Isle of Portland Workshop
Welcome to my Isle of Portland workshop page where I hope to give you as many details about my photography workshop on this fascinating island just off the coast of Weymouth in Dorset. Famous for Portland stone the island has a wide range of different landscape photography locations including Chesil beach, multiple seascapes, and of course the iconic Portland Bill lighthouse. Our day on Portland usually starts with a sunrise or ends with a sunset depending on the time of year and the preferences of participants. We will cover a number of techniques including composition, High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography and long exposure work for those of you with the right filters and a tripod - more on that further down the page. This is a workshop for people with a range of photography abilities, and is suitable for beginners right through to people with a broad knowledge of the exposure triangle and adept at using manual mode for most situations. I'll cover equipment later, but be assured a compact, bridge or DSLR camera less than five or so years old will cope with the various scenarios we'll seek out during our day.
When are the workshops?
I'm aiming to run at least two workshops on the island in 2020 - the first is usually when the island will be in full bloom with an abundance of sea pinks, fresh greens and a nice turquoise colour to the sea in the early Spring sunshine. The second workshop will be as out of season as I can make it. All of my live workshops can be found here
What does this workshop entail?
The primary purpose of this workshop is to improve your photography in whatever direction you feel is necessary. That may mean moving you away from Programme and on to Manual (it's easier than you think), gaining a greater understanding of how to capture well exposed images time after time, better focusing or improve your understanding of your camera and what it can do for your photography. The day is yours so I think it's important we you tailor it the way you want it to go. Prior to the workshop I'll email you to get a better idea of where you think you are on your photographic journey and the equipment you're using - and how you are using it.
If that sounds a bit overwhelming it really isn't. I have excellent reviews by the people who come on my workshops - many of whom return and bring friends and family. The common themes around my tuition style are my patience and my ability to impart information in a way that is both understandable and relevant to the individual. You really will finish your day feeling more confident about your abilities as a photographer, and a far greater understanding of what your camera can and cannot do. That's my guarantee to you.
What equipment will I need?
The Isle of Portland sits out into the English channel by some distance. It's prone to sudden squally weather and can be windy. Equally I've known it to be flat calm with hardly a cloud in the sky; it's essentially a microcosm of the weather most of us expect in Britain and as such you should prepare for a range of weather conditions. Most participants will attend by car so my suggestion is to always pack a selection of clothing including waterproofs, several extra layers, a hat and gloves (probably not needed in Summer though). The terrain can be slippy and rocky in places and I would wear a good pair of hiking boots irrespective of the weather or time of year. There is a slight chance of ticks in the summer months so be aware of any exposed skin. Because we're so close to the sea there is a fair degree of UV light bouncing around and it's entirely possible to catch the sun without knowing it. Please pack sunscreen and a sunhat if you are attending a summer workshop or the weather is expected to be warm.
Regarding camera equipment the list is very similar to all of my workshops; a tripod if you own one, a reasonably up to date compact, bridge or DSLR camera, wide-angle plus a telephoto lens if you own both as there are dolphins and seals off Portland Bill and the chance to visit barn owls if they are around, and any filters you have - especially neutral density (ND) graduated, ND10 filters or a circular polariser. ND filters help you reduce the different light values between sky and foreground along with reducing the amount of light hitting the sensor. ND and ND10 filters can also limit light to the extent you can start taking long exposure images in full sun. This is an excellent venue for long exposure work particularly on changeable days. If you want to shoot long exposure you'll need a cable release or an intervalometer which allows you to expose for a dialled in period of time without having to touch the camera. If your lens comes with a lens hood then throw it in the bag as it will both protect the lens from spray and give you better light readings as it cut outs extraneous side light. Speaking of spray I'd pop a lens coat if you have one (a plastic bag is less Gucci but just as effective in my view) and a few camera cloths into the now starting to bulge camera bag. It goes without saying (I hope) that you'd bring every battery (plus charger or power pack) and memory card you can find. There's nothing quite so dispiriting as running out of memory, or power, with half of the day still to go.
There is a cafe or two on the island with the Lobster Pot cafe situated very close to our main location which will be Portland Bill - the very tip of the island with a huge seascape to photograph. I would still bring a flask and something to snack on as there will be times when we want to max out the weather or light conditions and be some distance away. There are toilets at both the cafe and the car park itself. The car park is pay per hour and it's cheaper to pay for the day than it is to top up here and there. The meter takes both coins and cards. You can also use a mobile app but the signal isn't great on the island. Travel time from the mainland to Portland Bill car park where we initially meet can be 'problematic' at times due to the volume of traffic on nice days or in the height of the season. Please plan accordingly and allow for some delay getting over from the mainland.
How do I book?
You can register an interest in any future workshop, book an existing group workshop, or ask for a 1:1 workshop on Portland or any other location (within reason) using the button below or here. This will take you to my contacts page where you have a number of options to get in touch with me. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions around equipment, your skillset, or if you'd like to know more about this or any other workshop I'm running. Live workshops can be found on this page.
I pride myself on keeping my costs down whilst still providing highly rated and enjoyable workshops guaranteed to improve your photography and your understanding of your camera and what it offers. This will be the fourth year I've held my group workshop prices at £160 per participant - £100 for young people under the age of 18 and students in full time education. This price includes a minimum of six hours (subject to the weather conditions) with myself and a 'goody bag' of prints, postcards and cards worth £25 (when bought separately), along with any articles we'll use during our day. Groups are never bigger than eight people and are often only six participants if I feel the skillset of the overall group warrants increased 1:1 during the day. Uniquely I also offer participants the option of being able to contact me for up to a week after our day out should they want to discuss anything we covered during the workshop.
Finally I'd like to thank you for your interest in both my workshops and my photography. Your feedback, along with your desire to join me in some of these amazing places to learn more about photography, are what inspire me to produce such high quality workshops.