Ancient Architecture and Autumn Colors
October 13 – 22, 2024
Scotland is a land of ancient forests, fertile valleys cut by raging rivers, thundering waterfalls, and tranquil lakes nestled between impressive mountain peaks. A wealth of historic castles are set amongst this natural splendor and wreathed in mist, which we’ll visit during the best time for fall color. We’ll photograph two national parks to capture more natural scenes in their full fall glory. If you’re not already reaching for your passport, how about we throw in the Jacobite Steam train (the Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter) as it crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct?
Our veteran local photographers will accompany you on this journey to make sure you are always in the right place at the right time to capture the stunning landscapes and learn about the local history. You’ll also learn to improve your composition skills and techniques, such as long exposures and image stitching for panoramas. Of course, we’ll make time for our signature image reviews and Lightroom post-processing sessions.
We are passionate about Scotland and can’t wait to introduce you to its mystery, history, and charm. Join us!
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
October 13, 2024: We head out for the Trossachs National Park after brief introductions in Edinburgh at 11:00 AM. On the way, we will stop to photograph one of the most iconic bridges in the world—the Forth Rail Bridge. As we head out of the city, the fall color of the Highlands will start to dominate, and it won’t be long before we’re stopping regularly to make the most of the transient light from various roadside views. This area usually peaks in color around mid-October, so it should be perfect for our visit.
October 14, 2024: The appeal of the Trossachs is in its many photogenic lochs, which look their best in calm conditions when they offer a mirror reflection of the surrounding landscape. We will tour a couple of our favorite routes, offering many photo opportunities in all conditions. Expect boat houses and lone trees, and we’ll throw in the odd castle for good measure.
October 15, 2024: If the conditions are calm, we will photograph some of the Trossachs’ trademark water reflections at dawn. We’ll continue heading north into the heart of the Scottish Highlands, stopping at some intimate woodland waterfalls that will be most photogenic among the peak color. Our base for the next couple of nights is the charming town of Pitlochry, which will give us easy access to explore the incredibly photogenic area.
October 16, 2024: With a traditional Scottish breakfast to fuel you for the day, we’ll head out to explore the Hermitage. This ancient forest of Douglas firs, with an iconic waterfall and a series of rapids, offers the perfect opportunity to get creative with long exposures and shallow depth-of-field photos of woodland details. This is also a great place to bring a macro lens if you have one, as there are likely to be many mushrooms and mosses which offer great potential when viewed close up.
October 17, 2024: After another chance to capture the color of the Caledonian forest, we head for the west coast of Scotland along the shores of Loch Ness. Our accommodation for the next couple of nights is a castle hotel which occupies a beautiful location on the shores of a picturesque loch. The hotel grounds are at their best in mid-October, so you can shoot without having to venture more than a few hundred yards from your bedroom. We aim to have a relaxing afternoon, reviewing images taken so far on the trip and enjoying the traditional atmosphere of the hotel and grounds (including castle ruins).
October 18, 2024: Today, we will witness one of the visual highlights of the trip—the chance to photograph the Jacobite Express steam train (also known as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films) as it passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct. There will be a big build-up to this event, which will be over in the blink of an eye, but once the adrenalin has subsided, we’ll take a leisurely drive to Scotland’s most iconic castle—Eilean Donan. We’ll shoot this at dusk when the castle floodlights perfectly balance with the fading ambient light.
October 19, 2024: We head to our most northern location, which will be just coming into its peak color of the year. The ancient Caledonian forests of Glen Affric are unique landscapes untouched since the last ice age. This is the perfect place to wander off into the trees and find your own unique shots.
October 20, 2024: Glen Affric is a very remote area and is often only visited by photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. However, most visitors here will carry a tripod this time of year. We will be hoping for low-lying fog and calm conditions here, but the area can work well in most conditions. Make sure you have a polarizer, as this will help to bring out the color in your photos. If you’ve forgotten or lost anything, don’t panic, as Scotland’s premier photo store is just down the road.
October 21, 2024: Today, we drive to our final accommodation base, which will give us easy access to one of Scotland’s most photographed castle ruins—Dunnottar. As always, we will stop along the way to take advantage of the passing scenery and fleeting moments of epic light. We’ll pass through the Cairngorms national park, which will likely offer more opportunity than we have time for, but we’ll certainly be able to tick off a couple of iconic shots. We’ll aim to end the day at Dunnottar castle so that you can get acquainted with the location ahead of tomorrow’s dawn session.
October 22, 2024: A rare early start today as we head back to Dunnottar Castle in the dawn light. We’ll be looking to capture it in silhouette against a pre-dawn sky before changing our angle to make the most of it in early direct sunlight. It’s then back to our nearby hotel for breakfast before heading to another iconic castle for the day. Glamis Castle is set among beautiful grounds, which you’ll enjoy exploring—hopefully in the fall sunshine. We then head back to Edinburgh for a farewell dinner and to recall the trip’s many highlights.
October 23, 2024: Flights home from Edinburgh today.
Here’s a timelapse of just one of the magical castles we’ll photograph during this workshop.
Easy: You must be able to walk a mile or more on uneven ground.
Arrive Edinburgh Airport (EDI), Edinburgh, Scotland before 10:00 AM on October 13, 2024. Flights out can be made anytime on October 23, 2024. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $1,350 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 3 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Travel to and from Edinburgh, Scotland.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $1,350 supplement.
“I can’t express enough how impressed I am with the personal phone calls and the interaction during the adventure. My feeling is that you put the customer first. I wish other businesses had that philosophy. Thank you for an adventure that created life-long memories for us. I will be talking about this trip for years to come. ”