Tuscany

October 14-21, 2017

This quote by the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova easily encapsulates my feelings about Italy, for of all the places I have traveled, Italy is the one to which my thoughts are always returning. Nowhere else can be found the heady combination of sublime light on fairy-tale landscapes, exquisite food and profound culture. In Tuscany, all things, whether there by the hand of nature or the hand of man appear exactly where they must be; nothing out of place, nothing to spoil the harmony of land and sky.

As a photographer, I am drawn to this place like no other. The question is never, “What should I photograph?” but rather, “How can I possibly photograph all that I see in the time that I have?”

Join me for a photographic adventure in this most special place. From our home base, we’ll explore the vineyards of Chianti, the rolling countryside of the Crete Senesi and the incredible landscapes of the Val d'Orcia. We’ll wander through ancient villages, watch the sun rise over mist laden valleys and see its last rays set the stone of those same towns ablaze.

This immersive workshop is for anyone who wishes to improve their photographic skills: to move from simply “taking pictures” to “making images”. We welcome all levels of photographic experience, from beginner to advanced. This is not a traditional classroom/assignment workshop; instead the emphasis is on creativity and photographic risk taking in the field. Rather than dry technical lectures, we head out into the world where images are made, and learn to apply the elements of good visual design to create stronger images. We consider the importance of lens choice and point of view, and learn how changing light during the day shapes form and mood in our images.

If you are a beginner, you will derive maximum benefit from this workshop if you are at least familiar with the basics of operating your camera: you should be able to place your camera in manual mode and understand how to adjust shutter speed and aperture. If this is a challenge for you, don’t worry: we will gladly provide help if needed. The more advanced photographer will be challenged by our emphasis on visual design and developing a sensitivity to the quality of light on the subject. Group sizes are kept small to ensure plenty of time for individualized instruction. The workshop is led by an award winning 30 year veteran photographer who is also an experienced workshop leader.

For these workshops we have partnered with the people at Il Chiostro. They know Italy, and have been arranging and managing artist workshops in Italy for over 20 years. With their knowledge and expertise they handle all the logistics of local transportation and accommodation, leaving us to concentrate on what we love most: creating compelling images.

There will be two opportunities to join this Tuscan adventure in 2017: June 17-24 and October 14 -21

The June workshop will be held near the town of San Giovanni d’Asso, at the northern edge of the Vald’Orcia, home to some of the most beautiful and quintessentially Tuscan landscapes in all the area.

In October we relocate to a villa a few kilometers north of Siena in the heart of the Chianti wine region. Autumn in this area brings the opportunity to photograph stunning fall colour as the vineyards prepare for their winter slumber.

During each workshop we will spend a day in Florence and an afternoon in Siena: both possess an embarrassment of photographic riches, and are definitely “must see” destinations.

What to bring with you:

1) Your camera, of course: preferably an interchangeable lens dSLR or mirrorless camera.


2) A large collection of lenses is not needed, and can in fact get in the way of capturing great images. An extra lens or two does however provide additional photographic flexibility. A useful range for this workshop will allow you to cover focal lengths between 24mm and 100mm on a full frame camera like the Canon 5D or 6D series or Nikon D810, D750 etc. For reduced frame cameras like the Canon Rebel, Nikon D5xxx or D7xxx series, equivalent lenses will be in the range from 16mm to 65mm. A single zoom covering this range would be ideal, and frankly all you really need.

3) A zoom covering a wide-angle range from 16-35mm (10-23mm on a reduced frame camera) and/or a telephoto covering the range from 70 – 200mm or beyond (50 – 150 for reduced frame cameras) will round out an ideal kit.

4) If you have one, an extra camera body provides a comforting degree of redundancy should a problem develop with your primary camera.

5) A tripod! Too many creative opportunities are missed without the ability to stabilize your camera.

6) If you have one, a polarizing filter.

7) A laptop computer loaded with Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Lightroom if you wish to participate in the post processing sessions.

If you don’t have a laptop, or don’t wish to bring it along, you will still need a way to create backup copies of your images. (If you bring a portable USB drive or Memory Stick I will help you to create backup copies of your image files using my laptop)
Remember; carrying too much gear will only weigh you down and cause you to miss fleeting opportunities! Heavy, large aperture telephotos, like that 300mm f/2.8 are better left at home for this trip.

Some Details…

The workshop cost includes accommodation in the principal workshop location, several excellent meals prepared for us by our hosts, all ground transportation within the region, daily instruction, critiques, discussion and sessions on post processing techniques.
Air/Rail travel costs to Florence at the beginning of the workshop and from Siena at the conclusion, are not included.

Since we will be out most mornings to greet the sunrise, and again for sunset on most days, during the Spring session expect to grab a few breakfasts, lunch and a few dinners out during the June session. In October, the sun rises and sets at more civilized times, allowing us the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of our hosts for breakfast and dinner most days. Complete information is available at the ilChiostro website: Spring Session Fall Session
This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the light, landscape and culture of this most photogenic region; a place where your photographic vision and creatively will find new inspiration and new challenges each day. I hope you will join me.
Email: Workshops@pacificlight.ca for further information