This unique workshop has been designed to present customers with the opportunities to take prize-winning photographs in our studio in Rutland. Photographers on Safari have spent a large amount of money on equipment and outstanding props to present you with situations that are truly unique within the industry at this time. We have listened to our clients’ needs and have designed a workshop to suit those desires. Many (not all) of our clients take photographs to enter into competitions. They tell me that they are regularly informed by judges “that was a great shot but I have seen it before”. With this workshop, Photographers on Safari will provide you with situations that have not been seen before.
Constant but Variable Lighting
What does that mean? Surely it is a contradictory statement. What we will offer is constant lighting on your subjects so that no flash is needed. You will shoot with “normal outdoor settings” just as you would when not working in a studio. We have a number of continuous video lights, some very powerful and some less powerful. You will see from the examples surrounding this page that we have created some photographs that would give the impression that they were taken as the sun was setting. Now we come to the variable bit. All of our lights have adjustable output, which means that we can lower or increase the amount of light hitting our subject from each individual light source.
Most of the lighting will come from one side (or both sides) of our subjects – rather than from the front. It is not our intention to create pictures that could have simply been taken outdoors and given extra illumination with a burst of flash or a direct beam of hard light. We are going far beyond that situation. We will create highlights and shadows by carefully controlling each lighting source individually.
There is far more to creating a successful shot than just putting foreground light onto our birds. One thing that really does add an extra dimension to your shots is back lighting. This can be white light to create a “rim effect” or it can be golden light to create a beautiful “sunset effect”. Look at our photo gallery to find some amazing examples of this technique. These lights are placed high above and behind our subjects, giving the impression that they are lit by the sun’s fast disappearing rays.
We have a large number of different backgrounds that will be regularly changed from one colour to another that will best complement the individual set-up that we are using at the time. Not only can we change the background, but we can also vary the amount of light on each background. Some lights have been purchased just for this purpose. Lights that illuminate our subjects will never point towards the backgrounds. If you allow the lights to point towards the subject and the backdrop they create horrible shadows that will ruin your photograph.
All of our subjects will have their jesses removed. This is not totally unique and there are one or two falconry locations that are prepared to do this. The vast majority are not. What this means is that there should be a lesser amount of Photoshop work required to hide the anklets left behind on each bird. Cleaver positioning of static subjects can usually hide some (or all) of the leather straps that remain round the birds’ legs but these straps are always apparent when the birds are in flight.
In order to take things one step further, and to provide you with a perfect shooting opportunity we will remove the birds’ anklets as well. These will be cut off before each session and new ones will be attached once each session is over. This means that the only evidence of captivity that you will see is the small metal ring on one leg that is a mandatory item as stipulated by Defra. Many wild birds also have metal rings, nowadays. We will usually fly the bird so that the ring is on the trailing (rear) leg and is, therefore, less obvious.
The Birds of Prey
We will have a selection of birds at our disposal. It is impossible to give absolute guarantees that each and every one will be alive, fit and well on the due date. It is rare, however, not to have all our subjects available to us. We hope to have a Barn Owl, a little Owl, a Long eared Owl, a Tawny Owl, an Asian Wood Owl and a Kestrel working for us.
How many of your birds will fly is another question that I am regularly asked. We are dealing with wildlife here, and they have moods just like we do. Ignoring those, every bird should be capable of providing us with a number of flights on the day. We will not necessarily have time to fly (and produce excellent static shots) of every single bird on each and every day. They will only complete short flights, but that is all that we need in studio conditions.
Each workshop will comprise of just FOUR clients. That way there will not be competition for the best shooting positions. Some set-ups will allow all four of you to shoot at one time from an ideal position. Some will not. When positioning is tight you will shoot in groups of two in rotation. I will ensure that each client has equal opportunities to capture each part of each set-up from the prime position throughout the day. There is absolutely nothing to prevent those not in the prime position from shooting over the other two clients’ shoulders while they are waiting. No flashguns are involved and there will be absolutely no downside to those in front of you by doing this.
The workshop will be held at my home in Rutland. The address is; 55 Stapleford Road, Whissendine, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 7HF. There is a mainline railway station at Oakham (4.5 miles away) and a residential Inn in Whissendine (the White Lion). Teas/coffees, drinks and lunch will be provided during the workshop.
Please note that several of the images in the gallery include birds with Jesses/anklets. The techniques were developed in Northumberland with limited time and space. We did not remove the anklets during the first two days. There was also less than the optimum distance between the subjects and the backgrounds. This will not be the case at Whissendine.
Backdrops and Props
We have assembled thousands of pounds worth of backdrops and props in order to make this workshop really special. It is far from a quickly thrown together Heath-Robinson affair.
Some of the backgrounds include a large panel of stars and planets which works amazingly well. We now have a life-like moon which really complements that set-up. We have fences, gates, gravestones, church crosses, old cart wheels, horse collars, taps, burial urns, bygone farm tools, old doors, footpath signs, stone window arches, various grasses in pots and a large selection of bog oak roots that have been buried underground for hundreds of years. We can create some very special pictures for you.
We will also have TWO Chameleons on site. Our aim here is to provide opportunities for you to capture these guys while they are being fed. Their sticky tongues protrude almost the length of their body to capture the cockroaches on which they feed. We have experimented and have worked out the best (almost perfect) settings to capture this amazing sight. They are extremely quick and it is over in a split second. Specialist equipment is needed for this shot. Each client should have approximately 3 attempts at this. It is probably best if each person uses one of my cameras and accessories for this particular set-up.
09.30 Meet & Greet, Tea / Coffee, Risk Assessment
09.45 Introduction to Digital Photography
10.00 1st session photography
13.00 Lunch (food and drinks provided)
13.45 2nd session photography
One-to One Workshop Options
Some clients may wish to have the flexibility of choosing their own backdrops and props from our many options. Whereas we cannot accommodate each different individual’s requests during standard workshops, some people may be prepared to pay more to enable them to pick and choose their own set-ups throughout the day. The cost is not cheap as the falconer has travelled some 250 miles to be here and his costs are the same, irrespective of numbers. These must be booked to run concurrently with the main workshop bookings. Please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient date.
One person Creative Light Workshop £499.00
Two persons Creative Light Workshop £599.00
Dates & Cost in Rutland 2018
Tuesday 13th March 09.30 – 16.00 £199.00
Thursday 15th March 09.30 – 16.00 £199.00
Dates & Cost in Northumberland 2018
Tuesday 5th June 09.30 – 16.00 £199.00
Wednesday 6th June 09.30 – 16.00 £199.00
Please note; A Small Mammals Workshop (Click here) will run on convenient days in between those listed above. there will be a reduction of £10 per workshop for clients booking both workshops. The Small Mammals Workshop will only run in Rutland.