Second Venue in Northumberland
Please do not confuse this workshop with the original “ProShoot Birds of Prey” workshop that is also held in Northumberland. This workshop is at a totally separate location and is undertaken with a completely different falconer and a different set of birds. The workshop is run along similar lines to the other one in that every care is taken to provide some unique and very special “professional quality” photo opportunities. The backdrop for some of the shots are quite unique. You will be taking home some photographs, the likes of which have rarely been seen anywhere before.
Professional Photo Opportunities
Today is all about providing some really special set ups that would appeal to and impress everybody from absolute beginners to top amateur and professional photographers alike. This is your chance to take the sort of images that you would normally only see in top quality glossy books and publications. I have worked with these birds on several occasion last year, and each day produced some absolutely stunningly different images. We will work with some really impressive subjects in one of the most beautiful settings you could imagine. We will use, in the main, British birds that are extremely difficult to even approach, let alone photograph, in the wild. You will be amazed at the detail and colours of these subjects from just a few feet away. The backdrops are really special here.
Tips and Tuition – Beginners Welcome
The day will start off with a general Introduction to Digital Photography, which will have a heavy emphasis on how to make the most of the special opportunities you will have with the birds. You will be given all the advice you need to ensure everyone is capable of returning home with some really special photographs. The whole purpose of today is to ensure that anybody, from the most inexperienced amateur to a seasoned photographer, will return home with shots of breathtaking quality. One to one tuition will be on offer throughout the day should you require any help with your camera settings. You do not need to have massive lenses or top of the range cameras to really excel today. Nothing larger than a 300mm lens is required.
Beautiful Waterfall as Backdrop
We will use various locations to best show off our subjects today. The one that really makes this workshop unique is a stunningly beautiful waterfall. It is approximately half a mile’s walk to the rarely visited and almost unknown waterfall. There is a sizeable shallow pool below the falls which has some large tree branches sitting in the golden brown mineral rich waters. If you wear wellington boots, then you will be able to stand in the water and cover all angles. The trees all round the pool are covered with mosses and lichens. The whole scene is quite surreal. One of my friends described it as “something out of Harry Potter”. We will choose which subjects we will take to the falls on the day of our workshop. These will vary from day to day.
We will commence our photography with the UK’s smallest Owl. We will place a Little Owl in a hollow branch so that he peers out through a natural hole. We will then put him in a twisted hollow branch before feeding him worms on a “molehill”. Putting a gorgeous Eurasian Scops Owl in the same twisted branch offers very different opportunities. We may even try to photograph the Little Owl in flight if his weight is suitable. He is very fast and, being a small target, quite a challenging subject in flight. Quite a rare shot if you can capture it.
Short Eared Owl & Snowy Owl
This venue has two new Owls for 2016. The addition of these two species now means that our venue has become one of the very few places in the UK to have all the British Owl species. Providing there are no health issues with his birds, we will have access to each of these Owls for our day’s photography. Short Eared Owls live in the wild just a few miles from our venue. It will be really special to photograph one of these hard-to-find Owls in its natural habitat.
We will drive to another location where we can photograph a Buzzard in completely natural surroundings. We will put him on some tall gorse bushes that have a stunning backdrop of Scots Pine trees behind. Our session with the Buzzard will finish with it feeding on a dead rabbit or something similar. Great care will be taken throughout each session to hide the jesses from view. This bird will also fly for us in the afternoon.
Long Eared Owl
We will take this Owl to yet another location en route to the waterfall. We will place him in various natural habitat in and around some young Spruce trees. He sits in various situations on both branches and dry stone walls. He really seems to enjoy showing us different poses and is quite a character. Sometimes he stands really tall and thin. Other times he is more squat and wide. His eyeballs vary from being quite small to sometimes being large and wide. Once again, bird will fly for us in the afternoon.
The Tawny Owl is a real joy to photograph. We will choose some natural habitat to get you some “in the wild” photos. We may place him on some of the taller branches covered with lichens or perhaps on the lower ones that are bedecked with mosses. Either way, he is a stunning subject to work with.
This is probably my favourite bird to take to the falls. It may be that his size has something to do with it, but he seems to really gel with his surroundings. Those huge orange eyes are quite mesmerising, particularly if you choose to place a really dark rock behind him. He has absolutely no fear of the falls and is comfortable wherever we place him. A small amount of fill-in flash that just reaches the owl, and not what is behind him, works especially well here. All will be explained on the day. He will fly for us after lunch when in more open surroundings.
This is the prettiest Barn Owl that I have ever come across. She will perch almost anywhere without any fuss at all. We may place her on a fence post, on a barbed wire fence, on a stone wall or on a branch. We may put her in a hollow tree or may even take her to the falls. Wherever we take her, she will perform like the absolute star that she is. She is so highly trusted by her handler that we will remove all jesses for the flying session. A rare treat that adds a new dimension to your photos.
The Kestrel is a stunningly pretty bird. We will place this bird on a slender branch, hopefully with a bright blue sky as a background. It will also, hopefully, hover for us directly above our heads. This can never be guaranteed, and depends upon what the bird will/will not do on the day. However, if all goes to plan we will have some amazing shots of this unique flight pattern.
Asian Brown Wood Owl
Although all the species mentioned above (with the exception of the Scops Owl) are British, this is such a beautifully photogenic subject that it is difficult to deny ourselves the opportunity to photograph him on a dead branch. I deliberately choose a dead branch for this subject as it is more natural than a prime English tree with leaves that are alien to the subject.
Varied Choice of Subjects
I have listed the birds that I used in 2014. Obviously the species on offer can vary slightly from year to year. There is no absolute guarantee that any one species will perform on any one day. They are living creatures. It is expected that we will photograph up to 10 different birds each day. If we choose to spend longer with one subject in a certain location, then it may result in using a smaller number of subjects. Our aim is to provide you with the best possible opportunities on your chosen day. Both subjects and some locations may vary from day to day. The waterfall will be used on all these workshops.
Top Falconer & Small Group Size
Our falconer has a lifetime of experience and will go out of his way to encourage his birds to provide you with some really special photo opportunities. We will have a maximum of just 8 photographers on this workshop so that each photographer gets plenty of room at the waterfall.
Click here for photos of our Birds of Prey
09.00 Meet & Greet, Tea / Coffee, Risk Assessment
09.15 Introduction to Digital Photography
09.50 Move to site
10.00 1st session photography
13.30 Break for sandwiches (provided)
14.30 2nd session photography