Monsal Dale Landscape Photography Course

Saturday February 29th 2020 – 10.00am to 6.00pm. £90.00 per person. This course will be limited to just four people. Only 1 place still available.

Monsal Dale is one of the finest of the Peak District valleys, and also one of the earliest to come back to life in spring. Although it is probably best known for its viaduct, on this course we will be concentrating more on its high and impressive weir, which is an excellent location for practising photographing moving water and long exposures. There is access to both sides of the river thanks to a nearby footbridge, and (if the water levels are low enough) there is a rock shelf jutting out into the river which allows different angles and close approaches to the base of the weir itself, as well as reflections in the pools of water.

Below are a series of pictures taken there on one of our courses by our client Howard using just a 24 – 70mm lens.

The weir is only about half a mile from where we will be leaving our vehicles, and the walking will be easy and pretty flat (apart from one short uphill section onto the Monsal Trail). We will spend the morning at the weir, before heading to a local pub for lunch (not included in the course price). While we are there, we will be able to review the morning’s work on the laptop that we will be bringing.

Water wheel at Peak District mill © Chris James

Detail of one of the water wheels at the mill

After that, we will head to one or more different nearby locations, which will be chosen according to the light and weather conditions on the day (and also involve very little walking). The options include a lovely old mill along the R. Wye, which still has its water wheels, and provides a variety of textures and colours for still life photography. It has the added benefit of being in a nice sheltered location down in the valley.

Another nearby option is “the best preserved 19th century lead mine in Britain”, which has a range of buildings and chimneys still standing, and is situated high on the limestone plateau. This makes it a fantastic subject in low winter sunlight, and especially in golden hour and at sunset, when the limestone buildings glow in the last rays of the sun. Sunset will be just after 5.30pm, so we will be able to photograph it at both sunset and during “blue hour” if the conditions are right.

Derbyshire lead mine in winter © Chris James

The old mine buildings in the last rays of the winter sun

A tripod will be needed for this course (but we have some that you can borrow if you don’t already have one of your own), and we also have some sets of filters that you can borrow for use with the moving water to enable you to get some nice long exposures. Our landscape photography courses are most suitable for owners of digital slr or mirrorless cameras that have interchangeable lenses – whether it is Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Ricoh, Olympus, Fuji, Samsung or any other make. Compact and bridge cameras may also be suitable, but some have certain limitations due to their small sensor sizes, and whether or not filters can be attached to them. Please contact us for advice if you are unsure whether your camera is suitable.

As this is an intermediate – rather than beginners’ level – course, it is important that you are already familiar with the basics of photography and how to use your camera in other than the “all-automatic” mode. If you are not confident about how to use shutter speeds, lens apertures and ISO to control exposure, and how to focus your camera, please come on one of our beginners’ level digital photography courses first, where we teach those skills.

On these landscape photography courses, we concentrate less on what the buttons and dials on your camera do, and more on the creative side of photography. As there will be a maximum of only 4 people on this course, everyone will receive plenty of individual attention and have their questions answered. Subjects covered can often include:

  • composition for picture impact
  • creative use of lens apertures, shutter speeds and different types of lenses
  • how to get the colours looking the way you want them in your photos
  • tips for shooting in RAW format for maximum quality
  • shooting in fully manual (M) mode
  • how and when to use different types of filters on your lenses
  • correct tripod technique

Please contact us to request a booking form, or if you need any further information about this course. 

We also run landscape and beginners’ level courses in other local areas. See here for details of all our other digital photography courses near Sheffield and in the Peak District.

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