Cornish Seascape Workshops
'You, me, your camera and the Sea'
The Cornish peninsular boasts some of the finest coastline in the world. And with the sunrise on the South Coast and the sunset on the North Coast being just a few miles apart, providing you know exactly where and when to go, it's the ideal destination for Seascape photography. That's why when I moved here in 2013, my intention was to establish a unique Seascape workshop course that would set a new standard in professionalism, enjoyment and individual reward.
In my travels around the UK and abroad, I came across many group tour and day trip 'workshops'. And what I witnessed in most instances was not very inspiring. Either the short span of a day course could not give real in-depth insight, location diversity, or image processing support. Or group tour numbers made for busy shoots, limited guidance and compromised individual aspirations. On one such occasion up in the Arctic Circle in 2010, as I headed for a less crowded location, the idea that I could create something completely different and far better came to me.
I spent the next two years researching the marketplace and putting plans in place for when I moved to Cornwall. Today, some nine years later, I'm delighted to say the hard graft and investment has paid off and my Cornish Seascape Workshops have built an international reputation for excellence and reward.
So what does this all mean for you?
Well, if you've read this far, then you are interested in extending your seascape photography skill set and considering a course that will assist in doing this. So let me tell you what you can expect if you choose mine.
By combining the experience gained in my 30+ year professional career in the digital studio, with my passion for the Cornish coast and my award-winning Seascape photography approach, I offer you a one-to-one, residential workshop based around the core principal of 'You, me, your camera and the Sea'. As a solo individual (or with your partner, or friend), you can come and be guided around superb locations for your chosen number of days. Your shoots will never be overcrowded and the focus will be exactly in line with your experience, ambitions and expectations.
Concentrating on essentials such as using a diverse range of Apps, location choice, coastal approach, composing and conducting around the sea's condition, using manual settings, filtering and lighting, I will guide you around a selection of superb locations through all the blue and golden hours, with more daytime shoots besides.
Based in Crantock on the Atlantic Coast, you choose from a stay of between two to five days. The package is all-inclusive, so there's no hassles in making additional arrangements because your en-suite accommodation, food and workshop transport are covered. And importantly, so is access to a state-of-the art Studio, because post-processing is a vital part of Seascapes.
I have been using Photoshop professionally since 1990 and am fully conversant with its incredible and ever-evolving imaging capabilities. As such I can show you just why, in conjunction with Camera Raw, it offers the ultimate processing solution for those serious about advancing their Fine Art photography. Using my step-by-step workflow, I can inspire you to step-up and open a clear path through the maze of masks, sliders and layers, that leads to gallery quality imagery. And with days of undivided attention, there's plenty of time for everything to sink in. Moreover, if you're already using Photoshop, I can widen your horizons to new and advanced techniques to take your processing (proofing & printing) to the next level.
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 to suit your aims. In fact many of my clients return time and again to shoot through this dramatic evolution.
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 sea takes on turquoise hues.
Long sultry days and glorious sunrise and sunsets. Perhaps the easiest season to shoot in terms of conditions, yet very early starts and late returns make two or three 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 dawn and dusk shoots in terms of start-outs and returns.
The wild season of brooding 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'.
The aim of my workshop is to promote a wider understanding of the coastal environment and heighten your photography and processing skills through individual enlightenment, education and enjoyment. So there's no 'one-size-fits-all' approach. You can expect well-honed guidance and observations as to what might be there to be considered, conducted and composed around.
After the initial tideline shoot, unless hands-on instruction is requested, I will bring 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 an image file, but its final 'expression' is for the you to conjure. This way you create a body of work that reflects your unique take on the stunning Cornish coastline, through your new-found Seascape skill set.
Courses usually run mid-week, starting around mid-day on a Monday or Tuesday and running through to mid-day on the day of departure. Due to the variety in locations and amount of information and processing guidance I want to impart, 2 days is the shortest workshop I offer. This will include 2 x Daytime shoots, 2 x Sundown shoots and the choice of 1 or 2 Dawn shoots -depending on your travel plans - with lots of studio sessions in between. 5 days is the maximum course length but any stay can be bookended with additional night's B&B to help cater for jet lag or travel arrangements.
My workshops are for a solo photographer, a couple, or two friends. Courses range from Seascape Beginner to Diversifying Professional, but will be tailored to suit the individual. So the course is ideal for all ages and comfort levels. For those wanting to heighten their proofing and printing skills, along with framing their images to take away, I also offer a Print & Framing Day.
SOLO - 2 Day Workshop - £850 - Additional days £370 - max 5 days
TWIN - 2 Day Workshop - £1,350 - Additional days £515 - max 5 days
PRINT & FRAMING DAY - £310 + materials and frames
Additional Night's B&B + Evening Meal - £85 per person - max 2 nights
TRAVEL - For guests travelling by Rail or Air, Newquay Station or Newquay Airport (NQY) are a short distance away and pick up's and drop off's are free. For those arriving by car I provide a location map and there's ample parking.
CLIENT ACCOMMODATION - I cater for a solo individual, or couple, or two people. The guest double bedroom has en suite bathroom, tea making facilities, TV, Radio and WiFi. The second single guest bedroom has its own separate bathroom. Prices include all food, refreshments and workshop travel. Menus will be based on client preferences and all dietary requirements can be catered for. PLEASE NOTE THE ACCOMMODATION, STUDIO AND CAR ARE NON-SMOKING .
CAMERA & EQUIPMENT HIRE - I offer a complete Full Frame DSLR Camera set-up with 16-35mm Wide Angle, 24mm Tilt-Shift or 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 have a full deposit refund or choose to re-arrange your workshop dates free of charge.
CONTACT - For further information or to make a booking, please contact me by email - firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 01637 831251 - for international callers please call +441637 831251.
There's nothing better than word of mouth to relate what my Cornish Seascape Workshops offer photography enthusiasts of all levels. So here's a few client reviews that give personal insights into their time with me...
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 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"
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.
"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!
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