Find your connection with the landscape and be inspired to develop your own style in this photographic retreat in one of the most historic and wild corners of Scotland. This retreat is perfect for those who love remote, beautiful places as well as a little luxury. It includes a 5-day small group, very personalised photography workshop with renowned photographers Margaret Soraya and Paul Sanders.
Take a few days out from the noise and pressures of every day life. Being quiet and immersed in nature is the best way to find your own path and listen to what it is you want to create.
There is a very personal approach to this retreat and the aim is to help everyone in their own individual journey. There will be a flexible approach to critique sessions. Some are comfortable in group discussions, others in 1-2-1’s and we will accommodate all wherever possible. For those who need to work solo, those who are at their best when they have down time in between group sessions, there is no need to worry on this retreat. With two tutors we can facilitate a flexible approach.
All in all the retreat is about you and the tutors are here to help and assist you develop in whatever way you need. Each day will be flexible according to weather conditions. However, generally we would be up early for breakfast and out to shoot in the morning light at one location. A lunch break and then afternoon talks and critiques and a late afternoon photography session followed by dinner once the sun has set. Each day will differ slightly but we will have a mix of shooting, inspirational talks and time to sit with you individually on any given day.
This is a photography retreat for those who love the outdoors, truly wild and remote beautiful places as well as a little bit of luxury when they return. The focus is on your personal connection with the landscape and inspiring you to find your own style.
When it comes to heart-achingly beautiful and dramatic scenery along with changeable and stunning light, the Isle of Lewis delivers.
An ever-changing mix of terrains; rugged cliffs, sea stacks, stretches of deserted beaches, crumbled remains of empty croft houses, hills, lunar-like rocky plateaus and desolate moorlands. All this as well as Neolithic standing stones Iron Age brochs and traditional 17th century Blackhouses.
Lewis offers amazing opportunities to explore all the elements of life on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean – history, heritage, wilderness and breathtaking landscapes. You begin to understand how the relentless seas have shaped this island environment, and the lifestyles of those who live here.
The autumn and spring are the best time to photograph the Outer Hebrides. The sense of desolation on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean which is subject to constantly changing weather, brooding skies and giant rolling waves is at its best outside the summer months. The days are shorter which allow us to photograph during sunset or sunrise and the quality of light is at its best. There might even be a chance to see the northern lights if skies are clear enough.
Harris is approx an hour and a half drive away so there is ample time to visit this island which is connected by land to Lewis.
Workshop locations are likely to include:
The stunning and wild Mangersta stacks.
Callanish Stones, Neolithic standing stones, older than Stonehenge and fully accessible.
Reef & Valtos beaches and the chessmen at Uig beach.
The butt of Lewis with its frequent heavy swells, big skies and huge cliffs.
Sea stacks and surf at Dalmor beach.
The stretches of golden sands and turquoise seas on the Isle of Harris beaches.
Both Margaret and Paul work in an intuitive manner and believe that photography is about how you respond to the landscape. They are equally passionate about helping, encouraging and assisting others to develop and grow in understanding and depth in their own landscape photography.
Both have overcome significant challenges through landscape photography and have learnt to live in a way that they stay healthy, happy and fulfilled through their landscape work. They have come together to create a unique space for a few days in a beautiful isolated island which will allow them to help you in your own photographic journey.
Margaret specialises in photographing some of Scotland’s most remote and wild places. She spend considerable time on the Harris and Lewis and exploring other equally remote areas. She actively seeks out isolated places to work and adores the beauty in remote landscapes and being based in the Highlands of Scotland.
Margaret has been photographing landscapes for 23 years since relocating to the Highlands of Scotland. Her work has been printed in Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Camera Craft, Build it Magazine, Outdoor Photography Magazine and regularly in travel features within Scottish broadsheets.
In the past 8 years she has been commissioned to travel to photograph in countries such as Italy, America, Iceland, the Azores, Swaziland and Croatia. However, her main interest always comes back to the beautiful wild landscapes of the North of Scotland and the Scottish Isles.
Paul Sanders is passionate about landscape photography and believes strongly in the connection between mindfulness and his landscape work. That being present within the landscape and the connection you have with nature is the most important part of landscape photography.
“I love being outside surrounded by the beauty of the world we live in. It never ceases to amaze me, as I watch the storm clouds blow in over the coast, listen to the waves crashing against the rocky shores or watch sunlight stream through trees on a foggy morning, how blessed and lucky we are to have such beauty on our doorsteps”
Paul was appointed as Picture Editor of The Times in 2004, He left The Times in 2012 to pursue his passion for fine art landscape work. He enjoys sharing his work with others, speaking to camera clubs and societies regularly. Paul also enjoys very much working alongside others in a workshop environment sharing, helping and encouraging others to find their own way in photography.
Lews Castle is an A-listed castle which dates back to the 1840s. Lying unused for 20 years, a £19.5 million restoration project recently returned it to its Gothic Revival glory.
Lews Castle will be our base, teaching area as well as accommodation for up to 12 guests for 6 nights/ 7 days.
The bedrooms and apartments are all finished to the highest standard, staying true to the grandeur of the building with traditional touches such as Harris Tweed, but will also expertly blend contemporary luxuries into the mix with the latest technology and design.
On site is a museum, cafe and restaurant, all amidst an expanse of castle grounds with walks and forest and endless quiet spaces. Within 10 mins walking distance from the heart of Stornoway, yet secluded enough to feel completely tranquil. We choose Lews Castle for its sheer sense of space and peacefulness which allows everyone to have a little of their own time and quiet outwith the teaching and shooting times.
You will have access to a shared kitchen and living area between each 2 bedrooms.
The price for the retreat is £1800 per person and a non-refundable deposit of £250 will secure your place. There is no single supplement. The price includes:
Travel to and from the island is not included, nor are travel and camera insurance and alcoholic drinks. Guests are required to have personal travel insurance, Non-photographing partners are welcome.
What to bring
Bring warm, waterproof clothing, cameras and tripods. Tripod, filters, remote shutters, memory cards and a laptop if you can. There will be a full kit list sent out to participants. A small portfolio of your images if you wish to take part in a review session. Printed images preferred.
This retreat is run by our partners Quiet Landscapes. All images on this page are by Margaret Soraya.