Strolling through the picturesque Algarve on a photography tour with Dave Sheldrake
When Dave and Alyson Sheldrake retired to Portugal in 2011, the artistic couple couldn’t have foreseen how their lives would pan out or know the extent to which they would become such well-known and loved local artists.
Based in the Algarve for six years now, being a professional photographer has been a dream come true for Dave. Having learnt the art of photography at college in the old days of 35mm film and dark rooms, he now enjoys the freedom that digital photography brings.
He has become pretty famous for his seascape photography, events, sunsets and product shoots. We often bump into Dave at functions and exhibitions where he is happily snapping away for the event organisers.
Exhibiting alongside wife Alyson’s paintings at their pop-up events across the Algarve and through his website, Dave has been selling his images for a few years now and has gained a loyal following for his work on social media. He loves to photograph older people, where he can imagine their life stories, and trying to capture something of that in a single shot is a challenge that the photographer really enjoys.
Being a friendly chap, many people felt comfortable to ask for his help when they were trying their hand at photography. He was always happy to help, which led him to the idea, back in January 2017, of organising an informal group to help people become better photographers.
The idea is not to offer formal teaching, just to create events advertised via a Facebook group page, where people can meet up at different locations across the Algarve, walking, talking and taking photographs. Dave is on hand and glad to offer help to individuals during the walks, while sharing some of his favourite places in the Algarve along the way.
The setting for the first walk and talk session was the beautiful Sítio das Fontes near Estombar, Lagoa, and generated a great turnout of 16 keen photographers: “The friendly groups were all keen to join in, offering advice and making new friends. The walks are designed to last around two hours and are a combination of quick demonstrations with lots of chances to try things out and get advice and help along the way,” Dave told us.
The Sítio das Fontes was a great location as a pilot session and the groups were quickly off exploring the beautiful landscape and river walk together. During the afternoon, they took the opportunity to come ‘off auto’ and discover what all the buttons and settings on their cameras were for.
Alyson explained: “There was a lovely mix of people and abilities and cameras across the group. The idea is simply to encourage everyone and get them enjoying their photography – whatever their ability or experience – and regardless of what type of camera they have.”
There is no charge for the walk, but instead Dave will be asking people to make a donation at the end of each walk. All of the money collected will be donated to Dave’s charity of choice – Madrugada – at the end of the year, before selecting a new charity next year.
The aim is that each walk will cover different aspects of photography in a relaxed way while enjoying the outdoors, meeting new people and sharing experiences together. The intention is to keep the group under 25 participants so as not to dilute the experience and ensure that everyone receives enough guidance and assistance.
Dave told us: “I love to walk the cliffs and coastal paths, and soak in the amazing views, bright blue seas and skies and stunning landscapes. I also enjoy wandering around little villages meeting local people and enjoying the simple way of life that the Algarve can provide and these are some things that have inspired me to start Algarve Photography Walks.”
The group is encouraged to post their photos and work after each walk onto the Facebook group’s page where Dave will also be offering tips and advice along with sharing his work.
Facebook page: Algarve Photography Walks