Sherwood Forest & Budby South Reserve
Single Day Photography Workshop
Developing visual storytelling & project based photography
Ancient woodlands, wildlife abundant heathland, myth, legend and folklore.
Sherwood forest is a magical destination for everyone who wants to enjoy this beautiful ancient woodland and the diverse flora and fauna that lives here. It is also, of course, home to the enduring legend of Robin Hood.
Here you’ll find 375 hectares in Sherwood's part of the National Nature Reserve, which is home to hundreds of species of bird, insect, mammal, fungi, tree and plant. Wooded for centuries, and once part of a vast royal hunting ground, Sherwood’s a unique place to visit, boasting hundreds of ancient oaks thriving here for more than 500 years, including the legendary Major Oak, estimated to be around 1,000 years old.
Sherwood Forest has, for centuries, conjured up visions of its most famous resident – Robin Hood. At the heart of Sherwood’s legend, Robin and his merry men defend the rights of the poor, fool the law and hide out in amongst the forest’s famous oaks – a legend that has constantly adapted since the late medieval age, but has always endured. Tales of Robin Hood and his heroic acts still bring an air of magic to the woodlands he is said to have roamed. Maybe he still does or at least his spirit…
Apart from the legend of Robin Hood? Amongst many other wonderful things, the jewel in Sherwood's crown is the collection of ancient oaks – almost 1,000 of them, making this the biggest and best place to find these trees in Europe.
There’s also some amazing invertebrate species and birds like the lesser spotted woodpecker and tree pipit. All of this, and the fact that it’s one of the best surviving examples of oak-birch woodland in the UK, make Sherwood a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) protected under European law. As a unique habitat, much of what thrives here is rarely seen outside the forest, and even here some of our more elusive species are hard to spot, making sightings all the more exciting and memorable.
Budby is the largest area of historic heathland in the Midlands, blended with ancient woodland. Nightjars, woodlarks and tree pipits make the most of the heath through summer. In winter, crossbills and flocks of siskins flit through the remnant pines and ghostly birch trees.
Budby is an extraordinary blend of historic heathland and ancient woodland and wood pasture; a snapshot of a medieval landscape. Nightjars, woodlarks and tree pipits make the most of the large expanses of open heath through summer, along with scrub-loving yellowhammers, linnets and willow warblers. In winter, you can see crossbills, goldcrests and large flocks of redpolls and siskins flitting through the remnant pines and ghostly birch trees.
A range of butterflies and moths flutter through grassy expanses and glide along sunny rides through sunnier months. Common lizards take advantage of warm basking spots among the heather. Native red deer and rabbits help the English longhorn cattle graze the heath and grassland mosaic, creating a rich tapestry for the plethora of invertebrates that live here, like the black oil beetles, rare spiders and mining bees.
Our day will be one of exploration around these ancient woodland and heathland landscapes as we each focus on our individual approach to telling the story of this unique and important habitat. The light will be varied throughout the day as we walk from open heathland to shaded oak woodland. Our visual stories will explore this unique place across all scales, from the close-up detail of textures and insects right up to the wide expansive pictures to capture the context of Sherwood and Budby.
The wide variety of wildlife and mixed habitat will mean it's certainly not all trees, there will be inspiration a plenty for every photographer. Once thing you will find though is the close attention to making sense of complex woodland / scrubland will strengthen your visual literacy and compositions ensuring you're adding more skillsets to your visual toolkit when you next head out to photograph.
By the end of a busy and creatively fulfilling day you'll have developed an eye for visual storytelling and have the images in the bag for your projects.
WHAT IS A PROJECT?
“A piece of planned work or an activity that is finished over a period of time and
intended to achieve a particular purpose”. Cambridge Dictionary
What Are Our Objectives?
1. To produce a finished photographic mini project within the workshop timescale
2. To make, rather than to take, photographic pictures
3. To think conceptually about your aims and outcomes
“In photography of serious ambition, the photographer’s subject is almost never
simply the subject matter”. Peter Fraser
Sherwood & Budby South - Developing Compelling Visual Storytelling
We will be exploring some of the ideas and approaches to help develop personal strategies for producing
photographic projects. As photographers we are all accustomed to the producing images, but many of us are
less familiar, and may find hard to rationalise, the concept of a photographic project. The project is in
essence an extended, but connected, body of work, where we are able to shape the possibilities of why and
how we can develop a series of photographs.
A project can feel somewhat nebulous and abstract, without a firm idea of the what, why and how. Many
photographers are often left scratching around for project ideas that can sometimes fail to materialise. Our locations are complex, busy, small, large and evocative of the areas history and heritage that will ask us to focus our attention on developing a coherent visual story through the piecing together of our work rather than purely focusing on single images.
Our day brief essentially asks that we, ‘playfully’, develop a given concept from inception through to
completion. From our pre workshop online session through the days practical picture making to the post workshop online session; we will explore, reflect and refine our practical work throughout the workshop, by beginning
to recognise how some key practitioners throughout the history of photography, have developed their
photographic picture-making and project objectives. Most importantly, The workshop will be practice based,
that is, pictures made. It will be an opportunity to do as Todd Hido suggests, which is; “Slow down and think
about your craft”. The photographer John Blakemore eloquently reflects the ethos of the workshop;
“At the conclusion of any extended piece of work, one inevitably questions
the results. What have I learned during this journey? What has this intense period
of activity been about?”
The workshop will help develop your understanding, ability and confidence to conceive of and to make, a
series/set of photographs that are bound by the explorative nature of your project. You will learn to
understand better the intentions of your body of work. It will also ask of you to consider how a picture ‘looks’,
that is, the possibilities of framing, what photographer Larry Fink describes as “that little instantaneous
nuance and movement”. Photographing is the art of selection and arrangement combined.
“You can’t wait until you have a great idea, because it’s not a great idea until you get into it.” John Szarkowski
The workshop is for anyone working digitally or analogue, with a camera or with a smartphone. It is for
anyone who wants to consider and to understand better how to develop their creative photographic potential.
The workshop is for anyone who wishes to explore and reconnect with their passion for making photographs,
and to help develop personal creativity through defining and working on a photographic project.
This workshop is for anyone who works with the medium using any process or combination of processes.
Essentially, it is about the possibility of the photographic picture and personal commitment. This is also for
anyone who might work, in video, audio or the written word. This introduction to photographic based projects
will allow you to bring your work together, and to reflect upon your picture-making and visual story telling as
you shape your own photographic project around this unique location.
The workshop will be practical in its main focus but also utilise different models of learning including:
• Scheduled pre online group session to understand the nature of project working.
• A full extended day dedicated practical on location in Sheffield creating our projects.
• Group online video/audio discussions sessions led by Rob where we will discuss your personal
approaches to project development.
• Live discussion in the post session to collaborate and learn from tutors, but importantly for peers to consider
alternative viewpoints and potential outputs for our work.
• Structured feedback both group based and individually throughout.
• Collaborative working to further develop ideas around your project-based work.
On completion of the workshop each participant will receive a summary of their development. Each
participant can (if requested) be issued with a digital credential to demonstrate workshop participation which
can then be added to and shown on digital cv's, social media and on the learners LinkedIn profile, for
example, if they have one.
On Completion You will be able to:
1. Acknowledge some ideas related to photographic projects.
2. Recognise some key photographers and their approaches to the series or project.
3. Explore strategic approaches to working in a project manner.
4. Apply knowledge and strategies in creating personal photographic projects.
5. Demonstrate an explorative mindset around a project and alternative viewpoints.
6. To reflect, explain and critique your own images and project ideas.
7. Embrace a playful approach to developing projects.
8. Critically reflect on your final project body of work.
9. Reflect on the impact of working with attention over a given period and how this has affected
creative understanding and development.
Our final output from the workshop will be to present a 'portfolio site' of our mini project with accompanying words and any additional media we choose to embellish our project with.
This new and exciting workshop is a practical on location single day workshop with the addition of the pre and post online components that will be delivered via our
dedicated online learning platform, video live group sessions and innovative collaboration tools where we will facilitate an engaging, positive, and challenging learning environment for all participants.
“One cannot photograph experience, but to have lived it can change and develop habitual
ways of seeing and of knowing." John Blakemore
This workshop is highly practical and participatory and will develop an effective toolkit with which you can frame your approach to photography and working in series' moving forward.
1. You don't need to be an athlete, we will be walking woodlands, heathlands and pathways but not too far and remember..... it's not a race.
2. There will be very little hill climbing around Sherwood or Budby, it is generally flat
3. Terrain and surfaces will be mixed so wear appropriate and day comfortable footwear
4. The weather might be changeable so bring appropriate clothing
5. Ensure you bring water for the day although there is a cafe / shop at the visitor centre
6. We will be walking carefully amongst longer grasses / gorse / bracken, be aware of ticks etc
7. Ensure you have enough spare batteries and camera memory cards for a full day
8. Remember your camera equipment you may wish to use such as lenses, filters and tripod
9. The cars will be not too far away for bags so you don't need to carry all your kit all day
Equally though you could pack a small day kit bag with a mixed focal range and work hand held, it's about feeling comfortable and immersed in your picture making / visual storytelling and not worrying about bags being too heavy and cumbersome.
1. All tuition on workshop
2. Pre & Post online sessions to develop your project
3. All access to online portal for pre and post workshop sessions
1. Travel / transport to and on workshop
2. Meals - please bring packed lunches
3. Travel, equipment, and personal insurances
4. Any parking charges at our location
To sign up for this new workshop click the 'book now' button below. Then select the appropriate workshop and date from the bookings page.
We guarantee this course will both enable and empower every attendee moving forward with their photography and personal creative journey no matter your previous level of experience.
WORKSHOP DATES: 15th October 2023
Course price: £165 per person
The workshop will be operated under the current Covid guidelines for everyone's safety, we are actively testing twice weekly to ensure we are Covid free on the delivery date and we are fully vaccinated.
"I loved every aspect of the workshop; it has made me look at my photography in a whole new light. I feel confident to explore ideas and develop a project from the ground up right through to completion. The locations chosen are both inspiring and challenging at the same time, enough to really get me deep into exploring a place and trying to tell my story of the place."
"It has made my completely rethink photobooks and how I will approach my projects and books in the future"
"I like and appreciate that Rob is very clear in what he says and has a very easy and relaxed manner. At no time was I made to feel that I wasn't an equal member of the group and my opinions/contributions were as valuable as everyone else's. This is a skill not all trainers possess."