Sean Duggan – Much More Than a Photo Tour
Iceland is a top destination for photographers and for good reason. The landscape palette in this small and welcoming country includes rugged coasts, beautiful waterfalls, intricate textures and patterns, majestic snowy peaks, volcanic highlands, surreal moss-covered lava fields that go on for miles and miles, the largest ice cap in Europe, and glacial lakes filled with sculptural icebergs that float to sea to then wash back up on a black sand beach. The golden light at the beginning and end of the day lasts for hours, ensuring plenty of time to enjoy the magic illumination at these times. And in certain seasons, including during my Autumn & Aurora Discoveries workshop this October, there is the possibility of experiencing and photographing the aurora borealis dancing in the night sky.
But since you’ve found your way to the Focus on Nature site, you probably have done your research and you already know why Iceland is such a great destination for photographers. So what distinguishes my Focus on Nature workshop from all the other photo tours in Iceland?
First and foremost are the people: Experienced locals, photographers themselves, who have been doing this for years. They take care of everything from picking you up at the airport to taking you back for your return flight. And in the time between arrival and departure, no detail is overlooked in the goal of making your time with them an incredible, fun, and memorable experience. I know this firsthand because I have traveled with them on a workshop trip so I could get a sense of what it was like. And the experience far exceeded my high expectations. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken!
Once we leave Reykjavik, we base ourselves at comfortable hotels in key locations that allow for daylong excursions to some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. We travel in style, too. In the deluxe 4WD excursion van, every participant has two seats to themselves, 220v electrical power and a WI-FI connection. That extra seat you have is not just for spreading out and having a place for some of your gear; it also allows me the opportunity for casual one-on-one instruction as we travel to locations. This time is perfect for talking about photographic technique, composition, digital processing, and the many ways to enhance your creative seeing and image interpretation. Having that extra space in a deluxe vehicle is one of the little touches that elevate a Focus on Nature trip to a different level than most photo tours.
Another thing that’s different is the focus on creative growth. We do much more than just transport you to beautiful places to take photographs: the goal is also to create a supportive environment for learning and improving your craft so you can take your art to a new level. When we’re not out photographing, we take time to review the images that we’re making during the week and discuss how they are working or not working. We explore ways to make your images better, whether that’s through a different camera method, or processing techniques in Lightroom, Photoshop and other software. But the learning experience in this workshop doesn’t stop when you leave Iceland. After you’ve arrived back home and had a chance to settle in with some of your images, I provide every participant with a complimentary online session for further review of your photographs and ways you might choose to improve and enhance them with post processing technique.
Some of the times that I’ve felt the most alive and excited as a photographer are when I’ve traveled to a place I’ve always wanted to go to, for the sole purpose of seeing, exploring, and making images. By stepping outside your normal routine and traveling to those “bucket list” places so you can immerse yourself in your photography, your creative awareness is heightened and enhanced. You see things with a new eye because the primary purpose of the journey is to see. You’re energized by the experience and that energy and creative inspiration infuses your photography.
On my Autumn and Aurora Discoveries in Iceland workshop, all the ingredients are there for a fantastic and memorable trip: Enthusiastic photographers with excellent guides in a place with stunning landscapes, beautiful light and possibilities for creative image making everywhere we turn. I hope you’ll join us for this incredible experience!