Graeme’s thoughts on our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

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A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

In less than 6 months, I will be returning to Japan, for the 5th time. It is a country that never ceases to amaze me during the Winter time. Next year we are taking a smaller group to photograph the Japanese Winter Wildlife, but that should make it all the more fun. I will be stepping aside from the trip that is scheduled for 2019, but Pui Hang will be taking over the reins along with a co-guide.

A bloody squabble, breaks out over fish, between several of the Steller's & White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

But, back to the matter at hand. In February 2017, I had the great pleasure of meeting Graeme & Georgia as part of the group attending our Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayGraeme was entranced by all the wildlife that we encountered, & fully embraced the food, custom & habitat of Hokkaido. He sent in the following images & some words relating to the trip. I cannot wait to meet up with them again in 2018, but for some different species on that occasion!

We prepared well & thought we knew what to expect in Japan. But nothing could prepare us for the reality of dozens of Steller’s & White-tailed Eagles grabbing fish right beside the boat out of Rausu, Hokkaido.

A White Tailed Sea Eagle lines itself up to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A White Tailed Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle twists in the air to dive towards the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a final adjustment to pluck a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A Steller's Sea Eagle makes a speedy exit having plucked a fish from the icy seas photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday One of the Steller's Sea Eagles takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or the number of  Macaque Monkeys in the snow & thermal spring pool.

One of the young snow monkeys peers over the edge of the thermal pool photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Nor the elegant red crowned cranes in flight, & their beautiful courtship dance.

One of the red crowned cranes takes flight over the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday The courtship dance of the red crowned cranes the national bird of Hokkaido photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Or pure white Whooper Swans against a back drop of snow & mountains.

A whooper swan races across the ice to take to the skies photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayThe thermal pool, in which the swans find respite from the harsh winter conditions photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The list goes on.

And that doesn’t even mention the amazing accommodation & Japanese food included in the itinerary .. or the photography lessons … or the information about Hokkaido & Japan in general.

I hope my pictures do the plethora of Japanese Winter Wildlife justice!

An airbourne squabble, over a frozen lake, between a Steller's Sea Eagle & a White Tailed Sea Eagle photographed during the 2017 NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE JAPANESE WINTER WILDLIFE 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, 2019.

If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book two places for £5175 each instead of £5749 per person! Quote JAPANPAIR in the referral code text box to have the discount applied to your booking – you can book now & hold your places with 20% deposit only! Please note, both bookings, for the travelling companions or couple, must be made at the same time & the dates for this trip are February 9 – 22, 2019.

 

Owls from one of our Welsh Nature Photography Workshops

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The Little Owl poses on a rusted milk churn in the farm yard photographed during the Natureslens Spring 2017 Birds of Prey Photography Workshop

It’s almost time for the Autumn Birds of Prey Workshopmore details of this particular nature photography workshop are available here – but here are some images from Ian, captured during our Spring Birds of Prey Workshop, which is held at the same venue in Mid-Wales.

The Little Owl poses on a mossy stump in the woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

The Long Eared Owl poses in woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

Ian is a veteran of our wildlife photography holidays & this was his first time attending a captive bird photography workshop with us. He loved the slower pace which allowed him to take his time in composing some stunning shots.

The Long Eared Owl poses on a mossy stump in the woodland photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Little Owl poses on a rusted milk churn in the farm yard photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl poses on a dilapidated barn door photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl poses on a rusted milk churn photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

Our birds are so full of character & Ian did a fantastic job of capturing their personalities. As you can see, he also perfected the peeking owl shot!

The Little Owl poses amongst some vintage storm lanterns photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl peers out from a stone barn window photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Barn Owl peeks out whilst posed on a dilapidated barn door photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017 The Tawny Owl perfectly hidden within a hole in one of the old trees photographed during a Nature Photography Workshop conducted by Natureslens during Spring 2017

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE YOUR OWN IMAGES ON ONE OF OUR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS?

We have second Bird of Prey Workshop scheduled for Autumn 2017, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of our Welsh Birds of Prey for yourself; the photography workshop costs £220, the dates for the Autumn Birds of Prey Photography Workshop are October 21 – October 22, 2017. The format of the nature photography workshop weekend will be a special late afternoon / early evening session with an owl on Saturday, followed by a full day of birds of prey photography on Sunday. Shorter days move in during autumn, giving you the chance to use the soft light in our unique late afternoon / early evening session to achieve creative imagery.

John & Rosamund’s Shetland Puffins

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John & Rosamund were just 2 of our guests on this year’s trip to Fair Isle to photograph the iconic Atlantic Puffin. They were blessed with nearly perfect weather for the entirety of their trip which enabled them to get some fabulous images of the comical clowns of the sea.

A beautifully lit portrait, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday A large group also known as a circus of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday A mouthful of sand eels, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

Rosamund said “It was a fantastic opportunity for photographing puffins: the colony is healthy & the birds flying in with lots of sand eels. We learnt so much about the behaviour of these charming little birds.”

Courting behavior seen between a pair of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday
Emerging from the burrow, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Just landed with a mouthful of sand eels, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday One of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Picking the thrift, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

Rosamund added “Initially we thought 5 nights was too long, but given the good weather, it was easy to fill the time between morning & evening shoots. When the light was so bright in the middle of the day we much enjoyed ourselves walking the wonderful & accessible coastline & visiting the lighthouses & the museum.”

Ready for take off, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

I absolutely love this puffin preening shot. Simply stunning & my favourite image from all the ones that they kindly sent in for us to share.

Time for a quick preen, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday Time for a wing stretch, one of the Shetland Puffins photographed during the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair isle Photography Holiday

WHY NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE SHETLAND PUFFINS FOR YOURSELF?

If you would like to photograph the brilliant & comical Puffins of Fair Isle, which Kevin will be again leading in 2018, then you can book the 2018 Puffins Of Fair Isle for £1199. This is a great trip & will fill up fast so don’t miss out.

The trip is scheduled to run between the dates of June 14 – 19, 2018.

We include all accommodation on Fair Isle which is a full board basis, flight from Sumburgh to Fair Isle & ferry back from the island to Sumburgh. The itinerary is flexible between puffin sessions to allow us to photograph other species of birds, including Arctic & Great Skuas, Fulmar & other seabirds or if you wish you can head off on your own & explore the island.

David, one of our clients, captured these images of the Birds of Spain in April

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Golden Eagle photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

Back in April, David, one of our clients, not one of our leaders, visited our latest location for bird photography in Sierra Morena, Spain. The site offered the opportunity to capture images of different bird species from those on our Birds of Calera tour such as Crossbills & the majestic Golden Eagle.

Common Crossbill Drinking photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain Golden Eagle photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the trip was when the lucky occupants of one of the hides witnessed a Golden Eagle fighting with a fox! This is just one image from that memorable encounter.

Golden Eagle and Red Fox Fighting photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Hoopoe emerging from it's nest photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

David told us “Once again the trip was very well arranged. The permanent hides were the best I have ever used. They were all brick built & had toilets while the temporary ones were very large dome hides with artificial turf floors. Thanks once again for another enjoyable trip.”

A female House Sparrow drinking photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain One of the Little Owls found in the area & photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Little Ringed Plover with food photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

The unexpected visits by the red fox certainly made this trip rather special & one to remember.

One of the Red Foxes that scavenge food from the Eagle hides photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain A Woodchat Shrike photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BIRDS OF SPAIN FOR YOURSELF 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.

Further encounters with the Wild Brown Bear – Part 2

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An image of a large adult wild brown bear as he walks adjacent to the lake photographed during the NaturesLens photography holiday to photograph the Wild Brown Bear

This is part two of my blog about my encounters with the Wild Brown Bear of Finland – if you have missed it, please read part 1 here.

The amazing environment that the wild brown bears are found within photographed during the NaturesLens photography holiday to photograph the Wild Brown Bear

Night 4

Night 4 for me was a bit of a bust from a bear perspective. I chose to go into a single man hide for the night & was quietly confident of some good results. However, it was not to be as the wild brown bear sightings were too far away although there was some amusement as a very large male brown bear approached a nearby hide & the occupants started to panic as they were ‘over lensed’ for the shots & great panic ensued as the bear serenely walked past!

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Encounters with Wild Brown Bears – Part 1

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A pair of the Wild Brown Bears on the side of one of the lakes captured by NaturesLens guest Trevor during the Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday

Outward Bound

As a keen wildlife photographer, I am always looking at ways to challenge myself so when Sean Weekly told me of availability on a trip to Finland to photograph the Wild Brown Bears, I jumped at it. I had met Sean on Skomer Island back in 2016 photographing the Atlantic Puffins & learnt so much in that short time I was confident that I would enjoy the trip even though it was my first organised wildlife trip.

An image of one of the Wild Brown Bears captured by NaturesLens guest Trevor during the Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday

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Sorcha’s view of the land of the Wild Brown Bear

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A portrait of one of the juvenile wild brown bears photographed during the NaturesLens Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holidays

I was very excited waiting for the day I was to head off to on an adventure to see &, hopefully, capture some images of the wild brown bears of Finland for myself. I had previously spent a wonderful weekend with NaturesLens on their “Birds of Prey Workshop” prior to going abroad, this was primarily to help hone my, admittedly, very basic photography skills when it comes to wildlife & the capture of images of nature.

After this taster I was keen to get going on my wild brown bear trip & to try out my newly acquired skills. The time soon came & I was in this wonderful boreal location where wild brown bears were to be found & it was just beautiful; watching the sun rise, set & rise again in a few hours in the land of the “midnight sun”, lakes with mist gathering & the white balls of cotton grass seeds swaying in the breeze.

One of the large male wild brown bears up close to one of the hides photographed during the NaturesLens Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holidays Read more