S’Algar Hotel Menorca – refurb complete

I’ve been taking some photographs of the newly-refurbished rooms at the Hotel S’Algar – our base for the Photography Holidays in Menorca.

Photography Holidays S'Algar Hotel bedroom

One f the newly refurbished rooms at the Hotel SAlgar, Menorca - our base for the Photography Holidays

The rooms are absolutely fabulous – and so is the new indoor pool, spa and Wellness Centre – all our guests get special discounts at the Wellness Centre.

We have now been running our Photography Holidays in Menorca for 10 years and can vouch personally for the tremendous level of commitment by the hotel owners to making our clients especially welcome.

Hotel S'Algar indoor swimming pool

After a busy day of photography, you can either relax in the sunshine in the outdoor pool, or enjoy the luxury of the new indoor pool at the Hotel S'Algar, Menorca

The Photography Holiday in May is now fully booked, but there are some places left on the September Photography Holiday BOOK NOW

Photograph of our new baby Grand Daughter

I’m delighted to announce the arrival of our first grand child.

new grand daughter

Christian's photograph of our new grand daughter - nice to see he used soft side light! I suspect she may be a very well-photographed baby

Our son Christian and his wife Carlotta are now back home with the new baby. Mother and baby – who weighted in at 8lb 12oz are doing just fine. We are absolutely delighted. She’s a little smasher.

Christian and Carlotta have not yet fully decided on a name.

Thank you to all those who have asked about progress and wanted to pass on their good wishes.

Wildlife Photography in a shed

The weather here in Kirkcudbright has not been good today. After several days of gloriously warm sunshine, today was, to say the least, wet and gloomy – although as I write, the sun is blazing down again now.

Wildlife photography in a shed

There's Joe Robin with a beakful of worms and bugs posing for a picture in the hope that we'll leave him in peace to feed his chicks. We moved outside and worked in the rain. Photograph by Paul Bruce

A great shame because I had a student booked on a one-to-one photography course. Paul Bruce travelled up from Yorkshire so he didn’t exactly see the lovely town of Kirkcudbright at its best. But, nothing daunted, after a morning spent understanding  light and composition, we went out after lunch to take some photographs together.

Lots of my students love photographing Colin’s shed – Colin owns one of the B+Bs we recommend in Kirkcudbright. This shed is a very special place, full of atmosphere and interesting objects to photograph. The light, or lack of it, always presents a problem, but never before have we had to cut our visit short in order to share the shed with a family of robins.

Colin had warned me that there was a pair of robins nesting in the shed so we went in carefully and started taking pictures. Within minutes there was an anxious pair of redbreasts with beaks full of worms and insects waiting to get into the shed to feed their youngsters – safely hidden away somewhere amongst all the brickabrac. At one stage one of the robins hopped into the picture that Paul was photographing and posed for a picture. I got the feeling that the bird was saying he would pose for a picture provided we cut our visit short and let him and his missus get on with feeding their chicks.

Paul captured the moment and the picture is posted here.

photography Paul Bruce during his photography courses

Photographer Paul Bruce and I were evicted into the rain from Colin's shed by a pair of feeding robins

We compromised with this pair of robins by alternating between a quick five minute photoshoot in the shed and working outside beneath umbrellas to take pictures outside in the rain. Each time we went outside, the robins moved in to feed the chicks. It seemed a very sensible and fair arrangement.

Pauls was using an Olympus E500 with a 17.5 to 45mm lens

  • ISO 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/3sec
  • Aperture: f/5
  • The camera was on a tripod

I suppose the moral of the story is that all photographers must be prepared to make the most of every opportunity as it presents itself, but most of all, not to interfere with nature. It’s always surprising what we find to photograph on these one-to-one photography courses

Photography Holidays Flickr Group

PhotoActive is experimenting with the photo-sharing website Flickr.

I keep getting asked by photographers who come on my photography holidays and courses if there is any way to share their pictures with the other members of the group when they get home.

Photography Holidays in Menorca

Now you can share your pictures from your Photography Holiday in Menorca on a Flickr group

So, I’ve looked at a few ways to do this and think Flickr might be the answer – as a lot of people already have a Flickr account.

To start the ball rolling, I’ve set up a Flickr group for all our friends who enjoyed a photography holiday with us last year in 2010.

I’ve already put a selection of pictures in the group, but that’s not really what this is about. I want this to be a place for you to share your best (or worst!) pictures you took on the photography holiday.

It should help bring back many happy memories and of course, being Flickr, we can all comment on each other’s pictures to share some expertise.

To add your pictures into the 2010 PhotoActive photography holiday group you will already need to be a member of Flickr I’m afraid – but the basic account is free and it’s a great way to share your photos.

If you are a Flickr member go to the group
www.flickr.com/groups/photoactive-holidays-2010 ask to join us, then add your favourite pictures from the photography holiday. And don’t forget to leave a comment on other people’s pictures or start a group discussion.

As I said, we’re just dipping our toe into the Flickr world at the moment but if it proves popular we’ve got some plans to really make the most if it in the future.

If you have any suggestions please drop us a line.

Upload your 2010 PhotoActive photography holiday pictures to

The May 2011 Holiday is fully booked. There are some places available on the September Photography Holiday.

Light & Composition Photography DVD reprint

The success of my Photography DVD ‘Light and Composition’ has been astounding. This ‘how-to’ Photography DVD has now sold over 3000 copies and has just been reprinted to ensure supplies for the future.

Photography DVD - Light & CompositionThe DVD has helped photographers from all over the UK and as far afield as UK, USA, India, Australia and Tasmania. The sheer numbers of positive comments about the tuition, and how it has transformed the way keen photographers capture their pictures, have been absolutely fantastic.

There is no doubt that the Light & Composition DVD has, of course been a huge success, and I’m delighted to say that my ‘Portraits in Natural Light DVD’ is well on the way to catching up.

If you stop and think just how much photography technique is condensed into each of these 60 minute Photography DVDs, how little is costs – and how effective it has proved, then no keen photographer ran actually afford to do without them. They give the finest grounding in photography you can possibly have.

Thousands of photographers have found the practical advise and live demonstrations on these Photography DVDs hugely effective.

Don’t be left out – Buy both DVDs NOW

New PhotoActive e-brochure available

I have just finished my new e-brochure covering my Photography Holidays, Photography Courses and Workshops. It is now available to anyone who would like it – just send the e-brochure request form and it will be winging its way to you within 24 hours.

Photography Holidays & Photography Courses brochureThe new brochure comes in the shape of two PDF documents which mean I have been able to design a layout that is, I hope, both visually attractive and informative. My thanks to Anthony (Peter?) Ralph, who came along to my latest Photography Workshop in Kirkcudbright last weekend, for the picture of me. I am always terrible short of photographs of myself – so this was very timely.

Also my thanks to all the photography students who appear in the other photographs.

Anyway, please do let me know if you would like a copy of my latest e-brochure and I will send it asap. It covers Photography Holidays, Photography Courses and my Photography Workshops – plus dates and prices on the separate PDF

Photography Weekend Break in Sunshine

What fantastic weather we have just enjoyed here in Kirkcudbright for our April Weekend Photography Course.

The sun has shone, it has been warm enough to relax with a drink in the sunshine between photo shoots, and we have had a lovely group of photographers with us. What more can we ask?

Photography Courses Scotland

A group of happy photographers enjoyed the sunshine - and the splendours of National Trust property Broughton House - during their Photography Weekend Break in Kirkcudbright. Philip Dunn pictured on the right

It was particularly good to have with us Anthony Ralph, who was a member of the old PhotoActive Forum. Anthony signed up for the Photography Weekend when he came to see us at the Focus on Imaging Show in March, and we are hoping to see him again on the One Day Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral in November.

Photography Weekend Break Kirkcudbright

Philip Dunn explains some techniques of composition to photographer Linda Blackett

We also enjoyed the company of the Bedford family – twin brothers Paul and Andrew with their wives Catherine and Janet and daughter Helen.

There was a real mix of experience among the photographers, but it wasn’t long before even the most inexperienced were snapping away using manual settings on their cameras and getting to grips with some of the subtle techniques of good composition.

There was a wide variety of subjects covered, too. With everything from riverside scenes to street scenes, gardens, people and interior photography covered during the weekend.

The food at the Selkirk Arms Hotel was up to its usual high standards – the hotel has just won another award, but I will post more about this when I have full details.

photography courses scotland

Photographer Dr Helen Bedford explores colourful subjects in Kirkcudbright Harbour during her photography course with Philip Dunn

All the staff at the hotel go out of their way to ensure that our photographers have a great time on these Photography Weekend Breaks and we are delighted to be using the facilities of this excellent hotel. Our thanks to Douglas MacDavid and staff.

Our next Photography Weekend Breaks are not until October – but places are filling, so please do not leave it too late to book.



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?

Photography Holidays – new video

The Photography Holidays main page has now been updated. A clearer, more logical system of links has been used to help you find the information you need to make a decision about the holiday you are looking for.

While my son Christian (you may have met him at our stand at Focus on Imaging) was making these changes, I was busy putting together a new 5 minute video about the Photography Holidays.

I really enjoy editing these video clips and pulling them together into a mini movie. It always brings to mind the fun we have on these holidays – and I hope that shines through when you watch. Yes, there is a great deal of photography tuition during the week, but there is a massive amount of enjoyment as well, and if there really is a magic ingredient that helps make these photography holidays such a success, I suspect it is the amount of laughter and fun we share. It’s astonishing how much information you can absorb when you are really enjoying yourself.

The first of these Photography Holidays – in May, is now fully booked, but I do have some places available on the next holiday September 23-30th. That’s usually a lovely time of year in Menorca. The fun you will have and skills you will learn should help carry you through the next British winter with a smile.

And remember, I have now named the dates for the first Photography Holiday of 2012


April Photography Weekend FULLY BOOKED

The Photography Weekend at April 8-1oth at the Selkirk Arms Hotel, Kirkcudbright is now fully booked.

We have photographers and non-participants coming – as always – from as far afield as northern Scotland, Yorkshire,  Lancashire and London.

These photography courses are always very popular and offer great value in a lovely hotel. It promises to be a great weekend of photography and tuition here in Bonnie Galloway.

The next Photography Weekend is October 21-23 and is already filling fast – so please don’t leave it too late – BOOK NOW