The beauty of photographing wildlife is that it is always changing and evolving, encountering the unexpected. In this environment the photographer must learn to work with these changing environmental conditions and behaviours, and the result cannot always be predicted. For me this only adds to the excitement of wildlife photography. Its been a really busy period for one to ones and workshops with clients over the last several weeks. Here are a few images from the field I took alongside them all, as well as a few from my own project.
Norfolk is a place I’ve visited since my early teens as a member of my family on my mums side lived there. Its a place full of wildlife and where the climate can change in an instant. My client from Hertfordshire booked two , bespoke “One to One” days and he wanted to see and photograph Barn Owls. I often find and locate all my own sites I’ve visited for many years building up an encyclopedic knowledge of certain species and where you can find them. Animals are creatures of habitat and although pairs or certain animals die their offspring often take over that prized territory and the circle continues.
I know of three good sites in Norfolk and after a bit of an unsure start to the year all three pairs of Barn Owls have returned and are now feeding their chicks. We were treated to some amazing light and my client got some cracking images of the male and female hunting over farmland and Norfolk reed. I don’t ever go near birds nests but knowing where they are in a certain area can help with getting images but as with all birds I stay back and never intrude or take clients to close.
The money I’m paid for a one to one is second to any welfare of the subject and their way of life. If you’d like to see what these days entail and what you will learn and some of the places I visit then see this link. All these places are wild, nothing is fake or set up, nothing is promised but I have years of firsthand knowledge of each place.
I had a really good couple of days in the Peak District National Park with two clients from York on my Dippers of the Dales workshops. After finding a pair of Dippers that are just rebuilding their nest and about to start on their second brood both clients were really lucky and got some cracking images. I put them in place just before dawn and the Dippers, plus young that had fledged around 10 days ago played out their lives around them. This adult pair had begun building their nest in late February and the female had laid her eggs in early March. Now three chicks have successfully fledged two weeks ago and are now independent of their parents. One of the young still returns to the nest but is seen off by the male, Indicating that the second brood will commence shortly.
Here are a few images I managed to take alongside my clients. One is of the young who doesn’t have the trade mark white “bib” yet but a more muted spotted one. This will turn pure white as the young turn into fully grown adults next year. I managed to photograph one adult in flight, they are notoriously fast in flight, flying low too the water and the first indication they are around is often their high pitch call you hear before you ever see them. I ran out of shutter speed with the image hence the blurring of the wings and it was more luck that skill really.
I have a few dates still free between now and September when you will be able to see the second brood fingers crossed. These workshops are one of my favorite where I take clients to several different sites within the Peak District National Park that I have visited since my early teens. Some of the Dippers, their offspring and descendants have nested in the same areas in all of those years, which isn’t uncommon in this remarkably species of songbird that swims under the water to catch food.
I had a great couple of days on Skomer Island off the Welsh coast of the UK. I had two clients with me on my Spectacular Skomer one day workshops, both clients got some wonderful images and encounters as we had sun, rain, cloud and wind all rolled into each day. This can often be the case on this remote little island in the Irish sea. Lots of Puffins this year once more and they look to be doing ok. The island is also home to many other species of birds, one of which is a favorite of mine the Fulmar. Here are a few of the Puffins that I just love and one of the Fulmar soaring and riding the thermals. I have a few dates left for this years days if you’d like to join me please see the following link for them and more information.
Two of my favorite summer visitors are feeding chicks as I speak in a beautiful wooded area of the Peak District National Park. The Pied Flycatcher and the stunning Restart. Both of these birds spend summer with us before leaving for warmer climates in late August. Both pairs of these birds are nesting in nest boxes once more this year and over the last few weeks I managed to locate which ones and just hide in the dense forest vegetation to give me cover while being able to photograph them going about their lives and feeding their young.
At no time was I close enough to disturb these protected birds, and all of the following images are taken in their natural habitat which is dense woodland often working in poor light due to shade from the dense canopy. Beautiful birds that I’m hoping to get back and carry on my project with them.
In July I visit Finland, one of my favorite places with my clients in search of some of Europe’s most rarest predators. From purpose built, mobile hides a couple of miles from the Russian border you will see ( fingers crossed) Brown Bears coming from hibernation and moving through this area as well as European Wolves. Nobody lives in this vast demilitarized area and its a place referred too as “No mans lands”. Its one of the main reasons these misunderstood mammals survive here I believe in the absence of man.
This image of a male Brown Bear was taken last year there and it shows this male coming to this remote forest pool and pausing having heard the faint noise of my camera and looking up. Incredibly shy and wary these massive mammals are and this encounter lasted a few minutes before he vanished back into the surrounding forests. The silence of the place is magical and once you listen you can hear every noise you really can. A wonderful place that I’m looking forward to getting back once again. Dates for the same trip next year have been released now and they are open to anyone that wants to see and witness these incredible mammals. Please see the following link for my 2018 dates and information.
My Tigers of India tour 2018 is completely sold out now, I have a waiting list should you wish to be added, my 2019 dates will be released shortly. We all had an amazing time this year during my two weeks there. You can see the blog covering the trip here. A slideshow from this years trip can be seen below, watch in full HD with the sound up.
In November I head back to the Falkland Islands with clients for two weeks on my Falkland Islands tour I run, and I cannot wait to show them around this magical place. I’m running the trip in 2019 if you’d like to join me, please see the following link for all the information and dates.
North East India is home to some of the most endangered wildlife in the world. Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas this whole area is one of the most fertile and diverse places on the planet. My brand new photo tour, Wildlife of North East India will take you to some of the best places in this region to see the incredible animals that live in this part of the world.
I visited all of these places on my tour last year and the wildlife, people and landscape is just incredibly. If you’d like to join me to this amazing part of India then see this link for all the details.
I have a few places still free on my Snow Leopard Expedition 2018 trip. This amazing adventure will provide you with the unique & rare experience of finding the elusive and endangered Snow Leopard. I have managed to secure an amazing team of the best Snow Leopard naturalist in the area that will take us into one of the best Snow Leopard habitats in the Hemis high altitude National Park. We had an amazing trip there in February of this year, with two different sightings of these rare big cats. To read the blog I wrote on the trip please see the following link. Below is a slideshow of that trip also.
The rest of my tours, workshops and my ever popular one to ones can all be seen on the following page. I’d like to thank everyone for their support and bookings over the years. Thank you to all my clients company over the last several weeks. In an age where wildlife is under great pressure we all have a duty of care to all living animals to put them first and respect them before any images are ever taken, many thanks.