© Arnold zann

Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures, Lighthouses of the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Margo Pinkerton and Arnie Zann offer workshops from Paris to Costa Rica, but the bewitching barrier islands of the Outer Banks are in the backyard of these North Carolina residents.

“We take pride in finding the back roads,” says Pinkerton, aka the Contessa. “The Outer Banks are this wild and woolly place, and we work really hard to find great locations.”
© Margo Taussig Pinkerton

Yes, this adventure focuses, literally, on the Outer Banks’ historic lighthouses, from Currituck Beach to Cape Hatteras, but participants won’t turn their back on the surrounding glories, from salt marshes to fishing villages to the shimmering sequin march of incoming waves. Nor will they turn their back on fun, because there’s a photographic lesson there too.

“We challenge our participants, and we take the art of photography seriously,” says Pinkerton. “But if people are too serious and uptight, they’re afraid to take chances. Sometimes beginners take the best photographs because they see things with a child’s eyes.”

Early morning and late afternoon shoots bookend midday downloading and processing, and Pinkerton and Zann are always close at hand.

Says Pinkerton, “We like to infect them with our enthusiasm.” Though, she adds, “We do give them a little time alone for sleep.”

A last boon: Yes, Pinkerton has shot for numerous national magazines, and Zann is one of the country’s most accomplished photographers, with shots in magazines from Life to Time, but as wife and husband they are not skittish about disagreeing — another valuable photographic lesson.

“In photography there is no right answer — there are different approaches,” says Pinkerton. “It’s a creative process.”

October 28 to November 1. $1,180 (does not include lodging and meals). (919) 643-3036 (before 9 p.m. E.S.T), bcphotoadventures.com

Of Note: For something intimate, workshop participants (limit two) can scout and shoot with Pinkerton and Zann over the two days preceding the workshop. They also offer a spring Outer Banks trip (April 22 to 26). ?