Cornish Seascape Workshops
'You, me, your camera and the Sea'
The UK's Cornish peninsular boasts some of the finest coastline in the world. And with the sunrise and sunset horizons being just a few miles apart, providing you know exactly where to go, it's the ideal destination for Seascape photography. So when I moved here in 2013, my intention was to establish a residential, one-to-one Seascape workshop that would compliment my professional work and set new standards in terms of expertise, content, enjoyment and reward.
At shoots around the UK and abroad, I often came across group tours and day trip 'workshops'. What I witnessed in most instances was not very inspiring. Either the short span of a day course could not give in-depth insight, location diversity, or image processing support. Or group tour numbers made for busy shoots and compromised individual aspirations. On one such occasion up in the Arctic Circle in 2010, as I headed for a less crowded location, the notion that I could do something completely different and far better came to me.
I spent the next two years researching the market and making plans for when I moved to the Atlantic Coast. I honed my concept, established my brand, launched the website and advertised widely. Today, some ten years later, all the hard work and investment has paid off and my Cornish Seascape Workshops have built an international reputation for delivering a truly unique and enjoyable photographic experience.
So what does this all mean for you?
Well, if you've read this far, you must be looking for a course that will advance your Seascape Photography. So let me tell you what you can expect if you choose mine.
I have combined my award-winning Seascape Photography approach and the vast experience gained in a 30+ year professional career with my passion for the Cornish coast to create an intensive course based around the core tenet of 'You, me, your camera and the Sea'. You come and stay on the Atlantic Coast for your chosen number of days and immerse yourself in some amazing Seascape Photography.
In terms of individual focus, professional expertise, client facing experience, course content, studio facilities, processing tuition, food & accommodation, enjoyment and reward, my Cornish Seascape Workshop is unmatched.
The Course Ethos
Beyond the static outlook of a land-locked landscape, the sea's complex aspects, motion and moods add an ever-evolving dynamic dimension to a coastal vista. Therefore, beyond the Landscape photography discipline, Seascape photography has many more moving parts that require deeper understanding and consideration, if the elemental interplay is going to be successfully interpreted and captured in camera.
The tides constantly change the visual aspect of a location. Incident and reflected light constantly reacts to sun position, sea state, wave direction, cloud cover, atmospheric pressure, wind direction... the list of influences goes on. So when shooting in the littoral - the stretch of shoreline between high and low tide - the light values, optics and compositional considerations are in a constant state of flux. Therefore, to compose around all this and successfully capture a special 'moment', there is much to take into consideration.
Yet this daunting and exciting challenge has never been fully recognised and explored in terms of a dedicated photography course, and this is why I created Cornish Seascape Workshops.
As a solo individual (or with your partner, or a friend), I will guide you around superb locations through all the blue and golden hours and beyond. Your shoots will never be overcrowded and my approach will be in line with your aspirations and ambitions. You will learn about the sea's patterns and moods based on seasonal, atmospheric and geological influences. Using an array of specialist apps, I will explain how this information helps in location choice, littoral approach and successful shoot planning. Down in beautiful tidelines, using Manual camera handling, filtering and light manipulation, you will learn to read, predict, compose and conduct around the elemental influences to capture the essence of a moment 'in camera'.
Back in the state-of-the art Studio you will have my undivided attention because post-processing is a vital part of Seascape photography. I have been using Photoshop professionally since 1990 and am fully conversant with its ever-evolving imaging capabilities. I will show you how, in conjunction with Camera Raw, Photoshop CC offers the ultimate Fine Art processing solution. No matter your experience level, I will show you a linear workflow that cuts a clear path through the maze of layers, filters and sliders, and leads to gallery quality images. Moreover, if you're already adept in using Photoshop, I can widen your horizons to advanced, bespoke techniques that will take your imaging (proofing & printing) to the next level.
4 Season Availability
Because the seasons vary so much in terms of the light, weather, sea conditions, colours, fauna and elemental atmospherics, I run courses all year round. This is because I want to be able to offer the whole gambit. In fact many clients return time and again to shoot through the dramatic seasonal evolutions.
So here's a brief overview of the seasonal range you might want to consider...
A time of regeneration with vivid colours, brightening skies and longer days. As the sunlight strengthens the cliffs are carpeted with flowers and the ocean takes on bright turquoise hues.
Long sultry days and vibrant sunrise and sunsets. Perhaps the easiest season to shoot in terms of conditions, yet very early starts and late returns make 2 or 3 days the ideal course duration.
The golden time of rich, atmospherics plus the chance of some big waves. Also the shortening days make for 'easier' set-out and return times. This is my busiest period so book early!
The wild season of glowering light, big seas and stormy atmospherics. The golden hours extend with the low sun and Cornwall is at its brooding best. Ideal for seasoned 'Seascapers'.
Based in Crantock on the Atlantic Coast, you can choose between a 2 to 5 day workshop stay. The package is all-inclusive, so there's no hassles in making additional arrangements because your en-suite accommodation, food and workshop transport is covered.
After the initial shoot, unless further hands-on guidance is requested, I will take my cameras along. Thereafter I will always be close-by to keep an eye on the sea, point out evolving aspects and offer a few setting or filtering suggestions. Yet it's for you to capture your moments as you 'see' them.
Likewise, back in the studio, I will show how to refine a Raw file into a gallery quality image, but its final 'expression' is for you to conjure. This way you create a body of work that reflects your takes on the Cornish coastline, through your new-found understanding.
What You Need
Ideally you are a fairly experienced photographer who knows your way around the Manual settings of your DSLR / Mirrorless Camera and you shoot in Raw. So all you need to bring along with your Camera - with its spotless sensor! - is a Wide Angle Lens (such as a 16-35mm), a Telephoto Lens (such as a 100-400mm), a 100mm Slot-In Filter Holder with Lens Adaptor Rings*, a Flash Gun (if you have one), a Tripod, and a Back-Up Drive alongside some sturdy Outdoor Clothes.
* I have an extensive range of Lee Filters to borrow from on a 'you scratch it, you replace it' basis.
To avoid busy weekends, courses usually start around mid-day on a Monday or Tuesday and run through to mid-day of the day of departure. Due to the variety in locations and amount of detail and processing guidance I want to impart, 2 days is the shortest workshop I offer. This will include 2 x Daytime shoots, 2 x Dusk shoots and the choice of 1 or 2 Dawn shoots - depending on your travel plans - with studio sessions in between. 5 days is the maximum course length yet any stay can be bookended with additional night's B&B to help with international travel arrangements or alleviating jet-lag etc.
Location selection can be tailored to suit all fitness levels so age and agility is not an issue. Currently, my most senior client is a sprightly 85 year old who has been down twice and was delighted to have a workshop image accepted into the London Salon of Photography.
For those wishing to heighten their proofing and printing skills, along with framing images to take away, I also offer a Print & Framing Day.
SOLO - 2 Day Workshop - £890 - Additional day/s +£400 - max 5 days
TWIN - 2 Day Workshop - £1,430 - Additional day/s +£590 - max 5 days
PRINT & FRAMING DAY - + £360 + materials and frames
Additional Day B&B + Evening Meal - £95 per person - max 2 nights
TRAVEL - For guests travelling by Rail or Air, Newquay Train Station and Newquay Airport (NQY) are a short distance away and collections and drop-offs can be arranged. For those arriving by car I provide a location map and there's ample off-road parking.
CLIENT ACCOMMODATION - The main guest double bedroom has en suite bathroom, TV, Radio, WiFi and Tea/Coffee making facilities. The second single guest bedroom has its own separate bathroom. Food menus are based on client preferences and all dietary requirements can be catered for. PLEASE NOTE THE ACCOMMODATION, STUDIO AND CAR ARE NON-SMOKING AREAS.
CAMERA & EQUIPMENT HIRE - I offer a complete Full Frame DSLR Camera set-up with 16-35mm Wide Angle, 24mm Tilt-Shift and 70-200mm Telephoto lenses, plus Tripod, Filters and Flash. Please contact me for prices and details.
COVID COVER - Should your booking be affected by government COVID restrictions, you can choose to have a full deposit refund or to re-arrange your workshop dates.
CONTACT - For further information or to make a booking, please contact me by email - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone - 01637 831251 - for international callers please call +441637 831251.
I can advertise and use social media all I want, but there's nothing better than word of mouth to promote my Cornish Seascape Workshops. So here's a selection of client reviews that I hope will persuade you to get in touch...
"...they get better and better!"
"I have just returned from a three day Cornish Seascape Workshop with Chris. This is my third time doing his course and they just get better and better! When I first considered attending a photography workshop, it was because I was seeking to improve my skills.
However, I was put off by the prospect of being part of a group. I felt I wasn’t going to thrive in such a situation. I then spotted Chris’s advert in Outdoor Photography Magazine and on seeing that he provided one to one courses, decided to get in touch. It was the best thing I have done, not only because Chris's workshops are amazing and I continue to learn so much, but also because they are great fun and I have made a friend for life!
Chris is a very skilled photographer and I’ve learnt so much about the technicalities of composing and creating great seascape images. However, for me, the most valuable thing Chris has helped nurture in me, is the ability to emerse myself in the beauty and drama of each location. Then to be able to create images that capture
the essence of what I was seeing and feeling at the time. Chris’s incredible passion for the beauty of the Cornish coastline is so infectious and inspiring.
Another part of the workshop experience is going back to the studio where Chris helps you review your images and to process them using Photoshop. Chris is hugely encouraging and patient, and teaches in a relaxed and guiding way that is ideally suited for me.
He doesn’t have a set format that he simply repeats, instead every image is treated individually.
As for the location shoots, he develops an itinerary that best suits your needs, realising that every client is different.
Lastly, the workshop includes accommodation and food and Chris is an amazing chef!
I will end by saying that if you are considering attending a worksop, but are uncertain of being part of a group, then why not get in touch with Chris and have a chat? It could be the best thing you have done."
Steve Hammond, Surrey
"Dear Chris, what can I say?..
Brilliant Studio Work and App Tips
Brilliant Processing, Printing and Framing Lessons
Brilliant banter about Indian food and your new favourite Masala Tea!!
... and to top it all,
I came to Cornwall for 3 days and returned with:
Two New Friends!
With your help and guidance I have become a more mature photographer. I have acquired new Seascape skills and learned from you - Camera Craft, Raw Processing using Photoshop, Camera Raw and Bridge which I will be able to use and develop all my Photography work.
So obviously I will be coming back for more later this year.
Best wishes to you and the lovely Sam,
PS. Don’t worry, I will be writing a Google review, but it's difficult to find the words to describe what I have experienced!!"
A Professional's View
"As a Motorsports photographer, I wanted to leave pit lane noise and press office pressures aside for a while and take some time out with my camera. I needed a new discipline to challenge what I do, while still being out in the open air, as I love the outdoors.
Landscape photography it was then, but where to start out?
Attending a course would be the best introduction, so I looked at a few photography magazines and 'Googled' the various courses on offer. Chris Simmons' Cornish Seascape Workshops caught my eye as Cornwall is one of my favourite places. The one-to-one format and a bespoke programme was ideal for me rather than a group course as I know my way around a camera but there were specific things I wanted to learn; in particular using filters and processing raw images.
I've spent my career shooting jpg's therefore have only used the very minimum of processing in Photoshop. Most often the final image processing was done by the Art Department of a magazine. So when venturing into this daunting 'maze of Layers', a personal guide sounded ideal.
The all-inclusive bit made sense too, particularly because of the early starts, and meant that I didn't have to book separate accommodation or organise meals, and any concerns about staying in a stranger's house were soon put to rest when I read his client's reviews. So I gave Chris a call, and that was it. We immediately got on and I booked.
I'm so glad I did as I had such a great time, even though he got me into the most unflattering pair of chest waders!
Out on the racetrack I look through the viewfinder to catch something I know is going to happen. Yet here I was on a beautiful beach, watching clouds converging, waves breaking, light reflecting, sun rising, sun setting, waves advancing, waves receding, rocks sparkling, sand shining... There was just so much to process in trying to balance it all. Yet with Chris's guidance and excellent compositional technique that he had explained in the pre-shoot briefings at all became clearer. Then ultimately, pressing the remote release at that exact split second to catch "the moment", as he calls it.
I had great fun using different Manual settings, wide angle lenses and a vast selection of filters, fill-in flash, tripod handling (…not my forte as I am only used to a monopod or hand held), precision horizon levelling and cable triggers. It all made for a completely new and thoroughly exciting experience.
Manual focussing!... Really? I had only just got started reading Canon’s massive on-line Auto Focus guide for the 1DX! So I wasn’t convinced to start with but manual focus certainly works well for Seascape photography.
Then we went in to the studio and opened my raw images on a huge iMac Pro screen and I was amazed before we had even touched Photoshop. Yet once we had worked on the very first image I was a raw and Photoshop convert! The textures in the rocks, the sky's detail, the sea's flow, the reflections, the sharpness, the colours, everything looked fantastic yet so natural. Just as I saw them… as I am not at all keen on overly ‘manipulated’ images. Chris's workflow process was so versatile and simply incredible!
I took lots of shots… must be something to do with the day job… and I am so glad I did. For when I saw how many 'keepers' I'd got, I knew my new website and next exhibition would have some great alternative content.
So from a photography point of view, Chris's Seascape workshop was a complete revelation. A huge step beyond what I thought Landscape photography would be and his passion for his art is totally infectious. I had a great time and learnt such a lot in my three days.
From a personal perspective, I had a really relaxing stay (not counting the 3.15am alarms!) in very comfortable surroundings with Chris and Sam's welcoming hospitality and fabulous food.
So I thoroughly recommend this course to any photographer who wants to discover an incredible world of Cornish Seascapes."
Carole Mclatchie - FBIPP ARPS
A local's perspective
Thank you so much for the seascape workshop, I'm still buzzing from just how much I've learned!
You said to me before I booked that you would help to "transform my photography", which I took with a pinch of salt to be honest, as I had hit a brick wall in many aspects and was feeling frustrated. But you certainly did transform it! I got my head around using Manual settings and I'm a thousand times more confident with processing raw files through Photoshop and I'm finally over that brick wall!
From the warm welcome I received upon coming to your lovely home, to the stunning home-cooked food, and being taken out to amazing locations, I loved every moment of the workshop (and will be returning for another!).
Chris Fletcher, Wadebridge, Cornwall
"A fabulous springboard"
We just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful workshop. We had an absolutely brilliant time and now feel much more confident in our ability to capture decent seascape images.
We really liked the way you demystified the whole process for us. Your approach was both pragmatic and practical and you have an engaging personal style which enables you to get your points across really well. We really appreciated the fact that you discussed potential locations with us before the workshop and as a result we went to some ‘world class’, yet readily accessible locations to shoot the sunrises and sunsets.
We also liked the fact that you were flexible with the workshop content and tailored it to our level of experience. As Lightroom users, we found the studio sessions absolutely invaluable as you introduced us to the benefits of using Camera Raw and Photoshop to edit our images.
Thanks for the advice on which filters we should buy; however we haven’t splashed out on chest waders... YET!
We enjoyed the fact that you base the workshop at your lovely home and the meals you cooked were absolutely delicious. It was so handy and let us completely immerse ourselves in the photography.
So in conclusion Chris, your Cornish Seascape Workshop exceeded our high expectations and gave us a fabulous springboard to dramatically improve the quality of our image taking and processing.
With our very best wishes"
Mark & Angela Howard
"You have taken my photography to another level"
First and foremost, a big thank you to yourself and Sam for being such great hosts during my stay with you. On meeting you I immediately felt relaxed in your company as you put me at my ease and welcomed me into your lovely home. Great company and great food! Thank you both.
I have three significant take-aways from your amazing workshop experience: well researched knowledge of sites is essential; Photoshop is not so scary after all; and don’t assume that a nice walk with your camera will turn in good shots. They don’t come to you, you have to get properly prepared and go out there and get them.
There's no doubt Cornwall provides plenty of opportunity for Seascape photography, however knowing the great locations to go to experience the best opportunities for extraordinary light and drama within a two day window - even if it does mean getting up at 3.00am - can only come with your exceptional local knowledge.
As I think I said while with you last week, your incredible workshop opened up the magic and power of Photoshop to me. My 'go to' post processing tool has always been Lightroom. PS was always a scary step too far and anyway, what could it do that the LR grad filter and clarity and saturation sliders couldn’t?.. Well how wrong could I be! By following your simple work flow, I learned how to turn the acceptable into the exceptional, and I now have the confidence to further broaden my knowledge of this amazing programme.
Of course, even Photoshop needs an image that is at least 80% there in terms of composition, light and colour, and here your guidance on filters, camera settings, positioning and composition was invaluable - and thank you for the loan of the filters and the chest waders!
I may not be at competition winning standard, and in fact that's not my goal, but you have taken my photography to another level and I'm really excited about putting all the lessons of these intense yet fantastic two days into practice.
So again thanks for exceeding all my expectations of this Seascape course. I will keep in touch and maybe take advantage of a further session with you either in the autumn or winter months. Until then I have a lot of practice to do, and a lot of old photos to re-visit in PS!
My very best wishes to you both.
"I am a much more enlightened and capable photographer"
"Good morning Chris,
I just wanted to say thanks a million for a fantastic couple of days. I really enjoyed the workshop experience, the tuition, welcoming hospitality and the great food, but most of all, a really good time!
You took me to some cracking locations and gave just the right amount of guidance when needed. I have been on courses where the leader might have well been taking the picture themselves ('do this', 'do that') but your style is very comfortable and it was easy for me to understand what I should be looking to achieve. I don’t think I will ever shoot in more challenging conditions and the waders were a revelation, but I have learned a huge amount. Not only about techniques, but also composition and how to get the best from the coastal conditions.
Thanks to you and Sam for welcoming me into your lovely home and for the five star treatment. Your B&B/residential concept works really well and I felt totally relaxed and very much at home.
The time in the studio was invaluable and my working knowledge of Photoshop has increased immeasurably. Some really top notch advice on how to refine a photograph without impacting on its integrity.
You have a real talent Chris and a passion for what you do. You clearly love the Cornish coast and the enthusiasm you have for it can only rub off on people like me. I'm really looking forward to processing more of my images over the next few days and will send you some.
Overall, I feel I am a much more enlightened and capable photographer than the one I was when I turned up on Tuesday. I will definitely be back in the winter to shoot seascapes in totally different conditions.
Garry MacDonald, Cheshire
"Exceeded my expectations in every way"
"What a fantastic couple of days seeing and photographing some truly spectacular Cornish coastline!
I booked this 2-day 1:1 workshop with Chris after seeing his Cornish Seascape Workshop advert in Outdoor Photography and visiting his website. I took a look at his photography, read about his workshop and decided this could be for me. I am a reasonable accomplished photographer but didn't have significant seascape experience and wanted to give it a try.
I am delighted to say that the trip exceeded expectations in every way!
Chris is an experienced professional who now focuses on seascapes - his knowledge of both the discipline and the topic is bottomless. As is his understanding of the Cornish coastline. He knew the best places to visit for sunrise and sunset shoots and how to get the best from the opportunities that the weather conditions presented. In his studio, he showed me the way to get the best from my shots using Camera Raw and Photoshop, something I had been wary of until now and the results were excellent!
He can accommodate 1 or 2 people in his COVID aware home and looks after all the details so well...meals, snacks, transport, briefings, the best locations based on sun and tides - everything.
I arrived at lunchtime and was immediately put at ease by Chris - nothing was too much trouble and he has a very easy going approach. He clearly just wanted me to: a) get some great seascape shots (tick) and: b) have a relaxing and enjoyable time (tick).
I would recommend this workshop for anyone interested in Seascape photography - I know most of his clients return and I am sure I will be one of them!"
I want to thank you for one of the best photographic workshops I have ever attended.
Over the past 25 years I have been on many photo courses run by professional photographers around the world and in the UK. These covered a wide range of disciplines - Landscape, Nature, Safari, Portrait, Wildlife etc. Yet your Seascape workshop stands out by far from any one of them.
Let me elaborate a little more as I know feedback is important to you. Firstly, it is rare to find a course that offers accommodation, food and transport and all you provided was simply excellent. I was free to relax and enjoy my time concentrating on the photography. Which leads to the most important aspect of all, your expert instruction. I cannot express just how invaluable the in-depth insight and one-to-one format was to the overall learning experience. While informal and relaxed, my five days were superbly organised, totally stimulating and above all, educational.
The morning spent at 'Dinosaur Egg Cove' was a true inspiration. I learned so much about the behaviour of the sea and now really understand the effects of tide, flow, cloud, currents, time and most importantly the light on capturing it’s “mood”. Besides this, I also learned about varying manual settings to get different results from the same composition, and here your use of flash came as total inspiration. Excellent! I also appreciated you sharing your wide selection of filters and learning how, when and which ones were best to use. All this made such a difference to my final images, that were indeed “captured in camera” as you impressed on me.
Then we come to post processing, and what can I say? In truth, the time I spent in your studio has transformed my photography. Again, the one-to-one aspect was ideal and I learned so much. I really do now fully appreciate just how effective processing raw files through Photoshop CC is. Until now, I always used Lightroom, yet the fine art workflow you have created is so intuitive and comprehensive, and as for the results, well my Cornwall pictures are quite simply, magical!
I sincerely believe you should make your presence more visible to the wider photographic community. Because anyone who wants to improve their photography needs to get to know you and your Seascape workshop.
It has truly been a pleasure to spend those five days with you and Sam. I'm hoping you take up my invitation of coming to Chicago and spending time with me and Melissa."
Kishore Karamchandani MD, MRCP
Just a quick note to say 'DANKE' for a most terrifically good time with you both.
I learnt such a lot and will now be able to continue with Camera Raw and Photoshop, so I will be looking toward getting it downloaded very soon. You have opened a new door in photography for me - I am thrilled!
Thank you again for your generously given help, it was THE best course I have ever attended!
Marlis Rawlins, Wiltshire
Please feel free to call me or email to find out more and have a chat about your questions or individual requirements ;
Telephone; 01637 831251 - for International callers - +44 1637 831251