Monday 24 February 2014

Photography Workshop with Eric Pye and Colin Reynolds

When I saw via Facebook that Eric Pye was running his first ever photography workshop with Colin Reynolds, during half term I immediately booked my children in to stay with their grandparents and signed up! A chance to finally get off the auto function on my bridge camera and to learn better photography techniques.

We all met up at Green Door Studios in Kendal at the far too early for holidays time of 8 AM. It turned out that we were a very mixed group both in terms of age and experience and equipment. In fact I had borrowed my dad's tripod as its something I have't yet bought for myself. We discussed what we all wanted from the day, Eric and Colin told us what they had planned, then we jumped in their cars and headed for Swindale near Shap.  

entry to Swindale, Cumbria

The weather was not too promising as it was cold and very wet! However we had been advised to wear good waterproofs and bring umbrellas to protect our equipment so we were OK to head up the valley.

At the first point of interest Eric and Colin told us to look around and see what caught our eye. Then as we started to take shots they gave us advice on how better to frame it and use the aperture and focal settings to experiment. These were some of the photos I took there:

rivulet through dry stone wall

Swindale Beck

farm machinery

protecting my camera from the rain

After a while when everyone started to get a bit chilly we headed further up the valley to some waterfalls to have some more instruction in using the manual settings. It was nice to see how the moving water looked better when I went off auto:

small waterfall

We ate our lunch nearer the head of the valley before splitting up into 2 groups for a longer session on composition, framing and use of either colour or mono. Eric had us wander around for about 15 minutes to look for what we thought were the best angles for our chosen shot of the landscape. We had to think about the key features and what we wanted to include. Then he talked us individually through composing the shot:

trees, rock and waterfall

I liked the fact that the waterfall appeared to vanish behind the glacial moraine within the trees in this composition. As we walked back to join the others we looked at another waterfall coming down the fell side. Eric talked about using the lines and thirds and having it on one side of the shot to draw the eye (iPhoto won't let me show you that one!).

Next Colin took us closer to the waterfall that featured as backdrop in my other photo:

Here there was plenty of water to experiment with. Colin had a timing remote on his camera that allowed him to take very long exposures which had lovely results. A shame my camera can't do that... I had a chance to try out using the half depress function on my shoot button to get some more interesting shots of the broken wooden bridge (again iPhoto currently not letting me show you..).

It was getting a bit gloomy for photographs now so we headed back to join the others. Just after safely negotiating the bumpy, steep terrain I managed to slip on a flat bit. Luckily I only got bruises but I did break the tripod..

Once we had all made it back to the cars we headed into Shap to have a well earned coffee and cake. Whilst enjoying these Colin showed us the apps he uses for turning his colour shots into mono ones. It was also a last chance to ask any questions before driving back to Kendal.

A very good course for an enthusiastic amateur who wants to get more out of their camera and take better landscape shots. It was very good value at £25 per head as well as it was a taster session for the tutors. I've had a look at what future courses Eric will be offering and they are priced higher. I do quite fancy 2 days wild camping with photography though...


  1. Eric Pye Photography24 February 2014 at 21:57

    Thanks for that Becky - I'm glad you found the day useful and what a shame that the weather was so miserable. Your third photo sums up the day's weather perfectly! If, when you've properly dried out and the wether has improved a little, you still fancy the wild camping option, drop me a line and we'll see if we can arrange a weekend. There's nothing better than getting out of a tent to watch the sun rise in amongst some of England's finest scenery. Hope to hear from you again.
    Could I also ask if you received the form I sent you after the workshop.

  2. form now sent! I would love to do another course but would need to persuade my parents to buy one for my birthday ;-)

  3. Beautiful shots, in stunning scenery. I'd love to do a photography course at some point #tried&tested

  4. What a great course! Those photos are beautiful x

  5. You have taken some beautiful photos, I love the waterfall shots. And great value at £25 a head - I would love to do something like this. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  6. Gorgeous photos, I'd love to take a one day photography course, hopefully at some point in the future I will be able to. The price is great too.

  7. that was special offer its going to be more :-)

  8. Great pictures, sounds like a fab course.

  9. I'd love to do a photography course! I've only got a point and shoot at the moment though.
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested this week :) x

  10. wow is the word that springs to mind these pics are amazing I really wish I had the time to complete one of these courses. #triedtested

  11. someone else came with a point and shoot :-)

  12. have to live up to my MADs photography nomination!

  13. Thanks for sharing this, it's fantastic. I am trying to learn manual mode on my camera. I need a class or twenty like this!!! Your pictures are amazing, the views are stunning. I like your focal points too, very catching.

  14. Looks like you had a great day, and your photos are great. I'm trying to learn more than just auto photography, at least these days it doesn't matter how many pics you take in order to hopefully, get a great result.

  15. Looks like a great opportunity to learn about better photography - I'd love to improve my photo skills one day.

  16. it was good to take more time over things!

  17. Eric was saying he takes very few!

  18. what a super opportunity :-) your pictures are beautiful x


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