Finally the day arrived when it was time for my long awaited Expedition – photography workshop to start 🙂
It started as a bit of a shock as it was snowing and freezing cold in Glasgow, and I could not wait to shake the cold and fly south to sunny Italia.
After a taxi, a bus, a short wait and a flight I was in Frankfurt waiting for my second flight to Innsbruck; the adventure had begun.
Finally I arrived in Innsbruck and as promised, Basti was waiting to pick me up, and after a short drive we arrived at the hotel where I would spend the first night. Soon after arriving I met three of the other aspiring photographers and luckily, they knew how to gain access to the hotel so I could settle in for a restless night.
The 8 o’clock breakfast was excellent with all the nice bread and cold meats that are impossible to get back home in Scotland. When I met some more of the group, it turned out I was the only non- German speaker, but the guys made an effort to include me in the conversation.
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and a 10 minute car ride later we arrived in Stange, ready for day one! 😀
Briefly, I was introduction to the rest of the team; Benjamin, Wolfgang, David, Jeanette, Christian, Basti and of course Ulla. We prepared for a short hike in the mountains and I was privileged enough to borrow Ulla’s spare Canon 5D (I want that camera 😀 ) and away we went.
It was a nice relaxed hike while chatting and observing the stunning views and of course taking loads of photos. We stopped for a short lunch break where Ulla explained about the camera and our first assignment. We got our first task of taking a portrait of our partner for the day, in my case it was Jeanette and we had a laugh while we practised striking a suitable pose. 🙂
After much laughter and strict instructions to ONLY use the cameras on manual settings we set off again through the forest and we soon came to the first big patches of snow where the group split up. With the choice of a longer hike and a shorter one, I chose the slightly longer hike with Basti and we set out in the light rain and soon made it out of the forest and above the tree line to some stunning views before circling round and heading back down in the valley where before long we spotted the other group walking along a road far below us. Basti quickly called them and they agreed to wait while we scrambled down a step grassy slope and soon we were all walking along the road towards the waiting cars and fantasizing about a cold beer.
Back at Pension Ridnauntal we were greeted by the lovely Christel and got our rooms allocated. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge flat consisting of kitchen, lounge, hallway, bathroom, bedroom and private balcony. After a quick shower to wash away the days sweat and sooth my sore feet. I joined Ulla and Basti downstairs for a cold beer and to pick my best 10 photos from the day.
After a super dinner cooked by Ulla, we got straight to business presenting our best 10 shots of the day and afterwards Ulla gave a short but very inspiring presentation with some of her background and her journey to where she is today.
Started with waking up early and eager to get started but had to pace myself and wait for breakfast to be served at 8 o’clock and it was well worth the wait, if the previous breakfast was good, this was heaven with loads of cheeses, meats, breads, soft boiled eggs and good coffee 🙂
The weather was not being too friendly with heavy rain so luckily the workshop is extremely flexible and plan changed to theory and presentations in the morning, only interrupted by a coffee break where Ulla quickly made the dough for the homemade pizzas that was planned for our dinner 🙂
Early afternoon we drove up to a pass, left the cars behind and hiked but this time in deep snow and sometimes in heavy snowfall, but we had an absolute blast playing in and with the snow.
It was slightly harder to photograph the great vistas in the ever changing conditions but the day’s task was mainly to capture the mood of the day and try not to get hit by the snowballs flying left and right 😀
Our hike took us past the still open ski lifts and I could not help thinking I should have brought my shiny new Nitro snowboard for a bit of extra fun! 🙂
After a bit of silent reflection we drove back to base to download the days’ work and taste Ulla’s homemade pizzas before the evening’s presentations and lectures.
I’m very sad to say this is where my Expedition – photography Workshop ended as I got some sad personal news and had to book a ticket out of this little corner of paradise.
I owe Basti and Ulla a 1000 thanks for being super helpful and flexible and can only warmly recommend their workshops for anyone who is interested in outdoor/expedition photography and all information can be found here www.ullalohmann.com
Due to my sudden departure I didn’t get my photos copied to my personal HD and have nothing to show but luckily the highly talented Benjamin managed to make a short video that can be viewed here.