Ardeche Photography Workshops
Canyons, volcanoes and wild mountains of Central France
The French department of Ardeche is the least populated one among the 95 departments in Metropolitan France. It features a very diverse, mostly wild landscape that includes rolling hills, forests, extinct volcanoes, volcanic lakes and open moorland, and where for miles the only sign of human presence is a network of scattered, small scale farms. There are however quite a few picturesque ancient villages to explore and the province also includes one of the most scenic highlights in France - the Ardeche River Gorges, a 40 kms long canyon the erosive forces of the river carved for millions of years through a limestone plateau.
Main Shooting Locations
Ardeche River Gorges
One of the most stunning scenic highlights of France, they are usually accessed from the town of Vallon Pont d'Arc at the upper (north-west) end of the gorges. The gorges runs about 40 kilometres eastwards from Pont d'Arc.
An amazing natural bridge along the Gorges d'Ardeche, perched by the river through a huge limestone wall.
The Aven d'Orgnac is a cave located south of the limestone plateau of the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Remarkable for the very large volumes of its rooms and its varied concretions, it is equipped for tourism and classified as a major site of France.
The Ardèche Mountain alone is a real natural wealth. Source of the Loire, symbol of purity with a nascent water that you can drink, it is also a real kingdom where the flora abounds with wild and medicinal plants.
Country of springs and volcanoes, the Ardèche Plateau is occupied by extinct craters where natural and artificial lakes have installed their waters. The Lake of Saint Martial (spread over 14 hectares) or the Lake of Issarlès (90 hectares and more than 130 meters deep) are the best examples, where equipped swimming areas and lively villages make it an unmissable attraction.
Many mountains and valleys also make the reputation of the Ardèche Plateau. Its highest point, Mont Mézenc and its some 1754 meters of altitude, drawing the limit between Ardèche and Haute-Loire, offers a magnificent panorama when you reach its summit. Rest assured, its ascent is very easy because progressive, accessible to all.
The Issarlès Lake is a crater lake located at an altitude of 1,000 m in the Plateau Ardechoise, an high altitude plateau part of the Massif Central
The lake results from a violent phreatomagmatic eruption dated 80,000 years ago which formed an almost perfectly circular crater.
The Gerbier de Jonc, is a summit in the Massif central. It is actually the core of a volcano extinct millions of years ago. Called suc in the region, it is famous for its particular shape and its extraordinary natural and wild richness; but also because it welcomes at its foot the three sources of the Loire, the longest river in France.
Mont Mézenc is a mountain peak of volcanic origin located in the south-east of the Massif Central, on the border between the departments of Haute-Loire and Ardèche. It culminates at an altitude of 1,753 m in the heart of the Mézenc massif. It is located on the same ridge line as Mount Gerbier-de-Jonc, between Velay and Vivarais, on the water divide between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
The Chauvet cave is a Paleolithic ornate cave located nearby the town of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc.
The site includes a thousand paintings and engravings, dating between 33,500 and 28,000 years before the present. The paintings and engravings, made during the first phase, are among the oldest in the world.
Example of a typical
day in the field
(Tour of the Gorges)
Sunrise and early morning
we will leave from the hotel about 30 minutes before sunrise and with a trip of 10 minutes by car we will get to the Ardeche river shore besides the Pont d'Arc, an amazing natural stone bridge spanning 60 mts across the Ardeche River, certainly one of the main attractions of the Gorges. We will spend at least a couple of hours in this locations, shooting grand vistas as well as more intimate and semi-abstract compositions, as the rocks here are a a perfect subject for this kind of photography.
rest of the morning
we will then get back to the hotel where we will have breakfast or, if it is too late, we will have it at some bar in Vallon. Since the area of Pont d'Arc is so beautiful, we could even end up with spending the whole morning there. In that case, we will have lunch at Vallon Pont d'Arc and then we will head west on the road of the Haute Corniche, the road of the gorges.
we will spend the rest of the day driving on the road called "Haute Corniche", a road the follows the path of the Ardeche River through the many gorges and canyons, stopping by almost at every corner for photographing the many different sections of the canyons. From this road it is indeed possible to see and photograph all the attractions of the area, almost without walking. We will do it therefore in the Edward Weston's style, whose most famous statement was "if it's more than 6 feet from the car, it is not photogenic!" :D There is in any case a trail that with about 30 minutes walking that takes you from the road down to the river side, in the area close to the rock known as "La Cathédrale". There are a few beaches here and some very nice rocks with interesting shapes. This could be an optional detour if we have some spare time during the day.
There are many gorgeous locations
along the road that are perfect for some nice sunset photo, i.e.:
- At "Le cirque de la Madeleine" an almost perfectly circular bend somewhat resembling the famous Horseshoe bend of the Colorado river
- at " La Cathédrale", an isolated rock formations with many pinnacle and spires
- "La Ranc Pointu", the eastern end of the gorges with some wonderful white falaises along the river
- "The western side of the "Pont d'Arc" itself.
Why should I take an Italy Photography Workshop with Paolo De Faveri?Simple: because you will learn how to take better photographs. Consider a Paolo De Faveri's Photography Workshop as an invaluable add-on to your gear: a tool that will teach you how to take wonderful photos wherever you go. We make the art and technique of photography simple to understand by breaking it down into easy pieces of information that you will find useful to apply every time you will be in the field.
What will I learn?Well, a whole lot, you can be sure. Paolo De Faveri's workshops are designed to help take your creativity to a new level. Through a combination of both in-the-field image sessions and class/lecture sessions on many different topics both technical and artistic, I want to get you to start thinking differently as an artist and spark your artistic vision. key features always include: - master the basics of landscape photography - learn how to compose effectively no matter of the subject, from macro to grand vistas - learn how to photograph with challenging lighting, such as at sunrise and sunset - learn about when and how to use filters - explore advanced photography techniques such as long exposures in broad daylight and image stitching for panoramic compositions Check the lessons section in this website for an exhaustive list of topics usually covered in my in-the-field and classroom sessions.
What happens on an Italy Photography Workshop with Paolo De Faveri?All of my workshops start with a brief Introduction, a presentation of the daily schedule and the technical and artistic goals of each day, followed by questions and answer session for getting to know each other, assessing the level of knowledge of the group, each person's goals and expectations. On average we will spend from 8 to 10 hours a day in the field, every day in a different location, having big fun in chasing the best possible light and scouting the area looking for images that capture the innermost beauty of the amazing world around us. My tours are a mix of adventure and teaching, and they are not intended as only formal teaching and instructions They are more about wandering in some of the best natural or urban environments I know and getting fully immersed in photography. A "learn by doing" kind of education, as I answer questions and solve problems as they arises, completed by a debriefing in the evening when we will thoroughly review and critique together the work done in the day, and we will analyze in details basic and advanced techniques of image processing.
What will I learn in the classroom/webinars?Check the lessons section in this website for an exhaustive list of topics usually covered in my classroom sessions and webinars.
Does the instructor shoot over the workshop?Yes, I will be shooting during the tour/workshop, but in a limited capacity as participants needs come first of course. I often take pictures right along with the students inspiring them to learn to see an image the way I do. Much of my shooting over the workshop is meant as direct field demonstrations aimed to improve student's creative vision and technique.
How advanced do I need to be?Anyone, no matter of how advanced he/she is, will find my workshops to be a great learning experience. The majority of my students are usually somewhere between intermediate to advanced amateur up to semi-pro and pro, but many beginners attend too. You should in anycase be at least familiar with your equipment and its operation. Always bring your camera manual for quick reference in the field.
What kind and how much equipment should I bring?The essential photo gear you should have with you is listed here below. This gear is highly recommended for taking full advantage of the instructions you will receive in my workshops. - tripod - dslr camera - a good quality zoom lens covering a focal range length of at least 28 to 100 mm - enough storage cards for at least 16 GB - extra camera batteries - camera bag or backpack - camera user's manual
Will weather ever force us to change the workshop's schedule?Bad weather always provide unusual and harsh conditions that contribute unique drama and mood to our images. So the answer is no, normally. We only stop shooting and/or move elsewhere if an element of danger arises.
Is transportation included?Usually yes, it's included, unless when stated differently in the workshop description. For group tours we will use vans/small buses for our daily transfers from the hotel to the shooting locations and back. For private/small groups workshops I will drive my own car. Of course, you have to arrive on your own to the hotel/lodging.
How should I dress?I recommend to come prepared for anything and bring an extra layer of warm clothes with you. Here is a list of clothes/accessories you should always dress/have with you when shooting outdoor: - trekking shoes if you shoot in a natural environment; a pair of very comfortable - and possibly water-proof shoes - if you shoot in a urban context - wind/rain proof jacket - pile pullovers - gloves - headdress - head lamp and batteries
How do I register for a workshop?Simply use the pre-registration form available in the pages describing each workshop and compile every field of it, letting me know about the workshop of your choice, the number of participants, the desired dates and duration, etc. I will be back to you right away for confirming the availability and with the instruction for booking. To validate your reservation, you will be asked to pay the 35% of the workshop price as a deposit.
What is your cancellation policy?All my workshops are subject to the following Cancellation Policy: - If you cancel within 30 days before the workshop start, you will be refunded the deposit minus 100,00 € as administrative fee. - No refund will be issued for cancellations received with 30 days or less remaining before the workshop starting date. Please note that there is no exception to this policy. For this reason it is strongly recommended to purchase refundable plane/train tickets only and endow yourself with a trip cancellation insurance. All cancellation request must be in writing.
Details and Requirements - Key FeaturesNumber of students per workshop: minimum 1, maximum 3 students Duration: minimum 3, maximum 7 days 5 or, even better, 6 days is the recommended length, as it is indeed the ideal timeframe for putting together a very effective itinerary, there are long distances to cover as the Ardeche is quite a big region Workshops Availability From March thru November Difficulty Easy. Most of the shooting locations are directly accessible by car. A few of them require short hikings of no more than 1.5 kms one way, on easy trails with moderate elevation gain. The trail along the Ardeche River Gorges is not difficult but long and demanding in terms of stamina required. It can be added as an option, just ask What's included - full time in-the-field tutoring and instructions - at least one image processing class (min. 2 hours) per workshop - all transportation during the workshop will be provided with a rented car/van. included in the price What's not included - Travel costs for reaching the accommodation, hotels/B&B rates, meals and beverages are not included in the cost of admission unless specified. - Excursion boats - Entrance tickets to archelogical sites. museums, etc. - Lodging costs of the instructor Insurance All participants must be in possession of a valid Health and Accident Insurance with repatriation cover.
About your Photography Instructor
Ciao! My name is Paolo.
I have been a full-time professional landscape, nature, travel and architecture photographer since 2007. Since then, I have planned and led hundreds of private one-to-one and small groups photo workshops and tours in some of the best looking regions and cities of Italy and France.
My pictures have appeared in calendars, books, travel magazines, brochures and as wall art in offices, hotels, restaurants and corporate venues. For more info please click here