Always looking for new ideas, Photographers on Safari have designed a fabulous new workshop to give their customers a series of photographic opportunities that we have not offered before. All the set-ups will be indoors, using the very latest LED lighting equipment and some extremely innovative accessories to ensure that each client gets the same amount of high quality chances to capture that special moment. The group size will be limited to just three photographers, in order to enhance your experience and to eliminate overcrowding. We will take our time with each subject, giving you every opportunity to return home with some truly outstanding photographs.
Studio photography is something that I have perfected during the latter months of 2015. You will see evidence of this from the accompanying photos that are on this page and in the small mammals gallery. All the photos in the gallery were taken during just four days at the venue I will be using. A lot of effort was used in constructing suitable set-ups that make the very best opportunities to create stunning photographs. Just as important as the set-ups are the backgrounds. I have several different options that are easily changed in just seconds for each subject, or as required. I completed 8 days in Northumberland with clients and the feedback was incredible. The vast majority of clients said that this was their most enjoyed workshop. Your camera will be set up in manual mode by me before the workshop begins, and the LED lights emit a constant level of light. All you have to do is to focus on the subject and release the shutter button. No previous experience in this type of photography is required. The venue is near Berwick upon Tweed.
Non-Specialist Camera Equipment Required
Photographers on Safari will supply all the lighting and the trigger devices to synchronize the multiple flashguns to your DSLR camera. If you do not have a DSLR, then just let us know and we will loan you the necessary equipment free of charge. Most of your mammal shots will be taken from about five feet away, so a standard 70-200 or 70-300 zoom lens will be ideal. A macro lens is more suitable for the smaller insects. If you do not have a macro lens then, once again, we will loan you a Canon camera with a macro lens free of charge. No other specialist equipment is required. A tripod/monopod is optional. The flash settings are fully automatic and will be the same for each client’s camera. Manual settings will be dialled into your camera and all you need to do is to press your shutter button at the correct moment. If you want more information on how the flashguns are set up, then that can be explained as we shoot.
These are one of my favourite subjects on this workshop. Our reptile centre has a number of these cute little animals and they have successfully bred their own Harvest Mice for some time now. We will do two or three sessions/set-ups with them to ensure that each one of you has a really outstanding photograph to take home. Harvest Mice are Europe’s smallest rodents and the only British mammal to have a prehensile tail. This allows them to grasp plant stems as they move through long vegetation. They have a reddish-yellow coat with a white underside, small hairy ears and its nose is much blunter than those of other mice. They are mostly nocturnal, although they may be active during the day in warm summer months. Numbers have declined in recent times and they are now rarely seen in the wild.
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The Red-Eyed Tree Frog is my other favourite subject on this workshop. Once again we will do two or three sessions/set-ups in order to ensure that you get perfect shots of this eye-catching amphibian with big bulging red eyes. These frogs have bright lime green bodies and have white bellies and throats. Their sides are partly blue with vertical white bars and their feet are orange. Male Red-Eyed Tree Frogs can grow up to two inches in length and females can grow even bigger. Our captive-bred subjects are likely to be somewhat smaller. Although the Red-eyed Tree Frog itself is not endangered, its rainforest home is under constant threat.
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.
Praying Mantis & Stick Insects
A praying mantis is an amazing insect of which there are more than 2000 different variations. The Praying Mantis is famed for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The front legs are lined with spikes and close in a certain way to give a firm grip on the prey. They have four additional legs, which they use for walking, and their heads can turn around almost 180 degrees. They have two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located in between. The Praying Mantis can vary in length between 1 and 16 cm. Stick insects are truly masters of disguise. They blend perfectly into their natural habitat. Some of the 6000 species of Stick Insects with long, slender bodies and long legs are almost indistinguishable from small branches. They walk in a slow back-and-forth motion, as if moved by the wind. There will be a number of examples of both Praying Mantis and Stick Insects to choose from for our day’s photography. Our reptile centre currently has Indian Rose Mantis, Madagascan Marbled Mantis, Flower Mantis, Sabah Stick Insect and Indian Stick Insect. The actual species may vary but there will always be a variety of choices on offer.
Click here to see more photos from this workshop
Other Mammals, Reptiles and Insects
Our workshop, which is currently based in Rutland, will always include photo sessions with Harvest Mice, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs and some Praying Mantis. In addition we will photograph a selection of the following species; Amazonian Milk Frog, Whites Tree Frog, Emperor Scorpion, Royal Python, Corn Snake, Desert Locust, Bosc Monitor Lizard, Chilean Rose Tarantula, African Train Millipede, Bearded Monitor Lizard and Giant African Land Snail. Subjects do not live indefinitely and we cannot guarantee that every species listed above will be available for every workshop. There will always be a replacement on offer should any item not be available.
Good morning, John and Andy. I just want to thank you for an excellent day of photography yesterday. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of setup. However, what you demonstrated was just how much can be achieved with some well set-up lighting and a few props. Add in some very obviously cared for and healthy animals and the scene was set for an excellent day. Apart from one very brief experience, I’ve never used studio lighting before. I am astonished by the quality of the pictures I came away with. Some of them rank among the best photos I’ve ever taken (and the general standard makes this the best day photography I’ve ever experienced). Anyway, I won’t go on. Just wanted to say thank you. I know you must get inundated with clients sending you examples of what they have achieved but nevertheless I’m sending you three pictures that I’m delighted by. I look forward to seeing you again. Best wishes, Rob W.
Hi John, It was really good meeting up with you again yesterday at the small mammals workshop. Thank you for the event. It was a really good day that went very smoothly. Subjects were intriguing and the flash setup & backgrounds were impeccable. Looked over some of the images on my laptop & I am really pleased. Best wishes & thanks again. Chris B.
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