The Valle Verzasca in the south of Switzerland is one of the most inviting landscape photography workshops Europe has to offer. The location is a feast of rock geology with an endless range of turquoise and emerald coloured rock pools. If you are new to landscape photography and filters this will be a great introductory tour as you’ll be sure to get the good stuff. We’ll be visiting in October which will provide the backdrop of autumnal colours so it should be very special. View my gallery of images from a recent trip.
As ever it’s about composition. In the Valle setting up and making small adjustments of position will be a key focus. You’ll learn to use your eye first before applying your camera. Appreciating how to balance the frame will become intuitive after a while.
In essence, it’s about exploring and being in the zone. My tour will concentrate of one 15km stretch of river with all the locations and small tracks down to the water vetted by myself. It will test your resources of really seeing and of course, my advice will be on hand for you to get the shots you have in mind. The focal lengths I have used on this page were mostly 60 & 120mm but there are also opportunities for wide-angle work, especially with the autumnal colours behind.
This landscape photography workshop is about spending time in a few varied locations and exploring the possibilities with your camera. To discover compositions that excite you and learn how your camera ‘sees’ as opposed to your eye.
You’ll be guided not just to locations but on how to think about evaluating a scene and making decisions about how to get the key features to stand out. You’ll encounter many landscape opportunities that offer variety and the opportunity to use different focal lengths and filters.
A unique workshop
Most tours have larger groups but I’m happier with 4 as it allows us to use a regular car for transport up and down the river valley. It will also mean that in the evenings there will be more time to spend individually assessing images and processing them to their optimum level. Our trip schedule will also include a midweek afternoon break with a trip to nearby Locarno which offers lakeside photography opportunities. Our final day (6) will be set aside for final processing at our accommodation so it’s important to bring your laptop with loaded software you are comfortable using.
The week’s plan
We’ll spend 5 days in the river valley with a different location each day. The typical climate allows photography throughout the daylight hours without early starts or late finishes as the light drops too low at these times. It will mean that there will be plenty of time each evening for some processing work back at our accommodation. This will be the important of the week. Each day I will drive us to a different location than I have previously scouted and with a short walk down we’ll be working alone in a small area spending time on looking, composting and getting the right filters into play.
About the place
Located in the Locarno district of the Canton of Ticino in Switzerland the valley has both huge boulders that sit as though frozen during a tumble down as well as intensely coloured patterns that give the opportunity for more abstract detail. The colours of the rocks vary as you head up the valley becoming red in parts. The blend of turquoise water against the more subdued rock colours varying from grey, brown and yellow is a joy to photograph. It’s relatively easy to get down to the river from the road. We’ll be photographing away from the main village where most visitors congregate.
Hands on instruction
The tour is for all levels of ability, you don’t have to be a landscape expert or have a brilliant sense of composition but it’s essential that you have the basics of how to control exposure and how to navigate around your camera.
During this landscape photography workshops Europe trip, I’ll explain how to maximise your depth of field using hyper-focal distance, how to approach choosing the right lens and focal length and using your filters to control shutter speed. Improving your workflow will also be a key feature of the week both on location and processing where we’ll look at curves, colour palette and localised editing techniques.
Composition remains the key and one thing rarely mentioned in achieving the optimum result when photographing natural forms is where to set the frame edge. Breaking up objects that may in themselves go on to form yet more interesting shapes is one of the main compositional concerns I’m thinking about on the location.
Each image contains its own reasoning for this, something I consider when looking at other images. Would I have cut the frame there? This Swiss location provides the learning ground for rock edges and lines descending into corners and will sharpen your compositional abilities.
The Valle Verzasca is rich in history with recorded village populations dating back several hundred years. Corippo is Switzerland’s smallest municipality with a population of just 13 people. Its granite stone construction amidst the morning mist and mountain backdrop offers the perfect complement to the rivers cutting descent. A stone arch bridge is the focal point of the river and here we can walk easily across the breadth of the river’s rock structures photographing more abstract close-ups. A classic church spire resides opposite.
The movement of water can be revealed in numerous ways. Both slow and fast shutter speeds give a different edge to the image. We’ll cover how to decide which is best for a given set-up. The busier rocks may require a longer take on things whilst smoother surfaces require more energy. Multiple exposures in-camera are also another way forward combining both together. You’ll also become attuned to seeing diagonals within your compositions and understand the difference between left to right and right to left in conveying energy.
How does a viewer connect with and visually process an image? Skirting around composition and being rewarded with interest is often about flow. Of course here, the water provides the opportunity to create a dynamic, but it’s also about how the rocks shape the direction of travel. Some of your photography will be about the water’s energy and some may not include much water instead preferring to focus on the patterns and colours within the rocks. In either case, you’ll understand what makes a balanced and satisfying compositional arrangement.
Our base is a family-run B&B close to the river with lovely helpful owners. It’s a popular venue for divers and walkers with good food and ensuite rooms. They are well facilitated with on-site access to wifi, a bar and a restaurant. As always there’s no room for sharing or a single supplement. Hotel TripA
Reserve your place for this creative landscape photography workshop
I’m offering tours from 2024 and the group size will be limited to 4. The price will be £2200.00 for the 7 nights based on at least 3 people in the group including transport, accommodation and breakfasts. You can view my portfolio from the Valle here. The workshop will comprise 5 days of photography and one day of location post-processing.
Use the form below to register your interest in this ‘landscape photography workshops Europe’ trip and I’ll promptly get back to you with availability. You will need a telephoto in your kit bag, a wide-angle and a decent tripod. If you require filters then I recommend Format Hitech. Let me know if you are unsure what to purchase. You’ll need to arrange flights into Milan and from there it’s a train service to the nearest town closest to the location from which you’ll be collected. Details for trains and collection will be provided.