NEW! Photography Cruise Aboard Tall Ship

A brand new Photography Holiday for 2012

I have teamed up with well-established cruise company We Cruise to create a very special new style of Photography Holiday – a Photography Cruise aboard a luxury Star Clipper tall ship.

Photography Holiday aboard Star ClipperDuring this 12 night holiday, photographers will cruise from Athens to Venice calling at some of the most beautiful ports of call in the Mediterranean: several Greek Islands, the Croatian and Montenegrin coasts and, finally arriving in Venice, where the photographers will have a post-cruise night in a 4* hotel near St Mark’s Square.

There will be ample opportunity to gather photographs at each stop, and one of the joys of sailing aboard Star Clipper is that she will berth right in the heart of the places we visit. So no coach travel needed. We will be able to just step ashore and get to work with our cameras.

Dates for this Photograph Cruise are July 14th – 26th 2012.

You’ll find lots more information here about this fabulous Photography Cruise aboard Star Clipper

Of course, places will be very limited on a cruise of this nature, so please secure your cabin as soon as possible.


we cruise

This Photography Cruise is a new venture for me in 2012. The Photography Holidays in Menorca in May and September 2012 are, of course going ahead as normal. The May holiday is already taking bookings, so please don’t leave it too late if you would like to join us for these much-loved Photography Holidays

Photography Break in Kirkcudbright

The photographers are now heading home after another Photography Weekend Break comes to an end.

We have been dodging the weather here in Kirkcudbright, but that hasn’t meant any let up in the amount of photography we have enjoyed since everyone arrived on Friday evening.

Our photographers on the Photography Weekend Break

A busy group of photographers ready for work with their interior shots at Broughton House, Kirkcudbright

We did manage to get out and about with our cameras on Saturday morning when we all went out on the harbourside and along the River Dee to photograph the boats and practice some street photography, but Saturday afternoon we spent indoors talking about camera craft and technique.

As usual there was a wide range of experience among the photographers, but that has certainly not held back those who were more experienced.

Weekend photography break street photography

Hard at work in the streets of Kirkcudbright - members of the group enjoying their photography weekend break

This morning we set up a natural light studio in our meeting room at The Selkirk Arms Hotel – our base for the weekend.  With Joan, a very sprightly and bright eyed 89 year old for our model, we went through the basic techniques of capturing simple but highly effective portraits with the minimum of equipment and absolutely no studio lighting. We had a discussion about Model Release forms and photographers’ rights – with some very pertinent insights from one of the photographers who is an officer with the Metropolitan Police Force.


Something to photograph in every direction - our group of photographers at work in Broughton House, Kirkcudbright

After coffee we set off for Broughton House the National Trust for Scotland property here in Kirkcudbright.

In this wonderful setting the photographers practiced their skills with interior photography – had another brief portrait session and also got out into the lovely gardens.

Altogether it has been a very full and enjoyable weekend, and I’d like to thank all the staff at The Selkirk Arms Hotel for all their efforts in helping to make the weekend such a success.

The next Photography Weekend Break will be January 27-29th – again at The Selkirk Arm,s Hotel BOOK NOW

Photography Weekend – new date fixed

I will be running another Photography Weekend Break in January.

The new dates for the next Photography Weekend will be Friday 27th – Sunday 29th January 2012.

The price of £399 includes just about everything – hotel accommodation, all meals, coffees, full tuition and even a free welcome drink at The lovely Selkirk Arms Hotel, Kirkcudbright.

These Photography Weekends do book up very quickly – so please secure your place as soon as possible.

BOOK NOW £50 deposit.

September 2011 Photography Holiday

I’ve been sent lots of pictures over the weekend from the photographers on the September Photography Holiday in Menorca.

If you recall, this was the holiday I had to leave early because of Norene’s ill health. It was a massive relief to me when my former students Maria Falconer FRPS and Ken Terry stepped into the breach as tutors so that the holiday could go ahead as planned.

From all the accounts I’m getting, Maria and Ken did a tremendous job, and, judging by the happy faces on the holiday photographs I’ve been looking at, all the photographers had a great time as well as lots of expert tuition.

Photography Holiday group September 2012

The group of photographers on the September 2011 Photography Holiday in Menorca. Ken Terry and Maria Falconer are on the left of the picture

Every tutor has a different approach to teaching and I would not expect that Maria and Ken would do things my way. This can be very refreshing – especially when some of the photographers have been to Menorca (and have been taught by me) before. Of course an itinerary has to be planned well ahead and adhered to as near as possible, but the style of teaching is bound to differ.

There are two items that always feature on every photography itinerary in Menorca – partly because they are so popular, and partly because they offer great opportunities to learn particular photographic skills. Two of these ‘must do’ items are:

A session of night photography with flash

A photographers’ visit to the fortress of La Mola

Maria and Ken really brought a new aspect to the night flash photography and, when I look at the photographs of this photo session, it’s very clear that the photographers were having a ball while at the same time learning some valuable photo techniques. The picture below shows our good friend Gerwyn Jones, who was enjoying his second Photography Holiday in Menorca with us, being very agile while gaining invaluable understanding about mulitple flash exposures. Good on yer Gerwyn!

multiple flash photography

Gerwyn Jones learning the art of multiple flash photography at night. This is Gerwyn's second trip to Menorca for a photography holiday with us. We'd love to have him with us again next year

The other photograph I like very much from the Photography Holiday conveys a very different atmosphere. Again, it sums up a lot about the spirit of these holidays and the places we photograph.

Maria Falconer FRPS heads back to the bus with the group after a great day of photography at La Mola

This shows Maria walking with the photographers walking back to the bus after a day exploring the photographic opportunities of La Mola. Everyone is almost certainly a little footsore and tired, but I can almost feel the sense of satisfaction that comes after a great day’s photography in a fascinating place.  The light in this picture is glorious and despite their tiredness I’m sure the photographers would be happy to stay on an take more photographs.

Some of the photographers have put pictures on a special Flickr Group – there are some great shots here

Places are now available for the May and September 2012 Photography Holidays in Menorca

Norene & Photography Workshops

Things are slowly getting back to some sort of normality as Norene recovers from her heart surgery. She is now back home and each day brings a little improvement. We are told it will be a long time before she is back to her usual bubbly self, though.

Meanwhile this weekend I have had a group of photographers on a Photography Workshop here in Kirkcudbright, and what a lovely group of snappers they were. All very keen to learn and all prepared to share. We spent the morning with talks and a ‘Portraits in Natural Light’ demonstration.

Photography Worrkshop portrait session

Photographer Campbell More, one of the 'volunteers' to face the cameras during our 'Portraits in Natural Light' shoot during the Photography Workshop in Kirkcudbright at the weekend

One of the lessons I stress in these short portrait sessions is the difference between ‘inclusive’ and exclusive lighting techniques when using natual light. In other words, it can be just as important to exclude light from areas of the subject where it is not wanted, as it is to include light in other parts. We achieve this very simply with white and black cards.

The ‘studio’ area we use has plenty of natural light available, but a lot if this is from top windows. By excluding this using a black card, we can achieve the most beautiful soft side or front light for our portraits.

It always gives me a tremendous buzz to see the way our PhotoActive groups gell so well right from the start. Although most of these photographers have never met before, by the end of the day it is as though they have know each other for years. Such is the power of a shared passion for photography. I always stress that both our Photography Holidays and our Photography Courses are about sharing knowledge – and it is an approach taken very much to heart.

group of photographers line up during a photography workshop

Different skill levels, different cameras, different approaches, but all photographers with one thing in common - a shared passion for photography during a Photography Workshop. Note the windows in the roof of our 'studio' - this can create far too much 'toplight' but there are ways of dealing with that

I think the photograph below illustrates exactly what I am saying. None of these photographers had met before the Photography Workshop, but here they are enjoying and sharing the fun.

photographers share fun during photography workshop

It's a cracker! Andrea, one of the photographers on the Photographer Workshop, shares the fun with David and Campbell during their photo shoot in Broughton House, Kirkcudbright. All part of the enjoyment of photography

Of course, we didn’t spend the whole day’s workshop in the studio – after lunch we were off to take pictures on Kirkcudbright harbourside before heading for Broughton House, a National Trust For Scotland property here in the town where our photographers are always made very welcome.

You can learn more about shooting great portraits in Natural Light with my DVD ‘Portraits in Natural Light’ available from the website.

Norene doing well

I’m delighted to say that Norene is now doing really well after her heart surgery.

flowers from photography holiday hotel Menorca

A beautiful vase of deep red roses from the Hotel S'Algar - our base for the Photography Holidays in Menorca

Thank you for all your emails and good wishes – they really have given Norene and me a boost after a very difficult time.

Now we can at last see great improvement and it is just possible that if this continues she may be allowed home early next week. She is now walking unaided and looking better every day. The surgeon and doctors are all pleased with her progress after such a huge operation.

With so many things on my mind over the past few weeks I have been a little tardy emailing the joining information for the forthcoming Photography Workshop in Kirkcudbright on Saturday October 15th. My apologies. If you are booked on the Workshop we will be meeting at the Kirkcudbright Bowling Club at 0930 – please bring your normal camera gear plus tripod and flash if you have them. Of course – you should bring warm clothes suitable for the season.

The window ledge in Norene’s room at the Golden Jubilee Hospital overlooks the River Clyde and is laden with ‘Get Well’ cards and flowers. Among these flowers is a vase full of deep red roses sent from all our friends at the Hotel S’Algar in Menorca where we base our Photography Holidays. What a lovely thought.

Thank you all.

Norene’s progress after heart operation

A great deal has happened since I posted that Norene would not be coming to Menorca for the September Photography Holiday. I said that she was to have an operation in late October.

Hopefully it won't be long before Norene is dancing again - she'll certainly be with us in Menorca for next year's photography Holidays

Well, things moved more quickly than that. Norene’s heart condition worsened rapidly and the operation was brought forward to September – right in the middle of the Photography Holiday.

I simply had to be at the hospital when Norene had her operation and I did a dash back from Menorca to Scotland. My former student Maria Falconer – now FRPS – and our dear friend Ken Terry stepped into the breach to make the holiday a resounding success.

Margaret McKinney, who was in Menorca for her third Photography Holiday with us, said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the week, though obviously missed you and Norene, but Maria and Ken worked hard to make it a success.

More news about the Photography Holiday asap.

Back home, Norene was in the hospital theatre for 12 hours – a massive operation that really took its toll.

But now she is on the mend and her condition improves daily – to such an extent that we are told she just might even be home by the end of the week. We are not building our hopes too much but she’s doing just fine – steady and sure.

I’d like to express my personal thanks to all those people who have helped lighten my burden over the past few weeks. I really could not have got through without your support.

As far as The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank is concerned – words fail me. The hospital and its staff are just superb. Thank you.