Las Alpujarras, Spain – Cortijo Romero

Mindful Photography at Cortijo Romero

Cortijo Romero is a breathtakingly beautiful alternative holiday centre like no other; in a magnificent Andalucian mountain setting – “one of the most inspiring and uplifting areas in the world” – with delightful accommodation and delicious healthy food.

One of the top ten venues in the world for solo travel
Independent January 2015

This photography week with a difference is a wonderful way to bring ourselves into the present moment, to experience fully and to rediscover the beauty in everyday things around us. By being mindful and immersing ourselves in our surroundings, photographs will flow to us naturally.

The workshop is based largely at this delightful centre. There is one full-day excursion and several short local walks in which we can experience the magical atmosphere of La Alpujarra.

What to Expect

This week is a holiday in the proper sense. Our week is a mix of learning together, socialising and simply relaxing, being with each other.

Your course occupies about twenty hours of the week, working usually in the morning from 10:00 until lunch, and then again sharing images and experiences before dinner in the evening. Sharing and discussing our images is one of the most important activities and distinguishes our approach from many other workshops.

On the first morning, we introduce Mindful Photography and then build with exercises in seeing throughout the week.

There is one full-day, optional excursion to the mountain villages of the Alpujarra Alta, and several short walks out to Órgiva, to a local garden, to the town market and into the nearby foothills.

I will be on hand to offer guidance in any visual or technical aspect of photography, and to guide our sharing and critique sessions, but I will not take you all to the same tripod holes or tell you what to point your camera at – seeing is unique to you.

At a Glance

Cortijo Romero logo

Forthcoming Dates

  • 3-10 Nov 2018 – Closed
  • 27 Apr – 4 May 2019 – Available*
    5 places remain
  • 26 Oct – 2 Nov 2019 – Available

Includes

  • 7 nights’ full-board accommodation
  • Photography coaching on six days
  • One full day excursion and other local walks
  • Tai chi or yoga, dance, walking, swimming, Spanish lessons (all optional)

Does Not Include

  • Flights / travel to Andalucía
  • Your personal travel and liability insurances

Group Size

Twelve max

About Cortijo Romero

Cortijo Romero is a breathtakingly beautiful alternative holiday centre in a magnificent Andalucian mountain setting with delightful accommodation and delicious, healthy vegetarian food. There’s a superb range of holistic personal development courses and retreats, with outstanding facilitators; yoga, tai chi, dance, massage and more – all in “one of the most inspiring and uplifting areas in the world”

The original farm house is built around an enclosed courtyard, with the main group room opening off it. It has a large flat roof, used for yoga, tai chi, socialising and star-gazing.

The pool is a curved, natural shape, cocooned in a picturesque, walled enclosure with palm trees, flowers and the scent of jasmine. As the area is completely private, swimming costumes are optional. On a lower level, the garden is abundant with sub-tropical flowers, fruit and trees and a meditation room. There are open and secluded spaces, often used for course sessions, as well as for sunbathing, quiet times, reading, meditation and games.

The indoor dining room, a lounge with a log fire for chillier winter evenings and a second group room are situated beside a spacious outdoor dining patio.

Readers’ recommendations for Wellbeing Retreats – Guardian January 2015

Cortijo Romero is not a hotel, but more like a large private home, entirely devoted to personal development holidays. It is truly unique, with a very special beauty.

For more  information, please visit the Cortijo Romero website:

About La Alpujarra

There is no better place we know in which to introduce you to our photography approach.

Las Alpujarras form the foothills of Spain’s highest mountains, the Sierra Nevada, where white Andalucian villages dot the hillsides under cobalt skies and dazzling light.

Your first encounter with the Alpujarras will be unforgettable. Driving inland from the coast at Motril turn to the west at the Rules reservoir on to the mountain road along the northern flanks of the Sierra Lujar, affording magnificent views across to the Sierra Nevada.

Cortijo Romero is located in Órgiva, the western gateway and principal town in the area. Órgiva, with its beautiful twin-spired church, is an eclectic and bohemian mix of the real, working Spain and retreat location, attracting ex-pats from all over Europe.  It sits at an altitude of 450 metres in the fertile Guadalféo valley surrounded by sweeping mountain slopes blanketed with olive, lemon and orange groves. Órgiva is conveniently placed for excursions to the higher mountain villages and wild valleys.

Above Órgiva are sleepy white villages of the Alpujarra Alta. The secluded valleys to the east appear remote and inhospitable but contain a remarkable energy and spectacular views. For many the area will come alive as the location for Chris Stewart’s book “Driving Over Lemons”. Springtime brings almond and cherry blossom, and fruit trees heavy with oranges and lemons. Autumn brings pomegranates, walnuts, almonds and the final ripening of the olives for harvest in November and December.

Gallery

2015_412157 - Sundown

Photography FAQ

What experience do I need?

These workshops are suitable for photographers of all levels of experience.

  • If you are a beginner then it will be very helpful to be familiar with the important features of your camera camera and to have some knowledge of the core principles of exposure, and depth of field.
  • If you are a seasoned enthusiast, then maybe a change of scenery and a fresh outlook could be the catalyst for a whole new phase in your creative work. Our “ rediscover the joy of seeing” approach could be just the perfect creative tonic.

Having the confidence to express how you see and respond to the world in your own unique way is perhaps the final test of an artist.

For those with some experience of mindfulness, this workshop is a basic introduction.

Is this workshop suitable for me?

Do look at the ethos of Cortijo Romero to see the values and principles of the place. Cortijo Romero offers wellbeing and personal-development holidays that are nurturing and light of touch.

If you like what you see of the place, you will love our photography workshop.You will be investing in your approach to our wonderful artform of photography and in yourself.

For a wider exploration of Las Alpujarras as a region you might consider our core workshops based in La Estrellita

How much walking is involved?

Ken, we know you’re a bit of a mountaineer! How much walking is involved?

We will emphatically not be mountaineering!

This is a holiday first and foremost. Mindfulness is more about BEING than doing, and we will relax much more than on many photography workshops.

There is one optional walk included in the course itinerary, led by an experienced local guide. Other than that, walks will be local to the centre and no more than 5 miles on easy tracks. Do bring walking shoes and a day rucksack that will hold your photography kit and a few essentials.

The back streets in the hill villages can also be very steep if you explore away from the village centre. Please do ask when you book with Cortijo Romero if you you have any mobility difficulties.

What photography equipment should I bring?

Any kind of camera will be fine along with your usual lenses and accessories. We will be encouraging spontaneity and lightness of approach, so you may find that a compact camera gives you the freedom to travel and work light.

If you bring an SLR camera, prime or zoom lenses in the 18-55mm and 70-300mm ranges will be most useful. The more you are weighed down by equipment and choices, the less mindful your photography is likely to be.

You are very welcome to use the camera in your phone too, but we will be encouraging you to see directly rather than through apps, so your phone should not be your only option.

Don’t forget:

  • Storage cards and spare batteries
  • Your charger and plug adapters
  • Your camera manual – !Important
  • A notepad and pen for making your own notes.

How do we share images?

Several times through the week, we will share and critique each other’s images.

At Cortijo Romero we have access to a 40” widescreen digital screen for our use, which can connect directly via USB memory or HDMi.

You may find it useful to have your own device on which you can sort and view your images for yourself – a small laptop or tablet computer is ideal. Make sure you have the requisite cable connections between device and camera and also that you are familiar with how to download and sort your files quickly and efficiently and download them to a USB memory stick.

We will also have a card reader for downloading centrally.

When choosing images for sharing, please resist the need to process them, either via apps or Photoshop. Getting things right in camera is one of the core skills we will explore, as is being able to quickly discern the images you like.

If you usually shoot RAW files, then do set up your camera to record a JPEG in addition, to avoid your having to spend additional time in post-processing. In any event, we will help you to make sure your camera is set up correctly at the start of the week.

Do I need a tripod?

In some conditions of low light a tripod will be essential. A renowned activity at Cortijo Romero is stargazing from the roof terrace. There are also flowers in the gardens and at the local Tea Garden, where we make a visit, and moving water when we go to the mountains. For all these applications, a tripod support may be advantageous.

But you will find that it restricts spontaneity of seeing, so for most of the time we will encourage you to perfect your hand holding and to work in a responsive way.

We certainly will not get you lined up with tripods, all facing the same direction, looking at the same thing!

Is there WiFi?

Cortijo Romero operates a screen-free ethos in all the communal areas in order to allow everyone a week of digital detox and richer interaction with each other.

Phones and computers may be operated in bedrooms, but there is no accessible wifi. Emergency communications can be established via the office on request.

General Travel FAQ

How do we travel to Cortijo Romero

Most guests travel by air to Malaga, where there is a choice of two airport pickup times.

On departure day, transport is offered back to Malaga, leaving at 8:30am.

Full travel advice and guidance, including flight information, is available at the Cortijo-Romero website.

How do we travel whilst at Cortijo Romero?

The full-day excursion and one other short journey out will be made by local bus, chartered for our use.

What clothing do I need?

The climate in the Alpujarras is very agreeable. Temperatures in the spring are beginning to move into the twenties during the day, so come prepared for sunshine with comfortable clothing for walking and working on warm days, including sunglasses, sunhat and sun protection lotion.

Evenings can be cool, so you will definitely not regret bringing a warm fleece.

Rain is infrequent but often heavy when it arrives. A packable rain jacket will be useful, as will a travel umbrella that you could use when working. Yes we will work in most weathers!

Other than that, you will know what you like to take away with you. Again more information and advice is available on the Cortijo Romero website.

What to bring:

  • comfortable clothing for walking and working on warm days – t-shirts, shorts
  • walking shoes or light boots plus flipflops, sandals or house shoes
  • sunglasses and sunhat
  • rain jacket and warm fleece
  • a rucksack for essentials and photography kit

Contact Us

Please use this form to contact us about this workshop

Please use this form to contact us about this workshop