NORMANDY & BRITTANY WORKSHOPS REPORT
My explorations of the spectacular landscapes of Normandy & Brittany started in 2013. The natural beauty of these regions, together with a long and rich human history that modified and shaped the landscape in a constant struggle between man and nature created a variety of scenery and photographic opportunities that is hard to beat. When I first visited these regions, I got struck by the power of their landscapes. The dramatic, rocky coasts complemented perfectly the signs of human history and human presence, and I returned multiple times to explore and photograph them more. We ran our first Normandy & Brittany Workshop in 2021, and we are looking forward to coming back for more in the near future.
DESIGNING THE WORKSHOP | Designing our Normandy & Brittany Workshop, I focussed on mixing the area’s spectacular coastline seascapes with lighthouses and other human artefacts, assembling a variety of locations covering many different shooting situations and photographic techniques. In Normandy & Brittany, as I always do, I selected impressive, spectacular and unique location offering various artistic and technical photographic challenges. I believe that by helping you facing and solving as many photographic problems as possible during our time with us will, in turn, help you to develop your vision and technique in a way that you’ll be able to apply the knowledge gained together both during and, most importantly, after the Workshop, when you are back home working without a tutor.
THE LOCATIONS | Out of all our 30+ available locations, during our first Workshops in Normandy & Brittany we photographed, among others and in no particular order: Etretat, Cap Frehel, Pontusval, Petit Minou, Saint-Mathieu, Kermorvan, Men Ruz and Le Mont Saint Michel.
Every time we go to any destination for our Workshops, we try and add some extra days to our schedule to keep exploring the area and add new spectacular locations to our list. Having a lot of extra locations gives me maximum flexibility in my choice of locations for any given day, while allowing my Alumni to come back for a second Normandy & Brittany tour with us knowing they’ll be able to see different locations as well as take another shot at the locations they loved on their first trip.
IN THE FIELD | During our first Normandy & Brittany Workshops, our trademark limited attendance of maximum three people allowed me to dedicate every participant plenty of personal time in the field.
Before each session, as I do during all my Workshops, I briefed the group with the location’s challenges, offering my advice on how to best face and overcome them. I then followed participants during their work, quietly offering my suggestions to each of them.
When I tutor people, I always try and respect their individual approach to landscape photography without imposing my views, while of course answering any questions they might have.
More, whenever I felt it might help, I have been happy to share my own ideas and explain my own approach to the locations with them via images on my camera’s LCD screen. As I normally do, when the occasion arose, during this first Workshops in Normandy & Brittany I enjoyed revisiting some of the locations as well, something I find very useful.
IMAGE REVIEW & POST-PROCESSING | In Normandy & Brittany, despite to the long distances covered and the hotel changes, we had the opportunity to do enough in-depth image review and post-processing sessions to allow participants to go home with ideas about which images were stronger than others, and with post-processing pointers helping them to make the most out of their photographs.
As well, thanks to our image review sessions our participants had the opportunity to try out in the field the new ideas gathered during these sessions. We did so both in new locations and, most importantly, when revisiting ones, applying novel solutions to whatever problems they might have faced the first time there.
NO CROWDS | As customary for all our Workshops, thanks to our knowledge of the location and careful choice of dates and times, during our first Normandy & Brittany Workshop we never had to work in locations together with other photographers.
We saw a few regular tourists at Men Ruz and a couple of other photographers at Petit Minou, neither of which ended up disturbing us during our work. Not having to deal with crowds definitely made a great experience even better!
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AFTER THE WORKSHOP | Our Workshops never end on the last day! As we always do, once our Normandy & Brittany Workshop ended, we kept working on post-processing and image selection with those participants interested in that via the email.
Let’s see now how our first Normandy & Brittany Workshops went!
NORMANDY & BRITTANY 2021 WORKSHOP REPORT
In early November 2021, after 8 years since we first started exploring and photographing these amazing regions of France, we went to Normandy & Brittany for our first Workshop there, a 8-day group Workshop with full attendance of three people. Out of our three participants, two were Alumni returning for a Workshop with us, one for the fourth and the other for the fifth time; the third participant was a gentleman joining us for the first time.
As always, I love working with returning participants; it makes it easier for me to fully customise the Workshop on my Alumni levels and requirements while allowing me to continue along our photographic journey together. During our Normandy & Brittany Workshop, we also truly enjoyed meeting our new participant, an enthusiast photographer and nature lover, and a perfect gentleman. During these 8 days, we worked on some of Normandy & Brittany’s most incredible seascapes, often dotted my manmade artefacts such as lighthouses, chapels and churches.
When the locations inspired us, we took the opportunity to explore a more photographically intimate approach to composition, focusing on simplification and on a more minimalist approach to landscape photography. As I always love to do, during this Workshop we had a chance to revisit Etretat, Pontusval and Petit Minou twice, both at sunset and at sunrise; working on a location with very different light and weather conditions is something I find really interesting and rewarding.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, something really important for me. During our Normandy & Brittany Workshop we really enjoyed seeing our Alumni again after the interval forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as meeting our new participant. We had a great time working in the field and during our lunches and dinners we enjoyed long conversations about photography, life, sociology and politics, for a truly enjoyable Workshop!
THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | One of the participants in our Normandy & Brittany Workshop kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with her testimonial about the Workshop. Enjoy the work she did in Normandy & Brittany and see what she had to say about our Workshop together!
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