Entries in the ‘Workshops’

Nest Building -Dipper

Filed in Wildlife, Workshops on Apr.11, 2010

After a brilliant week camping in the Welsh countryside it was straight back home and out today on one of my Dippers Of The Dale workshops I had booked with a very nice man:Charlie Goddard from the North-East of the UK, Charlie had contacted me reference coming on one of my Dipper one day workshops as he’d never been able to get closer enough at his local site to photograph these Masters Of The River.These birds and the workshops are my favorite to do as I love to pass on my passion for these beautiful birds,telling the person(s) all about their behaviours etc as they are crafted from over 25 years of interest/experience of this bird dating back to when I was 10 years old,they have a personnel connection for me also.

Dipper

My aim on any trip I do is to get the very best images of the chosen subject the client has come to see and photograph,so it was fantastic that on Charlie’s chosen day the Dippers had started to build their nest,with the care and fieldcraft I teach in and around this bird on these workshops its possible to get some close up images without disturbing them,but it has been some time since I have been rewarded with such close up views as we’d had today,and I was over the moon for Charile.Because for me its the joy people get from what they see and photograph that makes me happy,by showing,teaching what I know and love.

Dipper In Habitat

 We saw three birds,one female and two males,with the numbers being really down on the previous years for this time of year.Natural England have ringed two of the birds from what I could see with the above bird not having any rings on yet.Phil Bowler,head warden for the area, had told me in an email of there attempt to provide nest boxes for the Dippers to nest in,far removed from the busy hotspot areas they have chosen before and deserted due to high levels of disturbance.So it was with great anxiety I witnessed these birds building a nest not so far away from one of these hotspots instead of the well hidden nest boxes.And as we sat and waited for the Dippers to reappear, two dogs where in the water and also two people decided to dip their feet in the water as the temperature was raising alongside my own.

This does prove that the Dipper,through memory will return to their place of birth alot of the time,with food source being the key,while some of the nest boxes provided by Natural England are placed/sited away from the fast-flowing water, I feel this is a key decision for the Dipper’s when it chooses a place in which to site its nest,close to or on top of a plentiful supply of food.As it stands I feel the disturbance will play a major role on this particularly site as was the case last year and I wish they’d have chosen a more secret location for their nest.

Grey wagtail

Not to far away from the Dippers nest their are a pair of Grey Wagtails that are building their nest too,so the area is a real hub of activity at present.Charlie got some brilliant close up images and he’s promised to send me one as he was using the 200-400 and with the Dippers collecting moss so close to us he was able to zoom out where I had ran out of focusing due to the Dipper being so close,amazing to watch though!.I am going back really soon to watch and monitor this pair and I hope and pray they have moved to a different site where their chances of raising a family will be greater,thus,increasing the population of Dippers on this stretch of river hopefully.

Dipper

A great day was had,with the customer’s wishes of seeing and photographing the Dipper coming true which is what its all about for me alongside me helping them to take better photos.I will update my blog on the situation at this spot but I say now that I am very nervous for this pair as they don’t seem to be using the nest boxes provided and if they carry on building where we both witnessed today then the future doesn’t look good.

With the new signs,ringing for information purposes and the introduction of nest boxes not stopping people/dogs entering the water who knows what the answer is apart from my solution,which was fencing off these sensitive areas I had mentioned in my previous article printed in the Birdwatching Magazine last October,which can be viewed here,fingers crossed though to a successful year as last year was the worst I can remember.with the Dippers really needing a break this year.

I have a really busy month ahead of me with my Norfolk workshop,then my trip to India to photograph the Tigers,then my trip with Jereon Stel to Texel,so really looking forward to all those trips,and thank you to all the people I’ve met for your support.

CJWP


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Magical Mull-Update

Filed in Workshops on Apr.02, 2010

Misty Morning

Having just returned from the beautiful Isle of Mull where I’ve been working on a few of my favorite subjects ie.Otters,White-Tailed Sea Eagles, there and finalising the ‘Magical Mull’ trip/workshop planned to this beautiful island in early June,co-hosted by my friend and award winning dutch photographer Jeroen Stel.

The Isle of Mull lies on the west coast of Scotland and it has a breathtaking coastline of 300 miles, the climate is a mixture of rain and sunshine.From the moment you step onto this beautiful island the wildlife is everywhere and the scenery is stunning. Our accommodation during this workshop is overlooking the harbour of Tobermory,where each room we have booked has a sea view,with fine cuisine in the restaurant,prepared from the best locally sourced ingredients to make your stay even more memorable.

Heron At Dawn

Mull has a breathtaking landscape and offers you some brilliant chances for landscape photography,with beautiful morning light.My main targets when I come to this island and that of the trip are Otter’s, White-Tailed Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles,with the weather feeling like winter again while I was there,with pouring rain/snow it can be a bleak place to be.

rED dEER

Due to a lovely couple who had booked but now are unable to get the time off work a couple of places have come up,so if you are interested in coming then please drop me a line here  or see my website page under Workshops and I’ll answer any questions,queries you may have.

The meeting place is the Scottish port of Oban,where while we are waiting for our ferry there will be very good opportunities to photograph the healthy population of Black Guillemots that live in and around the port.You will meet myself and Jeroen here and board the Ferry,we have a mini-bus booked,so this with be our mode of transport around the island,driven around to the key sites on the island with the only thing you’ll have to worry about is composing your subject(s)A great trip is planned,where I/we look forward to passing on our passion as wildlife photographers, in helping you to take better images while learning more about nature and reconnecting with the natural world.

Red Deer

I was able to capture a few interesting photos that are going towards forming my collection of photographs called ‘The Beauty Of Nature’,which are beautiful,powerful images from the natural world chosen to connect with the general public,young and old to engage them with the beautiful wildlife we have all around us,creating an interest which will hopefully not only help their own lives but also have a positive response in helping the natural world in these troubled times of threatened extinction of both domestic and worldwide plants,animals.

I have teamed up with local Staffordshire wildlife artist Paul Horton who paints images of nature,landscapes and after a chance meeting recently we plan on bringing beautiful,emotive visions of wildlife,environment created by the lens and brush to people through our joint exhibition in Libraries,Schools,Town Halls,General places where the public frequent hopefully having their lives brightened by the ‘Beauty Of Nature’.I also plan on putting some sort of display(s) on for troubled youngster’s,those in care,Barnardos etc, that rarely see the countryside and what it has to offer in terms of beauty,where the power of nature may just help heal wounds,and show by getting back to nature there is always hope.

The future David Attenborough’s,Bill Oddie’s and alike need to be found,where the love of nature can develop amongst the urban jungles in which they live,where the future is in keeping alive the charities,projects that help keep alive many species of wildlife. So in bringing images from the natural world to people who’d never get the chance of witnessing the beauty nature has to offer is more important than we give it credit for.My aim is to tap into this forgotten generation with simple exhibitions of nature seen through a wildlife photographer’s eye and wildlife artist’s brush,at the same time bringing much joy to their lives

Artic Terns Displaying

Not a day goes by where we don’t read or see some politician on TV telling us that we must help nature before it’s to late,laying out their plans to save the world,drawn up for them by their adviser’s,using words many people don’t know or understand or are to frightened to ask, fragmenting the different classes,while failing to engage with ‘Broken Britain’ as we are told its called.The future is in educating all irrespective of your postcode or start in life,I have found those with the most passion are sometimes the ones with very little in terms of materialistic possession’s but an unmeasurable passion and knowledge for nature that needs to be put to good use in showing the importance of conservation and the need to preserve our national heritage.

Dates and venues are being planned as we speak and I’ll update my blog as to when and where these will be,our plan is to start local in the heart of Staffordshire,and maybe further afield.Any suitable venues within the Staffordshire area that my like to display Paul’s and my work that we haven’t already contacted then please drop me a line here or Paul Horton

Portrait Of A Shad Preening

CJWP


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Magical Mull

Filed in Events, Workshops on Jan.28, 2010

The Isle of Mull lies on the west coast of Scotland and it has a breathtaking coastline of 300 miles, the climate is a mixture of rain and sunshine. From the moment you step onto this beautiful island the wildlife is everywhere and the scenery is stunning. The island is a wonderful place to see Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, Otters, porpoises and a whole host of Hebridean Wildlife. Come and join myself and award-winning Dutch photographer Jeroen Stel as we take you around this beautiful island on our 6 day/5 night trip called ‘The Magic Of Mull’.

Mull Sunset

White-tailed Eagle

Our base will be the picturesque village of Tobermory, with its brightly painted buildings. Overlooking the harbour of Tobermory and facing out to Calve Island and the sound of Mull is our Hotel, you’ll be treated to picturesque views over the harbour and as well as comfortable accommodation, you’ll enjoy fine cuisine in the restaurant, prepared from the best locally sourced ingredients to make your stay even more memorable, all of the rooms have a sea/harbour view. It will be a wonderful chance to show you the best places that I have found on my last trip there and to pass my knowledge of these onto you so you can really enjoy ‘The Magic of Mull’.

Otter Feeding

Mull has a breathtaking landscape and will offer you some brilliant chances for landscape photography too, with the mountain of Ben More with its imposing peak at just over 3000 feet being the highest point on the island where it forms the southern part of the island and holds several pairs of Golden Eagles, which I witnessed on my last visit here. There is some much to do on Mull, but our main targets are Otter’s, White-Tailed Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles, with some much wildlife around you opportunities will present themselves at anytime.

We have a day trip planned to on the Wednesday to the Treshnish Isles, a designated site of special scientific interest. One of the best places in the UK to see Puffin’s, and teeming with other birds too e.g., Razorbill’s, Guillemots and Seals and possible sightings of passing Basking Sharks that enter the sound of Mull to feed on the plankton, offering you some great photographic opportunities, you will have two and a half hours on Staffa, and almost the same on Lunga.

Puffin

Puffin

Seal

The pattern of events for each day will be very similar, which will ensure that we get the best out of our time on Mull. An Early start to get into place at one of the Otter sites and hopefully catch them as they wake and start to fish, head back to the hotel for our breakfast at around 8am,then collect our packed lunches and head out for the day, catch the evening light later on at one of our Otter or Eagle sites, then back to the hotel for our evening meal and a chance to review the days images.It plans to be a brillant trip,getting the very best from Mull and in turn a stunning experience for each one of you.

Mother and Daughter

The cost of this event includes all meals,packed lunch,all transport around Mull, ferry crossing.The meeting place is the Scottish port town of Oban where you will be met by Jeroen and myself from which point you will have know other worries as the trip has been planned with every detail,subject with you in mind.Led by to very passionate wildlife photographers,all the ingredients for a magical trip on the beautiful island of Mull.If you have any questions or information you’d like answering or to book they please go to my ‘Contact’ page,where you can either call me or email me and I’d be more than pleased to help you.

Herring Gull In Setting Sun

Lone Heron


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Texel Workshop

Filed in Workshops on Jan.11, 2010

At around 25 miles long and seven miles wide the island of Texel is the largest of the Wadden Islands, It’s a haven and paradise for thousands of waders and waterfowl during the spring/summer months where they choose this picturesque island to play out their courtship routines and breed, feed their young all quiet close to you, presenting some of this best chances to photograph Avocets, Spoonbills, Caspian and Black Terns, Oystercatchers, Kentish Plovers, and many more waders.The Texel workshop is being co-hosted with me and award winning Dutch wildlife photographer Jeroen Stel whose expert knowledge of Texel and the surrounding area is second to none and the perfect guide to get the very best images of wildlife this place has to offer.

Avocets

It’s one of the best places in Europe for close up views of Avocets with the chance of getting some amazing close up images of these beautiful birds.Jeroen Stel and myself have teamed up to offer you the very best in Wildlife Photography workshops,we also have a brillant trip planned for early june called The Magic Of Mull’ where we will show you the beautiful wildlife and landscapes this island has to offer.Other trips in the future are also planned all designed by Wildlife Photographers for Wildlife Photographers.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Our hotel is situated on the island of Texel, not far from the beaches, marshland, extensive fields, strongholds of Bluethroats, Short-eared Owls, Terns, Eiders, and many more, depending on what is about at the time of our trip,the photographic opportunities will never stop.Over the coastal marshes a healthy population of Marsh Harriers patrol the skies, hunting over the reed beds and marshland giving a great insight and close up view of these magnificent birds of prey.

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier]

Jeroen will have planned the best places and routes before our arrival in Texel in an attempt to get the best images from this trip as possible, myself and Jeroen will guide you through each day, approach the wildlife with real care and settle into place and watch the magic of Texel play out before your very eyes.After our day has ending and we have finished our evening meal a a slideshow of the images will be presented giving you the chance to see your work and that of others, sharing best practices, so that as a group you can get the very best out your days on Texel. We will also go through tips and advice on wildlife photography covering both practical and theoretical examples that you can apply yourselves in your own time.

Bluethroat

It’s promises to be a brillant trip so if you would like to know more or book your place on this trip please go to my workshop section or clickTexel’ ,alternatively drop me a line on my contact page and I will give you all the details you will need for this action packed trip with have planned.

Tern

Avocet

More information on this beautiful island and what it has to offer can be viewed by clicking on Jeroen’s Blog 1 and Blog 2 and as you will see there is nobody better to show you around this beautiful island other than Jeroen who know’s this island like the back of his hand.Many thanks and hope to see you there.

Logo


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Red Grouse

Filed in Workshops on Dec.09, 2009

Spent a lovely day yesterday on a One To One with Gary Copeland,Derbyshire in the Peak District looking for Red Grouse,after a slight walk to one of 3 places I visit regularly we got into place and waited for this very shy bird to show up.The heaths and moors of the peak district are an eerie exposure of peat covered moorland sitting about 600m (2000 ft) above sea level. Large wind carved eroded rocks sit among vast plateaus and rock formations supporting a healthy population of Red Grouse. These iconic moorland birds make their home on these moors and are reliant on their camouflaged plumage to blend in to this habitat.The image below shows where we were and gives you an ideal of this habitat.

Peak District

Female Red Grouse

The image above is of the hard to capture/see female who looked in stunning condition,perched on these large rocks that litter this beautiful landscape, the weather was good to us in the morning but in the afternoon the weather changed and at 570m ( Altitude-meter in my watch) above sea level you get a real sense of the environment  as you look to the sky and see the changing weather approaching.Neverless Gary and myself had a great day and I was pleased  for gary as he managed some lovely images and learned alot about the Grouse,approach,what to look for etc.

Red Grouse

I managed to capture a male Red Grouse up on a stone wall walking up and down, like something of the famous ‘Red Grouse Whisky’ advert where he is seen posing and performing,very funny to watch,seen below in this image

Red Grouse

The Red Grouse is one of those beautiful birds that live a quiet and shy life,a very jumpy bird I have found over time and the secret is just simply to get into place with as little disturbance to the bird as possible and wearing camouflage clothing,make sure the wind is blowing towards you as this will take your scent away and just wait for them to show up,they often fly around alot and take some time to settle.I run Red Grouse In The Peaks workshops, where throughout the year I have certain dates where I take up to four people to the best site at that time of year or like Gary I can do a One To One at one of these site’s also. It’s all designed to get the best images for the client as I can and a better understanding of your chosen subject using my proven fieldcraft techniques and other simply tips I teach and showing people the beauty of nature.

Male Red Grouse

And the male turned up just before we left and posed for us and I managed this portrait of this beautiful bird, a great day was had by all,thank you for your company Gary and a Merry Christmas.


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“Dippers Of The Dale” Workshops

Filed in In the Press, Workshops on Oct.28, 2009

My ‘Dippers Of The Dales’ workshops have started and I had a brillant time showing Tom and Ken around my site as they love the Dipper, I met Ken through my  ‘Flickr’ site.Both Tom and Ken are very keen wildlife photographers who where keen on seeing the Dipper  having read my article in October issue ‘Birdwatching Magazine’.

WORKSHOP

The picture above shows us altogether with a mini-waterfall as the backdrop,it was taken by remote trigger (Ken,Tom,Me) in that order,and it was a real joy to show them around and teach them about the Dipper, a bird that has amazed me from a small boy. Knowing where to go and how to appoach the Dipper makes all the difference for me and as I have been coming to this site from a small boy it would be nice to think the Dippers know me quite well now!. We had the whole day there,before Tom and Ken departed for home and a  sample of Ken’s work from the day can be seen here ‘Ken’ and Tom’s work from the day  ‘Tom’.

Very nice to meet you both and so glad I was able to show you around and share my love of the Dipper with you both and since have become good freinds. My next workshop is planned for ‘Monday 16th November’ see my workshop pdf below for details or drop me a line on my contact page if you would like to go.

Details on my “Dippers of the Dale” Workshop
You will need Adobe PDF to view this attachment.  This can be downloaded for free at Adobe’s website.

Dipper portrait

A Dipper in the setting sun I took at the same site.


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