The Strid, Bolton Abbey


The great thing about a Natural Light Photography Workshop is that on every tour there are two professional photographers as tutors…

Natural Light Photography Workshops tutors Sam Oakes and Mark Sunderland met in 2006 at one of Sam’s exhibitions and have admired each other’s work. Sam had been working abroad for a number of years as a tour leader for an adventure travel company and recently settled back into the UK. It was a natural progression to want to set up some photography workshops in Yorkshire and the two made contact with the idea of doing this together.

The Natural Light workshops were set up in 2011 and the first year saw great success, with twice as many tours planned for 2012. It works well having two photographers on a workshop as both Sam and Mark have their own individual styles. They often find it interesting, after going out on a recce where they both take images in the same location, at the same time and in the same light, that they come away with very different images.

Sam Oakes - Tutor

Sam Oakes

Sam brings both photographic flair and tour-leading expertise to the Natural Light workshops. This experience has taken him from the national parks of Tanzania to the jungles of Dominica, and from the rugged mountain walks of Majorca to the crystal blue coastlines of Croatia. Now, he focuses his attentions a little closer to home.

Sam Oakes was born in Leicester in 1979 and raised in North Yorkshire. His passion for photography began at a young age but really took hold when in 2003 he left behind a background in graphic design and set off through Asia and Australia for 18 months. On his return to the UK, Sam used the resulting images to launch two successful exhibitions and a new website, steadily building a business in both fine art sales and editorial.

Years later, he has added a wide number of European, African and Caribbean countries – where he also worked as a tour guide for one of the UK’s most respected adventure travel companies – to his list of photographic achievements. Sam underwent rigorous training for this role and quickly became one of the firm’s highest standard tour-leaders, noted particularly for his local knowledge, organisation and people skills.

Sam’s images have published in a number of national magazines, including Digital Photographer, BBC Gardens Illustrated, and Glimpse magazine, as well as his debut book which documents a trip to East Africa in 2009 and 2010. His work can be viewed and is available for purchase at

Today, he is based in his home town of Harrogate, where he works as a freelance photographer.

Mark Sunderland - Tutor

Mark Sunderland

Mark’s passion for the land, a unique focal perspective and consummate photographic skills combine to deliver images which are unique, capturing mood and ambiance through insight and innovation.

Mark Sunderland is a landscape and travel photographer based in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England. He was born in York, England in 1963. His interest in photography started around the age of eleven. He is largely self-taught, having trained and worked in the IT industry for some twenty years, but has continued to develop his photography throughout his life.

He attended a general photography short course in 1992, based on black and white film work, which started a more serious exploration of the medium. However, colour is an important aspect in Mark’s work and he has specialised in colour landscape and travel photography since the mid 1990s. He has travelled widely through the western USA on several workshops with US based British landscape photographer Nigel Turner and numerous other trips to the desert landscapes of this region. Mark has also travelled through Chilean Patagonia with American landscape photographer Linde Waidhofer.

Mark has been a full-time professional freelance photographer since 2004 producing stock landscape and travel images. He returned to his native county of Yorkshire in 2005 and now specialises in Yorkshire images along with fine art prints and a range of local jigsaws, calendars, greetings cards and postcards which are available from his website at