Overview Photo-tours & Workshops 2017

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Online brochure : Workshops & Photo tours 2017

Click here

 

New in 2017 – Italian Dolomites Photo tour

Dolomites-2017

 

Experience the impressive decor from the ‘other’ Italy

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

Tre cime in the clouds with afternoon sunlight just after a storm

First video debut | Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

ICM Technique
by Kristel Schneider

Fresh spring greens with sunlight
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

Avoid disappointment by doing some research | Photo-tours & Photo-workshops

Avoid disappointment by doing some research
published (23-02-2016) on Nature Photo Portal
text and images by Kristel Schneider

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.

Best-of-Auvergne-Photo-Tour-2015_3

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.

Group size
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:

  • the photographer’s work/style (website, social media): are you being inspired?
  • the photography vision, the approach: how does the photographer present him/herself ?
  • the knowledge of the destination you are being taken to : does the photographer live in the area or did it regularly visit the area enough to know the good photography locations and  be flexible in the field.
  • feedback from former participants or customers.


Conclusion

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.

 

Intimate Landscape Photography

Intimate Landscape Photography
published (10-11-2015) on Nature Photo Portal
text and images by Kristel Schneider

Visions-and-Nature_Kristel-Schneider_2
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.
Visions-and-Nature_Kristel-Schneider

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.

 

INTIMATE I – Hans Strand, Triplekite, 2015 (978-0-993589-1-6)

(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.

Varanger-peninsula, Norway.

Varanger-peninsula, Norway.

‘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.

Snæfellsnes-peninsula, Iceland

Snæfellsnes-peninsula, Iceland

 

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.

Visions-and-Nature_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)

 

The Auvergne in the world’s top 10 destinations !

#6 Auvergne region
Published on Lonely Planet.com

Best-of-Auvergne-phototour_Puy-de-Dome_2


Cast your eyes upon the Auvergne’s dramatic volcanic landscape and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Iceland rather than the heart of France. And yet this region has been overlooked by visitors. No more, though – the Auvergne is reinventing itself with a series of ambitious art projects and a growing portfolio of wilderness adventures …
– Loneley Planet Best in Travel 2016

The travel guide Lonely Planet placed the Auvergne in the world’s top 10 regions at #6 to visit, as one living in this region, knowing its beauty,  I can say this nomination is well deserved !
This overlooked region has such a diversity in nature wilderness, a real (Nature) photographer’s candy box.

 

Best-of-Auvergne-Photo-Tour-2015_2

 

Also want to see with your own eyes why Lonely Planet put the Auvergne region in the world’s 10 regions to visit, join me in the field and photograph
its remarkable scenery with glacier-carved valleys and volcanic peaks, the Chaîne des Puys, (a 40km chain of craters and lava domes), volcano lakes, waterfalls and springs, the Tuscany the Auvergne and much more. Every season has its own beauty, that’s why I organize workshops and photo tours (in cooperation with Nordic Vision Photo tours) all year round.
Click here for an overview .
What workshop-photo tour members are saying:

” This photo workshop was a great enrichment! Kristel not only showed me a different approach to photography but also one of the probably most impressive valleys of Auvergne” –Guillaume/France

“…We loved Auvergne – it was absolutely the most interesting and beautiful of the regions of France which we visited (including Paris and Dordogne) – and we intend to return as soon as possible, probably this time in autumn for fall colors. And we definitely will have a return engagement with Kristel! Highly recommended! ” – Steve / USA

Read more click here

 

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Autumn in Auvergne phototour (2016)

New in 2016Autumn-in-Auvergne

– Autumn in Auvergne |  Phototour
(for Nordic Vision phototours – photography travel compagny )

one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. A season full with colors and atmosphere

  • Forest lakes, brooks and little waterfalls
  • Landscape- and macro photography mix
  • Abstract photography with Intentional Camera Movement technique
  • Guided by photographer Kristel Schneider

During the 7 days we will explore this beautiful mysterious forest landscape and visit a couple of lakes in the middle of the forest. We will explore the high Chaumes du Forez with its wetlands and open landscapes. You will discover a beautifull old glacial valley, Vallée du Fossat. We strive to organize at least two photo discussions, focusing on how to create effective compositions (what works what does not) learning to look differently (eye for detail) and depending on the groups experience some basic image processing. The program includes short walks in nature to forests and lakes (depending on the weather conditions) and we will drive higher up in the mountains. This is not just a photo-tour but a workshop with professional guidance, where the group is kept small so that everyone gets personal attention and practical tips in the field.

Date:  October 9 – 15, 2016
7 days – 6 nights
More information
Meer informatie

 

Other photo-tours in 2016: overview

Winter in Auvergne  | Best of Auvergne (summer) | Autumn in Auvergne

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