Cap Ferret / ST Emilion Photography Retreat

April  23 - 29 2018/ June 11 - 17 2018/ July 9 - 15 2018/September 3 - 9 2018 (Immersion experience is also possible for non-English Participants who would like to attend)



Capture the light in the10 sleepy villages of Cap Ferret with our photography sports retreat property as our basecamp. Daily adventures off property exploring the area and meeting our local experts and friends at different times of day by the beach, the colourful oyster cabanas, the light house, the WW2 german bunkers, and the ancient gallo roman ruins nearby. Don't worry, we make sure you have an hour or so of personal time every day to edit, email, or nap during mid-day sun.  Nightly *cocktail hour followed by a group dinner in the casual dining room upstairs in the main house. We wrap up every evening with a group image sharing on the big screen, critique with tea, coffee,*cocktails or wine in our classroom, or **weather permitting, poolside. Our last outing of the week is a day-long excursion to the beautiful Unesco World Heritage village of ST Emilion, lunch in a highly recommended bistro on the outskirts of town, and after, a photography-op tour/***tasting at one of the many family owned Vineyards of some of the worlds finest wines. Our retreats are designed to provide a convivial atmosphere of sharing and friendship in our camera communities worldwide.

*Cocktails/Mocktails or organic smoothies **Weather permitting is only a guideline, for daily retreat activities, we will photograph rain or shine so please come with appropriate protective gear.  ***Wine tasting is optional

Trip Itinerary


Arrival at Basecamp all day, check in at 15:00 hrs. If you arrive prior to 15:00 hrs, we can store your bags until your room is ready. If your flights don't line up, you can book your stay for an extra day(s) before or after the retreat. We'll start with a welcome cocktail reception beginning at 17:00 hrs where we'll do official introductions, go over our itinerary, and a brief Q and A about our coming adventures. A light pasta meal will be served for dinner at 19:00 hrs with a plate of seasonal fresh fruit and market cheeses afterwards. Optional night photo tour to the lighthouse and the Byzantine church for anyone who wants to participate. 


Early first breakfast before sunrise and optional photo op of the sunrise on the Bassin side. Back to Basecamp for second breakfast and meet up with the late crew. Today will be an easy day of beach photography on the atlantic side of the cape with a picnic lunch (**weather permitting). Using the sand, ocean, and the sky as our backdrop, we'll experiment with sand castles, shells, driftwood and dunes. We'll head back to Basecamp for personal time (editing, emailing, showering, or a jet lag nap), or you can stay at the beach. Driver will return to pick you up at the edge of the boardwalk at 16:45 hrs. Cocktails at 17:00 hrs until dinner at 19:00 hrs. We'll have Barbecue on the Poolside terrace, **weather permitting, and then our evening 'Shop Talk and image presentation'. 


Today is an early start to catch the ferry to Arcachon by 09:30 hrs directly after breakfast. We'll head to Halle Market to photograph and wander the streets by the boardwalk for the morning. Today is a self catered lunch day. You can get anything reasonably priced and fresh from the market and have lunch on the beach or on a park bench in a quiet spot close to the market. There are plenty of Brasseries and snack shops with crepes, waffles, and beach food nearby as well as a dozen tasty Boulangeries scattered through the town site. After lunch, we'll meet up by the Hotel du Ville (city hall), and take the outdoor elevator up to the Winter City to photograph some unique architecture, and summer estates of some of France's most historical and famous authors, musicians, and artists. Our ferry back to the cape leaves the jetee at 17:00 hrs and we'll make it back to Basecamp for cocktails (depending on traffic) by 18:00 hrs. Dinner at 19:00 hrs of Traditional Poulet Basque with a Rice Pilaf. Our Shop Talk will begin right after dinner.


This day will start off with first breakfast for the early risers before sunrise, and an optional tour to the light house, the point, and if the weather is good maybe some misty french farm landscapes. Heading back to Basecamp for 08:30 hrs, second breakfast, and then catch our private boat tour of the Bassin Coastline with picnic lunch on board or at a beach stop. This day will include the Famous Birds Island (L'Isle aux Oiseaux) with its stilted cabins, Dune du Pilat, and the colourful Oyster cabanas that dot the Bassin shores. Part of our day will be out in the mid-day sun, please bring sunscreen/hat/polarizers/filters, and we can also stick to closeups. We'll head back to the Jetee afterwards and make it back to Basecamp for cocktails, and dinner by 19:00 hrs of French Savory Crepes, followed by Sweet Filled Crepes, and then our nightly Shop Talk. 


Early riser day today with a breakfast and road snacks packed for us by our caterer, we will make the 1 hr 45 minute drive to ST Emillion for a morning of camera adventures in this lovely little UNESCO World Heritage site. We'll wander the streets together (or separately) and explore the historical buildings of ST Emilion until 11:45 hrs and then meet up to explore the Church before heading to our secret gourmet lunch hideout. (A not to be missed local palate pleaser). After our self catered lunch, we'll visit one of the oldest family run vineyards in the area for a tour and photo opportunities and a wine tasting afterwards. On the drive back to Basecamp, we'll have an opportunity to snack on fresh cured meats (veggie/gluten free option available), rich French cheeses, and Baguette, with beverages before arriving at one of our local hangouts for a Salad and Summer Pizza for our dinner. Afterwards, we'll head directly to 'Shop Talk' and group editing in the classroom to prepare for our final presentations tomorrow.

DAY 6 

Saturday morning will be fully optional and serving second breakfast only (coffee, tea, and filtered water is available in the guest area 24 hrs a day), 08:30 - 10:30 hrs. We'll be going to the Fresh Market in Andernos at 09:00 hrs if you'd like to come along and photograph the town for a couple of hours while chef gathers supplies for the evening. If its a windy day and you have a fast zoom lens, you may be able to catch the kite surfers on the Bassin. We'll be meeting back at the market by 11:45 hrs and return to Basecamp for lunch together. Our mid-day meal will consist of Tapenade with fresh raw vegetables and dips, baguette, cheeses, and seasonal fresh fruit, then head into Cap Ferret to photograph the village and maybe a few stops on the way back. Return to Basecamp for 17:00 hrs cocktails, last dinner together ,and final image presentation. In this presentation, you'll be asked to choose your image highlights and talk about why you chose them for your final showing or anecdotes about how you took the photo. Afterwards, we encourage you to take the time to exchange contact information with each other and stay in touch. There's nothing more important than talking shop with another artist and learning from new people to expand your craft. 

DAY 7 

Sunday Breakfast between 08:30 hrs and 10:30 hrs with check out by 10:30 hrs. If you need extra days, let us know so we can accommodate your flight schedule and book your room accordingly. 


*If you require transportation to/from Bordeaux Merignac Airport, we would be happy to send a pick-up for a 'less than taxi fare'. We recommend a car rental if you need to travel outside of our schedule.




• Explore the popular area nicknamed "French California"
• Experiment with your camera in relaxed setting
• Travel in a small group with a local english speaker
• Share image stories with other photographers
• Learn to present your work for the appreciation of an audience

• Share meals without having to edit the camera talk
• Develop connection with your fellow travellers
• Learn valuable insights in our positive group critique
• Photograph a Unesco World Heritage site
• Let you tastebuds have an adventure with regional french cuisine


Accommodation & Rates

Basecamp Retreat is set up much like a hostel environment until renovations are complete. The converted building can sleep up to 22 people but we keep the photography retreats to a maximum of 8, offering 2 private rooms with a queen size bed in each, and a dormitory style room with 4 Queen beds (2 Queens are solidly custom built into a bunk), all with modest decor. While we are renovating only in the off season, we do have a shared bathroom (shower, bathtub, and sink) with 2 separated WC, and one outdoor shower. We provide a schedule on arrival day for everyone to claim their shower time. We will look forward to the time when we can offer upgraded amenities for our guests, please bare with us on this .

 As we work towards our goal to offer sports/photography retreat programs for wounded and recovering soldiers, specifically Battle PTSD sufferers, we hope you will utilise Basecamp and the Retreat Programs to help us offset the cost of our renovations.

Eventually we will have 5 Queen size rooms, each with a fully accessible private bathroom, and 2 more full outdoor shower rooms with WCs. If you are interested in assisting our veterans on a journey to recovery, you can remember someone or gift yourself by buying a tile, large plaque, sporting equipment, or a full room/bathroom renovation to help out. Each one will have your name and a date or any name you choose etched on it and placed in the designated areas. Let us know how you'd like to be remembered.


Queen size bed, private terrace w/ table and chairs
Features: Shared Bath, Terraced Pool View, Queen Size Bed

From $2700.00 / Per person

Dorm Room - 2 Queen size bunks, 2 double beds, sitting area

FROM $2500.00 / Per Person

Queen size bed, private terrace w/ table and chairs
Features: Shared Bath, Back Garden View, Queen Size Bed

FROM $2700.00 / Per Person


Prepare for your retreat

We ask that you bring whatever camera gear you are comfortable hauling around for a full day, and a laptop for editing. We provide free wifi 24 hrs a day. Two camera bodies are suggested, as well as a wide angle lens,  2.8 is best but 4. is good too,  24-105mm lens (kit lens is okay if thats your whole inventory), longer lens of 200mm (70 - 200mm zoom) or higher if you can carry it. Also consider a monopod or a lightweight tripod for the landscape. Just to note, flying with monopods and tripods can be tricky, please pack that in your checked luggage, (you won't be disappointed) Polarisers and filters are always a good idea. This is only a suggested equipment list, if you want to shoot with your phone camera, that is okay too, however you will need to provide a way to show your images at our nightly wrap up viewings. We would also suggest a notebook and pen for keeping track of your images or jotting out image ideas. 

Important note; French cell networks are relatively in-expensive but your home providers roaming charges may not be. Check with your provider for a travel plan, but most phones work well on wifi on the property. 

For clothing suggestions, a selection of light layers for the weather changes are best and some light rain gear. (April or October retreats are fairly cool in the early mornings and late evenings so think maritime gear.) Hiking boots/hiking sandals/sneakers are preferred for most of our days, but you might want to add in some lightweight flip flops for the beach and inside the property (or shower shoes) . The property is equipped with a large heated swimming pool, a small but well stocked weight room, as well as our proximity to the beach, so a bathing suit and/or work out gear is a good idea. We provide beach towels. We have a #skypepilates instructor if you'd like to book a remote pilates session(s)during your stay as well as spa treatments off property.

Please bring whatever personal items you need to get through the week of adventures. 

Passport and appropriate travel documents required. North American and British guests need only present a passport at the border entry with details of your intended destination. All other countries please check with your local french embassy.



We are pleased to provide accommodations, 3 healthy meals per day, (approximately 2 lunches self cater), transportation to and from scheduled photography adventures, boat/ferry tickets, vineyard entry fees. Bath Towels and Beach towels provided.  Please note: Tips are not included and are at the discretion of the guest, please be kind to your housekeepers,drivers and tour guides. We also accept donations to the #SURFDOG project in lieu of gratuity.

For full booking terms and conditions please click here.


Once booked, we do our very best to give everyone the best experience possible. We reserve your seat and pay our staff whether you make it or not. We can provide a partial refund of 75% up until 90 days prior to the start date and 50% up until 60 days prior to the start date. After 60 days prior to the start date no refund will be provided, but we would suggest offering your spot to your friends or family. You may also take the opportunity to gift your spot to a veteran at this time.