The itinerary will be entirely flexible with no set plan for the trip. The description below gives you an ideal of what might typically happen. There is almost always a couple of days of bad weather and the shooting opportunities can be hard to come by, but when they arrive they are well worth the effort. You'll notice that very few of my winter images are taken at sunrise and sunset, partly because you have to be lucky to get them and partly because stormy light is often preferable anyway!
Sunday: 5pm Check into the Ballachulish Hotel. Meet for dinner and go over plans for the coming day, with a vague idea of how the week might proceed!
Monday: Early start to meet up up with Rich, our mountain leader and go for a mountain hike - bad weather sets in so we get up to the snowline and do some winter skills - return before dark.
Tuesday There's a good forecast from noon so we focus our attention on sunset and getting up a mountain with plenty of time. We meet for coffee and head off at 10am. We stay for twilight and head down in the dark.
Wednesday: Terrible weather - we head out anyway for a low level walk. The weather is so bad we turn back. In the afternoon and evening I run a series of 1-to-1 processing sessions.
Thursday: The bad weather continues but with the winds much lighter we get up to the snowline and practice more winter skills. When the cloud breaks we get some incredible glimpses of the mountains with occasional glimses of sunlight making for dramatic photographs.
Friday: We get lucky with the weather forecast and meet at 4.30am to do a mountain hike before sunrise. We shoot in broken cloudy conditions in the afternoon - we head down before sunset to conclude the workshop by 4pm. Accomodation is not included on Friday night.
Fitness and Experience
You should have done a mountain or two in the past and have reasonable overall fitness but you don’t need to be an athlete. More important than fitness is enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. We are likely to be out all day in the cold and if rolling around in the snow practicing self-arrest techniques sounds like fun this could be the trip for you!
Clothing should include baselayers, mid-layers, a down jacket, possibly synthetic insulation for when its a bit wetter, full waterproofs (jacket and trousers), hat, thin gloves, thick gloves and B2 boots (stiff winter boots that take a crampon). B2 boots are very important because they are MUCH better on snow when not using crampons, the lack of flex means that they can be used to kick steps and take your weight without bending and sliding out of the slope (to be explained on the course!). Walking poles are extremely helpful, and goggles are a necessity if we are walking in the snow in strong winds.
Crampons, ice axe and helmet can be rented cheaply from myself or Richard and in Fort William. However these items will last a lifetime so if you think this is something you'll be interested in long term you might choose to buy!
I would recommend keeping camera kit simple – an SLR, a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, filters and a tripod. A 24-70 or 24-105 can be particularly useful on challenging days where there may be excellent photographic opportunities but its difficult to change lenses!
I may be able to assist with transport from Fort William (definitely) or Glasgow (possibly) as long some of the group are driving. Please let me know when you book if you need a lift! Once you're at the hotel transport will take care of itself!
Accomodation is included. We will be staying at the recently renovated Ballachulish Hotel for 5 nights, Sunday - Thursday. You will have your own room (either single or double, priced accordingly) The price includes an excellent breakfast every morning.
This workshop is priced at £1080 (single room x3) or £1200 (double room, x3) with a £350 deposit required to book your place.
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