Catherine Bell | Tuscany
Ed Reynders | Tuscany
Gerald Vincent | Tuscany
John Reilly | Tuscany
Mimi Cunningham | Tuscany
Tom Sjogren | Provence
Jim & Magrit have intimate understanding of the most incredible vistas and spots to photograph in Tuscany. They take the time and have the willingness to share their knowledge and passion for the land, food, people and photography. Both helped me to see and begin to understand the art of photography. I improved my camera technique, including how to work with it and use it with increasing skill and comfort. This is a very action-packed trip and the reward is seeing and enjoying the Italian people in shops and villages, the amazing hilltop cities, sharing laughter, meals, and knowledge with my new fellow photographer friends. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
I have long admired the work of Jim Nilsen, so when I learned he was offering photo travel workshops I could not wait to participate. I have done plenty of “workshops” for photography, but nothing that combined travel and photography to this degree. Why not learn in beautiful Tuscany?
I could not have been happier with the pre-scouted locations Jim took us to. They were always breathtaking. The spontaneous spots we found were magical. The fact that Jim and Magrit had pre-scouted our locations, down to when the light would be right for them, enabled the participants to concentrate on their photography. Since I work full time, it was pure bliss for me to have that much time to immerse myself in photography without the hassle of trying to negotiate getting to the locations.
While we had an itinerary, it was flexible enough to allow us to do some spontaneous shooting when the light changed or we saw something worthy of investigation. We also had time for casual lunches and conversation.
Jim has a patient, laid back teaching style that worked great in a setting where people had different skill levels. I felt comfortable asking for help when I needed it and was happy to simply talk through and collaborate on shots with both Magrit and Jim. Magrit has an excellent eye for composition and can sometimes help you work out a problem shot. There were few formal ‘lectures’, but the on-location learning was reinforced daily and served to build good habits that I will continue to apply in the future. I do think people with some experience shooting, who are comfortable with their cameras, will benefit most from this type of experience. Learn the basics somewhere else. Use this workshop to explore your interpretation of what you see.
That’s just the workshop. The rest was magnificent – from the accommodations to the food to the good company. It was a trip of a lifetime.
But the best part is this – once I got home and starting editing my images I was amazed that I could literally see the improvement in my work – day by day. I knew I had learned what I set out to learn and had improved, but the evidence is right there in front of me.
Thank you Jim & Magrit! I wish I could go on every tour with you!
Our Tuscany photo tour was a great experience thanks to Jim and Magrit. Our accommodations in Pisa and Pienza were top notch and the restaurants where we ate had wonderful food and wine at reasonable prices.Best of all was the photography. Jim and Magrit seemed to have scouted every road in Tuscany in order to identify the most beautiful sites, as well as the best time to capture the ideal light. Jim is exceptionally knowledgeable and was able to provide individualized instruction to experienced photographers as well as to novices in terms that each participant could readily understand. We hope to travel to Europe again with Jim and Magrit in the future.
The recent photography tour to Tuscany with Jim Nilsen was easily the best tour I’ve ever been on. The surroundings stoked my creative fire immensely, and Jim and his lovely wife Magrit guided not just the technical aspects of the photography with a steady and encouraging hand, but also kept the itinerary running smoothly and at exactly the right pace. My photography improved by leaps and bounds, and I not only have a few gallery prints I couldn’t have taken before, but also left with fond memories of people, places and experiences I will cherish forever. Jim is a true master of the art and a fantastic teacher. I’ll jump at the chance to attend any workshop Jim and Magrit do in the future.
Jim and Magrit – Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop! I have been captivated by Jim’s photos for years and was quite anxious to learn from him.
The Tuscany photo tour was amazing! I loved the locations you chose for us, your flexibility at stopping the van whenever one of us became inspired by a scene . . . and the fact that you shot along side us, so we could learn how to see (or capture) the event better! You were both so generous with your time and knowledge. Thank you for that! I learned so much.
You two are an absolute delight to travel with! I will definitely be attending another workshop with you. Thanks again for everything!
Joanne Martineau | Czech Republic
This was my first time taking a photography tour and it won’t be the last. I came in with basic knowledge and came out with a lot of information and great pictures.
Jim and Magrit are great to travel with. Jim takes time to makes sure we have the proper information based on our level of experience. Don’t hesitate to ask Jim questions about the technical stuff and Magrit for her artistic eye — together they make a perfect team.
What I appreciated the most was that they always do it with a smile even if it was not the first time I asked the question.
The Czech Republic is a beautiful country, one I would return without any hesitation. The tour shows you different aspects and regions of the country. It’s another plus for this tour. If you never been to Prague, try to stay a couple of days before or after the tour to explore the city as a tourist. Since the tour will keep you busy. The days after the tour I visited the city differently and my pictures shows it. You already seen Prague don’t hesitate to take the tour, you won’t see it the same way.
The hotels we stayed in are very nice and the locations were we took pictures are amazing — I wish I could have taken them home with me!
Before preparing your bags verify with Jim’s list and ask questions if you wonder what to bring. You will have to carry you own equipment when shooting and will enjoy a light load.
Thank you to Jim and Magrit. Your love and passion for photography is contagious!
Imagine that your friend from high school invited you to a place you’ve dreamed of visiting. It turns out he’s the same agreeable, helpful guy, and now he’s a professional photographer specializing in landscapes.
His wife notices when your gear is set up incorrectly before you do. They anticipate when you’ll get frustrated, fatigued, famished, or thirsty. They wait until you’re ready to accept help, and they always have a favorite restaurant nearby. They carry mental maps of the best places to get a cappuccino. They adjust easily to changes in weather and to individual requests.
Keep your seat belt buckled – Jim will stop whenever anyone spots a shot he wants. They plan for variety: an early morning shoot will be followed by an afternoon of street photography in a medieval or Renaissance hill town. Every flower will be in bloom. I’m convinced the residents paint their bicycles to match the color of flowers in front of their stone homes. Then make your fantasy come true, and sign up for Jim and Magrit’s Bella Primavera Tour of Tuscany.
I’m very glad to have joined Jim and Magrit in their first ever Santorini photo workshop. Santorini is beautiful! The itinerary was not hectic and we stayed in a nice resort. Jim and Magrit pre-scouted the beautiful places to shoot, sites to visit and restaurants to eat. Soon everyone became friends and you feel at home.
I learned a lot from Jim, from shooting the blue hour to the different gadgets/apps/websites that will help me as an amateur photographer. I usually shoot in programmed mode but Jim encouraged us to shoot in manual. By the end of the workshop, I was very comfortable with it. Never in my life had I changed lenses so many times! By the end of the workshop, I was in a zone and I could feel my creative juices flowing.
Jim and Magrit are truly dedicated to the art of photography and they will help you any which way they can to reach your personal goal. I would love to join them in another photo workshop.
Just a quick note to thank you so very much for the Santorini photography workshop! It was everything I had hoped for, and more! As you know, I have always had Greece on my bucket list, and your workshop provided that perfect introduction for me. The tour was a comfortable balance of blue hour shooting, cultural learnings, daytime shooting, photo critiques, some early mornings, and some free time . . . and I didn’t have to plan anything. You did the hard part; I just had to show up! :-) Love that!!
I also appreciate how flexible you were with the daily schedules. It was so nice to adjust the day’s schedule based on the weather or the desires of the group. Thank you for that! Admittedly, we had the best group ever!
Looking forward to 2016 and the Dolomites! You two are amazing and I look forward to touring with you again.
Michael Choi | Italian Dolomites
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you very much to you, Magrit and Jim, for your excellent guidance. I had great time with you and all the good friends at the Dolomites. Now, I have more friends.
Dennis and Vicky Wert | Italian Dolomites
What a fantastic trip to the Dolomites! The workshop was outstanding and we enjoyed meeting Michael, Amanda and Betsy, our fellow photographers. Your enthusiasm and desire to help us get the best photos possible was just what we were looking for and the photo opportunities seemed endless. It wasn’t long before the seven of us felt like long time friends, each with different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge to share. We loved it!
Until this workshop we had not done much blue hour shooting and enjoyed the time provided to explore this facet of photography, something we are certain to continue at home.
The accommodations and meals were excellent, far beyond what we expected and the staff at each hotel treated us very well, even having meals provided at times that suited evening photography. Although most of the locals spoke English, Magrit’s multi language skills were very helpful when ordering meals or just asking for information from those non-English speaking folks. A big plus for any foreign traveler. Your providing a trip planner was a big help, especially the items relating to security and foreign travel. Having transportation from and to the airport was a significant advantage because we do not like to drive in foreign countries.
We are happy to recommend your tours to any of our friends looking for a great photography experience and hope you can arrange a presentation at one of our photo club meetings in Cleveland Ohio.
Thanks for providing us an exceptional visit to the Italian Alps.
I am still talking about the photo tour and my friends and family are tired of it. :-)
I went to Croatia and Slovenia with Jim and Magrit for my first photography tour and it was a truly awesome experience! First, I learned a ton about photography, including composition, exposure, blue hour shooting, silky, smooth water shots, lightroom and much more. Croatia and Slovenia are beautiful countries! We went to many diverse locations and never lacked for photo opportunities. Jim and Magrit have clearly spent a lot of time in these areas and scouted out so many wonderful locations for us. Additionally, the food and accommodations were excellent. I was very impressed with all the research they put into this trip. It was very well thought out and we were very well cared for.
The best part for me though, were all the amazing people I met on this tour. It is indeed possible to both learn and laugh your way through Croatia and Slovenia! Everyone on this tour was fun, funny, smart, curious, knowledgeable and very interesting. I gained so much, not only from Jim and Magrit, but also from the other participants and really appreciated the congenial, open collaborations. And finally, after a few nights of singing over dinner with a wonderful Croatian guitarist, I will always connect Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ with this amazing tour :-). Thanks Jim amd Magrit for such a great experience!
Carol H. | Provence
The trip to Provence was filled with many photo opportunities. We visited several quaint French towns, each with its own unique charm and character. Vista shots included rows of lavender mounds, waving wheat fields and sunflowers. The group also had several opportunities to practice blue hour shooting. Jim graciously shared some “off the beaten path” special spots where he had previously photographed. Jim and Magrit adjusted the itinerary as necessary to avoid delays and maximize our shooting time.
I signed up for a photo tour to Tuscany with Jim and Magrit without realizing that I’d had Jim’s photos hanging in my home for years!! It seemed meant to be, and it really could not have been better.
This was my first trip to Europe, and I was traveling solo, so it was really wonderful to have all of the details taken care of by Jim and Magrit. About all I had to do on my own was get to Pisa! The accommodations in Pienza were charming and it was ideal to be able to settle into one room and then take day trips from there. We were busy every day but not so tightly scheduled that there wasn’t time to relax or explore Pienza on our own. When we ventured out on our daily outings, Jim and Magrit drove us in big comfortable vans.
The pace was just right, with Jim doing a good job of herding us along when needed, so we were able to see everything we planned to see, while also allowing flexibility if we came upon something unexpected that we wanted to explore and shoot. There were a couple places we wanted to go back to a second time and they made sure that happened. Jim and Magrit are delightful personalities, talented photographers, and wonderful tour guides.