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May 16, 2017
Creative Landscape Photography Workshop

At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to attend at least 1 workshop this year. I thought they would be a great way to expand my creative horizons, as well as provide me with an opportunity to meet new people. 

When I saw that Light and Land were running a workshop at Stowe, and that it was being run by Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery, I didn't hesitate in signing up. I am a big fan of both their portfolios, and after seeing Valda's work at the Inside the Outside Exhibition in Nottingham, I jumped at the chance to spend the day learning from them both. 

Upon arriving at Stowe, and hopefully keeping my fanboy enthusiasm under control, we chatted over coffee and flapjack as the rest of the attendees began to arrive. Once everybody had arrived we soon got down to business. I have tried ICM quite a lot in the past, with mixed results, but multiple exposures still felt a whole world away. Therefore, I decided to head into Valda's group for some tips on Multiple Exposures before we headed out into the grounds at Stowe. 

Although there are techniques to adopt and some basic principles to follow, experimentation was key. I found that the best way to learn was to hone in on something that caught my eye, and to keep playing until you get something that 'makes you heart flutter', as Doug would say. This often meant that I would spend 15-20 mins in a single spot, trying to understand what was working and what wasn't. It's rare for me to work in such a way, and I found the exercise extremely useful and fulfilling. 

After 90 mins or so, we headed back for lunch, and what a lunch it was!! If you get the chance to go to the workshop at Stowe, then the sausages are worth the cost alone :) 

After some critique and feedback over lunch, we headed back out for the afternoon session, working in a different part of the gardens. I really felt like I was finding my stride now and created a couple of my favourite images from the day. 

Valda and Doug were both very informative, enthusiastic and patient, and I would recommend the workshop to anyone looking to dip their toe into some alternative landscape photography techniques. 

Although I came with over 400 files on my SD Card, a few images jumped out at me from the out set, and here are my (current) top 4 from the day. 

Following the workshop and armed with a bag of tricks and a renewed enthusiasm, I decided to keep practising the techniques on an early morning visit to the Peak District at the weekend. 

Descending from Mam Tor, there was a break in the clouds that had foiled our sunrise photo shoot. A little bit of wiggle and a 5 second exposure seemed to do the trick. 

Putting the multiple exposure app to use in Padley Gorge with wonderful light and green leaves. The lensbaby composer really helped to pick out key areas of focus in this shot (and Doug's pencil trick - no, no that one - worked a treat). 

Technical notes:

I used a Sony A7Rii camera, and the multiple exposure app for the course of the day. Although the multiple exposure app isn't as advanced as the functionality as Canon's cameras, it does offer more than the Fuji I used to own. You're limited to 2 exposures, but you do have multiple blending options. I found that the multiply blend worked best for me, but as with all these things, experimentation is the key. 

I have post-processed the images in the same way that I approached the initial image taking process; experimentation. This has meant using Lightroom, Photoshop as well Analog Efex and Viveza from the Nik Collection.