High Light, Peak Light, Lake Light, City Light, Snow Light, Land Light books by Dave Butcher

Personal Landscape Photography Courses

Dave Butcher runs black and white landscape photography courses, with his wife Jan, in beautiful English countryside such as the Lake District and Peak District National Parks.

All photography courses are suitable for digital or film camera users of any standard (absolute beginner to professional). There is no group tuition, it is all 1-to-1 from both Dave and Jan Butcher.

The locations vary, as you would expect with such varied areas to choose from and are spread across the Peak District, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland or Glen Coe, as appropriate, and are mostly in the National Parks.

Personal courses can be tailored to your fitness but you should be fine if you can walk 4 miles or so in a day on rough paths and have stout shoes or walking boots, warm clothes and waterproofs. Other than that these are photography courses so we want to spend as much time taking pictures. If you want something with more hill walking then we can include that too.

These are practical courses that concentrate on seeing and capturing pictures with a bias towards black and white and are a mixture of art and technique. If you also take colour photographs then you will see an improvement here too. You will start to put more structure in your photographs and not just rely on someone in a red anorak to make the picture work! The basics of composition, depth of field (what is in focus), and exposure as they apply to black and white, where to point the meter (built-in or separate) and how to take a meter reading for both film and digital, are always covered. What to photograph in different types of weather are covered as dictated by the conditions!

Hopefully, after one of these courses you will find yourself taking photographs that you would previously have walked past without noticing as well as improving the appeal and impact of any landscapes that you take. Friends and family will want to look at your pictures because they know they will be well composed and properly exposed.

We prefer to run courses on weekdays as these give us quieter locations with fewer people likely to walk in front of the cameras but if you can only make weekends then that is fine too. We do all of the driving and parking our car near the locations is easier on weekdays. It also makes it easier to book accommodation at short notice. 

To talk through the options give me a call on 01663 733771 or send an email to mono@davebutcher.co.uk

course tutors:

dave butcher is a black and white specialist with a worldwide reputation for his landscapes and city shots. He still exclusively uses medium format Mamiya film cameras and makes traditional silver gelatine darkroom prints, available as the Original and Limited Edition print ranges. Dave also makes extensive use of Adobe Photoshop for editing files from scanned negatives for sale to image licensing companies. These digital image files are also used by Ilford Lab Direct to make the Silver range of prints, also available through this web site.

jan butcher is a colour specialist and now uses Nikon digital cameras but also has years of experience of using Canon 35mm film cameras. Jan sells her colour prints through galleries and at shows across the UK. Jan has extensive experience of teaching photography and helping clients to get the best out of their digital cameras.

support by Ilford Photo and Harman Photo

Ilford Photo and Harman Photo support Dave Butcher Photography by kindly providing film, paper and chemicals at subsidised prices to participants on landscape photography courses.

personal course options

These are available for 1-to-1 tuition or small groups.

course costs: The prices quoted are all total course costs not per individual as for our other courses. This means that you can choose whether you prefer individual tuition or a small group for more attention, or if you can arrange a larger group the cost to each person will be lower. For example, if you can arrange a group of 3 for Glencoe the cost becomes £500 each for a 3 day course, a very cost effective way of booking a course while still receiving lots of personal tuition. Choose whichever suits you best.

dates: These are arranged to suit you.

course tutors: You have two basic options regarding tutors:

  • Dave for individual tuition and for groups of 1 or 2 people.
  • Dave and Jan for individual tuition for larger groups.

transport: For groups of 3 or less we will use our vehicle and do all of the driving for the duration of the course. If you come with your wife, husband or partner they will be able to use the family car for travelling around and seeing the many and varied sights in whatever area we are in while you are on the course.

free camera loan: If you would like to try film photography but don't have a film camera we have 35mm cameras (mostly Nikon) we can lend you for the course. All you need is an interest in trying black and white film photography.

free 35mm or 120 film: If you are using a film camera we can get you started with 2 rolls of Ilford FP4 film.

free tripod loan: We can lend you a small lightweight tripod if you don't have one.

refreshments: Lunches and evening meals will be in local pubs and cafes, wherever we find ourselves.

not included in the prices:

  • Your travel to and from the meeting point.
  • Your food and refreshments
  • Your accommodation
  • Your Insurance (personal, equipment and cancellation)  

Accommodation for you is not included in the cost of any course. Instead all courses are held in areas where there is sufficient choice and availability of places to stay to suit all needs from camping to comfortable hotels. On multi-day courses we usually meet up in the evenings for a relaxing night together in a local hostelry for food and drinks.

The accommodation and expenses for Dave and Jan Butcher are included in all of the prices quoted here for personal courses which is why they vary between areas. There are no additional charges from Dave Butcher Photography on any course.

peak district landscape photography courses

You can book courses for any time of year, subject to the dates being available.

locations include:

The Goyt Valley, 3 Shires Head, Mam Tor, Bole Hill, Padley Gorge and a host of other locations. In a normal day this will provide the chance to photograph wide views of the Peak District from one of the many edges and hill tops, waterfalls, trees and rock formations.

Peak District course costs: 

1 day £300, 2 days £500.

meeting point: Briarwood, Tunstead Milton, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK23 7ER

photography and darkroom combined courses

We can run courses which combine 1 day of Peak District photography with 1 day in the darkroom, processing films taken on the photo day and then printing them. Even if you have no intention of setting up your own darkroom it is an interesting and fun 2 day course where you end up with several of your own photographs, printed by you, to take away and hang on your walls when you return home.

We can also run a 1 day course which gives a taster of everything covered in the 2 day course.

Visit my hints and tips website, darkroomdave.com, for free technical information and advice.

A typical 2 day 'experience black and white' course:

day 1: Landscape photography with film - 3 Shire Heads for more packhorse bridges and dozens of waterfalls within a very small space. Chelmorton for big views of typical Peak District landscapes. Back to base by 3pm to process the films.

day 2: Darkroom printing - Make up chemicals for processing prints in dishes. Cut the film into strips and make a contact print for each one. I demonstrate the main printing technique then we spend the rest of the day making prints from your negatives from day 1, usually 14 x 11 inches, large enough for display on your walls when you return home. Techniques learned will include split grade printing, dodging and burning (image manipulation but using your hands and little bits of card in a traditional darkroom), print judgment (what makes a good print better).

'combined' 2 day course costs:

Peak District photo + darkroom £500

Including transport and 2 rolls of Ilford film for the photo day and all Ilford paper and chemicals used on the darkroom day. A buffet lunch is also provided on the darkroom day.

The cost does not include lunch on the photo day, which is usually taken at a local hostelry.

'combined' 1 day course costs:

Peak District photo + darkroom £300

Including 1 roll of Ilford film and all Ilford paper and chemicals used in the darkroom session. 

free camera loan: If you don't have a film camera we have 35mm cameras (mostly Nikon) we can lend you for the photography day! All you need is an interest in trying black and white film photography and darkoom processing and printing.

free tripod loan: We can lend you a tripod if you don't have one.

group size:

Maximum 2 people. The darkroom has equipment for 5 people but we cap the course at a maximum of 2 so that you receive a lot of attention.

meeting point: Briarwood, Tunstead Milton, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK23 7ER


lake district 'lakes, waterfalls and mountains'

We run personal landscape photography courses in the Lake District usually based in the Eskdale valley in the Western Lakes. Personal courses here are usually 2 days.

locations include:

  • Eskdale for mountains such as the Scafell and Coniston ranges, rivers, waterfalls up to 60 feet high, trees, old Roman Fort with walls around 6 feet high on all four sides. high mountain road pass
  • Wasdale for mountains like Scafell Pike (highest in England) and Great Gable, Wast Water (deepest lake in England), waterfalls, trees, boat-house, lakeside reflections (not guaranteed!).
  • Ravenglass and Eskmeals for the coast, beach, boats, river and estuary. High or low tide we will always get interesting photographs.
  • Duddon and Dunnerdale Valleys for trees, waterfalls and rocks
  • Ulpha and Birker Fells including expansive views to Scafell and the Old Man of Coniston, wooded gorge, large lake
  • Other possible locations include Buttermere and Ennerdale amongst others.

This will give us a wide variety of subject matter including mountains, lakes, trees, waterfalls, coast and rock formations.

If you would like to bring your husband, wife or partner then they would just need to look after themselves between breakfast and dinner while we are off taking photographs. There is lots of walking in Eskdale and Wasdale. We do all of the driving during the course so if you come by car your partner will have the use of the car. There is also a small gauge railway running along Eskdale from Boot village to Ravenglass so it is very easy to move around even without a car. For information, one of the stations is opposite Stanley House b&b so if you are travelling by public transport this may be worth noting.

Lake District course costs:

2 days with Dave and Jan: £700

3 days with Dave and Jan: £950

See Links page for the web sites of accommodation in the local area.

grassington 'waterfalls and dales'

Usually based in Grassington in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

locations include:

We visit locations along the length of Wharfedale and beyond. There will be opportunities to photograph limestone pavement, big views, rivers, waterfalls, trees and rocks as well as the striking Yorkshire villages and farm buildings in this part of the world.

  • Grassington
  • Conistone
  • Kilnsey Crag
  • West Burton
  • Aysgarth
  • The Strid
  • Bolton Abbey
  • Linton Falls
  • River Wharfe.

Grassington course costs:

1 day: £450, 2 days: £700

northumberland 'coasts and castles'

We will probably be based in the small town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. We run 2 day courses here.

Being based in Berwick gives us the opportunity for night photography of the town as well as the bridges over the River Tweed reflected in the water, wind permitting!

locations include:

The historic town of Berwick and the coast to the north including Coldingham Bay and the pretty fishing villages of St Abbs and Eyemouth, maybe fitting in the Spittal of Berwick if the tides are right.

A day on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for the castle, harbour and coast.

Another option would be to spend a day photographing Bamburgh and Dunstanbugh Castles, coast, sand dunes, rocks as well as Beadnell harbour.

Northumberland course costs: 

2 days with Dave and Jan: £750

glen coe 'mountains and lochs'

This is a great area for photography with coast, mountains and lochs (lakes) all within easy distance of our base in Glencoe and Ballachulish villages, just south of Fort William. This is quite a distance from our home in the Peak District so we run 3 day courses here to make the most of the travel. It is also an area that would be a shame to rush by trying to do it in 1 or 2 days!

locations include:

Glen Coe with views to the 3 Sisters of Glen Coe and Aonach Eagach, Rannoch Moor and the mountains of Buachaille Etive Mor and Black Mount, Glen Etive, Loch Leven, Glencoe Lochan and more.

Glen Coe course costs: 

3 days with Dave and Jan: £1500

meeting point: To be confirmed but usually Fern Villa Guest House in Ballachulish, PH49 4JE.

best time of year: April, May, September, October

general information

film users:

The use of filters is also included. I have a few filters to lend you if you have none of your own. I can advise on processing and other aspects of using film.

If you have no darkroom then there are 2 ways to use film but still make prints. Use Ilford XP2 film which can be processed through any High Street processing machine for colour print film (for example, the "1 hour" C41 process). This produces a black and white film but the prints will usually have a colour cast since the printers are not set up to make black and white prints, but at least you have a processed film and some prints for guidance. Once you have your negatives you can either scan them or have them scanned so that you can make prints from your computer.

Alternatively use Ilford FP4 or HP5 and send the films to Ilford Photo for traditional high quality processing and printing. They can also scan the negatives and provide a CD so that you can tweak the images and print from your own PC.

Ilford Photo support all of our courses and and in return we provide 2 rolls of FP4 film free of charge to each participant (35mm or 120).


digital users:

The use of the histogram and clipping functions, and adjustment of curves in Photoshop instead of the use of coloured filters on the lens, are always covered, as well as techniques such as underexposure and multiple exposure (you need a tripod for this) to keep details in the highlights and shadows.

Polarising and sometimes grey graduated lens filters can help compensate for very bright skiesl for digital slr users.

If your camera has a RAW file format then this should be used if you want the best possible image quality.

Always record in colour mode to make sure you keep all the colour information so that you can apply filtration in Photoshop or whatever image manipulation program that you use.

Some cameras let you record in colour RAW and view 'on-camera' in black and white; this is the best system of all. Don't worry if your camera only records in jpeg you will still get some good results but as soon as you transfer to your PC convert it to tiff format to avoid losing quality (every time you resave a jpeg quality is lost).

The multiple exposure techniques to compensate for the deficiencies of digital camera sensors, in situations of wide brightness ranges such as sunlit water to deep shadows, really needs the use of a tripod or the acceptance of lost detail in highlights or shadows.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you fully charge rechargeable batteries and wherever possible bring spares. If your camera fails on a course there is very little that we can do about it.

Also, bring enough storage space for lots of image files. In a typical day 500 colour RAW images is not unusual.

The use of a tripod will give you extra possibilites for photographs; slow shutter speed shots that cannot be hand-held are often very effective with water and in low light situations. If you don't have one we can lend you one and show you the features to look for if you then wish to buy one.

payment details

When a course is agreed a special payment hot link will be set up to the Dave Butcher Photography shopping cart system, which uses PayPal to handle the payments. We just need to agree dates, location and number of tutors. Send an email or telephone to get the ball rolling. 

Telephone: 01663 733771; Email: mono@davebutcher.co.uk

Alternatively, we can accept payments with a UK £, USA $ or Euro € cheque made payable to Dave Butcher Photography. We will confirm the amount to pay in the other currencies at the time of booking. In this case please send your payment to:

Dave Butcher Photography
Briarwood, Tunstead Milton
Whaley Bridge, High Peak
Derbyshire, SK23 7ER, UK

To avoid disappointment we suggest that you take out insurance as soon as you book a course that covers you for illness or injury, your equipment and course cancellation (see full terms and conditions).

course information

I have written some articles to help clients who come on my courses. They are freely available to anyone and cover:

They are also available, in a slightly different page layout more suited to printing, as a downloadable pdf from the pages listed above.

Here is some extra information to help you decide to come on one of my courses, or prepare for it:

Peak District Landscape Course information

Directions to Peak District Meeting Point 

Terms and Conditions




All images are copyright © Dr Dave Butcher and may not be downloaded, copied or reproduced in any way without prior written permission. All rights are reserved.