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Things to bring
My workshops based on the Isle of Skye will be available from May 2013.

Things to bring with you are:

  • Clothing for any weather! Waterproof outdoor clothing is essential, just in case.
  • Sun block. Yes, it could happen!
  • Your camera!!! Don't laugh, you'd be surprised at what things people forget.
  • Bring plenty memory cards (or film) with you. Purchasing these locally won't be easy or cheap.
  • Comfortable camera backpack (recommended).
  • Remote release (recommended).
  • Filters if you have them. ***
  • Tripod (if you have one).
  • Midge repellent - many people swear by Avon's "Skin So Soft" or "Soft & Fresh" dry oil spray, others prefer DEET.
  • Sturdy, comfortable, waterproof footwear. Waterproof hiking boots and/or wellington boots are essential.
  • Warm gloves and a hat may be worth bringing along.
  • long trousers - some walks may be through areas where there are ticks and bare legs would be unwise.
  • a laptop would be a real help. If you don't have one I have a couple of older PCs that may be available for your use.
*** Note that certain types of photograph require a long exposure and to achieve this we can fit light-blocking filters to our lenses. The sort commonly used is a neutral density (ND) filter, though other filters such as polarisers will reduce the amount of light too. I even know of someone quite successfully shooting through glass from a welder's mask! If you are keen to produce this sort of photograph (for example, where water "flows" rather than being frozen) then do please make sure you bring suitable filters of your own.

Photographic Equipment:
Unlike many workshop leaders, I do not insist upon you having an SLR camera (or better). With the rapid advances in technology, there are many capable camera and camera systems. It would be useful to have a range of focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto. The ability to set shutter speed and aperture will open up more creative possibilities. A camera that can save RAW files will give you advantages too. Aside from all that, what type of camera you choose to use is entirely up to you. My emphasis is on finding the right locations and times to photograph and to give help and advice to you once we're there.

I strongly urge you to bring a digital camera even if you want to shoot predominantly with film. Having a digital camera with you as well will provide us with some images to share and discuss afterwards. This is one huge benefit of digital - we get an instant feedback which makes learning a faster and more pleasurable experience. We can also then look at the computer-based processing of your images.

If you are not completely familiar with your camera, do please bring its manual with you! If you don't have the manual, let me know in advance exactly what camera you have. I may still be able to help with it if needed, though bear in mind that there are a great many makes and thousands of models, and I can't possibly know what they are all able to do or how they do it.

A tripod or other method of holding your camera absolutely steady is essential for some photographic techniques. Sometimes we'll be using longer exposures when good results from hand-held would be impossible. A tripod is the most flexible solution, and the sturdier it is, the better, though bear in mind that you might be carrying it for several miles. A remote release is highly desirable as this is the best way of shooting without causing camera movement (though a built-in self-timer will do the trick too - it's just clumsier to use).

A camera bag for your equipment that is comfortable to carry for several miles is essential.

Some people might prefer to carry a pocket camera and maybe a bean-bag to rest it on. This can work for some situations but you do need to bear in mind that it could limit what you can achieve.

Here are some "experiences of Skye" tales for your amusement...
Many years ago some friends joined me in Skye in their caravan. They had driven to Skye before realising that they'd left their wellies at home in England, so they went and bought themselves a new pair each. The next 5 days were the warmest, sunniest days I've seen on Skye! The moral of the story: you really can never tell what the weather will do.

That was also the year I was swimming in the sea with some other friends and we realised we'd been enjoying ourselves there for quite some time. None of us was wearing a watch so I ran up the beach to our clothes, found my watch in a pocket, and was shocked to see it was 10.30pm! The sun was shining and it was still pleasantly warm. I wish I could promise you that but bring the waterproofs just in case.

© David McHutchison (Deemacphotos)
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