Photography Courses – when it rains


I’m often asked what the photographers do if the weather is bad during one of our Photography Courses here in Scotland.

And looking out of the window right now, it’s hardly surprising that people should ask.

The answer is simple – we carry on and don’t stop taking pictures. Sometimes, of courses, we have to adjust our outdoor photographic subjects, and sometimes it is necessary to work indoors.

Photography Courses in Scotland

I believe that – although I loathe being cold – autumn and winter actually provide us with even more things to photograph, and enables us to see them in a different way. Certainly the light can be far more dramatic than anything you will see in summer.

Just look at the light in this picture of some of the terraced houses that grace the streets of Kirkcudbright. The whole atmosphere of the picture speaks of wind, cold, storms and the natural desire to be by the fireside. The autumn light positively glows as it shines though a gap in those stormy clouds. These are the precise moments that can be so visually rewarding.

Incidentally, warming your feet in front of a real fire is something you can still do here in Kirkcudbright and the photo opportunities offered by smoking chimney pots is one of the plus sides of the Scottish climate.

One thing is for sure – no matter what the weather, our photographers always enjoy a full itinerary of photography and teaching when they come on a Photography Course.

There are still a couple of places available on the Photography Weekend Break coming up at the end of this month.

You can enjoy a fully inclusive weekend in a wonderfully comfortable hotel serving fine food here in Kirkcudbright. You can immerse yourself in photography and head home refreshed and inspired.

Photography Weekend Breaks



Photography Holiday Menorca – last chance

This really is your last chance to join us for the Photography Holiday in Menorca starting next Friday 21st September.

Photography Holidays Menorca

There is still a place for you if you want to have a great week of photography and tuition in the best photographers' training ground in the world.

The weather in Menorca right now is fabulous: blue sky, warm sea – lovely light – so come and join us and get some photography and tuition before winter sets in at home.



Venice Photography Holidays FULLY BOOKED

Both my Photography Holidays in Venice next March are now fully booked.

The response to this new venture has, I have to admit, completely taken my by surprise. It has been tremendous.

Photography Tour Venice

I have been promising my regular clients for some years that I would be arranging some new venues as well as doing my regular photography holidays in Menorca. The response to Venice has encouraged me to look for more. At the moment I am exploring possibilities in Prague and Amsterdam, and Arena Travel are on the case.

Meanwhile, Menorca, the finest photographers' training ground in the world is waiting – and there are still some vacancies on the Photography Holiday coming up in September. The wide ranging photography techniques you will learn during you week's holiday will anable you to capture wonderful photographs wherever you go in the world.



NEW October Date for Photography Weekend

I have just fixed a new date for a Photography Weekend Break at the Selkirk Arms here in Kirkcudbright.

October 26-28th 2012

These popular Photography Weekends are Fully Inclusive of the following…

  • Two nights hotel accommodation with full Scottish Breakfast at Selkirk Arms Hotel
  • Welcome drink (of your choice) and fresh canapes on first night
  • Morning coffees with homemade biscuits
  • Lunch – soup and sandwiches, tea, coffee
  • Afternoon teas – with homemade shortbreads
  • Canapes before dinner on second night
  • Dinner – two nights
  • Max 12 photographers
  • For all levels
Non-participant partners and companions sharing the photographer’s room enjoy all the above – except the photography tuition and any photography excursions.
There has been a small price rise in these Photography Breaks, but I have been able to keep this to a minimum.
Find out more about these PHOTOGRAPHY WEEKEND BREAKS

Photographers’ ‘Thank you’ Cards & Knitting

We have received three really lovely Thank You cards over the past few days. Two  relate to our recent Photography Holiday another is from a lady who bought her husband a one-to-one photography course Gift Voucher.  They are all so nice that I would like to share them.

Thank you cards from photographersI have mentioned before just what a great success the Photography Holiday was, and I have heard from all the people who came – but Linda sent a card with the following note inside…

I wanted to take a moment to thank you both for a wonderful week in Menorca. It was fantastic.

I booked the course in the hope that I would improve my photography skills – to reduce my dependence on luck as I travel around the world. What I hadn’t predicted was just how beautiful Menorca would be or how much fun we would have. Some nights my body ached from laughter!

Just Fabulous.

Thanks again, Linda

The other card was from Rachel, whose husband Paul came to Kirkcudbright for one-to-one photography tuition just before I left for Menorca. Rachel wrote…

I just wanted to send you a brief note to thank you (and your wife) for making Paul’s photography day so special.

The weather was a bit of a challenge but nevertheless, with the help of Pauline and Colin’s garden, he took some great shots.

He was thoroughly inspired by the day and full of admiration of your talent, but also what fun you were.

Thank you so much for making it so special for him.


Aw, shucks, folks – now you’ve made me blush. Thank you

Truth is, the pleasure was all ours.

Photographer's knitting

Wool and knitting needles sent to Norene by Anne Hughes, who came on the May Photography Holiday and is coming back again in September

And Norene and I would also like to thank photographer Anne Hughes, who very kindly sent her some knitting wool and some double-ended needles – Anne was showing Norene how to knit ‘in the round’ while she was with us in Menorca.  I very much look forward to wearing the resulting pair of socks.

Anne and her husband Roy enjoyed the Photography Holiday so much, they have booked again to come back for another dose in September!

There are just two places available for the September Photography Holiday BOOK NOW

Photography opportunities in Menorca

I came across this handsome fellow earlier today as I explored the countryside just a short walk from the Hotel S’Algar, our base for the Photography Holidays in Menorca. It won’t be long now before I am welcoming a full group of photographers for the first of our two holidays here this year – on Friday ths week in fact.

Real Menorca can be found just a short walk away from the Hotel S'Algar - our base for the Photography Holidays

I was so impressed by the picture possibilities of this black beauty’s stables – there are other horses here as well – that I might even include a visit to photograph them on the next photography holiday itinerary. I have now spoken to the owner of the horse and stables and he may even come along and put the horse through his paces for us.

a black horse in Menorcan stable

I'll be taking the photographers on our Photography Holiday next week to photograph this black beauty

By the very nature of the subjects we cover in my quest to teach as many aspects of travel photography as possible, our itinerary timings, and sometimes even the venues themselves, vary from the outline itinerary.

For instance, this might be because a particular person we had arranged to photograph is not available, or a building is being renovated. So it is always a great advantage to discover new subjects like these stables. If I do include the stables, it will mean there is a bit if a ‘horsey’ bias to the overall itinerary this time.

We will, of course, once again be going along to he horse trotting races at the Hipodromo in Mahon, where we will cover the various aspects of panning and freezing fast moving subjects. We also photograph the wonderful horses and the jockeys and other characters in and around the stables.

Of course we will try to make time during our trip to the trotting to place a bet on one of the races – I doubt if we will lose ours shirts because maximum bet is only 1 Euro.

With all the turmoil going on in so many countries around the Mediterranean, it is comforting to know that when our photographers come to Menorca they can relax, learn and take their photographs in a safe and friendly environment on this beautiful island.

Hmm, looking at this picture again, I think I might have missed a trick – I hope the photographers will remind me to photograph that wonderful door on the right next time I go.

The next Photography Holiday with places available will be in September

Photography Holiday Generosity

One of the special joys about the Photography Holidays we run every year in Menorca is the level of sharing that goes on between the photographers who join us. Our photographers share their knowledge, they share their fun – and they often share their treasured camera gear too.

Always one of the first to share is our old friend Ken Terry.

Need another memory card? Ken’s sure to have one in his camera bag. Need an adapter for your charger? Ken will come up with something. Ken is always at the front offering help to anyone who needs it.

Ken will be coming back to Menorca in May for his sixth Photography Holiday with us. We miss him when he’s not there. He’s part of the family, part of the sharing.

Photographer's coffee break

Our resident joker Ken Terry - he's joining us in Menorca for the 6th time this May - plays the rabbit ears trick on fellow photographer Joe Banin during a coffe break in a cafe in Mahon

Well, this year Ken’s generosity is showing itself yet again.

As some of you may know, Ken is a highly accomplished photographer. When he’s with us his knowledge brings an extra dimension to the Photography Holidays.

This year Ken has offered to help out a little while enjoying his own holiday.

If you have been reading my previous posts, you will know that Norene is not exactly in top form at the moment and she will be forced to take things a little easier than usual when she is in Menorca. Some time ago Norene and I were bought special tee-shirts by one group of photographers in Menorca. On these tee-shirts were listed the functions we both perform.

Norene’s list:

  • Succour to Creative Genius
  • CEO
  • Finance Director
  • Tour Operator
  • Chief Luggage Operative
  • Counsellor
  • Logistics Supervisor
  • Hospitality co-ordinator
  • Search & Rescue
  • Catering Manager
  • External Relations Liason
Philip’s list
  • Creative Genius
It certainly shows my limitations.
Of course no one could quite replace all of Norene’s  many talents, but, because our friend Ken knows the ground in Menorca so well by now, he has offered to help out in the area of Search & Rescue – in other words, assisting Norene in her duties as ‘Tail End Charlie'; making sure no one gets lost or left behind while they are concentrating on their photography.
As always, Ken will also be sharing his considerable knowledge about all aspects of photography. All we have to do in return is put up with Ken’s jokes!
Thank you Ken.
Now where are we going to find someone to take over Norene’s job of Chief Luggage Operative on this next Photography Holiday?

New Canon EOS 60D launched

Canon has expanded its EOS digital SLR (DSLR) range with the launch of the new EOS 60D.

Canon claim the EOS 60D is the perfect camera for aspiring photographers looking to expand their photographic skills.

The EOS 60D boasts a range of new features with an 18 Megapixel sensor, 5.3frames per second (fps) shooting, in-camera image editing and a brand-new Vari-angle LCD that enables the shooting of stills and HD movies from almost any angle.

It offers a mix of full manual controls and new creative shooting modes, and is fully compatible with Canon’s range of EOS accessories, including EF lenses and external speedlites.

Canon EOS 60D features:

• Capture exquisite detail with 18 Megapixels
• Easily take creative control with Basic +
• Shoot at unusual angles on the Vari-angle LCD
• Great in low light with DIGIC 4 processing
• Customize your images with creative filters
• Shoot movies your way with variable frame rates

Want to learn how to use the manual settings on your camera? Come to a photography weekend with top photographer Philip Dunn.

PhotoActive’s online print gallery hits the headlines

PhotoActive’s new online print gallery has made the news after being reported in one of the leading publications for the media industry.

Philip Dunn launched the PhotoActive’s online art print gallery to showcase some of his photographs taken during a lifetime as one of the UK’s leading press photographers. reported on the new venture on their award winning website for journalists and the media industry –

The publication explained that fans of Philip’s work will now be able to purchase copies of his photographs directly from an online print gallery at his website, here at

“I’ve held several exhibitions and I always end up selling all my pictures so I thought an online gallery – as part of my website – would be a good way to reach a wider market,” Philip told a reporter.

“At the moment I’ve uploaded a few hundred pictures and I’ve made sure there’s a selection of different types and styles of photographs to suit everybody – press, travel, humorous, scenic and even contemporary wall art.”

Philip added: “I want to keep the gallery simple, unpretentious and user-friendly, making as many images available as I can – at sensible and affordable prices.”

To see for yourself the selection of pictures available for you to own follow the link for the online art print gallery.

If you would like more information on this news item please email

Improving a Panned Photograph

Photographer Philip Dunn offers helpful comments and critique on another of the images entered for the latest PhotoActive Monthly Photo Challenge. Here is shows how this simple panned shot can be improved by small amounts of cropping and a little adjustment in Photoshop


Canon Digital Ixus 750
Shutter Speed:1/50sec
Aperture: f2.8

Now here was a little cracker of a picture that just needed a bit more thought after it was taken in order to make it a very special image indeed.

Andyp has done a great job with his little Canon Ixus. Your have to remember that it is not possible to take complete control of the shutter speed and aperture of one of these digital compacts – but with care they can produce some really super pictures.

It is not easy to pan this sort of moving object – this car was moving very quickly across the field of view and here it was probably at the apex of a bend going flat out. Yet Andy has caught the moment perfectly. See top picture below…

Andyp's original photograph for the November Photo Challenge 'SPEED' a little cropping and colour adjustment is needed

Andyp's original photograph for the November Photo Challenge 'SPEED' a little cropping and colour adjustment is needed

All that needs to be done with the final image is to correct the unpleasant colour casts from the indoor lighting, crop a little and use the dodge and burn tool to help guide the viewer’s eye the most relevant areas of the composition. See final image below…


After careful cropping, some colour adjustment and a little dodging and burning, the image really does convey the essence of speed in the subject

Impact and the sense of speed can be increase immediately by cropping off a lot of the foreground. It is very plain and does not show any speed blur at all – so lose it. I have also cropped off a little of the right hand side where the track moves away into the distance. This seems to stop the flow of the movement – so that goes as well. I have taken a little off the top edge to help the overall flow of the eye – across a slightly longer, wider format.

With the composition sorted I have corrected that colour cast by taking out some of the yellow in Adjustments > Colour Balance. Then I simple lightened the area in front and behind the car by dodging the Mid Tones a tad.

That’s it – a great picture just hiding its light under a bushel.

Well done Andy – keep ‘em coming.


You can vote on your top favourite in the November Forum Photo Challenge Poll NOW

Christmas Photography Gifts