MY MASTER SERIES PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP IN ASTURIAS AND THE ATLANTIC 2017: READ ALL ABOUT IT!
At the end of September 2017, I had the great pleasure to lead a group of two enthusiastic participants for my Master Series Photography Workshop in Asturias and the Atlantic. The Atlantic coast of northern Spain is simply amazing, featuring some of the most impressive seascapes I have ever seen and photographed. Sea arches, sea stacks with incredible shapes, rock formations, coves, bays and beaches: the Atlantic Coast, starting from the Basque Country to Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, has them all. After four years of exploring and working on the Atlantic Coast, my enthusiasm for this amazing land is increasing every time I visit: last September, I have been extremely happy to share it with my participants.
Designing my Workshops, I aim to choose locations that aren’t only spectacular, but unique as well, both for their beauty and for the photographic challenges they offer (see VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS for details). More, I always look for locations off the touristic routes, where the group can work in peace without finding themselves surrounded by dozens of other photographers. During our work in Asturias as well, only once we met another group: and, thanks to my knowledge of the area, we simply left them alone on the beach we intended to work on (El Picon), we went to another equally beautiful location instead and we came back another day to find El Picon completely empty and all free for us to enjoy. Not having to deal with crowds definitely made a great experience even better.
On the artistic side, it is fundamental for me to choose locations presenting diverse photographic challenges. This way, during the course of a Workshop I can help participants facing and solving as many photographic problems as possible. While (almost) everyone is able to photograph a wonderful sunset with a clear subject in front of them, what is most important for me is to teach people to “work against the odds”, so to speak: finding successful compositions where they aren’t immediately evident is not as easy as it might seem, and so is learning to put whatever light we find to the best use even if it’s not ideal. Not getting discouraged by the odds and being able to create great images under any conditions, in my opinion, is what it means to truly be a landscape photographer: this is what I aim to do myself, and what I teach my participants to do.
To do so, as I always do, during our Workshop in Spain before each session in the field I gave a short briefing, where I presented the group with the location’s challenges and offered suggestions to best solve them, always respecting individuality and each participant’s different approach to landscape photography. Following participants during their work, I then walked around offering specific suggestions to each of them and answering any questions they might have had. Finally, when I thought it might help I showed my own approach to the location through my images. Despite being all seascapes, Asturias and the Atlantic offer such a variety of locations and situations that in 9 days we haven’t even got close to exhaust all the inspiration it can offer. So much so, that one of my Alumni booked again Asturias and the Atlantic 2018 to work some more together this year!
Two unique features of my Master Series Workshops are their very limited attendance and the opportunity to revisit some of the locations. During a Workshop, I use our post-processing and image analysis sessions to point out things that could have been done differently, proposing alternative solutions to compositional and lighting problems. Participants can then try out my suggestions in practice when revisiting a location. As happened many times before, in Spain too I was very happy to see participants’ confidence increasing and their work improving every time we revisited a location. Seeing participants unveil and photograph the beauty of these amazing landscapes has been very rewarding for me, and their work in Spain is testament to that.
Technically speaking, both participants in my Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshop were accomplished photographers. When something like that happens, it makes a Workshop even more stimulating for me: advanced participants push me to teach them more advanced techniques, which is deeply satisfying for me. This time, I worked with both of them on how to photograph in rough seas using tripods in the ocean: we had great fun (and got great images!) jumping up and down in the waves at Playa de Gueirua, exploring the ocean for compositions at El Picon, and wading our way through the ocean to reach Playa de Campiecho’s arch at the perfect time for sunset.
Last, but definitely not least, there is the human side of every Workshop, which for me is of fundamental importance. I have been a passionate teacher for a quarter of a century now; while I know by now how to reach and teach people, we all know how living for 9 days in close proximity with strangers might not always prove easy. During our Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshop we worked with two participants with very different personalities, but equally enthusiastic about photography and the landscape: most important, two perfect gentlemen. We had a great time both working in the field and during our lunches and dinner, when we talked about photography, art and life in general: our conversations has always been very interesting, and what made it even better is that we had a lot of fun together as well.
I love the amazing coast of Asturias and the Atlantic and I can’t wait to be back next October! As I mentioned, I have been extremely happy to see that a 2017 Asturias and the Atlantic participant booked again for one more tour together in Asturias. We now have only ONE seat left for the 2018 edition of this Workshop, follow the banner below to learn more and book your seat:
If you want an even more exclusive, tailor-made Workshop experience, you can book a Workshop One-on-One in Asturias and the Atlantic completely designed around your level and requirements, running when you want, for as many days as you want and with a program made just for you:
THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS
Participants in my Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshops kindly sent me a few images each for me to share here with you, together with their comments about the Workshop. Enjoy the great work they did in Spain and see what they had to say about our work together!
As usual, I asked all participants to complete an anonymous survey to let me know what they thought about my Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshop. The survey covered everything from the technical and artistic quality of teaching to the instructor’s availability both in the field and during our post-processing sessions, from the quality of the vehicle and driving to the choice and ease of reach of the locations, and more. I am very happy to say that feedback for this Workshop has been extremely positive, the second highest ever with a level of satisfaction of 99.1% overall. More importantly, all questions about organization’s quality, Workshop’s overall satisfaction and about whether participants would recommend it to others got a fantastic 100% YES answer.
What convinced me about the success of this Workshop more than any survey, though, was seeing participants booking my 2018 Workshops right after coming back home from Spain. In particular, a gentleman both joined me for a week on the Isle of Arran last March (see THE ISLE OF ARRAN 2019) and he liked this Workshop so much that he booked already to come back working with me in October 2018 on this amazing coast! This for me is not just the best confirmation of the quality of the work done, but the ultimate motivator to keep improving further. Thank you!
FOLLOW-UP: THE FACEBOOK GROUP
Once my Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshop ended, I added all Facebook-using participants to my VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS Facebook group. This is a closed group dedicated to my Workshop’s Alumni to share their work and keep working both with me and between themselves on developing and post-processing their photographs.
Thanks for reading this post; I hope you enjoyed this summary of my Master Series Asturias and the Atlantic 2017 Photography Workshops! Why don’t you share it with your friends, or drop me a comment to let me know how you feel about this?
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Photographs kindly offered by Zeynep Paftali have been shot with Leica V-Lux (Typ 114) and iPhone 6 SE.
Photographs kindly offered by the Workshop’s participants have been shot with Leica equipment (Steve Marson) and Nikon equipment (Witold Kaczanowski).