Do you fancy a long weekend in France? Passionate about photography? Then come and join professional landscape photographer Gareth Kirkland on a photography workshop in the South of France. Enjoy the warm climate, great French food and wine, stunning scenery, all the while learning new photographic skills in this most famous part of the Dordogne. With a maximum of 6 photographic guests you are guaranteed personal attention. Non-photographic partners are more than welcome. All workshops are from Friday to Monday and include, in-depth photography tuition by Gareth, accommodation, food and transport to all locations. These workshops are conducted in the spirit of fun. We learn about photography, but hopefully have many laughs along the way.
Dordogne Valley at sunset from the fortified town of Domme
Sunken Boat on the River Dordogne
"My belief is that everyone can take beautiful images. I also believe that everyone’s view of the world is unique and therefore the images that we produce are also unique. My job in running these workshops is to encourage that vision and uniqueness, while emphasising technical aspects of photography that allow that vision to manifest as you, the photographer, had imagined.
To do this we have to firstly understand the difference between the way that our eyes see the world and the way a camera does. Disappointment with our photographs often comes down to, not understanding what superb pieces of evolutionary engineering our eyes are, and by comparison how limited a camera is, however expensive.
Poppies and Cenac church in the mist
Primarily our eyes’ function is one of survival. They allow us to navigate our world safely, to catch prey (or the bus) to drive, to not walk of the edge of cliffs, and so on. When we consider making a photographic image however, we are asking our eyes to function in a different way; to perceive beauty and make a record of that beauty, using a camera.
To perceive and acknowledge beauty in the world around us is also, I believe, a need within us all. But with the hectic lives that we all lead, a need that is all to often forgotten. So for me landscape photography is very much about slowing down and allowing time to really see and appreciate the scenery before us. The more we can do this, the more likely we are to record a great image." Gareth
To find out more about Gareth Kirkland, please visit the About page and www.GarethKirklandPhotography.com
Barge on the Dordogne
- Understanding the difference between the way our eyes see the world and how the camera does.
- How to train our eyes to see the world as a photographer. Often striking photos are taken of quite mundane subjects. It’s the photographers’ eyes that have spotted the potential of a subject.
- Understanding the nature of light is fundamental to photography. Whether shooting at dawn, in the middle of nature or in a busy market town, we have to understand the nature of light and the effect that it will have on the image we are making.
- We will be looking at formulas for successful pictures, which have been used by artists for centuries. The rule of thirds. How to organize elements within the frame to create harmony and balance. This will include balancing shapes and colours, light and dark, creating a focal point and the use of foreground interest and lead lines to give depth and direction to an image.
- How to capture a correctly exposed digital image to maximise tonal range and create a file with the best potential for successful editing later and understanding the histogram as our main tool for doing this.
- Understanding shutter speed and depth of field so that we can take more control of the images we are making and wean ourselves off the auto button.
- Using filters to help control exposure levels within the frame.
- We will be looking at the complete digital workflow from capture to print. Including uploading of images, sorting, key-wording and editing using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and finally backing up.
Subject matter covered may vary slightly as every group is different, in terms of their knowledge of photography and expectations of what they would like to achieve from the workshop. Therefore, while there is a general format for the subjects to be covered, flexibility is very important. In any case, much of the tuition is done on a one-to-one basis and so it is naturally tailored to individual needs. Top
Chateau Castlenaud and the Dordogne river at sunrise
- 18.00 Welcome and introduction with drinks and snacks.
Presentation of the main topics that will be covered during the weekend.
- Evening meal
- 05.30 Dawn shoot (croissant and hot drink provided)
- 08.30 Breakfast
- 10.30 Depart for a morning shoot in the medieval town of Sarlat. It’s market day!
- 12.00 Lunch in Sarlat
- 14.00 Free time and siesta
- 17.00 Depart for evening shoot
- 20.30 Evening meal
- 05.30 Dawn shoot (croissant and hot drink provided)
- 08.30 Breakfast
- 10.30 Depart for a morning shoot at the beautiful walled town of Domme
- 12.00 Lunch in Domme
- 14.00 Free time and siesta
- 17.00 Tutorial. Editing images in Lightroom and Photoshop, digital workflow and backing up
- 18.30 Free time. Gareth will be available to review your work if wanted.
- 20.00 Evening meal
- 08.00 Breakfast
- 10.30 Depart for airport. (For those who have not booked further nights)
Sarlat by Night
Domme Village Square
Times shown are for a May workshop when the days are the longest. In April or October you get a bit longer in bed!
Of course all activities are optional, so if a bit too much wine the night before makes a dawn shoot a little unlikely, we won‘t hold it against you. Top
About the Dordogne
Gareth is situated in one of the most sought after areas of the Dordogne, famous for its numerous castles and prehistoric sites. The stunning scenery, renowned cuisine and wonderful climate have earned the region the reputation of being something of a French paradise.
The Perigord Noir is also a region of rivers, with the majestic Dordogne and Vézère winding their way through varied landscapes of green fields, forests and rocky cliffs.
The varied local landscape and typical agriculture and architecture give the area its pastoral beauty. Prehistoric sites and cave paintings, temples and abbeys, castles and fortified towns bear witness to more than 300,000 years of human habitation.
Although the Dordogne is beautiful throughout the year, it is most beautiful in the spring, when the many fruit orchards are in bloom, and the fall, when the light is rich and the landscape alive with colour. Top
Medieval Abbey of Rocamadour, Lot, France
Smaller groups (3 to 5 people, including non photographic partners) will be staying in the cottage next to Le Verger, a charming 18th Century stone house situated on a hilltop, with beautiful views overlooking its 20 acres of sloping lawns and woodland. The cottage has been lovingly restored, whilst retaining all its original features.
Le Verger and its Cottage
View from Terrace
Larger groups (6 to 12 people, including non photographic partners) will be staying at Le Jaonnet, a charming local Chambres D’Hotes where we will all eat our evening meals together. Please click on the link to view Le Jaonnet.
Gareth lives in Le Verger and is always at hand if you should need anything
You are more than welcome to book accommodation at the cottage or at Le Jaonnet for longer than the duration of the workshop. In fact we recommend that you do. Not only does it allow you to relax before and after the course, but it’s also such a beautiful area of France that it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to explore.Top
Non-photographic partners are very welcome. If you would like to visit some of the many beautiful villages and historic sights in the area, Gareth can give you plenty of suggestions and directions on how to get there. You will need your own transport, however. Or you might just like to stay and relax at Le Verger, or the Chambres D’Hotes.
You are more than welcome to join your partner on photographic shoots. However, due to lack of space in the transport vehicle we may not be able to give you a lift. If that’s the case you could follow in your hire car. Most locations are pretty close, the furthest being about a 20 minute drive away. Top
Chateau Monfort on the Dordogne
- £595 per person
- £245 non-photographic partner
Cost of extra nights accommodation:
- £45 per person, per night, or
- £55 per couple, per night
NB: Not including meals
All meals available upon request
- 02 – 04 May 2014
- 09 – 12 May 2014
- 16 – 19 May 2014
- 23 – 26 May 2014
- 30 May – 02 Jun 2014
- 03 – 06 Oct 2014
Gareth is sometimes available (work commitments permitting) to run workshops outside of the specified dates. It would require a minimum of three people however for the workshop to go ahead. If you are interested in taking attending a workshop, but the specified days are not possible for you, you can contact Garth to see if he is available for the dates that suit you.
What is included:
Le Céou stream at Castelnaud, Dordogne, France
- 3 nights accommodation at Le Verger
- 2 days photographic tuition
- Transport to and from locations (please note that Gareth can take up to 4 people in the transport vehicle. For groups with 5 or 6 photographic guests, we kindly ask that the people take it in turn to follow Gareth to the location. This is never more than a fifteen minute drive)
- All meals (except at restaurants). Early morning snacks and hot drinks, continental breakfast and 3-course evening meals with half a bottle of wine per person.
- Tea and coffee
- All bed linen and towels
- Use of swimming pool (weather permitting)
What is not included:
- Transport to and from airport
- Restaurant meals (2 lunches)
- Additional drinks
- Travel insurance
These workshops are suitable for any age or experience. Although it is primarily a workshop for digital users, film users are welcome.
We take a maximum of 12 people. That is 6 photographic guests and 6 non-photographic guests per workshop.
Please make sure you arrive at Le Verger, in time to settle in before the welcome at 18:00.
A certain level of fitness is required as some locations may involve a 20 minute walk from the transport.
Transport is provided to and from all locations however, we ask that guests arrange their own transport to and from the airport. It will be a lot cheaper to hire a car than to get a taxi there and back. It often happens that several guests arrive on the same flight, in which case, you may like to share the cost of car hire. I can coordinate this between parties once I receive all relevant flight details.
The nearest airport is Brive which is served by CityJet.com (30 minutes drive away). Alternatively, Ryanair and Flybe fly to Bergerac or Limoges (90 minutes away). Top
Pier on Groléjac Lake, Dordogne, France
- Bring along whichever camera you use along with its manual, if you have it. I would ask, however, that you are familiar with your equipment. Bring your laptop if you have one.
- Enough memory cards or an alternative storage facility, for the duration of the workshop.
- A tripod is strongly recommended. (If you have a tripod it’s a good idea to purchase a cable release, they’re not expensive but will make a difference.)
- Warm outdoor clothing with a waterproof coat. Walking boots or shoes with good grip are also recommended. Top
Bookings are confirmed upon receipt of a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the total cost. The full balance must be paid 4 weeks before the start date of the workshop. Reservations made within 4 weeks of the start of the workshop date, requires full payment at the time of booking.
Payments can be made by cheque or bank transfer.
Credit and debit card payments can be made via PayPal (A 3.5% fee applies. For payments made outside the UK an additional 4% International Rate applies).
To book your place on a Workshop, or if you have any questions: Please contact us using the form on our Contact page.
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