The weather forecast had been for lots of snow, broken cloud, fog in the glens, it couldn't have been better! And then the jet stream decided to have it's own idea, moving slightly which trapped a large high over the majority of the UK and brought cloud, rain and mild temperatures up onto the west coast of Scotland.
When you run a workshop, you have to be prepared for every eventuality and I am not just talking about the weather playing ball. An awful lot of time and effort goes into the workshop ahead of the week, not to mention during it. It is certainly not a case of just turning up, checking into your accommodation and taking your clients out to take images. There is a lot of research, you have to minimise any risks and you are constantly thinking on where the best conditions will be and in all honesty you never really switch off. As a client once said to me "you can see that you are always thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead to give us the best possible experience". These are very true words, however when you are being paid, then this exactly what you need to be doing, from a couple of weeks before it starts, right through until its conclusion.
So what do you do when the best laid plans go out of the window and the weather gods decide not to play ball. It's simple, you use your knowledge to find locations that will work in the conditions that you are presented with, you keep your clients in the loop around why you are going somewhere, how they can maximise this location and what they can expect to learn and achieve. Oh and did I say that you are constantly checking satellite weather maps and a whole host of other things. You also need to be prepared to broaden your horizons.
Last week was a classic example. I hadn't even considered at the start of the week that we would be photographing south of Oban, yet that's what we did. I didn't expect the try an untested 100 mile circular trip, but we did, found some amazing light and in so doing, have probably added a future day to all workshops that I run in Glencoe. It also gives your clients a unique perspective into how you approach your photography and this can prove to be a very useful learning experience for them.
When you go to locations that you have visited and photographed lots of times, you already know where the best shots are, you pretty much know all of the camera settings that you will use and where you position your tripod and at what height to get the best images. Going somewhere brand new, untried and untested, lets your clients see your workflow, how you look for and find compositions, what your thought process is in taking the shot and what you hope to achieve when you edit the image. The above image was taken during these conditions and I think it was the best image that I took all week. I did get lucky in that for a few seconds, and I am talking no more that 30, the sun broke through and transformed everything. Either side of it, the image still looked ok but it lacked the feel that only great light can bring.
Despite the less than favourable weather, the week that I have just spent in Glencoe was a great success. Everyone got to take some great images, they all learnt new skills, friendships were made and memories created. There was lots of laughs, soggy feet and wet clothing. Fingers crossed that when I next head north to the boarder to the Isle of Skye in early April that we have less challenging conditions.
Below is a link to some of the images that were taken during the week. If you would like to join me on a week long workshop or a weekend workshop then please get in touch.