, we will set out with a packed lunch for some general shooting in the local area. Winter is a great time for shooting the buildings, people and history of the highlands and this will likely be a focus for us. We will then return to the lodge for a hearty dinner and a chance to review our first days adventures. Each evening we will monitor the weather and solar activity, with a view to nigh-time or aurora photography.

Day 3
Black and white landscape reflection
Snow capped mountains

 

(B,L,D)  An earlier start with perhaps a packed breakfast. We will head north to the wild coastline. Here we should see dramatic beaches, rocky coves and interesting historical buildings – all in a winter setting. The sea itself can be an amazing subject too, especially in stormy weather! Back to the lodge for evening dinner.

 

Day 4

 

(B,L,D) After a slightly later breakfast, we will head as high into the hills as the conditions allow us. We will be looking for a variety of subjects including natural details like rock, ice and snow. After a packed lunch we will make a special point of looking for Red Deer, who will look amazing in dramatic winter conditions. Once again, we will then return to the lodge for dinner and relaxed conversation.

Day 5

 

(B,L,D) After breakfast, we will set out again with a packed lunch for some of the remoter locations close by. We will hopefully visit an abandoned croft location, rich in history and a waterfall for water motion opportunities. At the end of the day we will return to the lodge for evening dinner.

Day 6

 

(B,L,D) After breakfast we will have our final day of photography and a chance to make sure we have covered the subjects that everyone wanted to see. We are likely to return to the lodge a little earlier before our last evening dinner and the opportunity for everyone to share their work from the week. 

 

Day 7

 

(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 the outdoors. Photographic experience level is not an issue with such a small group size, so we are just looking for a willingness to learn and try new ideas!

 

Wild Arena Tours are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.

 

Fitness level: You will need to be able to walk a few miles with your camera bag, over rough terrain. (Please note we do offer ‘Low Intensity’ tours for guests who feel a less demanding itinerary would suit them better).

 

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.

Learning outcomes

During this week of creative photography, we hope to cover useful techniques for various genres of photography, constantly making use of the light and opportunities our subjects present us. 

We will cover a range of creative ideas and camera techniques with the aim of broadening our guest’s knowledge and insight.

 

Sunset-winter-1342.jpeg

My week with Wild Arena in the Highlands of Scotland was simply amazing and greatly exceeded my expectations. I can’t praise enough the excellent photo sessions in superb surroundings, the great accommodation and wonderful food. The finishing touch was the wonderful company, both human and animal, which made it feel like I was staying with friends. If you have an interest in photography, be it as a beginner or someone more experienced, then don’t hesitate to do this workshop. You will have a great time and learn so much, I did.

David March 23

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