Join me in a beautiful location and be taught all I know about photography
and especially, composition, design and creativity
Bird & Wildlife PhotographyWorkshops

Workshops: Bosch Hoek Lodge

The workshops will be held near my home in Balgowan (KwaZulu-Natal) where there is both beautiful accommodation, wholesome food and exquisite natural surroundings. Winter and summer are both beautiful times to visit the area and the environment presents some wonderful photographic opportunities (as can be seen by all the images on this page). You will be given opportunities to practice what you have learnt in the spectacular biomes that are available on the property; including Afromontane forest, wetland, dam and high altitude grasslands.

Half-collared Kingfisher
We have 5 different species of Kingfisher within a kilometre of my home. You may be lucky to encounter our Giant, Malachite, Brown-hooded, Pied or Half-collared Kingfishers on your walks (although July can be tricky for Half-collared given the varying water levels).
A Malachite Sunbird taken a few hundred metres from my front door in Balgowan. This image was highly commended in Nature's Best Africa and just goes to show that you don't have to travel far to take award winning images. This workshop hopes to teach you all I know about what it takes to produce consistently great images.

The workshop will cover similar content to my mentorship programme, but tailored to a group setting. It will be an intimate gathering of a minimum of three people and a maximum of six. Although the online, one-on-one mentorship programme enables a more focused learning environment where you receive in-depth feedback on your work and approach, this group environment will allow for lots of fun, immediate practical application (weather permitting) and the ability to learn from others.

From a high level summary perspective, the workshop will cover the following: We will start the course with an interactive session where we get to know one other. Like most things in life a great workshop relies on a sense of belonging and team and this is what our first session is all about; creating a safe space where we can share and interact.

Time in the field and a love for your subject allows for the unexpected to happen with your camera in hand. While wondering around my home environment I suddenly caught a flash of wings as this African Marsh Harrier circled low above me to drop nesting material off at a hidden site in the wetland below.

The next session focuses on the essentials for taking good photographs. I will start right at the beginning and assume that you know none of them. This will ensure we all begin the next session with the same foundation stones in place. I will not only share with you my insights from the past 14 years of photography but also provide case studies in terms of how these essentials have been applied in my own work and can be applied in yours.

Southern Red Bishop
Part of "the essentials" includes how to use light to your advantage when creating your images. We look at a variety of light types from golden light to diffuse light to back-lighting and how these conditions can be used to achieve unique images.

These sessions will be interspersed with some guided as well as solo walks in our beautiful surroundings, where we will have time to put what we have learned into practice as well as identify what to look for in photographic locations and opportunities.

We then move into a session where I unpack composition and design. This is something I am incredibly passionate about and can’t wait to share. I believe it is one of the keys to unlocking your potential and taking great photographs. I don’t believe that you have to be born with an eye for art or photography or that composition and design is about how you feel or what you think looks the part. On the contrary, I believe anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort can become good at it and that it is based on mathematics, geometry and some well proven approaches.

The reed beds where I live hold a variety of weavers and bishop and present interesting opportunities for unique compositions. In this example, I used the rule of thirds, implied and leading lines, as well patterns and repetition to create a balanced and pleasing image. I look forward to sharing with you what some of the great masters of art were taught about composition and how this still applies to us as wildlife photographers.

This will lead nicely into some time discussing my post processing workflow and the tools I use. I don’t like being stuck behind a computer screen and hence, this session will give you a look into how I go about putting the finishing touches on my photographs. We will then consider what I look for when judging competitions as well as what goes into selecting a portfolio and/or competition entries. Honing your “eyes for detail” is essential if you want to start pushing your own personal boundaries.

I found this mountain wagtail along a fast flowing stream near my home. I selected a slow shutter speed to change the look and feel of the image. Knowing how to use different settings on your camera can help increase your creative options. That said, I think there are far more powerful ways to be creative than just changing the settings on your camera!

We will then wrap things up with arguably the most exciting subject in photography; the wonders of creativity; where we look at what tools we have available to be creative as well as some of the practices we can put in place to lay the table for success. We will have time to be still and give the creative process a chance to grow and develop. By adding creativity to a solid understanding of composition and design, you stand a good chance of moving your images from good to great.

What this workshop is not about: This workshop will is not a technical one and will not cover how to use your camera or how to set up your camera for bird or wildlife photography (although I will provide some guidance in this regard). Although there will be time for application, the purpose of the workshop is not to achieve an outstanding portfolio for each participant but rather to learn together, build confidence in our art and hopefully achieve some beautiful images in the process. The workshop will also not cover the very technical parts of post processing. It does however aim to teach you what you need to know in order to, given the necessary patience and practice, become the best photographer you can be and a very well rounded one at that.

Taking photographs of common birds and trying different techniques, perspectives and presentation options can allow for some unique and interesting images. You may well have the chance to try your own luck at capturing some of the fork-tailed drongos that hunt over the meadows nearby.

If you would like to discuss this with me over a virtual coffee, please add this to your enquiry and I will set up a 30 minute zoom or google meets session for us. I look forward to hearing from you!

“I attended the workshop with Richard from 30 June to 3 July at Bosh Hoek. The setting, the lodge, the food, the atmosphere, superb. What lifted it above other workshops was the host, Richard. His knowledge of photography and birds, and his willingness to share was outstanding. His kindness and deep love of what he does shone through in all that he shared. I loved the theory, and the walks with Richard around Bosch Hoek were so informative and special. Richard, thank you so much – and it was so special to meet your family too. I am a fan for life.”

(Des V, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa)

Upcoming Workshops

3rd to 6th May 2024
(Bosch Hoek Lodge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

23rd to 29th October 2024 
(Tenahead Lodge & Spa, Eastern Cape, South Africa)

Enquire Here

Please get in touch if you are interested in finding out more. I offer a free virtual coffee to ensure I am able to meet your unique and personal expectations and allow time to get to know each other before any commitments are made.