Photograph the beautiful Tuscany of Auvergne, France

Vineyard-in-evening-sun (2)
A short photo holiday in combination with a great learning experience
Photography workshop with
Photographer Kristel Schneider
Date:  24 August – 28 August  2014
While people are talking about the winter of 2014, I have already prepared your summer break for August 2014, a 5-day photography workshop in the Tuscany of Auvergne, in France.
When you hear Tuscany you may immediately think of Italy. Before my discovery I did the same but now I know that in the heart of France there is a place called Tuscany of Auvergne, in Puy de Dôme.
So close your eyes and let your thoughts go ….think about…….sunflowers, garlic, picturesque villages, volcano chain, dramatic light and….French wine and food!
Join me during these 5-days and you can expect:  diverse hillside landscape scenery in the heart of the Tuscany of Auvergne with picturesque villages. The spectacular and unique light conditions playing on the dramatic Massif Central mountain and volcano chains, will take your breath away.  We will explore the Billom area through the maze of small hillside roads and hiking trails. Although the main focus will be landscape photography those of you who like macro, close-up or street photography will have plenty of opportunities to indulge during the walks in the field and the small villages. Throughout the day, you will get personal field instruction as well as photo feedback.  The group is kept small so that every participant gets enough personal attention.Be assured of a great learning experience and of course a lot of fun sightseeing and hiking along short trails. You will get introduced to the specialties of the area, visiting local organic wine producers and photograph the vineyards in the soft evening light.
More info: Workshop page  (Eng)
Meer info: Workshop pagina (NL)

12 Favorite photos of 2013

2013, looking back at another great photography year
Fun, challenging, exciting and rich

Now, in 2014, I can look back at a successful but busy photography year. Through my work for the regional natural park (PNR) Livradois Forez I could, by all means, draw a lot of lessons. To put myself outside my comfort zone (Nature and Landscape Photography) and to do photo reportages with lots of different types of people in all kinds of weather conditions and locations was exciting and challenging. But most of all, fun to do (click  here for an overview). The only drawback was that there was  not a lot of time left for my personal photography plans.  And if at the same time the weather acted funny, then I ended up with a poor selection of images for 2013. However I think I had some great moments in nature and thanks to the wide variety of photo assignments I was given, I could discover new photo sites to explore from now on.

To say goodbye to 2013, here is my selection of my private best shots of 2013:

Last light taken in January 2013.
Etang de la Colombière, a local fishing lake in the middle of the  forest in Haut-Livradois. That day, I remember, it was cold and the mist was gathering around the trees. I only had to wait for some great light to finalize the nice atmosphere. A beautiful place that always will be on my photography list ;  it will have its own particular charm, whatever the season.

Trees in the winter taken early  February 2013.
Readers who visit this blog more often know how much I love trees and one of the things I always wanted to do was walking on snow rackets in the forest. So together with photographer Cyril Coudert (partner from Massifs Centraux) I planned a photo day in the Sancy area (Auvergne, France) in the place calledVallée de la Fontaine Salée | Chastreix-Sancy  (1299m). There is nothing more peaceful than walking in a forest covered with snow. Great day that was ! Read all about it here.

Puy de Redon taken in February 2013.
A snowshoe hike I will surely never forget. That day was the 3rd time I went on a trail with snowshoes on, so the idea of climbing to the top of the high mountains in the Sancy was exciting and hard at the same time, but  a real adventure. Read all about it here.


Man Orchid taken in May 2013.
Being a real Wild Orchid lover  I was very happy to find a protected orchids site – nearby Puy de Pileyre vulcano, not far from my home. This year spring was very wet and although I visited my orchid site a couple of times it was difficult to find flowers that had not been damaged by the heavy rains. These Man Orchids were nicely protected by a bush and the day I took that image the light was poor and that I had to work fast between the storms that passed by over my site.

Man-Orchid_Orchis-anthropophora_2bWinter in Spring taken in May 2013.
During a private photo tour we visited Col de la Croix St Robert in Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park. The plan was a sunrise session but due to the weather conditions we unfortunately had to skip the sunrise. Instead we got lots of snow, fog and frosty trees later on in the morning.  Not quite what we expected during this Spring Photo Tour in Auvergne. But the scenery was so beautiful and the trees with the morning frost were magical.
Birch-trees-with-frost_3Birch-trees-with-frost_7Rossignolet taken in June 2013.
When you organize workshops in your own area you visit certain locations a lot. Such is the case with the so-called Rossignolet waterfall nearby the town of Mont Dore.
Each time the view and the atmosphere are different there and the day I took this image the fresh green leaves popped-out nicely against the white running water.
See here my blog post about that day.

Common-dog-violet taken in August 2013.
On my way home from a photo session I saw this purple color patch of violets on the ground. I parked the car on the side of the road and just put myself next to these fragile little flowers. This lonely violet caught my eyes and made my day!


Cholizas taken in November 2013.
The rough water conditions were challenging that day but it was great, rainy and overcast – ideal to photograph a forest scenery.
The night before we had had heavy rainfalls and I could immediately see the impact the rain had made : the scene looked amazingly different from the one I had seen a couple of days earlier.
Read more here.Cholizas_8

Tuscany of Auvergne taken in December 2013.
Driving back home from a Christmas local market I remember thinking that the weather was so mild that the scenery in front of me could be the one of a late summer evening.
With the only difference that the fields were empty and not nicely covered with sunflowers or garlic.
Tree-in-evening-sun_Billom-areaSunny moments in the snow taken in December 2013.
Sometimes the weather is not very motivating to go out with your camera, like the day I took this image : the weather was grey and dull.
But I am happy I changed my mind and around 3 pm I drove to the Haut Livradois area, not very far from where I live. The temperature was below zero degree celsius, which made the scenery frosty and cold.
The clouds were hanging low over the trees, many still covered with snow from the heavy showers. After that day temperatures went up and the snow disappeared fast.
Read more here.

Livradois-Forez-winter-scenery auvergne

Overview 12 favorite photos 2013 click here.

Image | last light editors pick

Last light editors pick- Landscape gallery
on NatureScapes.Net

Etang de la Colombière
Livradois-Forez Auvergne France

Image from early January at a lake in the middle of the forest. I took a series of images that day and this one almost landed in the wast basket.
In 2011 I wrote a blog post about ‘the old box‘  and mentioned that sometimes it is good to take some distance from your work and let time pass before you actually work on them
and decide if this is a keeper or is ready for the trash bin.

Etang-de-la-Colombière  Some feedback so far:

  • Love it!
  • Very, very nice.
  • Beautiful and surreal. I really like the blue cast and reflection.Gorgeous Kristel!!
  • What a wonderful mood and it just exudes peace and tranquility.


Other editors picks in 2013:

Image| Pine trees in the clouds, editors pick

Pine trees in the clouds editors pick- Landscape gallery

Pine trees in the clouds Livradois-Forez Auvergne France

It’s touching to see that one of my images again got recognized on as an Editor’s Pick, for the 14th time now in 2013.
They must like my photography 😉  and it makes me happy when people tell me that I inspire them with my work. Personally I am not always satisfied when I come home from a photo shoot because of the light or I could not find what I had in mind. A lot of the images land in the bin or in a folder ‘to look at later’. This image was for me a mind breaker, not really sure if it was in ‘balance’ if I had captured the right mood etc. And now I am happy that the little touch of sunlight and the clouds in the pine trees was appreciated and that the mood I had in mind is well translated.

For other images of that day see earlier blog-post: sunny moments in winter. Pine-trees-in-the-clouds Some feedback so far:

  • Always love your winterscapes!
  • Beautiful Kristel. Your images always seem to have a certain surreal yet realistic appearance. I so enjoy your work.
  • Great image. Very nice. Excelent shot.
  • Love this!!! moody, excellent presention…First class!
  • Beautiful winterscape
  • Wonderful image Kristal.   Thanks for sharing this beautiful shot.

Pine-trees-in-the-clouds     Other editors picks so far (2013):

Sunny moments in the snow

Sunny moment in the snow
by Kristel Schneider

– A cloudy December Sunday
in the Livradois Forez –

Sometimes the weather is not very motivating to go out with your camera, like last Sunday, the weather was grey and dull.
But I am happy I changed my mind and around 3 pm I drove to the Haut Livradois, not very far from where I live. The temperature was below zero, which made the scenery frosty and cold.
The clouds were hanging low over the trees, many still  covered with snow from the heavy snow showers of 2 weeks ago.

What made me happy last Sunday  was the fast transformation of the light in the forest landscapes. The thick clouds were moving fast over the forest but when there was a tiny hole, these landscapes got a warm natural filter by the sun. Sometimes just for a few seconds and then the clouds would cover the sky again.  These light transformations did not last long at around 4 pm the sky was too thick and dark, no warm sunlight would appear anymore. So even when the weather does not look that great at first, when you have time, go out and just look for the light.

Images taken with Canon 5DMII- 70-200L lens in Auvergne,France.

Livradois-Forez-winter-scenery auvergneTrees-with-frostLivradois-Forez-winter-scenery_2Pine-trees-in-the-cloudsScotisch-pine-tree

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