Posted on January 2, 2017
Online brochure : Workshops & Photo tours 2017
Posted on July 8, 2016
When all my school friends went to the beach my parents took my brother and me every summer to San Cassiano, in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. Unfortunately when you are so young you do not appreciate all that beauty around you, it is much later that you realize that this was the seeding of my love for the mountains and for nature. Going back to my childhood holiday destination almost felt like going back home again. Tucked away memories came back and I rediscovered the beauty of these magnificent mountain ranges with their stone cathedrals. Pure enjoyment! I will be more than happy to share this beautiful area with you during this 8-day photo-tour – Kristel
More info: here
Category: workshops & tours Tagged: Dolomites, dolomites phototour, Dolomites workshop, foto vakantie italie, foto workshop dolomieten, foto workshop italie, Italian phototour, Nature and Landscape Photography, Nature Photography Workshops, Phototour, San Cassiano, sud tirol, Wild Flower photography
Posted on June 8, 2016
by Kristel Schneider
A couple of months ago the local newspaper La Montagne asked me if I was willing to join in their video series “La Montage Images” featuring local photographers. Their aim was to create short videos to promote photography to a wider public. The first season hosted all the photographers who work for the local newspaper and because of the success they decided to start a second season along with local photographers who would explain a photo subject to the general public. So not too technical, but rather show that photography can be fun to explore. I decided to talk about ICM technique – a technique which to be used whenever you want to create abstract images by moving your camera about.
At the end of April we did the video shoot in a woody area, close to Ravel in Auvergne | France. My timing was right for the fresh green leaves on trees, which resulted in a nice
subject for the image example. I must say, it was difficult to stay serious while I was talking, especially as I had two cameras pointing at me while a guy with big headphones and microphone was moving about.
I first only agreed on doing this video if I could speak English. Indeed I did not feel comfortable enough to do this all in French – hence the voice-over performed by a French native speaker.
English link below the video.
(Put on HD for better image quality)
For more ICM images click: here
To listen to this video in English click: here
Category: foto workshop Tagged: abstract photography, camera movement technique, foto workshops Frankrijk, ICM, Intentional Camera Movement, Kristel Schneider, Kristel Schneider Photography, La Montagne, Nature and Landscape Photography, Nature Photography Workshops, Stages Photo en Auvergne, Visions and Nature
Posted on February 24, 2016
With all the social media networks you can find tons of publications about photography workshops and photo-tours. One even more appealing than the other, accompanied with stunning images from breathtaking destinations. When reading such a profusion, where do you start? What do you look for? What will fit your photography skills ? To avoid disappointments afterwards you have to start by asking yourself some questions and do some research.
First things first
There you are, you have just bought your camera ; and now you know almost nothing about the basic photography techniques. Or let’s say that you are still a beginner and you would like to find out more about the basics of photography. You tell yourself, “Why don’t I join a photography workshop ?” There, it is true, you will be able to observe, learn and discuss your ideas with trained photographers.
That is a start, now you know that your goal is to deepen your photography skills and knowledge. Good, from now on you can look for workshops with subjects where your personal interests lie (landscape, close-up or macro, wildlife -photography etc.). Personally I think that everybody who is interested in photography, from beginner to professional, could benefit from workshops, to deepen their skills or just to get a fresh look at a photography subject and get inspired again or just challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone. Moreover, and that is also a point worth mentioning, it is also fun to be surrounded with people who have the same interest and talk ‘the same language’ as you do.
A lot of workshops are organized by enthusiastic amateur photographers who really want to share things about their area or about their favorite subjects. It is all very thrilling and exciting but, now is the time to think things over and maybe ponder on the experience of a photographer. Can he/she actually teach you something new ? Photographers who work full-time in the field and make their living from it, can often bring out a wider range of photography expertise and give you maybe just that little extra that you are looking for.
I approach photography workshops as a two-way process. As photography is an art of seeing, a form of art, the professional will be the guide to show you the right directions so that you can work towards your own process and style. Another great way to explore your photography is to join a photo-tour instead of a workshop.
What to look for
A photo-tour can be a great experience ; there you explore new destinations, focus on photography without interruption, improve your skills or work on a private subject. In addition to all this, you are with same-minded people with whom you can really interact and exchange with.
The benefit of joining an organized tour is that everything is taken cared of and your ‘hands are free’ to do just that what you want to do : photography. The professionals know the right places and are there to guide you. Because of all the offers on the net and the huge amount of publications, it can be challenging to find the right tour that will fit your personal interest and needs. Not all trips need to take you to faraway exotic places. Indeed everything depends on what you are looking for and what you want to focus on.
Another element you will take into account before making the final decision is often the price. Of course this is important but it is not always the best criteria to base your decision on. Look at what is included and what is not. Do you get photography guidance or not? Is there enough time for you on the different photography spots to discover the area and compose your images. Some tours ‘run’ from one hotspot to the other with hardly any time for you to take photos. Are you out in the field at the right time of the day? Do they offer photo discussion ? Is the tour part of a travel organisation (think about insurance for instance).
Travel organisation benefits
You can find a lot of photo-tours organized by individual photographers, be aware that these tours often do not have the same guaranties as booking the same destination with a photographer who works with a specialised tour operator. For a single photographer it is very expensive to buy in a liability insurance for a group. And it can occur that you will not have the same financial guaranties when the tour is cancelled. All this can make a difference in the photo-tour costs. And we have not reached the point of quality yet.
To get the right amount of individual attention it is important to look at the group size of the tour you are about to book. You have to admit, there is nothing more irritating than going in to the field with a big group and walk in each other’s way or waiting for guidance when struggling with camera handling or image composition.
Who is leading the tour?
Okay, now you think you are ready. You know where to go, which tour to join. And indeed you have taken everything into account, and the budget fits perfectly well. Have you checked who the main tour-leader is ? No? Why not? Well, no hesitation, you read that the leader of the group is a famous photographer !
A ‘big-name photographer’ as a tour guide is not always a guaranty for success. To lead a tour is not the same as being an artist. The great artist label does not come along the “great teacher” tag. Teaching is not just only about passing knowledge along – otherwise we would be experts just by reading books. Communication skills are not a given fact ; not everybody can be a teacher and knowledge has nothing to do with it. A lesser-known photographer can be just as talented and maybe even more driven and enthusiastic an instructor.
Other useful things to consider are:
To choose a photo-tour or photo-workshop is a decision you make for yourself. It is very personal as you are the only one to really know why you want to do it. There is no good or bad reason why you want to do this. However it is also important to bear in mind that like any product on the market, the most fashionable does not always fit you perfectly. It will give you the impression to have done something but also leave a bitter taste if in the end you have not really achieved what you were originally looking for. How many cupboards are there without THE pair of shoes that seemed impossible to walk in the street without, and that proved terrible to even wear after 10 minutes ?
To organize and man a photo-tour is a job, maybe not so old a profession but it is developing and the people participating are customers and photographers at the same time : they are looking for something special, something that not everybody can satisfy them with. Sometimes enthusiasm is not enough to provide such a service: photo-tour leaders require a combination of skills that go beyond the desire to do it. As we all know it, it is not just because you can do “something” that you can pass that “something” along to other people and accompany them to their own representation of what that “something” is.
Posted on November 10, 2015
In preparing the summer photo-tour in Auvergne for Nordic Vision,I had set Intimate Landscapes as being one of the themes covered during the week: what an intimate landscape was and how to create a well-balanced intimate landscape composition. As the programme of the tour unfolded, and as the participants were getting deeper and deeper into their own creations, we soon realized that what each and every one of us had a different definition of Intimate Landscapes were. Indeed it turned out that during other photo-tours and other photo-presentations, fellow photographers had given their own personal idea of what an intimate landscape was, just the way I did last July.
The question still stands : what is an intimate landscape ?
The answer does not seem as obvious as it seems, especially if I recall the lively discussions I had with the participants of the tour last summer. There were so many different definitions, so many different approaches even. As everybody had a representation of what a landscape was, we could settle a point there. I therefore came to the conclusion that the word intimate was the catch.
Perceptions of what intimate is are obviously very personal. A feeling of intimacy can be fed by a certain atmosphere, certain colors, certain elements or certain details in a landscape. All these personal elements make intimate landscape photography very interesting. You have to study the landscape scenes more carefully and focus on the scene that best defines an intimate landscape in your eyes.
(View bigger: click on one of the images)
When looking at my intimate landscape images one can say that I am not a large scale landscape photographer. On the contrary I tend to zoom in. Very often my eyes are attracted by a detail amidst a wider landscape. Combined with a certain atmosphere, depending on my mood, this can be colors, or light or just a nice form in nature. Then I translate this scene into a realistic, graphical or abstract image. For me, an intimate landscape is a combination of all the above, including the emotions I feel at the very moment I create that intimate shot.
To deepen the subject, I asked some of my fellow photographers to give their point of view on the matter. Hans Strand was the first to reply, and that was not a coincidence I think. A lot of Hans’s work is a very good example of intimate landscape photography. His latest book INTIMATE I features a great selection of intimate landscapes.
(View bigger: click on one of the images)
‘Intimate Landscapes images are more about reflection of the photographer way of seeing rather than the greatness of the subject. When horizons are excluded, nature is scaled down and the feeling of location is lost, then poetry can take over like a whispering that makes an impression, with ingredients of complexity and composition, rather than a dramatic large scale landscape in seductive light. Forest and trees are also favourite subjects who fits within the definition of intimate landscapes. Maybe it is the feeling of comfort I am getting from the trees around me, but working in a forest makes me both relaxed and concentrated. However the untamed chaos of a forest, needs a lot of analysing to come out as a well composed image…‘ – Hans Strand.
Kyle McDougall and Orsolya Haarberg also gave their thoughts about intimate landscape photography. For Orsolya intimate landscapes photographs are peaceful, calm images, they have a softness that comes from her personal use of colors.
‘The qualities are embodied by shades of grey, white and pastels which are the natural colours of the rocks, so I usually only need to find shape to the colours, as I did in the case the image blow. When you photograph intimate landscapes you use your camera to arrange nature’s elements to a structure that makes them meaningful. The only thing you need to do is to distil the essence of the scene and carefully compose your image. You to simplify things – frame a pattern, that you find the most powerful in a landscape, a single motive that attracts your eyes’ – Orsolya Haarberg.
Kyle refers to intimate landscapes as images that reveal particular features or details in nature that are not highly visible to the untrained eye. They reveal a slice of nature that can easily go unnoticed; rocks, leaves, trees or any collection of elements that are separated from the chaos by use of lines, colors, patterns and light. These images do not need to be strictly detail or macro shots, but rather can take a number of subjects and create a larger scene out of them. On the other hand, ‘grand landscapes” like waterfalls, mountains and dramatic coastlines all jump out of the page at first glance and typically are worked into wider compositions more easily.
‘ I think there’s huge benefits for photographers in creating these type of images. They certainly can be more challenging and require you to study the landscape in depth which can help you develop your creative eye. In my opinion, these types of images rely on the use of patterns and light. You need to study you surroundings and figure out the best way to’ organize the chaos’. Light and weather can play a huge role in this. For example, fog can simplify an otherwise busy forest scene and really create a surreal mood and help isolate subjects’ – Kyle McDougall.
As I’m starting preparing for my next workshop, the issue of intimate landscapes still hangs over my head and makes my programme a little more thrilling. What if intimate landscape photography was just a very personal, an almost intimate translation of the relationship a photographer has with the subject in his/her viewfinder? Intimacy as part of the creative process, intimacy as the last resort before pressing the shutter button. That can be a nice exercise for the participants of my next workshop to wrack their brains upon.
(Text and Images by Kristel Schneider with text adaption by Fabienne Rousseau)