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“Isle of Harris and Lewis Workshop - March 2018”

Melvin Nicholson Photography
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Melvin Nicholson Photography offers landscape photography workshops and expert 1-2-1 tuition throughout the Lake District and the UK. I offer one, two and three day workshops in the Lake District and are based in the following areas; Keswick, Windermere, Ullswater, Buttermere and Coniston, If you love landscape photography and either wish to improve your photography skills with a professional photographer or simply have me be your experienced location guide taking you to the very best places then I can help you.
Reviewed 8 April 2018

In the middle of March 2018 I attended Melvin Nicholson's Isle of Harris and Lewis Workshop. I was searching the internet and found Melvin's website and his workshop in the Outer Hebrides and the idea of spending a week in Scotland photographing the Outer Hebrides was very appealing and Mel did not disappoint.

As you can see from my rating, I thought the workshop was outstanding. There were four other enthusiast photographers on the workshop and we were also joined by Tony Higginson, a professional wedding and landscape photographer who is also based in England. I don't think that we could have had a better group for the week. Everyone got along well and as my English friends would say, our time together was cracking!

Mel showed himself to be enthusiastic and knowledgable about photography and was willing to take whatever time was necessary to help you with compositions and settings and was always offering to provide you with his suggestions. Mel was adaptable to any skill level and made everyone feel comfortable and at ease with his demeanor and sense of humor.

Each day we would have breakfast and then head out to our morning location. Once on location, we were pretty much free to explore the area and find our own interesting compositions. With the exception of a couple of locations (salt marshes and small beach where the size of the area is limited) we were all able to obtain unique perspectives and compositions. There were times where the locations dictated that the compositions would be similar, but there was plenty of opportunity to explore your own creative vision. I found this aspect of the workshop very appealing. We would have lunch on the road (a simple bag lunch supplied by the hotel) and would then usually go to one or two locations in the afternoon/evening.

It was also clear that Mel had spent time scouting the island and was familiar with the various locations. He intentionally makes the itinerary flexible, with the final decision on a particular destination primarily based on the weather and tide conditions. This workshop focused primarily on shooting with a couple of image review/post processing sessions. While in a perfect world I would have liked to have had a little more time on image review and post processing to see how everyone approached the different locations, it would have come at the expense of shooting.

The workshop included all of our accommodations and food. We stayed at the Isle of Harris Hotel in Tarbert and can say it was outstanding. The hotel itself is what I would term a classic. The rooms have tartan rugs with wooden dressers and furniture. The rooms themselves were clean and spacious. The food, particularly for dinner, exceeded my expectations. The menu was varied and all of the meals were delicious and were a perfect way to end a day of photography.

The week with Mel and the rest of the group was top notch. The workshop allowed us to explore the Isle of Harris and Lewis and to get our creative juices flowing. Being able to enjoy my photography in the company of a great group made the experience all the better. As photographers we strive for the end result, the image, but I enjoy the process of taking the pictures almost as much as the final image. Being at a location and experiencing the conditions, the atmosphere and the scenery and being able to do it with people who enjoy photography as much as I do makes for a great time. Mel provided me with an excellent experience and I hope to join him again on another workshop.

Scott DeMello

Thank Scott D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melvin_Nicholson, Owner at Melvin Nicholson Photography, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2018

Hi Scott

Well, firstly many thanks for such a lovely review. I really appreciate those who invest their time, energy and finances in joining me on my multi-day photography tours. When the person invests so much, it is my responsibility to deliver the best tour that I can and that encompasses many things including an in-depth knowledge of the locations (from having spent time there myself and recce the island thoroughly), to ensuring that the hotel is comfortable with great staff and even better food. Transport is so important too and owning a new nine seater Ford Tourneo minibus really helps to have people transported around the island comfortably and safely.

But ultimately, people attend to discover the island and to capture some beautiful images and if I am able to assist in any way, all's the better for me and my clients. I get a genuine buzz out of assisting people and helping them to develop their skills behind their camera and also from giving them a really pleasurable experience from running a great photography tour. But it is great people who make a great experience and to that end Scott, you were fantastic. A true American gent with a superb sense of humour and you really added a tremendous amount to the tour not just for me but also for the rest of the group too and for that and everything else that you brought to the tour, a HUGE thank you from me. People like you make my job all the easier and definitely more enjoyable.

I really hope to see you again on another tour Scott and in the meantime, if there's anything that I can help you with, you know where I am.

Continued happy photographing Scott.

Best wishes Melvin

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Reviewed 7 April 2018 via mobile

The Iceland Workshop was both exciting and disappointing but not due to Melvin’s fault. We had extremely difficult weather conditions resulting in white-out blizzards, high winds, road closures and deep snow which resulted in less opportunities for photography which was, of course, the reason for the trip. Bad timing. But I decided early on to just enjoy the trip regardless and experience Iceland without worrying too much about photography.

Melvin handled the rough weather conditions like a pro. He provided a comfortable, safe Mercedes 4WD vehicle for our group and while we drove through some scary weather conditions, I never once felt unsafe. Melvin was always cheerful and confident. We went to most of the Iceland photo icons and a few off the usual course. I was satisfied with most of my images.

What I did appreciate was Melvin’s professional attention to detail and his ability to make amendments to the itinerary when the original plans failed due to road closings. We continued our journey with nice substitute lodging. I was very pleased with the accommodations that Melvin chose for our group and the food was good, too. I know that the challenging weather conditions and driving in them with us under his care must have been stressful for Melvin, but I never heard him complain once and he was always exceedingly cheerful. I definitely recommend the Iceland trip with Melvin!

Thank TravelPhoto_AS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melvin_Nicholson, Owner at Melvin Nicholson Photography, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2018

Hi Anne

WOW, didn't we have a really 'interesting' and 'eventful' time in Iceland back in February this year? I have been to Iceland several times now and all I can say is thank heavens I have run several workshops over the winter months previously because it required all that I had to get us from one place to another safely. The weather was as challenging as I would ever want to drive in BUT you, David and Fred were superb clients and I could not have done it without you all. So a BIG THANK YOU from me for helping me provide you all with the best possible experience.

The vehicle (Mercedes 4x4 minibus) was fantastic at getting us around, even in deep snow and ice. At one point, all of the roads in southern Iceland were closed (and showing red on the travel website) but the alternative accommodation was just lovely. The views though of the scenery were just outstanding. I could see a million photographs everywhere we travelled and I did not want to return home. Iceland is a very special place and for all of its challenges (this is why I always recommend people go with an experienced tour guide who has run workshops in Iceland in the winter before); the country certainly leaves a long lasting impression on you.

I just LOVE ICELAND. Not just in the winter but the autumn is pretty special too which is why I run tours in October there.

I appreciate your kind words regarding my professional attention to detail too. I go to extreme lengths to ensure that I research the locations, hotels and car rental places in thorough detail before committing because I understand that for most people who join me, this is their biggest holiday experience of the year and I want to make it as special as I can and do it with a smile on my face too. That's important to me.

Anyhow Anne, thank you once again for leaving such a lovely review and I hope to see you again sometime in the future. If there is anything else that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to let me know. Until then, continued happy photographing.

Best wishes Melvin
.

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Reviewed 29 March 2018

I am a hobby photographer for many years. Since a few years I have more time for it. And last year I decided to invest in my hobby by making a photo trip next year. I found Melvin and decided to sign up at the moment I saw the pictures of the Isle of Skye. I had the tendency to google all the beautiful pictures of Skye but decided not to do so in order to prevent myself for a too high standard. So I went there with an open mindset, not knowing what to expect.

Well, it rained three days out of four and a half days, the length of the workshop. And I met the high standard of the professional photographer. I had to deal with standing in the water while it was raining. Everything became wet, because I wasn’t equipped enough for that. My most important challenge was to learn to apply my technics fast: calculating the right settings in my head and executing them in the right workflow with my tripod, camera, filters and stoppers. In the meantime the tide lowered that fast, or the light changed that the composition was gone. So I had to restart again. At certain moments I was quite frustrated. But finally, at the end of the trip I was fast enough and then it was over (smile). Melvin was coaching us by walking by, asking the right questions, proposing the right composition, suggesting the right settings. Later in the week he waited for our questions. I liked that.

In the evenings he helped us editing our pictures. I do not use Photohop, so I learned his way of working with that software. Surprisingly I understood the principles of his Photoshop workflow, so I was happy with that. Opens new ways for the future.

Final conclusion: I am happy with my compositions and with my processing of my workflow. But I have not a load of the most beautiful pictures in my bag on my way home. Next year a second chance, I hope.

Thank Johan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melvin_Nicholson, Owner at Melvin Nicholson Photography, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2018

Hi Johan

Welcome to the Isle of Skye and its changeable weather which can prove interesting but also provide so many opportunities to capture some outstanding images. Like you say, being knowledgeable about your camera and what it can do and having the right equipment will always yield the best results. Of course having a capable workshop tutor on hand can improve the chances of capturing some beautiful images but for me it's more about teaching those who attend to develop the skills necessary so that they can go home and take beautiful images for themselves.

As for the workshop itself, I really enjoyed your company Johan and I am so pleased that you enjoyed your time with me and those who attended. The five bedroom cottage near Portree was just perfect for our needs and allowed us to set up the laptop, projector and the 84" projector screen and review everyone's images and run through how I edit using Photoshop too.

Many thanks for coming all the way from the Netherlands Johan. It was great to meet you and I hope to do so again in the future. If you require any assistance and I am able to help, please just contact me, until then, continued happy shooting and smiling.

Best wishes Melvin

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Reviewed 28 March 2018

A really good week, good hotel, good food, good locations and good company. We had a lot of laughs and I returned with many images that I am delighted with.

Thank TimGilbert6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melvin_Nicholson, Owner at Melvin Nicholson Photography, responded to this reviewResponded 29 March 2018

Hi Tim

It is great to hear that you really enjoyed your time with me and those who attended. Like you say the whole week long trip was really good. For me personally, it was one of the most enjoyable workshops/tours I have run in the years I have been running workshops and tours. The company was excellent with so many laughs and funny stories being shared that it really made the week for me.

The Harris Hotel was excellent as usual. Superb food, friendly staff and a great location. The scenery on both Harris and Lewis is legendary and without doubt some of the finest you will hope to find in the UK. I am so pleased that you came away with some lovely images too.

I hope to see you again soon Tim and if there's anything that I can help you with in the meantime, just let me know.

Best wishes Melvin


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Reviewed 27 March 2018

This was my first workshop with Melvin. From the outset it was clear we were going to have a fun day. Melvin has a very jovial and lighthearted style to his tuition which makes you feel relaxed and at ease. He is also a very professional and talented photographer with a wealth of information and tips to share. I learnt a great deal on the day which has allowed me to improve my skills and take better pictures. I would highly recommend a workshop with Melvin and hope to go on some more myself in the future.

Thank stevelacey92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melvin_Nicholson, Owner at Melvin Nicholson Photography, responded to this reviewResponded 29 March 2018

Hi Steve

Many thanks for leaving a review of our recent one day 1-2-1 tuition day together in the Lake District. I am delighted that you enjoyed your time with me and that you appeared to have got a lot from the experience. I endeavour to run all of my photography workshops/tours and 1-2-1's in a relaxed, informal and friendly style. I find that people learn and enjoy the experience much better that way, after all I am so fortunate to have turned what was years ago a hobby into a full time professional job. What a lifestyle I enjoy and I hope others do too when spending time with me.

If there's anything else you require assistance with Steve, give me a shout. I hope to see you soon.

Best wishes Melvin

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