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photo tours - your experiences please!


mattie

Link Posted 18/12/2018 - 23:36
Hi all

The missus has booked herself, her mother and her sister for a trip to New York over next Easter, and in her haste and excitement has obviously forgotten to invite me along. Unfortunately, hotels are now fully booked. At least according to my wife.

Noting that she's maxed the credit card on this trip, she's kindly granted me the very rare luxury of a photo trip to take away my disappointment . Something like Light and Land, who are offering a trip to Arran over Easter which looks very interesting. It's a lot more than I'd think to spend on such an outing - £1k for what is essentially 2 nights and 3 days - but I'm generally a tight sod so anything beyond bus fare seems pricey to me, and this opportunity won't come around too often.

Suggestions for reputable operators - ideally offering trips over Easter in Scotland - would be much appreciated. I'd prefer not to go too far due to time and budget implication. I've got my head around a £1k budget, I've no idea what a sensible budget for this sort of activity would generally be but this would represent my upper limit.

I recognise that my technique could really do with an expert eye, so the trip is an excellent opportunity to raise my skill levels and really get stuck in without discomforting the missus - she usually very kindly indulges me when we're out and about, but even she has her limits. Therefore, I'm not really looking for a guided tour of the sights, but a specific, photo-focused tour with good (and patient - god, they'll need to be patient!) instructors.

As above, all advice gratefully received
Last Edited by mattie on 18/12/2018 - 23:38

mattie

Link Posted 18/12/2018 - 23:53
(Would this thread have been better placed in the general photography forum? Sorry John!)

davidwozhere

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 00:09
Doesn't Phil Hemsley (morpheus) on here do such tuition?
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RobL

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 08:05
I went on a Light and Land trip to Northumberland in November and generally I enjoyed the trip. For much less money I could have booked into the hotel and explored myself but I know I wouldn’t without the incentive; that also applies to the pre-dawn starts. It was a largish group of twelve or fourteen with two well-known tutors and we all bonded well over the few days. There was however some confusion over the agenda down to the lack of communication between L&L and the tutors, and the amount of personal attention I received was minimal with the tutors doing their own thing for some of the time.

So, I came away with some great photos and learned one or two things but the location is popular with photo tours and in hindsight I would have done at least as well with a smaller group and for less expense, there was one starting from the same hotel on the day we left.

When I got back I said I wouldn’t do another, but now I am thinking about one for next year but with a different company and a more modest budget. I know that many pros are turning to these tours as an income source so I thought going with a couple of big names would be of most benefit but now I don’t think so. Bear in mind this is just my experience of one trip with L&L and it was the last one these tutors were doing as they were busy setting up their own tour company, so may not be typical.
Last Edited by RobL on 19/12/2018 - 08:07

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mattie

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 09:11
davidwozhere wrote:
Doesn't Phil Hemsley (morpheus) on here do such tuition?

Phil's workshops look exactly the sort of thing I'd prefer, but sadly at wrong end of the country!

Flights are of course an option, will investigate.

mattie

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 09:19
RobL wrote:
I went on a Light and Land trip to Northumberland in November and generally I enjoyed the trip. For much less money I could have booked into the hotel and explored myself but I know I wouldn’t without the incentive; that also applies to the pre-dawn starts. It was a largish group of twelve or fourteen with two well-known tutors and we all bonded well over the few days. There was however some confusion over the agenda down to the lack of communication between L&L and the tutors, and the amount of personal attention I received was minimal with the tutors doing their own thing for some of the time.

So, I came away with some great photos and learned one or two things but the location is popular with photo tours and in hindsight I would have done at least as well with a smaller group and for less expense, there was one starting from the same hotel on the day we left.

When I got back I said I wouldn’t do another, but now I am thinking about one for next year but with a different company and a more modest budget. I know that many pros are turning to these tours as an income source so I thought going with a couple of big names would be of most benefit but now I don’t think so. Bear in mind this is just my experience of one trip with L&L and it was the last one these tutors were doing as they were busy setting up their own tour company, so may not be typical.

Thanks for this - this addresses one of my concerns, that the tours are a little bit 'churn it out', especially for an operator who essentially subcontracts the tutoring.

I've slept on it and I'm inclined towards seeking out a smaller company with a more personal link to the tutoring - your post has given more food for thought.

T140

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 09:26
haven't been but Marcus McAdam does tours on Skye that look good, https://www.marcusmcadam.com/
Nobody is perfect, but being Scottish is a start

swarf

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 09:42
Last year a group of friends of mine (not including me) went on a tour in N. Ireland with John Miskelly. They all came back and spoke very positively about the experience. It was well organised, went to some amazing locations and he gave them all plenty of time. The group were all pretty experienced landscape photographers. I know that he does both tours and workshops so it might be worth looking him up on the web. I can't recall what he charged my friends per head, but have a vague recollection that it wold have been within your budget.

I've been on several trips with Paul Sanders (not through L&L), and they have all been fantastic. However, I do know that most of his time he leads trips for L&L, so he may not be available within your time-frame - still worth a look at his website, and he's pretty good at responding to e-mails.

Phil
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johnha

Link Posted 19/12/2018 - 18:32
I'm loathe to spend that kind of money on a few days in the UK and have my concerns about all photo training courses (especially those that might resemble sausage factories). I'm wary of being mini-bused to some location, 'stick your tripod here, point your camera there and get the same images as all my previous attendees' kind of approach. My preference would be to look for 1 to 1 tuition (apparently some pros offer it on a daily basis) or small groups (4-6).

Searching for 'Landscape Photography training' has turned up a few local to me (Lancashire) which look promising. Without a recommendation you're going off their website images & blurb (call me old fashioned but I don't pay attention to 'reviews' on someone's web site). 1 to 1 or small groups give you the opportunity to discuss requirements and clarify which gear would be best before you go - and to get a feel whether it will be right for you.

I believe that at least basic tuition will be helpful (and possibly save you from spending £££'s on the wrong gear), but as you develop your technique, your style will count for more. Although the temptation of jumping on a cheap flight to somewhere photogenic is very appealing if you've got enough motivation to get out & about and shoot.
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richandfleur

Link Posted 20/12/2018 - 00:58
I went on a photo tour earlier in the year, when I visited my brother in Vietnam. I didn't know the place and was only there for a short while.
Got lucky and there was only myself and one other on the day.

Benefits were knowing where to go for some cool content, plus some tuition around the people side of travel photography. Specifically around pre planning heaps of your shot before you even approach people (placement, where it the light?, camera settings, what backdrop do I want them in front of so how should I approach, what repetitive movements are happening that I could plan for etc) plus some how to approach the locals in that culture sort of stuff.

I wasn't hand held but had someone there to bounce ideas of during the walk around. Your trip might be different, and what you want out of it might be different, so it's always going to be a bit of try and see. If the money is crazy large, you might be better off going somewhere yourself and enjoying the time out taking photos. Really does depend on what you're expecting to get from the event and the interaction, and how much time and money you have to play with as well.

Here's a video of my trip.

Don

Link Posted 20/12/2018 - 15:41
speaking of photo tours... what makes for a great one? I had considered doing this for a sideline occupation at one point, but never pursued the idea...
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

RobL

Link Posted 20/12/2018 - 16:43
Don wrote:
speaking of photo tours... what makes for a great one? I had considered doing this for a sideline occupation at one point, but never pursued the idea...

If you have a particular area of expertise then exploit that. For tours then good quality accommodation and food goes a long way, with well planned stops and locations that can cater off season for a largish group. Also if you need a minibus to ferry people around then a clean newish model gives a better impression. These things may not be some people’s priority but they are on a holiday of sorts and shortcomings in these matters can spoil the overall experience.

derek897

Link Posted 20/12/2018 - 17:58
https://www.bglandscapetours.ie/

This guy has a great reputation over here.
His tours seem to be really photography motivated, as opposed to trying to just get money out of people,
As an example, he has a isle of Skye tour, 3 nights and 4 full days, accommodation/ food / transportation and flights from Ireland @ €750

I'm not trying to promote him or anything but might be worth checking him out.
I know what i like, If not always why.
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