A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Sean reports in from our Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Last month saw me heading off to the mountains of the Sierra Morena in Spain leading the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday.

I knew from the itinerary that had been planned that it was going to be an amazing week of photography with some great sightings & photo opportunities. After a very early flight, the group & I arrived in Spain meeting up with the local guides. After a couple of hours on the road we arrived in the local town of Adamuz, which would be our base & home for the duration of the trip. The town is situated in beautiful natural surroundings & is a very picturesque location. Due to the time we arrived, we decided we were going to explore a few wildlife locations that we would be working on over the coming days. It was a great afternoon exploring our surroundings & getting some ideas for the images to come.

The next day we split into two groups to keep noise etc to a minimum whilst working from the hides. A couple of us spent the day in the Golden Eagle hide.

A magnificent Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday         A Golden Eagle peers around a log photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

We were greeted with some beautiful views across the Sierra Morena mountain ranges. Hide photography can sometimes be a game of patience, so having some great scenery to enjoy whilst waiting for your target species to appear was an added bonus. Our patience was rewarded when we got our first glimpse of a shadow in front of the hide. I knew a pair of Golden Eagles were above us circling around but I couldnʼt see them from where I was positioned. It didnʼt take long though before the female came in & landed just 10 metres from us! After 20 minutes or so of the female enjoying her rabbit feast, she called to the male to bring him down to eat as well. By this time it was sunset & we were rewarded with some really beautiful Mediterranean light. The rest of the week included spending various hours in numerous hides including, the Imperial Eagle, Kestrel & Hoopoe hide to name just a few.

The Hoopoe hide was fantastic & resulted in some great images of this fascinating bird.

One of Spain's beautiful hoopoes returns to the nest having captured a grub for it's nesting young photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A hoopoe perches with a recently caught grub photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The hide was situated metres from the bird’s nest where both the male & female were constantly bringing back food to the nest. It was amazing to see how hard these little birds work to find food to bring up their young.

The group was also rewarded with some shots of an Ocellated Lizard that just happened to end up climbing on the same tree as the Hoopoe nest. That’s what I love about wildlife photography, you just never know what is going to happen!

An Ocellated Lizard photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The highlight of the week for me was when I witnessed the Golden Eagle & Red Fox fighting. I could almost feel the tension between the two animals through the lens. I knew I was about to witness something extraordinary. I scrambled for my camera. To my frustration, I was over-lensed with a 400mm attached. I knew there wouldn’t be time to switch lenses & just accepted that I would get to witness something spectacular without being able to document it. The ensuing battle between them was brutal. I felt so lucky to have witnessed it but couldnʼt help feeling the disappointment of not being able to photograph it! At the end of the week, the fight was still playing on in my mind. So some of the group decided to return to the same Golden Eagle hide to try our luck & see if we could witness something similar again & hopefully this time, photograph it.

A Golden Eagle comes in to land photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Much to everyone’s delight, the eagle came in & within moments, the fox returned. I wasnʼt going to be caught short again & was prepared with a shorter lens. They fought once again, literally less than ten metres from the hide. Thankfully this time I was able to capture the crazy battle.

A Golden Eagle & Red Fox battling over food photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The battle of the Red Fox & the Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A lot of wildlife photography requires being in the right place at the right time & sometimes a considerable amount of luck.

This Red Fox was a regular visitor to the Golden Eagle hides, always seeking out food photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The Red Fox which was a regular visitor to the Golden Eagle hides photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

I had my fair share of luck that evening & I was delighted to have witnessed such an amazing scene. For me, it shows the boldness & bravery of the Red Fox & its determination to win the battle with the Eagle. I love the way you can clearly see the size difference between the eagle & the fox. The images for me portray the harsh reality of our wildlife & risk that each animal will take for food & territory.

A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A Golden Eagle perches whilst bathed in the golden light of the setting sun photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

I cannot wait for what the 2018 trips have to offer. If you would like to join me, I am leading both the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday & immediately afterwards, the Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday, meaning that you can join both & spend two weeks in Spain photographing some of the best bird species that I have ever seen!

A kestrel flies back to it's nest within a derelict Spanish farm building photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

JOIN THE NATURESLENS Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday IN 2018

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.

One Of The Grizzly Bears Emerges From The Fishing Branch River Covered In Ice Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The Ice Bears Of The Yukon Photographic Holiday

New dates for the Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain

We have been able to get some dates for a return to the Ice Bears of the Yukon, this is the photography holiday for the Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain – our original trip takes place during 2018, & sold out instantly; demand for places at Grizzly Bear Photography at Bear Cave Mountain is very high as only around 24 people get to spend time at the location each year!

An Atmospheric Image Of A Bear In The Landscape Of Fishing Branch River Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The NaturesLens Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

We have secured dates for the October 15 – 26 sessions of Ice Grizzly Photography of the 2020 season, this is late in the season & should be very cold, therefore presenting opportunities to capture images of the Grizzly Bears clad in ice when they emerge from the waters of the Fishing Branch river. The dates for this very special wildlife photography holiday are October 15 – 26, 2020.

Our time spent in the area of Bear Cave Mountain is a rare privilege, as the region is sacred to the Vuntut Gwitchin community who reside in the area; these First Nation peoples place a great ancestral & cultural value on the land & the environment within the park. The vast area was set aside by the government & local communities as an area for preservation, & the opportunity to capture its rarely disturbed wildlife population on camera is not one to miss out on. A guide with in-depth knowledge of the wildlife & culture of Fishing Branch river will assist our group throughout the experience to aid you in obtaining fantastic images that truly convey the magic of this exceptional location & the wildlife that calls it home.

An Ice Covered Grizzly Bear Of The Yukon Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The NaturesLens Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

We only have 3 places for 2020; if you would like to attend, then we require a deposit of £1899 to hold your place – the total cost of the trip is £9499 per person, with an itinerary as indicated below.

ICE GRIZZLIES OF BEAR CAVE MOUNTAIN PROPOSED ITINERARY

  • 15-Oct-20 – Travel to Whitehorse – overnight Whitehorse
  • 16-Oct-20 – Travel to Dawson City – overnight Dawson City
  • 17-Oct-20 – Travel to Fishing Branch River – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 18-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 19-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 20-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 21-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 22-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 23-Oct-20 – Ice Grizzly Photography
  • 24-Oct-20 – Travel to Dawson City
  • 25-Oct-20 – Travel to Whitehorse
  • 26-Oct-20 – Travel to UK

All accommodation & meals at the camp are all included to make things as straightforward & enjoyable for you as possible. Also included are the internal transfers by helicopter to & from our river-side base, to ensure that the whole experience is truly enjoyable & you are able to focus on capturing stunning photographs to add to your wildlife portfolio. Group numbers are strictly limited, so book your place now to avoid missing out!

One Of The Grizzly Bears Emerges From The Fishing Branch River Covered In Ice Typical Of The Kind Of Image That May Be Captured On The Ice Grizzlies of Bear Cave Mountain Photographic Holiday

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images are dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes 6 boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lake in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the White Tailed Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle lands on the Rausu pack ice photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA White Tailed Sea Eagle soars through the air above one of the feeding sites photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nothing can prepare you for that incredible moment when you are amongst the ice floes with eagles all around. It is pretty common for our guests to finish each of the sessions feeling as though they have been in the gym, with arms that ache from non-stop shooting.

Many of our group came on the trip to fulfil a long awaited plan to see the Snow Monkeys; however, they left saying that the highlight of the trip was actually the boat trips to photograph the eagles. In Nicola’s own words “this was an amazing trip – lots of wildlife on hand, with lots of opportunities to take stunning images.”

A Stellers Sea Eagle strides across the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile White Tailed Sea Eagle having just landed on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A juvenile Stellers Sea Eagle eats fish whilst being pestered by a pair of crows photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE WINTER WILDLIFE IN JAPAN FOR YOURSELF?

With the 2018 trip full, we have opened up bookings for the 2019 trip, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of blakistons fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan for yourself; the cost for a single traveller is £5749, with single occupancy accommodation throughout, no sharing & no single supplement!

To secure your place on this photographic tour, we require a 20% deposit – the balance will fall due on 16th November 2018 – we include all ground transportation within Japan, transport to & from shoot locations, dinners & breakfasts, accommodation, entrance fees, boat fees for six boat trips & guidance/tuition; the dates for the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Tour are February 9 – 22, 2018.

 

 

2018 Wildlife Photography Holiday Availability

Some of the NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays for 2018 are now running close to being full or have limited capacity remaining, if you would like to join any of the photography tours & trips noted below, then it may be wise to get a booking in sooner rather than later.

Greece’s Dalmatian Pelicans – the 2nd trip is full, & just two places remain available on the 1st wildlife photography holiday to join Sean in January 2018 to capture images of the awesome Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkiniwe now only have one place remaining on this trip.

A Dalmatian Pelican lands with little drama on the ice of a frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Yellowstone’s Winter Wildlife – 2 places only remain available to join both Pui Hang & myself in January & February 2018 for some wonderful winter wildlife photography in Utah & Yellowstone.

Japan’s Winter Wildlife – there’s just 1 place available to join me during February 2018 in Tokyo & from there to travel around this most-enchanting of countries to photograph the awesome Winter Wildlife of Japan – this photography tour has now had all places reserved with a deposit, however, we have opened a page for bookings for a 2019 tour which will follow the same format.

A young snow monkey of the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japan in Winter Photography Holiday

British Columbian Bears2 places only remain available to join both Pui Hang & myself in the heart of British Columbia & to photograph the bears & other wildlife of the Taku river, during July 2018.
we now only have one place remaining on this trip.

Camargue’s Horses – 2 places available to join Pui Hang in Montpellier during September 2018 & to spend 5 days capturing images of the wild white horses of the Camargue.

Image typical of those that may be captured on the NaturesLens White Horses of the Camargue Photography Holiday (3 of 13)
Washington’s Bald Eagles – 2 places only remain available to join me in December 2018 for some winter wildlife photography of the Bald Eagles that make the rivers of Washington State their home during the colder months.

One of the Dalmatian Pelicans comes in to land on an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

A frozen Lake Kerkini & the Dalmatian Pelicans

David has visited Lake Kerkini & the Dalmatian Pelicans with NaturesLens for the past 2 years. But in his third year, things were very different. The area was experiencing its coldest winter in 60 years with snow & ice on the ground. As for the lake, it was completely frozen!

But all was not lost, quite the opposite in fact, the circumstances meant the group had the opportunity to produce some truly unique images that otherwise would not have been possible.; here are a small selection of images that David has kindly shared with us.

As the sun rose, the pelicans started to move & wake to their frozen environment photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A white Pelican juvenile strides through the snow on the banks of a frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday The flurry that ensues, when one of the Dalmatian Pelicans has caught a thrown fish photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A Dalmatian Pelican lands on an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Boat trips were replaced with visits to the shoreline where there were small pockets of water. The Pelicans were initially wary of the group but instantly warmed to them when they realised they had fish! Thanks to the lake being frozen over, David was able to get quite close to the adult Pelicans. Sadly, by the time group 2 arrived, much of the snow & ice had melted.

One of the Dalmatian Pelicans comes in to land on an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A pair of Dalmatian Pelicans on an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A Dalmatian Pelican lands in an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the Dalmatian Pelicans takes off from an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A portrait image of one of the Dalmatian Pelicans stood on snow near the frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Meanwhile the juveniles were having a whale of a time! They were quite happy to stand around in the snow & pose or preen for shots. If they were rewarded with fish, so much the better!

David is heading back to Kerkini & the Dalmatian Pelicans, with us in 2018. We look forward to sharing his images again.

One of the Dalmatian Pelicans preens it's feathers whilst stood on a bank of snow photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday Closeup of a juvenile Dalmatian Pelican photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A pair of white pelicans, stood adjacent to an icy stretch of water near Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH KERKINI & THE DALMATIAN PELICANS FOR YOURSELF?

We have a couple of spaces remaining on the first trip of 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1049 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Thessaloniki itself – all ground transportation from Thessaloniki & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday are January 11 – 15, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

Photograph the Bald Eagles of the Pacific Northwest

The rivers of Washington on the Eastern coast of the United States runs through some of North America’s most dramatic scenery; the forests are home to diverse wildlife species, including the Bald Eagle, the rivers provide a fantastic spawning habitat for salmon. It is the only large river system in Washington that contains healthy populations of all five native salmon species & two species of trout.

NaturesLens invites mid-level & experienced wildlife photographers to participate in a new photography holiday, which involves navigating the waterside territory around Concrete, Washington, by boat, to photograph the population of bald eagles that winter in the area.

A bald eagle flies over a river in the valleys of the Pacific Northwest

We have chosen this location carefully to present another opportunity for a fantastic bald eagle photography experience. The areas we will use on the Skagit River are home to nearly 1000 eagles as they feed on the abundant supply of spawning chum salmon. Throughout the duration of this photography holiday, you will be presented with many chances to capture images of the eagles in flight & in their environment, providing for you the opportunity to capture both wide-angle pictures & up-close.

Join NaturesLens on a photography experience that offers opportunities to fill your photography portfolio with images of the bald eagle. Based in the town of Concrete, Skagit County, we will venture out every day on boats to capture stunning photographs of the bald eagle.

The full details of this exciting trip are available here.

A low level image of a herd of elephant, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

Photograph the African Wildlife of Zimanga in 2018

Head to South Africa to photograph the African wildlife of the Zimanga Reserve, the first reserve in Africa to be designed specifically to satisfy the needs of today’s wildlife photographer.

A low level image of a herd of elephant, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

The 2018 event is now full – please consider booking for the 2019 event, which is already open for bookings, you can join the NaturesLens Zimanga African Hides & Safari Photography Holiday, which is taking place in 3rd – 10th May 2019, for the same price as 2018, that is £3599 – hold your places with a 20% deposit only.

A low level image of a rhino, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

The African bushveld is an environment famed for its variety of wildlife, & the unique safari experience it can provide for wildlife photography enthusiasts. Join NaturesLens photography leaders on an African wildlife experience, delving deep into sub-tropical bushland; photographing incredible native species from both jeep & specially designed hides which are embedded within the landscape.

This is a trip you’ll never forget, & will have you leaving with both stunning images & memories which you will treasure for a lifetime. Places are limited so make sure to book early to avoid missing out.

Our trip offers you 5 traditional game viewing drives from open safari vehicles, with no more than two photographers per row to ensure maximum comfort & access to the best angles for photography. These are not limited to tracks, so off-roading will give you maximum photography opportunities. You will also have at your disposal a range of water-level hides, which are perfectly positioned to capture images of the African wildlife at their eye-level. These hides have been created with the photographer in mind, providing the optimum structure & positioning throughout the park.

Accommodation & internal transport is included within the price of the trip to keep things simple for you & NaturesLens will provide photography tuition as needed.

This is a trip you will never forget – book now to avoid disappointment & to take advantage of the special offer pricing!