So I have just spent a week in the Scottish Highlands at a photographic workshop – The bigger picture – photo book and portfolio making workshop – it felt like a month (in a good way). What a great venue in Mellon Charles at the Perfume Studio it is amazingly equipped and reviewing an OS Map doesn’t prepare you for the beauty of the surrounding landscape – breathtaking.

The Team

The team of tutors were fantastic and friendly and I had a great laugh! Joe Cornish needs little introduction not only is he a deeply knowledgeable person but a great artist and I learnt a lot about light. Eddie Ephrams seems to be Mister Publisher in the photographic world and introduced me to layout and style. Paul Sanders having spent 10 years as the Times picture editor looking at thousands of images a day summarises your efforts in seconds but in a fashion that feels great and leads to support in the field next day fixing that ‘issue’. Owner of the studio, Adrian Hollister,  was also helping out brilliantly until he tried to take his head off with the garage door – nice one Adrian glad you were OK.

My fellow tutees’ were a great mix of professional and amateur photographers who all had varying learning goals. We all collaborated brilliantly and we really had some belly laughs, drank a few glasses of wine and worked and worked (sometimes from 0530 to 1900 !).

The Workshop

I choose to do the portfolio group, led by Joe, which involved creating a selection of 5 images which for me summarised the area. I am also going to use these images and a few more to create a book with InDesign and publish through Blurb – coming soon.

I arrived in Mellon Charles from the Isle of Skye after a few days taking photo’s in Elgol and the Cullins (see my Scotland gallery). There was a lot of snow on the mountains and the drive takes you through beautiful but desolate landscape. By the road there are intermittent remnants of a past age which seem not to be cleared presumably due to their isolation and they obviously rust. So I decided to take my theme from ‘Breathtaking Beauty and Dilapidation’ the hardest part was capturing alluring images of dilapidation and this was a challenge for me – Joe and Paul where a fantastic help and very supportive. In the end the beauty was ‘easy’ but these images are coming in the book matched with dilapidated  (Beauty and Beast) – you will have to wait and see in a future blog – sneak preview in gallery!

My Portfolio

So here are my selection – thanks to everyone who helped.


Old Boat at Cove


Abandoned Lobster Pots at Cove


Abandoned House at Cove


Disused Petrol Pump at Aultbea


Harbour at Aird Point

Of course it wouldn’t do not to tell you what, Sharon (wife), my greatest ‘critic’ had to say:

Well I wouldn’t give them wall space

Update 24th July 2013: Book now published

Personal learning notes:

  • Feel the landscape and explore not just the geomorphology but at your feet and the sky.
  • Spend time exploring the composure of each image – though in great light just take it – and then carry on reflecting on the composure.
  • Painting with light (dodge and burn) is such an old part of our craft and the new tools in Lightroom and Photoshop are easy to use.
  • Take on a challenge and don’t stay in your comfort zone.
  • Be careful – I slipped and damaged my Zeiss 21mm and smashed my big stopper – a few days later the wind also blew over my tripod when my back was turned.
  • Fundamentally find a group of like minded photographers, have fun, share and collaborate.
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