Barra & Vatersay
Max. Group Size
Barra & Vatersay
Barra, located in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, is a fantastic location for landscape photography and is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, rugged coastline and pristine beaches. Barra is also famous for its unique airport, the only one in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. The beach, known as Traigh Mhòr, or the "Big Beach," is a striking feature and presents an excellent subject for photography itself. Additionally, Barra boasts several other beautiful beaches, such as Vatersay Bay, which provides captivating scenes with its pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coastal formations.
A photographer's dream!
You will spend 7 nights and a full 6 days of photography totally immersed on this beautiful island. Barra's weather can be changeable, resulting in a wide range of lighting conditions throughout the day. The shifting light creates an ever-changing atmosphere, casting unique moods and tones over the landscape. From soft, diffused light to dramatic stormy skies, photographers can capture a diverse range of captivating scenes, enhancing the visual appeal of their images. Barra offers a peaceful and tranquil environment, which is often conducive to artistic expression. The absence of crowds and the untouched nature of the landscapes allow photographers to immerse themselves fully in their craft, focusing on composition, details, and capturing the essence of the place.
On this workshop we will work with the current weather conditions to create a range of images that sum up the beauty of this small but perfectly formed island. I will be on hand at each location offering advice, tips and techniques to help you make stunning images whether they are landscape or seascape vistas, close up abstracts, long exposure images or using more creative techniques such as intentional camera movement or multiple exposures.
This workshop will suit those looking for a more sedate level of learning in a small group of only 4 participants. Due to the small size of this island, travel distances are no longer than around 20 minutes to the furthest location, allowing plenty of time for photography at a more leisurely, contemplative pace. Processing images is also an important part of the image-making process. Using my 27" monitor, we will have plenty of time for me to demonstrate some of the features of Lightroom Classic to elevate a selection of your images to gallery standard, which I will send to you later.
This workshop will suit any level of photographer from beginner to advanced - just bring plenty of enthuisasm! :o)
Barra is an island that holds endless inspiration for landscape photographers. Join me on this amazing photography workshop, where we will unlock the secrets of this hidden gem together. Whether you're an amateur seeking to refine your skills or a seasoned photographer looking for fresh inspiration, the breathtaking beauty of Barra will leave an indelible mark on your artistic journey.
Fully catered for
We have exclusive access to two beautiful modern cottages (on the same property) situated on the west-side of the island - perfect for witnessing and photographing beautiful sunsets. Each participant will be assigned their own twin or double bedroom with shared bathroom on a 2:1 ratio. No bedrooms are shared!
My wife (and business partner), will provide all meals at a time that suits us and our photography. This will give us the flexibility to take advantage of the best times of day to be out photographing without the shackles of mealtimes dictaded by hotels and guest houses. Other than arriving on Barra, all other costs such as meals, drinks (other than alcohol - please bring your own) and transport around the island are all included.
You will learn
- Detailed discussions on composition.
- Exposure bracketing.
- Using graduated filters and polarisers when required.
- Technical camera skills.
- Working to a theme/project
- Exploring non-traditional ways of taking pictures such as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and/or multiple exposure photography.
- Processing images using Lightroom Classic to gallery standard.
Here is a list of recommended equipment you should bring…
- Camera body and a selection of lenses that ideally cover wide-angle to medium telephoto (longer telephoto lenses may be required for wildlife).
- At least two camera batteries.
- Sturdy tripod - it can be windy at times.
- Hot-shoe spirit level (if your camera has a level indicator built-in that’s fine).
- A small set of graduated filters (please contact Mark if you need further help on which filters to bring).
- Lens cloth.
- Umbrella (useful as a parasol as well as rain).
- Appropriate outdoor clothing to meet predicted weather
- Waterproof coat
- Waterproof trousers
- Walking wellingtons and/or boots
Fitness Level - Easy | Moderate | Challenging
An Easy level of fitness is required for this workshop - all locations have been carefully selected for their stunning views, safety, convenience and ease of access.
Barra is an island on the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides, which can be accessed by a ferry from Oban. There is a good road network to Oban - but it would be wise to include, and allow for, an overnight stay en-route if you plan on travelling a long distance. The ferry journey takes just over 5 hours between the calm waters of Mull and the Ardnamurchan peninsula. By prior arrangement (and before making a booking), I can offer transport either from my home in the North East of England or en-route via Glasgow and beyond. Space is limited so this will be on a first-come, first-served basis. A fee to share fuel costs if applicable will apply - as will the fee for an extra passenger on board the ferry. Please contact me for further details using the form below. To avoid the price of bringing your car by ferry, you may wish to consider leaving it in a village close to Oban on the mainland. By prior arrangement, I can collect you from here. This way, you will only pay for being a car passenger in my vehicle.
Scotrail runs a passenger train service to Oban around six time a day. Please check Scotrail for their current timetable. You can book the ferry as a foot passenger and I will collect you from Castlebay on Oban upon your arrival. Please contact me for further details using the form below.
The nearest airport is Glasgow where I am able to offer a collection service by prior arrangement. I have limited vehicle space, so this would be on a first-come, first-served basis. A fee to share fuel costs if applicable will apply - as will the fee for an extra passenger on board the ferry. If you wish to add to the adventure, you might wish to consider flying into Oban and landing on the beach! Please contact me for further details using the form below.
Terms & Conditions of booking
Payment must be made in full when booking a single day workshop (you will be sent an invoice). For residential workshops, a deposit of £500 is required (unless otherwise stated) and the balance is payable 12 weeks before the course commences.
The balance of the cost of the workshop will be due 12 weeks before the workshop starts. If a booking is made less than 12 weeks prior to the beginning of the workshop, the full cost is payable at the time of booking.
If you, the client, cancel a booking any money you have paid (including the deposit) is non-refundable unless I can find a replacement to take your place after all other places have been filled. If a replacement is found an admin fee of £100 will be deducted from the refund. If I cancel a booking any payment received will be refunded in full. Please ensure that you have adequate travel insurance in place. It is a term of the contract between us that you will obtain the appropriate travel insurance cover before you set out on the workshop. The insurance must cover the loss, expenses and damages arising from, including but not limited to, the cancellation of the workshop (whether in whole or in part), personal accident and injury, medical and repatriation costs, loss of baggage and personal money and belongings, flight cancellations and delays as well as your inability to arrive at the workshop destination due to fuel shortages and other such disruptions out of my control.
Except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions, I regret I cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of my obligations under my contract with you is prevented or affected by or you otherwise suffer any damage, loss or expense of any nature as a result of “force majeure”. In these booking conditions, “force majeure” means any event which I or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events may include, (whether actual or threatened), war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire, epidemics/pandemics, fuel shortages and all similar events outside my control.
Please note, I cannot accept any liability for any damage, loss, expense or other sum(s) of any description (1) which on the basis of the information given to me by you concerning your booking prior to me accepting it, I could not have foreseen you would suffer or incur if I breached the contract with you or (2) which did not result from any breach of contract or other fault by myself where I am responsible for them, my suppliers. Additionally, I cannot accept liability for any business losses.
You will be allocated either a single room or a double/twin room for single occupancy. There is no single occupancy surcharge. Where double or twin rooms are available, they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at the time of check-in.
Mark Banks Photography reserves the right to cancel any workshop. In the event of any cancellation, I will offer either a total refund or a place on an alternative workshop. If the alternative workshop is cheaper, I will refund the difference, and if it is more expensive, you will be required to pay the balance.
All applicants participate at their own risk and Mark Banks Photography accepts no responsibility for injury or damage done to their persons or property. It is recommended that applicants hold their own personal Public Liability Insurance.
The type of workshops I offer require flexibility and must allow for alternatives. For this reason, the outline itinerary and workshop description must be taken as an indication of what may take place on the workshop, and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Mark Banks Photography.
I do not accept responsibility or liability for death, bodily injury or illness caused to you during the workshop, unless arising from the negligent act and/or omission on my part or on the part of any of my employees (providing they were at the time acting within the course of their employment). Please note that any itinerary noted on the workshop description is subject to change due to weather conditions and/or the capability of participants.
By booking a workshop with Mark Banks Photography you are agreeing to accept all of the above conditions.
I just wanted to say thank you for a great workshop in Glencoe, despite the weather! You are an excellent workshop leader with a high degree of professionalism, a methodical approach to landscape photography and the ability to adapt your teaching to your clients and the weather.
~ Fiona M
Thank you so much for such an inspirational day yesterday and for all your patience! I love my prints, thank you! I felt as though I achieved what I had set out to do and learn the principles of printing and look forward to giving things a go myself.
~ Geoff K
Hi Mark, Just a note to thank you again for such a wonderful week in so many respects. I so enjoyed the locations and the photography. Lots to process and think about again and some new exciting things to try. Your tuition and attention to detail is much appreciated and I always feel inspired again to get out with my camera. See you before too long in Yorkshire.
~ Anne W
"Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn."
“Mark Banks is quite simply one of the best teachers of photography I have ever met. His secret is an apparently endless supply of patience, and an acute analytical approach to developing systematic problem-solving tactics in photography, which he makes effortless and fun to learn, whether in the field or in the editing suite. Mark’s artistry, empathy, kindness and charm mean he is always a joy to work with, or to be taught by.”