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Loire Valley, France – Vineyards, Villages and Chateaux

Date: September 27- October 2, 2018

A subtle and peaceful light bathes the vineyards and grand chateaux along the Loire River in central France. In addition to delicious landscapes, we’ll explore French village life, windmills and the magnificent castles that dot the historic King’s Valley Route. We’ll be savoring the local culinary specialties and famous wines of the Loire.  Local resident Marie DeForge Heiss hosts our Loire Valley France Photo Workshop, along with her artist-husband rod Heiss.  They will share with us hidden places, local markets, and waterfront views difficult to find otherwise.

Randy Collier, Master Photographer, Cr. will be the instructor for this tour.  Randy, co-owner of EarthLight Gallery in Park City , UT has over 35  years experience as a professional photographer and has instructed many ItalyWorkshops events.  His kind, patient method of teaching and his deep knowledge of photography always draw rave reviews and returning guests.

See student images from our last workshop in Loire Valley

Ask about a possible extension trip to Brittany & Mont Saint Michel,  4 nights/5 days.  We will plan the extension based on the group’s interest.


Date: September 27-Oct 2, 2018
Days: 7 days, 6 nights
Cost: $3450 per person ($100/person alumni discount)
Guests: 8-12
Meet in Angers, France

Loire Valley Workshop

Sept 27 to Oct 2, 2018 (6 days / 5 nights)


Arrive Paris airport and take train directly from CDG airport to Angers France, ( 2.5 hours)

(Or visit Paris for a few days before heading to Angers)

Day One

Check in at the Best Western Hotel Anjou (1 night).  Join the group for a walking tour of Angers and crepes in the historic center.

Our first evening we’ll concentrate on photographing street scenes and creating architectural “still life” images in old town.

Day Two

10:00am Load up and travel in mini-vans

Stop along the way at one of the charming villages in the valley, St Rémy-La-Varenne Prieuré & Cunault Church

Check in at Domaine de Mestré, our charming 14th century country inn (5 nights)

Pay an evening visit to world famous Fontevraud Abbey

Day Three 

Breakfast at the Inn

Workshop orientation in the living room

A relaxed drive to the riverside town of Saumur with it’s imposing castle

Step back in history in the remarkable  Champigny troglodyte caves

Vineyard visits along the way to photograph and taste

Sunset at Parnay Church with a tailgate picnic set out by Marie

Day Four 

Begin the day with a sunrise shoot at St Pierre-en-Vaux country church and cemetery

Continue with visits to tiny Prieuré Church and the pre-historic Dolmen at La Bajoulière

Have lunch in the caves of Rou Marson, tasting the fire-baked specialties there

Explore more hobbit-style houses and famous cave/cellars of Loire Valley

Last-light finds us at the windmill, Moulin de Gouré or Louresse-Rochemenier

Day Five

Breakfast at the Inn

Image Review in the living room, everyone sharing some favorite images

Visit Candes-Saint-Martin Village with it’s fantastic cathedral set in a charming little village

Picnic lunch at Montsoreaux Village and Castle

Stop to photograph a windmill set in a quiet vineyard: Moulin de la Herpinière

Chinon Village / Fortress

Evening shoot of Fortress/Landscape from across the River

Day Six

Breakfast at the Inn

In our workshop tradition, we’re keeping this morning open so the group can decide whether to re-visit a location, explore a new one  or simply relax and the farmhouse and do some editing.

In the evening, we’ve arranged for a private dusk-shoot at Chateau Chenonceau, a rare treat without the tourist crowds.

Day Seven

Breakfast at the Inn

Workshop Wrap-up in the living room at the Inn and slideshow

Check out and meander back through this serene countryside toward Angers

We’ll find a village for lunch along the way

Arrive at the Angers Station by 3:00pm where we can help you find the train you need

Au revoir!

Loire Valley France Photo Workshop (7 days)
$3450 per person (based on double occupancy)
$500 single supplement (if traveling alone or requesting a private room)

Includes full workshop tuition, 6 nights accommodations, all breakfasts, lunch or dinner 5 days. Also included are all entrance fees and ground transportation during the actual workshop week. Airfare is not included. Tuition is based on double occupancy. Add $500 for a private, single room. If you wish to share a room, we’ll do our best to find you a roommate.

The Photographic Workshop
Group Size is maximum 12 photographers. Participants generally include a mix of experience levels and we love rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life who share this common passion for the camera.

Instruction is offered in the field on different techniques and topics each day,  The real focus of our workshop centers on finding dramatic light and composition.  However it’s important that we offer technical help with your camera as well, so the instructor stays available during each excursion to answer your questions and offer suggestions.
We find that on-screen review of your images during the week is super important to the learning/growing experience, so we bring a projector and schedule on-screen reviews of your favorite images.  The instructor will offer concrete suggestions (and lavish praise) to keep you learning and motivated.

We recommend bringing a laptop to edit your work during the week. You’ll get tips for maximizing Adobe Lightroom, plus workflow instruction, and lots of Q&A time.
Classroom and on-screen critique is limited to 1-2 hours per day, with the remainder of the day photographing in the field, and free time.

Partners Welcome
Partners who are not avid photographers  may  join in for all our excursions, meals and discussions. This is meant to be a wonderful vacation for couples, not a boot-camp seminar, and some of our very happiest campers are non-photographers. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a partner to pick up a camera and blow us all away with their images.

Workshop Goals
At this Loire Valley France Photo Workshop we’ll be doing less “work” with our cameras and more play. You should enjoy every second of it. We want to help photographers break free from ordinary, overly-serious images, and instead create self-expressive images that say more about the artist and less about the place. We try to take you to the best places at the right times, and offer the inspiration and technical skills to make your lifetime-best images.

Technical discussions will include:
• Fast and accurate methods for proper exposure in a wide variety of situations.
• De-mystifying the features on your SLR or mirrorless camera
• Dynamic techniques for subject blur, camera motion and selective focus compositions.
• Lighting for landscape, cityscape and portraiture
• Design issues: composition, balance, scale and dimension.
• Content or the absence of it, and how to create images that have a powerful effect on viewers.
Skill Requirement
All skill levels are welcome.  Most participants have at least an intermediate knowledge of the camera and the ability to download and edit images on a computer. If you need help to reach this level of proficiency, we can recommend some online tutorials to complete before the workshop.

Advanced participants work on portfolio-building during the workshop, choosing one or two concentrations.  They are expected to finish the week with a “gallery show” or the beginning of a publishing project in hand. The instructor will offer technical tips and an objective viewpoint to these advance photographers as they further develop their individual style.

Beginner photographers can leave the computer home and submit images directly from their memory card.  You may even choose to participate as an “Observer”, attending all instruction and field trips, but not submitting photos for critique if you choose.  For beginners, we’ll have mini-workshops to address basic camera functions to help you master that digital camera and it’s most essential features.

Marie Deforge Heiss is our local host and travel manager. She was born and raised in the Loire Valley and promises to show us the very best of theLoire Valley villages and landscapes. Marie and her husband Rod Heiss will keep you informed at all times about schedule, travel, meal options, (bathroom locations), etc. This lets our instructor focus on teaching and is your guarantee of a productive workshop.
More about Marie …

Reserving your Spot
Please reserve early as group size is extremely limited. You can reserve your spot on our website, or by calling Busath Studio at 801-364-6645 or Jamie Shaw at 801-450-9221. Payments may be made with Visa, MasterCard or American Express, or you may send a check. Checks should be written to Italy Workshops and mailed to 701 East South Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84102. Upon payment of your deposit, we will send you an information packet including suggestions for camera equipment, computer and software, clothing and travel information specific to your workshop destination.

Payment Schedule
To reserve $500
120 days before the trip 50% of balance due
60 days before the trip 100% balance due

We use hotels rated 3 or 4 stars, each with a private bath. Rooms are assigned in order of reservations received, so early signup is recommended. Ask about premium rooms, at some workshop locations for an additional supplement charge.

Single Supplements
Fees are based on double occupancy. Single supplement is added for participants who wish to have a private room to themselves. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room with another participant, please let us know and we’ll do our best to match you with a roommate.

Cancellation fee schedule
90 days prior to workshop start date we retain 25%

45 days prior we retain 50%

15 days prior we retain 100%

No partial refunds will be given for unused portions of a workshop. We highly recommend that all workshop participants purchase trip cancellation insurance independently.

Cancelled Workshops
Italy Workshops and this Loire Valley France Photo Workshop reserve the right to cancel any trip for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient signup, logistical problems that may impede a workshop, hotel closures or acts of God. (We have never yet had to cancel a workshop.) Refund of all fees paid shall release Italy Workshops from any further liability. Italy Workshops is not responsible for any expenses incurred by workshop participants in preparing for a cancelled workshop. In the case of insufficient signup to make a workshop feasible, notice and refund will be sent 120 days prior to the workshop.

Photographic Release
Italy Workshops reserves the right to photograph and film its trips in entirety. Participants should be aware that images of them may be used for promotional purposes or joint marketing efforts with third parties, without renumeration.