Jurassic Coast bespoke photography course

Photography around Lyme Regis and Charmouth, in western Dorset

Fossils, beaches and a harbour in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

For this Jurassic Coast bespoke photography course would you like to:

  • Explore and photograph giant fossils on the shore close to Lyme Regis?
  • Capture the colour, clutter and patterns of Lyme Regis’s working harbour?
  • Photograph the cliffs, rocks, pools and reflections of Charmouth beach?

If so, then this course is for you.

What the locations and photography consist of

This photographic trip focusses in on the coast around the famous seaside town of Lyme Regis and the nearby beach at Charmouth. The day starts with an exploration of the town’s harbour, along with its famous Cobb (the harbour’s outer wall), where we home in on structures, patterns and details among the boats and the colourful piles of fishing tackle. Ideally, this should be done at high tide, when the harbour looks at its best.

As the tide drops we then explore nearby Monmouth Beach, where we photograph some of its giant Ammonite fossils, particularly its ‘Fossil Garden’.

A half-day trip ends once we’ve finished on Monmouth Beach. During the full-day trip, the fossil photography is followed by a move to nearby Charmouth, where – at low tide – we photograph the cliffs, rocks, pools and patterns created by reflections in the wet sand.

What you will learn about

The course will aim to teach the following skills:

● The ability to spot potential image compositions around the harbour, among the beachside fossils and along the seashore, composing and shooting both wider views and details;

● Control of and making use of the balance between shutter speed and lens aperture to gain the best exposure, and to control depth of field (ie the amount of the image that is sharply in focus);

● Making full use some of the camera’s most important functions, such as semi-manual modes, in particular shutter-priority and aperture-priority, in order to help you to get away from ‘auto-everything’. We’ll also learn to use the ISO settings, image histogram and exposure compensation;

● Such techniques as the use of slow shutter speeds to blur moving water, and filters will be covered;

● Executing the image, using positioning, perspective, focus control, use of light, and lens focal length to create simple, strong compositions.

Full-day or half-day?

Naturally, it is not possible to cover as much material in a half-day as can be achieved with a full-day. As described above, the full-day encompasses Lyme Regis’s harbour, Monmouth Beach and Charmouth, while the half-day trip excludes the last of these.

A half-day course will give you roughly a four-hour trip, most of which will consist of photography, though there will be some tuition and walking time.

A full-day provides a 7-8 hour trip, again consisting mostly of photography time, but interspersed with some tuition and time travelling between sites.

See the prices below as part of making your choice.

Prices

Half-day (up to four hours): £250 for 1-4 people, and an additional £65 for each additional person;

Full-day (7-8 hours): £350 for 1-4 people, and an additional £95 for each additional person.

  • Charmouth beach at low tide; Jurassic Coast bespoke photography
  • Ammonite fossils at Lyme Regis; Jurassic Coast bespoke photography
  • Fishing gear, Lyme Regis; Jurassic Coast bespoke photography
  • The Cobb, Lyme Regis; Jurassic Coast bespoke photography
  • Fisherman's net, Lyme Regis

What you will need

The camera equipment you’ll need to bring is simply what is useful for general photography. If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with several lenses then a focal length range of about 17-300mm will be fine. If you have just the one zoom lens, or a compact camera, these are fine too – you’ll still be able to take great photos without having to worry about changing lens!

If you have any close-up equipment bring this, though it is not essential. Similarly, if you have any filters bring these too, though again they are not essential.

Please bring a tripod – it may be needed if light levels are low. If you don’t have one please let me know as I may be able to lend you one.

Please make sure your camera battery/ies is/are fully charged, and that there is lots of space on your memory card(s).

Wear good walking shoes. We will be walking on a mix of stone (sometimes quite rough beach boulders), sand and shingle, so wear shoes that you’re comfortable with for such terrain. Make sure they are also shoes that you don’t mind getting wet with salt water.

Unfortunately, it is always quite possible that we will have some rain, so be sure to bring plenty of waterproofing for both yourself and your camera gear.

Bring your own food and drink, or the means to buy them: there are of course plenty of shops and cafes in Lyme Regis.

Facilities

There are plenty of pay-and-display car parks in Lyme Regis. The most conveniently close to our photography location is the harbour car park, close to the Cobb. A little further away, but significantly cheaper is Holm Bush car park, next to the main road on the edge of the town, and on the hill above the harbour.

There are also several pay-and-display car parks beside the beach in Charmouth.

There are public toilets beside the harbour in Lyme Regis, and next to the beach at Charmouth.

There are plenty of shops and cafes in which to buy food in Lyme Regis. At Charmouth, beside the beach there is one cafe though it is of rather poor quality.

A weather note

The entire length of this trip, whether half-day or full-day, will be spent out in the open, so please be prepared for rain showers.

Some flexibility regarding the scheduling may be needed. If in the final few days before the event we have a severe weather forecast for the planned day then it may be necessary to reschedule the event, hopefully for just one or perhaps two days later. Please try to include this flexibility when making your travel plans.

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