The magic forest
22nd October 2017

In this workshop we will tackle one of the most exciting but at the same time most complicated natural subjects to photograph: Forests. For this workshop, we have chosen one of the most beautiful periods of the year: Autumn. We will photograph the magic of the forest at the peak of the autumn colours and discuss all the technical, creative and compositional tips to abstract this complicated subject and create order out of chaos. Millions of different photographs await us under the forest canopy!

 

The philosophy of our 1/2 day workshops


Our workshops are designed for all those who are interested in nature and landscape photography and who want to improve and evolve as a photographer and an artist, while getting to know some of the most photogenic places around Switzerland along with some other fellow photographers.

Our 1/2 day workshops, which last around five hours, are the perfect solution for those who wish to concentrate on improving their photography and do not have the time or energy to spend several days on a longer workshop. Although the time is reduced compared to our weekend workshops, these half day workshops still enable participants to learn quite a lot and can serve as an appetizing introduc­tion to our longer workshops or photographic trips.

During our workshops we will discuss all topics related to photography in natural settings that serve as inspiration and a playground for the practice of photography. As the best way to learn is by doing, we alternate shooting sessions with personalized advice on a variety of subjects: technical aspects, composition, knowledge of light, how to develop an artistic eye and a personal photographic vision, being in the right place at the right time, maximizing results on-site, how to post-produce images, the photographic workflow, etc..

Our workshops are designed for photographers of all levels. As the number of participants is very small, we can tailor the teaching to cater for the particular expectations and needs of each participant. In fact, Rafael will hardly take his camera out of the bag, spending all his time with the participants so that they can capitalize on this learning experience.

A few days after the end of each workshop, we will also create an online video session of around 1 hour, in which we will provide anonymously constructive critique and feedback of some of the images taken by all students. Some post-processing techniques will also be suggested by means of the Adobe Lightroom software.

Our 1/2 day workshops include picnic lunch, breakfast or dinner at the restaurant (depending on the workshop).

 

The place: Forest of Cossonay, Vaud, Switzerland


In this workshop we will tackle one of the most exciting but at the same time most complicated natural subjects to photograph: Forests.

For this workshop, we have chosen one of the most beautiful periods of the year: Autumn. We will photograph the magic of the forest at the peak of the autumn colours and discuss all the technical, creative and compositional tips to abstract this complicated subject and create order out of chaos. Millions of different photographs await us under the forest canopy!

A very special forest around the Cossonay area will be chosen for our photo­graphic workshop. This is a wonderful forest with very tall trees, where beech trees mix with oaks and conifers, providing a very photogenic colour palette as the autumn hues paint part of the foliage while the rest remains green. During the autumn morning, it is frequent to experience misty conditions which can really make a dramatic impact on forest photography. The exposure to the rising sun in this forest is a fabulous bonus, and interesting chiaroscuro effects can be photographed during the first hours of the day as the sun enters the forest laterally lighting up the tree trunks. If the weather turns a little wet and overcast, you will understand how these light conditions are actually some of the best for photo­graphing the forest. This is a place I never grow tired of photographing, and you will discover why...

 

Approximated Schedule


Sunday 22nd October

- 08:00 Meeting at the entry of the forest, near Cossonay. Exact place will be communicated before the workshop. Breakfast offered and introduction of the workshop
- 08:30 - 13:00 Photographic session with tutorials and personal guidance
- 13:00 End of the workshop and farewell

A few days after the workshop

Online video of 1 hour where we will analyze photographs taken by the participants during the workshop, giving feedback and constructive criticism. You will also see what your workshop colleagues photographed.

 

Included and excluded


 Included:

- Photographic Tuition with the professional fine art photographer Rafael Rojas

- Support and assistance on the field by Anca Minican

- Picnic breakfast in the forest

- 1 hour video of feedback and critique of images made by all participants

Excluded:

- Transport (car pooling suggested)

- Accident and Health insurance

 

Other details


Photography Level

All photographic levels, from beginners to advanced photographers are welcome. 

Exertion Level

Easy. We will walk very little around different locations in Lavaux. Maximum walking distance of around 800 m. 

Price

220 CHF (Swiss Francs) VAT incl.

Payment details

Full payment to secure your place at the time of booking.

Cancellation Fees

Should you need to cancel this workshop, the following fees apply:

- 31 days or more before the departure date: No cancellation fees

- 30 days or less before the departure date:100% cancellation fee

Number of People

Very small group limited from 4 (minimum) to 6 (maximum). This number includes photographers and non-photographing partners / companions.

Logistics and Transportation

To provide more affordable prices and a bigger flexibility, transportation is at your expense. However, car-sharing amongst the participants will be organized. If you cannot  find a transportation mean, let us know please.

Non photographing spouses / partners

Non-photographing spouses and partners are welcome on this workshop. All locations visited will allow non-photographing partners and spouses to discover and fully enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Same rates apply.

Languages

The official languages for our workshops are French and/or English. If you speak any of those languages, that will be enough! We will use one of those languages or the two of them for our general tutorials. Then, as most of the teaching takes place on an individual basis, we will use whichever language the participant prefers. A certain international composition of the group might be expected, with all the fun and wonderful implications that brings!

 

Special Conditions


Health

It is a condition of booking that you disclose any medical conditions you might have including allergies or special nutritional requirements. This is essential as it may affect both your own and other people’s enjoyment of the workshop and will allow us to understand the implications in relation to the particular workshop. 

Insurances

All participants must be in possession of Health and Accident Insurance (with repatriation cover) valid in the place and date where and when the workshop will take place. 

 

To bring with you!


Photographic Gear: 

- Camera

- Lenses (wide angle, normal, tele... whatever you have!)

- Tripod (compulsory!)

- Filters: Polarizer, Neutral density, Graduated neutral density (bring them if you have them)

- Batteries and charger


Non Photographic Gear:

- Comfortable shoes for walking

- Very warm clothing! 3-4 layers recommended: thermal underwear + fleece jacket or down jacket + hard shell (wind-rain shell)

- Gloves and hat

- Water or hot tea in a thermos

- Great mood and will to learn!!

Rafael Rojas

Rafael Rojas is a fine art photographer specialized in large format landscape and nature photography. Following a career as an engineer, researcher and university lecturer he made a dramatic change by becoming a professional photographer of nature and landscape, his true passion and vocation. Today, he travels the planet always in search of those fleeting moments when light and land combine to create sheer magic and inspire the soul.

His work has been awarded in the most prestigious international photography competitions, including First Prize several times in the International Photography Awards (USA), Px3 Prix de Photographie de Paris (France), Nature’s Best (USA), International Conservation Awards (USA), European Nature Photographer of the Year GDT (Germany), MML International (Spain), Trierenberg Super Circuit (Austria), Panoramic Photographer of the Year Awards (Australia), etc.

His fine art prints, which form part of numerous private collections belonging to individuals and corporations, are often exhibited at international level, in private galleries and museums such as the Smithsonian in Washington and the Burke Museum in Seattle, USA. His photographs are also frequently used by various companies and institutions and are often published for editorial use in magazines including National Geographic Travel, Terre Sauvage, etc.

One of the main activities of Rafael Rojas is teaching and lecturing about Nature Photography, which he carries out during his photographic Workshops and Photo Trips. This allows him to share and pass on to others his passion and knowledge about nature and photography by means of photographic tuition in locations where natural inspiration is at hand. Rafael uses his former experience in teaching at the university, his contagious passion and a deep experience and knowledge of the natural environment to assure optimal learning and unforgettable memories for all his clients. He has collaborated in the creation of several photography books, including “Visions of Earth” and “Natura” - both from Editions Altus - and is the author of his own line of photography books “A photographer’s vision” which he publishes and distributes from his website in different languages as eBooks.

Rafael is a member of the select nature photography groups “Bouts de Planète” (France) and “Portfolio Natural” (Spain). He is one of the founders and directors of the company WHYTAKE.NET - The Global Community of Nature PhotographersTM.

He works with a panoramic 617 medium format film camera, a Hasselblad 6x6 and a whole Nikon digital system, always set on the sturdiest tripod available. He speaks Spanish, English, French and Romanian...

 

Anca Minican

Anca Minican, the partner of Rafael Rojas, provides a very special touch to all our photographic workshops and trips. Trained as an architect and interior designer, she is a true lover of nature and the wilderness and always accompanies Rafael on his photographic expeditions all over the planet.

Her broad experience in the corporate world, her professionalism and her methodical and serious approach make her a valuable asset for the organization, on-site logistics and the support to customers during our workshops and photographic trips. She also plays a key role in the team building and knows how to create an amicable environment with a personal touch as all our clients can testify!

Anca is one of the founders and directors of the company WHYTAKE.NET - The Global Community of Nature PhotographersTM. She is also co-editor of the whole range of Rafael Rojas Photography books, ensures the representation of our Limited Edition Fine Art prints and manages the photographic library of Rafael Rojas Photography. To summarize, nothing would work without her!

She speaks English, French, Spanish, Romanian and quite some Italian...

 

Are all professional photographers able to teach?
Well, that is certainly a good question and the truth is that during the last few years the number of photographers organising workshops has exploded having identified this niche as a lucrative commercial activity. However, teaching requires very different skills than those needed to become a good photographer. You can certainly be a great photographer, but in order to pass on that experience to others you must also have a strong vocation for teaching. Excellent pedagogy, a well structured way of explaining theory and the ability to combine that with practice, sociability and enthusiasm, the capability of adapting the tuition to the level and expectations of the student and a high degree of satisfaction in seeing other people learn are some of the common aspects shared by great teachers.

Before becoming a full time fine art photographer, Rafael Rojas was a university lecturer for many years, and before that he taught science to young students for more than a decade. In a way, Rafael was a teacher well before he became a photographer.

Which are the languages used during your workshops?
Please refer to the details of each workshop to know about the official languages catered. Most of the times, our workshops are held either in French and/or English, and even sometimes Spanish. We normally use one or two languages for the general explanations and critique sessions (French and English).

However, as the number of participants is quite small, we do tailor the teaching to cater for the particular language of our participants, and speak with them either in English, French or Spanish.

We are used to dealing with international groups in our workshops and it is normal to have four or five nationalities represented in the group. Trust us, that is one of the strong points of our workshops and a highly enriching experience!

Why are all workshops held in Switzerland?
Our workshops are highly intensive learning experiences and that is why most of them focus on half a day, a full weekend or three days at the most. For this reason, we normally focus on the area we live in, which is in fact one of the great paradises for landscape photography: Switzerland. We also hold workshops in the Jura, nearby in France. Otherwise, we also organize longer photographic trips in other places all over the world.

Does Rafael also take photographs during the workshops?
During our workshops, Rafael is normally focused on the learning experience of his clients, and for that reason he rarely takes his camera out of the bag. He may do so to explain certain aspects, or to demonstrate with some particular examples how he normally looks for his compositions and creates his photographs. Workshops are highly intensive learning programmes, and therefore all the time is put to the service of our clients, with one-to-one tuition.

However during our photo trips, with more days available, we adopt a less intensive approach, allowing our participants to immerse themselves with plenty of time out in the field on their own. Of course, participants will still get a lot of hands on tuition from Rafael during the photographic sessions, but they will also have the possibility of seeing how Rafael works, how he visualizes, composes and creates his photographs in the field. Some of his photographs taken during the trip will also be used as examples during the lectures and critique sessions held during the trip. In a way, during our photo trips you will also learn by seeing how Rafael normally works on his own photographs and later on uses them for discussion and analysis.

Are these workshops for those who just want to learn how to use their new brand camera?
Yes, but not only that. In fact, we will try to help you understand quickly how to use your brand new camera, so that we can focus on what we really enjoy: Using photography in a creative way for the sake of personal expression. If you are only interested in getting to know how to use your new toy to snap a few photos of your family, these may not be the right courses for you!

Participants of all levels, from total beginners to semi-professionals attend our workshops, so you may participate even if you have never taken a photograph before. However, although we will deal with the technical aspects of photography, during our workshops we will also focus on aspects such as personal expression and the use of photography to portray a message, emotions and feelings, and how to use composition, visual design, natural light, post-processing, etc to increase that emotional content.

To summarise, our workshops are not just about photography, but about creative nature and landscape photography used for personal expression.

Which is the difference between the 1/2 day workshops and the full weekend workshops?
Our weekend or 3 day workshops are the best solution for those who wish to accelerate their learning. As our weekend courses are held for 2 days or more, we have the ability to shoot during the magic hours of sunrise and sunset, and enjoy a wider variety of weather and light. Furthermore, as we spend the night in the field, we can also enjoy the twilight hours and even spend some time practicing night photography. For our weekend workshops, as we have more time, we hold a critique session normally on the second day of our weekend workshops with the help of a projector and laptop, where we comment and analyze a number of the photographs which have been taken, so taking advantage to also tackle post-processing aspects using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Lastly, these courses can also provide the opportunity of more thoroughly exploring some areas of natural outstanding beauty, sometimes off the beaten track, which could not be reached with a half day workshop.

A few days after the end of our workshop, a 90 minute video is prepared and sent to all participants providing constructive feedback of some of the images taken by the group members.

On the other hand, our 1/2 day workshops, which last around five hours, are the perfect solution for those who wish to concentrate on improving their photography and do not have the time or energy to spend several days on a longer workshop. Although their time is highly reduced compared to our longer workshops, they will still allow participants to learn quite a lot in a compact time period, and can serve as a very pleasant introduction to our longer workshops and photographic trips. A 50 minute video is also prepared several weeks after our 1/2 day workshops where we provide constructive feedback of some of the images taken by the participants.

I do not have any photographic equipment. Do you have some available for rent?
We do not rent any equipment as we should need to cater for many different requirements; however we can suggest some addresses where you will be able to rent a camera, lens or tripod. If you have any queries concerning what to purchase prior to a workshop or a photo-trip, just let us know and we will be very glad to help.

Is feedback on the participants' photographs a component of your workshops?
Yes, feedback is one of the most important elements of our workshops. We provide our participants with constructive criticism and feedback at three different times during the workshop. During the workshop itself we always talk with each of the students while we are in the field, providing them with feedback about the photographs they are taking at that time. We also organize a critique session normally on the second day of our weekend workshops with the help of a projector and laptop, where we comment and analyze a number of the photographs which have been taken, so taking advantage of this moment to also tackle post-processing aspects using Adobe Lightroom. During the few weeks following each of our workshops (1/2 day or weekend), we also create a feedback video with images submitted by our participants, where we provide anonymous constructive critique about composition, use of light, post-processing, etc. This is something that our students particularly appreciate; it is very useful to help maximize the learning.

Can you cater for special diets?
Yes, our accommodation partners can cater for most diets. Please advise us of your preferences at the time of booking on your booking form. 


If I have a medical condition will this prevent me from joining a workshop?
It is a condition of booking that you disclose any medical conditions. This is essential, as it may affect both your own and other people's enjoyment of the workshop and will allow us to understand the implications relative to the particular workshop.

Can I bring a companion with me to your workshops?
Yes. However, because the accommodation and logistical options we choose for our workshops are very limited in terms of number of people and due to the responsibility that we assume for accompanying non photographer persons, the normal and full rate of the workshop will still apply to them. So, basically, they will be considered as workshop participants. Therefore, you will need to complete the workshop booking by booking a place for your companion as well as for you.

Do I need to be very fit to participate?
You certainly do not need to be a superman or superwoman, but as a general guide you should be able to walk or hike with your camera equipment for a few hours each day. Please refer to the details of a particular Workshop or Photo Trip to learn the exact level of physical exertion you may expect.

Are workshops really suitable for photographers of all levels?
Yes. Our average groups have total beginners rubbing shoulders with semi-professionals. Please bear in mind that, besides some general sessions and explanations, all the tuition takes place on a one-to-one basis. Therefore we are able to adapt the learning to the personal level, skills and even language of each participant! That being said, in photography, we are all relative beginners, since its mastery is something we never fully achieve...fortunately!

Can the workshop turn into a competition to see who creates the best photograph?
No. Our whole philosophy is one of humility and self confidence, of forgetting about the hunt for photographic trophies, and about the need to focus on an individual’s personal vision. That is why the environment and mood we foster in our groups is deeply embedded in these beliefs. In all the workshops and photo trips we have organised during the last few years, we have never seen bitter competition arise between the members of our groups. If one day that should happen, you can be sure we will be the first to make it disappear. Photography should not be a contest, since we are all different, none better or worse.

What if I shoot film, can I join one of your workshops?
Yes, there is no problem at all. However, we may not use your photographs during the critique sessions as we cannot see them until they are developed! That being said, you will be able to benefit from the reviews of photographs from other participants. What we are able to do though is to offer film users a review/ feedback video, to be made during the several weeks following the workshop after you have sent us a few samples of your recently developed and scanned work.

What sort of photographic equipment do I need to bring?
The choice of the equipment to bring depends very much on your experience, your budget and your style of photography. There are a few general points that should be mentioned though. Most photographers tend to bring too much equipment, leading to extremely heavy bags which then become a burden more than a tool useful to experience and photograph the places we visit. Never bring equipment you are not familiar with on a workshop or photo trip, and limit your equipment to what you will need in the majority of situations. Typically, any camera you normally use and a couple of zooms such as a 24-70 and a telephoto 70-200 are more than enough for the vast majority of situations. Of course, this is not a rule, since many photographers have a preference for primes, love macro, or use panoramic film cameras, for example!

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L. Thomas - USA
  • Rafael took care to tailor his workshop to the needs of each participant, independent of their level. I felt he spent the necessary time with me and always came around to proactively ask and SEE how I was doing. I never felt alone or abandoned. He was sincerely interested in insuring each participant came out with great photographs.

    I was amazed that he did not use his camera during the workshop. That made it clear to me that this was about OUR photographs, not his. This is rare, and I have never taken a workshop were the leader was not spending any time on his/her photographs.

    The entire workshop was well organized and the accommodation and food were above what I expected. He does not skimp on anything.

    He was totally prepared ahead of time, knew the upcoming weather and tailored each session perfectly based on that.

    Therefore, many languages were served. Anca was super-friendly and a valuable part of the entire affair.

    Highly recommended!
  • N. Bohny - Switzerland
  • To spend a few days in the mountains with you was like being on holidays with good friends, while at the same time getting into a really deep learning experience about photography. I enjoyed very much how we could tackle all different stages of the photographic process, from the concept to the shooting and then the critical review and analysis of the photographs. I could ask all the questions I wanted, even the banal ones and even several times the same one! We have really made the most of the available time, when I got home I was really tired but happy. You two are really friendly and really committed, I deeply enjoyed your enthusiasm!
  • S. Bongard - Switzerland
  • Rafael has made me feel his passion about photography in a way that no other photographer has never done! He really spurred on me the will to learn, always giving away without limitation! Bravo and thanks so much!
  • B. Dupas - Switzerland
  • I have attended to many workshops with Rafael and Anca in the last couple of years. In all of them, the choice of the places, the organization, the instruction and the great ambiance created by Rafael and Anca have made a difference, turning these events into very special and enlightening experiences. To be consumed without any moderation and with a lot of pleasure!
  • A. Franklin - USA
  • My wife and I recently spent 5 days with Rafael Rojas touring and photographing amazing landscapes of Switzerland while on a private workshop. If you are interested in elevating your photography to another level, I would highly recommend spending some time with Rafael. He is a true artist, has a very unique approach and vision from visualization to the digital darkroom and has the amazing ability to communicate and teach in a very articulate manner. His passion is contagious; it was an incredible photographic learning experience. I am looking forward to our next private workshop next summer!
  • B. Vioget - Switzerland
  • A photographic workshop with Rafael and Anca means connecting with the landscape and living incredible instants full of their knowledge and their great company. Pure poetry!
  • V. Manixab - Switzerland
  • In all the photographic workshops I have attended with Rafael and Anca, it was always a real pleasure. Rafael really transmits his passion about photography and his great sense of humor. The tuition was very tailored to each of us, and all different photographic levels could be catered due to the small size of our group. A real sharing experience took place among all the participants. Highly recommended!
  • J. Stern - USA
  • The workshop provided me with an intensive, exciting, and highly personal experience. It taught me a lot about landscape photography and technical and aesthetic aspects of photography. It helped me to "see" in a different way, both at the time of taking the photograph and in looking at my pictures after. Rafael and Anca were always attentive to each of our individual needs and delightful company. They set the tone for a warm and fun learning and social experience.
  • J. Wasem - Switzerland
  • My opinion can be summed up like this: Follow many workshops and phototrips with Rafael and Anca and you will learn to photograph in a different way!
  • T. Von Weid - Switzerland
  • Totally personalized workshop with a very friendly ambiance. Rafael and Anca ensured a great transmission of their passion and knowledge about photography...even when it rained!
  • J. Thies - Germany
  • I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your constructive feedback session. This is the part that often misses out in other photography workshops and I believe your approach to send it after the actual workshop as a video download is really excellent. Your workshop in Grindelwald was top notch and the kind personality of Anca and you speak for themselves.
  • S. Schild - Switzerland
  • Excellent photographic workshops! Personalized and passionate tuition, gorgeous ambiance, field instruction mixed with feedback and critique of the photographs taken...After many workshops made with them, I never stop learning and it is always a great pleasure to come back with Rafael and Anca! All the teaching is tailored to each of the participants and of great quality, and the good sense of humor never abandons Rafael and Anca. The workshops are planned with a lot of thought, and we are always in the right place at the right time. The only problem is...all workshops and trips are quickly sold out!
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    The magic forest

    • Place: Cossonay, Switzerland
    • Date: 22nd October 2017
    • Price: 220 CHF
    • Number of Places: 6
    • Language: EN, FR
    available

    workshop highlights

      Learn how to deal with the contrast, confusion and complexity of the forest

      Break away from your preconceptions about light and discover why ‘bad’ weather is actually good weather in the forest

      Hone your photographic eye and capture a myriad of intimate scenes with your camera

      Discover the importance of perspective when shooting in the woods

      Constructive Feedback video (1 hour) of participants' photographs, sent after the worskhop 

    difficulty level: Easy
    photography level: All