Practical photography workshop providing both flash tuition and bat photo opportunities at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford, Oxfordshire.
Learn how to master Balanced Fill-in Flash Techniques used by Professional Wildlife & Bird Photographers
Can I really take photographs like these?
Yes you can. Your camera will be set up for you, using tried and tested techniques. You will be given the correct manual settings for both the camera and the flashgun. All you have to do is press the shutter release button at the right time. You should be aware that he bat’s enclosure has undergone significant changes in 2009 and there is now no predictable flight-path that the bats regularly use. This makes it much more difficult to guarantee sharp in-flight shots of the bats. Static shots are no problem and photos with amazing detail can easily be achieved. This actually means that we will have more time to learn and practise other flash techniques on a variety of other subjects throughout the day.
Do I need specialist equipment?
The one thing that is an absolute requirement to photograph bats successfully is a flashgun with an autofocus-assist (AF) beam. Any flashgun with a semi-transparent red plastic cover on the front should include this feature. That aside, no specialist equipment whatsoever is required.
Free loan of equipment
If you do not have a flashgun similar to the one described above, then Photographers On Safari will loan you a Canon 10D, complete with lens and flashgun, to enable you to take your bat photos. There will be no additional charge for this service. If you require this facility, you must make it known at time of booking.
Maximum of 4 photographers
In order for you to get the best out of your day, workshop participants will be strictly limited to just five. This means that you will get lots of individual attention and advice during the day. The specialist area used for bat photography is also quite small, but there is plenty of room for 5 people.
Is there more than just Bats to Photograph?
Yes, we will be using a wildlife park near Oxford. There are many interesting animals and birds that we can photograph there including Camels, Crocodile, Frogs, Lions, Leopards, Ostrich, various species of Owls, Penguins, Snakes, Red Pandas, Rhinoceros, Sloth, Tapir, Wolves and Zebra. Today will, however, be more about teaching you how to confidently use flash, rather than providing exclusive photo opportunities.
What if it is raining?
No problem. There are numerous subjects under cover as well as outside. There is a large tropical house, an insect house, a reptiles and amphibians house, and the bats house, all of which are undercover.
There is a large, bright and airy tropical house. This contains several different species of birds including Scheepmaker’s Crowned Pigeon, Sunbittern, and two elusive sloth. The sloth sleep for up to 18 hours a day, but make wonderful subjects when on the move.
There is a recent new addition at the park. It is a beautiful Wolverine that has a really large and natural enclosure. We will certainly practise our newly learned techniques on this animal at the end of the day. She becomes more active then as feeding time approaches.
Six Hours of Photographing
The park is open from 11.00am until 5.00pm. Apart from a break for lunch (not included) at the cafeteria, we will spend the whole time photographing and perfecting various flash techniques. Please note that this course has been designed specifically for digital photography. Anyone using film cameras will not have the benefit of being able to constantly review their work and then make the relevant adjustments to their flashgun.
I don’t use flash ‘cos it makes the subjects look burnt-out
Many people steer clear of, or are somewhat frightened of flash, usually because they don’t really understand it. Correctly used, it should not be apparent that flash has in fact been used in your photographs. This technique will be carefully explained and practiced throughout the day.
Enhance your photographs with Fill-in Flash
Flash should be used in order to enhance your photograph, and not to overpower it. Flash was used on every photograph on this page. Today will explain all, including how to improve your techniques, and also how to photograph successfully through glass. After today, flash photography should become totally second nature, and a feature that you will regularly use with ease.
10.45 Meet and greet
11.00 Group tuition and safety briefing
11.30 to 4.00 The itinerary is kept very fluid. We start the day photographing various owls while learning new fill-in flash techniques. We then photograph the bats, first taking static poses before attempting the in-flight shots. We will break for lunch on an individual basis (not included), and when clients have finished with the bats, we move on to other subjects to learn more flash techniques. One to one tuition is continually on offer throughout the day.