Workshop review – Yorkshire Dales with Lizzie Shepherd and Oliver Wright

Back in October I went on a 1 day photography workshop in the Yorkshire Dales with Lizzie Shepherd and Oliver Wright, and I’m afraid I only just realised that I failed to write a review – apologies for the delay!

The major strength of this workshop was the sheer number and variety of locations we visited.  We covered everything from limestone pavement (see above) to waterfalls, via a salmon run and Bolton Abbey’s woodland.  If anything we ran rather late in order to cover all the locations and by the time we were ready to leave it was almost completely dark.

Lizzie and Ollie make a great team; they are landscape photographers but each with a different style and approach and neither is 100% fixated on the grand vistas, something which I really appreciated as due to a very foggy start and overcast skies those big scenery shots were never really on the cards.

Autumn in the mist
Bolton Abbey estate on a misty day in Autumn

The workshop was very relaxed, participants had a variety of experience levels, a variety of kits and a variety of photographic interests.  Inevitably there were lots of questions about gear choices and recommendations from the group and our leaders did a great job of answering from personal experience and with an appreciation of limited budgets.  They were also happy to loan lenses and other kit for us to try although I declined a loan of Ollie’s Canon 70-300L lens for fear of falling in love with such a pricey bit of glass!

 

Probably the main learning points for me were from Lizzie on creating abstracts with branches and leaves and in particular how to look for background colours and use cooler white balance for effect (see below) and from Ollie around finding interesting compositions in otherwise ‘chocolate box’ scenes. I found Lizzie in particular to be really great at sharing the images she was making and talking about why she chose that composition and how she’d process it later.  No question was too daft and with only 5 of us on the workshop with 2 tutors there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions and get tips on creating your own images.  Ollie is so positive and excited by photography that even I sometimes felt I’d managed a really worthy image and I certainly came away walking a little taller (photographically speaking – I think it’s a little late to get above 5ft 2 now!

_MG_9196-Edit

All participants were given the opportunity to get feedback on a couple of images after the workshop, and we were also sent a full location list afterwards which was really nice.  Ollie and Lizzie obviously care about improving their workshops as there was a pretty comprehensive feedback questionnaire – which I find reassuring!

Pace wise this was a pretty long and busy day and there was quite a lot of walking and a bit of scrambling down some dodgy paths to get to one location, so if you’re less sure on your feet or unable to walk comfortably for up to 30 minutes I would ensure that you let Lizzie and Ollie know in advance. I’m sure they would be able to accommodate you as they were very understanding if reservations were expressed about some activities. You’ll definitely want sturdy boots and waterproofs too, it will only be called off in extremely bad weather.  Also bring water, a flask of tea and plenty of snacks as it’s easy to get carried away and we didn’t stop for lunch until 2pm having started at 6.30am.

_MG_9014

Location wise, Lizzie advised me to base myself at Settle which was perfect as it has good road connections to all the possible start locations. I stayed at Littlebank Country House which I found on Booking.com for £70 per night. It’s a tad tricky to find but once you’re there it’s very nice and homey and the owners were wonderful, they even set me out an early breakfast for my early start!

All in all this was a superb workshop! The Yorkshire Dales is really stunning in the autumn and I’m really glad to have benefitted from Lizzie and Ollie’s local knowledge, next time I’m in the area I’ll have a really good idea of where to go for the best autumn colours.

 

Autumn in the Yorkshire Dales – Highly recommended for autumn colour and exploring

Aspect Star Rating (out of 5*)
Ease of booking ****
Pre-event communications ****
Personalisation and 1:1 attention *****
Information and Learning ****
Approachability *****
Location *****
Cost ***
Image review and feedback **
Post-event feedback and follow-up **
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