7-10 April 2022
The Eastern Free State, including the quaint town of Clarens and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, is renowned for its immense beauty, especially around the autumn months. At this change of season, this area comes alive with colour and becomes a landscape photographers playground.
The tiny town of Clarens lies just west of the mountainous Lesotho highlands. This picturesque little town in the Eastern Free State sits nestled between giant sandstone cliffs that overlook it, with rich farmlands to the west and mountainous beauty to the east.
Just thirty minutes from Clarens also lies the Golden Gate National Park, renowned for its towering sandstone cliffs and rolling lush hills.
These two locations make this region a worthwhile visit all year round. But it is autumn time that this region truly comes alive, as lush green countryside slowly gives way to deep shades of red, brown and gold, and the familiar poplar tree, iconic to this region, appears as though the hand of Midas has touched it. It is in this short period in the year that this region becomes a paradise for landscape photography.
This workshop has been set at the best time of year to capture the transition of the colours of this region and coincides with the autumn colour, as well as the bright cosmos flower bloom.
As experienced landscape photographers, and having photographed here numerous times, Kyle and Jon know this area very well, and are well versed in the terrain, compositions, and weather conditions of this region, and will take you to the best spots in this region to capture its beauty.
We will be based in the town of Clarens, with easy access to the beautiful and interesting shops it has to offer. From here we can shoot the amazing scenery that surrounds the town. But it is when we venture just out of Clarens that we find some of the most spectacular compositions, photographing beautiful farmlands, forests, grandiose cliff faces and of course the incredible vistas of the Golden Gate National Park.
This workshop is designed for photographers of all skill levels, as the diversity of compositions and conditions offers something for everyone. We will offer hands-on assistance in getting the best shot and will guide you through you the process, explaining the right settings and technicalities of getting the image possible.
We aim for you to leave the workshop with an improved knowledge of landscape photography, how to understand the conditions of that region, and how to utilise your camera effectively in the field, whilst also capturing images that you are proud of and that represent the region well.
6-10 people. Non-photographers / partners / spouses are also welcome at a reduced rate.
This workshop caters for beginners and advanced shooters. However, we do recommend photographers are familiar with their camera settings and layout and are comfortable shooting in manual mode. If you are unsure about your skill level or gear please feel free to contact us and ask any questions.
Landscape, nature, travel, seasonal photography
ALL Breakfasts & Dinners
Two professional photographers
Photographic assistance for the duration of the tour, including composition, best times to capture the light and help with correct gear settings
Post-processing assistance and presentations
Travel to locations - you will need to drive in your own vehicle
Expenses of a personal nature
All personal snacks and drinks
Clarens: The Gables
Price is per person sharing
(single supplement extra 50%)
We will be staying at The Gables in the heart of Clarens, South Africa. We will have a welcome / meet-and-greet once everyone has arrived, followed by a presentation on the trip and what you can expect, as well as some helpful photographic information to assist you for the duration of the workshop. We will head out for a sunset photography excursion to capture the last golden light over the mountains.
Overlooking the majestic Maluti Mountains, The Gables offers you a tranquil retreat in the scenic town of Clarens in the Eastern Free State.
The accommodation features: Luxury Rooms, Inside Fireplace, Braai Area, Swimming Pool, Electric Blankets, Secure Parking, Wifi, DStv, Close to Town
We will leave early to capture the sunrise as the first light hits the mountain peaks. We have access to private farms where we can capture the amazing poplar trees in their autumn colours.
We will spend the midday showing you how to post-process your images and discuss different methods for approaching landscape compositions.
In the afternoon we will head back out to the farmlands to shoot more of the iconic poplars in the golden light.
The poplar tree is often planted along farm boundaries as a windbreak due to its fast growing habit and columnar shape. In the urban garden setting (urban environment) they are often utilised as informal hedging or screening trees.
This specie displays well when planted in clusters to create a woodland garden effect. The green shiny leaves are oval to diamond-shaped, with a pale silvery underside. They turn a brilliant yellow in the autumn months before all the leaves drop in winter.
The morning will start with a visit to the iconic Golden Gate Park where we will take a drive through the rolling hills, stopping to capture the clouds that create dramatic shadows across the grasslands. Bring your telephoto lens with you as we are bound to find some wildlife roaming the hills.
The afternoon will involve us capturing the golden light on the iconic Golden Gate rock face. Watching the rocks pick up the last golden colour is something special to witness.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park is located in Free State, South Africa, near the Lesotho border. It covers an area of 340 square kilometres. The park's most notable features are its golden, ochre, and orange-hued, deeply eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops, especially the Brandwag rock. Another feature of the area is the numerous caves and shelters displaying San rock paintings. Wildlife featured at the park includes mongooses, eland, zebras, and over 100 bird species. It is the Free State's only national park and is more famous for the beauty of its landscape than for its wildlife. Numerous palaeontology finds have been made in the park, including dinosaur eggs and skeletons.
Our last sunrise will see us shooting a new farm location with stunning cliff faces and poplars, as well as the potential of tame Nguni cattle roaming the fields.
We will return for breakfast followed by goodbyes to new friends and promises to meet again on another VentureKJ trip.
The Nguni is a cattle breed indigenous to Southern Africa. A hybrid of different Indian and later European cattle breeds, they were introduced by Bantu-speaking tribes (Nguni people) to Southern Africa during their migration from the North of the continent.
The cattle breed is medium-sized and adapted to grazing on the highveld. They are characterised by their multicoloured skin, which can present many different patterns, but their noses are always black-tipped.
A 50% deposit is required to confirm your booking. The balance is required one month prior to the commencement of the workshop. Cancellation 30 days prior to the workshop is 100% refund, 15-30 days a 50% refund, 15 days or less 0% refund.
This workshop has been planned to coincide with the best possible photographic conditions for its intended purpose. These conditions however cannot be guaranteed.
Our workshops are hosted in outdoor environments where conditions cannot always be predicted and where terrain can pose hazardous risks.
By choosing to join this or any of the workshops or events hosted by VentureKJ these risks must be accepted by the attendee, and Kyle and Jon accept no responsibility or liability for injury or loss of any nature. On acceptance of participation in this workshop you will be required to sign a liability waiver/s.
Words from Previous Clients
I had been following both Jon and Kyle’s photos on Instagram and discovered that they run photography courses. I was able to attend the landscape course in Clarens and absolutely loved it. Both Jon and Kyle are incredibly knowledgeable and gave us individual attention when needed. I learned so much during the course and will definitely do more courses with them in future. Oh, and they both cook like a dream too!
It has been my pleasure to have joined Venture J and K for the Clarens and Arniston trips. Both Jon and Kyle are wonderful Photographic mentors during the trips and any after sales technical support. They have a caring and empowering strength that helps the participants in the various workshops. The price positioning that they charge the workshops at is very reasonable and makes it possible to join more than 1 trip per year.