Wedderburn: The Painterly Landscape June-July 2016 (intermediate +)



Now open for 2016. 8 places only on each workshop.



The Maniototo district in Central Otago, New Zealand, has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and in winter it is an extraordinary landscape which begs to be photographed. With snow along the Hawkdun mountains and crystal-clear sunny days, being out there with a camera is more than just an experience; it is a celebration. Photographing the Maniototo landscape offers enormous opportunities to make unbelievably beautiful photographs.

The Maniototo basin spans an area approximately 70 x 40 km, surrounded by mountain ranges and with a vast expanse of sky which is continually offering new vistas. With only 1000 people in the district, the landscape dominates life in the district. It is a landscape photographer’s paradise.

I am passionate about the Maniototo. Well, I should be. I was born here. In 2006-7 I spent time here as artist-in residence, and produced a highly-successful exhibition, looking at the relationship between the  weather and its effects upon the timeless landscape.  Each year, when I return, I discover new things to say about it. it has many moods: silent, serene, threatening, jaw-droppingly beautiful, harsh and always spectacular. Because I am a “local”, I know many of the people in the district, which means we go to places the tourists will never see.

Many of these require us to use a four-wheel drive to get to them.

I would love to share these secret and iconic places with you.

The workshop

Post-production and the digital age of photography offer us possibilities the photographers of yesteryear could only dream about. We can, if we want to, manipulate a single pixel.

If we want to. But we need to have reasons for doing so.

This workshop is for people who want to express themselves using a camera as their capture device and use both camera and post-production to fully express  feeling and ideas in way which reflects how they see the landscape and their impression/expression  of it. You may be interested to know that many painters of note source their material by first using a camera and then drawing from that. There is no reason why we photographers cannot or should not do the same. It is a matter of being willing to make that journey from conventional photography to a more painterly approach. To do that it is important to understand how painters work and use the example they provide to make choices in your own work.

Over the last few years I have become fascinated by the way in which a painter works and the different way they approach making a work. One key difference is that a photographer captures a moment in time at 1/60s and then refines it, while a painter begins with a blank canvas and  then develops an idea to express an individual vision.

We photographers  can follow a similar path.

Topics to be covered will include:

  1. Learning from the Masters. We will look at some of the ideas and techniques of painters like Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Perugino and the photorealists, including the Maniototo’s  own Grahame Sydney. Learn how painters develop their ideas and then use this to develop your own work.
  2. Understanding figure and ground.
  3. Defeating the tyranny of depth-of-field. Learn how to break into the zone of focus and manipulate it, using glow and sharpening techniques combined.
  4. Journalling and sketching
  5.  Creating a concept and then developing it into a finished image.
  6. Using  plugins for PhotoShop to further develop your vision (demo versions will be supplied)
  7. Using the content aware fill tool creatively and for a reason.
  8.  Working within a picture space and learning how to step beyond the frame
  9. Creating composites using stitching and layering techniques
  10. Underpainting. Learning from the Dutch Masters
  11.  Extending time and the passing of time.
  12.  The power of memory- incorporating this into a work.

This is a residential workshop. We will live together, work together and learn from each other. Each day will consist of field trips, lectures and technical workshops, along with evaluations  and opportunity for discussion.

This is an intermediate to advanced workshop. Participants will need to be relatively competent with Adobe Lightroom and/or PhotoShop ( CS4 and above or Elements 10 +), comfortable with layers and have some understanding of  plugins and sharpening techniques. RAW capture will be a given.



Accommodation and meals


We will stay at the iconic Wedderburn Lodge and Cottages in Wedderburn. Each course participant will have his or her own en-suited room. The Lodge consists of a series of Settler-style cottages set up on the hill above the valley, each with a view that stretches for miles.

Meals will be at the Wedderburn Tavern. Steve and Cheryl, our hosts, prepare beautiful meals and take real care of us. After rising before dawn and photographing across the day, to come back to the Tavern to a roaring fire, beautiful food and wine and talk about the day is a wonderful experience.



There are two workshops available in 2016. They are limited to a maximum of eight participants, to ensure there is time for plenty of individual attention and tuition, in the classroom,  around the fire and in the field.

Painterly Landscape Workshop 1 : June 19 to June 25, 2016 NOW FULL!

Painterly Landscape Workshop 2 : June 26 to July 02, 2016 ONLY 1 PLACE REMAINS!



The fee for the workshop in 2016, including tuition, meals, on-site transport and accommodation, will be $NZ 2650 ( incl GST) . A deposit of $500 is required to secure a place. Wives/husbands/partners are more than welcome, and there is a special rate for non-participating partners.  Please contact us for details. please note that a 10% discount is available for participants doing both WinterLight and The Painterly Landscape.

Registration, Booking and Cancellations

To register for the workshop, please fill out the form here or e-mail us on

A booking fee of $NZ500 is payable if you wish to reserve a place. Until that has been received your place is open. First come, first paid, first served. The remainder of the fee is due by I May, 2016.

Booking fees are non-refundable after 1 April, 2016. Prior to that an administration fee of 50% will be charged.

After 1 June, 2016, a 20% refund applies to the balance.

If, however, your booked and paid in full place is taken by someone else, a full refund less the administration fee will be made.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Is it going to be cold?

Of course. The Maniototo is between 1500 and 2000 feet above sea level and the climate is the closest thing to continental that we have in this country, so the temperature can range from -20 C to +20 C in a single day. We can experience both sunshine and snow on the same day, so it’s important to dress warmly. Course participants will be sent a more complete list of things you should bring.

What do we need to bring?

You need to bring your camera equipment and a sturdy tripod. Bring plenty of memory cards and at least one spare battery for your camera. You will also need a laptop or desktop computer, card reader, memory stick (Flash drive), and suitable processing software. More advice about that when you register.

Are there any extra costs?

Yes. Getting yourself there, and your bar bill ! We are happy to help you sort out your transport needs. We can arrange a pick-up from Dunedin or Queenstown for a nominal fee. Contact us for more details.

Is there a priority queue for registration?

Yes. First in, first served.

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