A Professional's Perspective

Carole Mclatchie is a well known face on the world's race circuits. She fancied a breath of fresh air and a new challenge so she got in touch. Here's her review of her time spent down in Cornwall...

"As a Motorsports photographer, I wanted to leave pit lane noise and press office pressures aside for a while and to take some time out with my camera. I needed a new discipline to challenge what I do, while still being in the open air as I love the outdoors. 
Landscape photography it was then, but where to start out? Attending a course would be the best introduction so I looked at a few photography magazines and 'googled' the various courses on offer.
Chris Simmons' Cornish Seascape Workshops caught my eye as Cornwall is one of my favourite places. His workshop website told me what I needed to know (but check out his photography website to see a bit more of his work). The one-to-one bit and a bespoke programme was ideal for me rather than a group session as there were specific things I wanted to learn; in particular shooting and processing RAW images. I've spent my career shooting jpg's and trying to get it right in the camera; only using the very minimum of processing in Photoshop, often with the final processing being done by an Art Department of a magazine. So when venturing into this confusing 'maze of Layers', a personal guide sounded ideal. The bed and breakfast made sense too, particularly because of the early starts, and meant that I didn't have to book separate accommodation, and any concerns about staying in a stranger's house were soon put to rest when I read his reviews. So I gave Chris a call, and that was it. We immediately got on and I booked. 
I'm so glad I did as I had such a great time, even though he got me into the most unflattering pair of waders imaginable!
Out on the racetrack I look through the viewfinder to catch something I know is going to happen. Yet here I was on a beautiful beach watching clouds converging, waves breaking, light reflecting, sun setting, water receding, rocks sparkling, sand shining. There was just so much to process in trying to balance it all using Chris's compositional technique that he had explained in the pre-shoot briefing. Pressing the remote release at that split second to catch "The Moment", as he calls it.
I had fun using different Manual settings on my 1DX, wide angle lenses and a selection of filters, fill-in flash, tripod handling (…not my forte as I am only used to a monopod or hand holding a camera), precision horizon levelling and cable triggers. It all made for a completely new and thoroughly exciting experience.
Manual focussing!... Really? I had only just got started reading Canon’s massive on-line Auto Focus guide for the 1DX! So I wasn’t convinced to start with but manual focus certainly works well for Landscape photography.
Then we went in to the studio and opened my RAW images on a huge Mac screen and I was amazed before we had even touched Photoshop. Yet once we had worked on the very first image I was a RAW and Photoshop convert. The textures in the rocks, the sky's detail, the sea's flow, the reflections, the sharpness, the colours, all looked fantastic yet so natural. Just as I saw them….as I am not at all keen on overly ‘manipulated’ images. The process's versatility was simply incredible! So I am definitely a convert to shooting in RAW!
I took lots of shots… must be something to do with being a sports photographer… and I am so glad I did. For when I saw how many 'keepers' I'd got, I knew my new website and next exhibition would have some great alternative content.
So from a photography point of view, Chris's Seascape workshop was a complete revelation. A huge step beyond what I thought Landscape photography would be and his passion for his art is totally infectious. I had a great time and learnt a lot in short space of time.
From a personal perspective, I had a really relaxing time (not counting the 3.15am alarms) in very comfortable surroundings with Chris and Sam's welcoming hospitality and fabulous food. 
So overall, I thoroughly recommend this one-to-one course to any photographer who wants to discover an incredible world of Cornish Seascapes."
Carole Mclatchie