Ever fancied trying your hand as a photographer?
Or are you intimidated by the vast array of technological components on the market today, coupled with seemingly unintelligible camera-related jargon?
Then a new course in Harris, run by a professional photographer, will suit you down to the ground.
Darren Cole is an established photographer, having taught photography for over 15 years at the University of West England, in Bristol.
Now based in Ardhasaig, he and his partner Chris run the ‘Hebscape’ gallery and café, which is already proving hugely popular with both tourists and locals alike.
Darren insists his new course is especially suited to those with little or no confidence behind a lens.
“The course will be an introduction to landscape photography, run over a single day, on a Sunday,” he said.
“In the morning we will be based at my gallery, where I’ll do some basic teaching, and in the afternoon, weather permitting, we’ll go outside and put into practice some of what we’ve learned.
“We’ll then come back inside and review the images we’ve captured, and each person on the course will receive a print of their own favourite image of the day.”
Darren is not expecting those enrolling on his course to turn up with vastly expensive equipment.
A working digital camera with some basic manual controls is the only technical requirement.
“I’m also asking people to bring wet weather gear, and basically to be prepared for anything!” he said.
“If we can go outside, we will, so it would be a good idea to bring along some protective for the camera, even if it’s a thick plastic bag.”
Having first visited the Western Isles in 2008, Darren immediately fell in love with the innumerable photographic opportunities the islands presented.
“I had been to the west coast of Ireland, which is similar, but nothing compares to the sheer isolation of a small island,” he said.
“You only have to look at the atmosphere here, and the enormous variety of various landscapes in such a small place.
“If you are a landscape photographer that’s a godsend as usually you have to travel miles to get a specific type of shot.
“Here it’s stunning beaches, to rugged coastlines, to amazing wildlife, it is ALL here, and all within 20-30 minutes.
“There is just so much potential, sometimes it is distracting, as you don’t know where to begin!”
Although his course will focus on landscape photography, Darren is quick to point out he doesn’t view himself as a landscape photographer per se.
“I get excited about making images, about the process,” he said.
“I don’t tend to stick to a particular type, I just love the creative process.
“I specialise in an area as opposed to a genre.
“I tailor what I shoot according to the conditions that I have in front of me.
“Even if it’s chucking it down and there’s very little colour in a scene, I’ll go for black and white abstract, minimalist, which can look stunning.
“You can do that through a window. If you have an arsenal of techniques there is always something you can do.
“For atmosphere you can’t beat bad weather. Between showers is one of the best times to shoot!”
Despite this, Darren acknowledges that there is always the chance that the weather may be so severe that the class may not be able to get outdoors at all.
“If it is impossible to get out then we can always do things indoors like shooting through the window, trying intentional camera movement imagery, looking at more macro imagery that looks like landscape but is actually shot using extreme close-ups of objects,” he said.
“I can demonstrate how that is done.
“There’re also additional classroom stuff we can do that we wouldn’t normally have time for.
“We will make the most of the day regardless of conditions.”
Those who take part in the course will receive a light lunch at Hebscape Gallery as part of the deal, and because Darren is wanting his tuition to be as individual as is possible, he is limiting the number of attendees to six each week.
“It’s an introduction, aimed at people that have a camera but may not know how to use it,” he added.
“Our focus will be on composition and basic exposure control, which can be taught to anyone.
“We will discuss decisions which are applicable to everyone, and the technical detail is aimed towards everyone, regardless of experience.
“I have taught at all levels, so I know what level to pitch to.”
To enrol on the course, visit www.harrisphotographydays.co.uk
For information on Hebscape Gallery, visit www.hebscapegallery.co.uk