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One of the Puffins of Skomer stood amongst the sea campion with a great meal of sand eels photographed during the July 2017 Skomer Island Puffin Photography Holiday

July was my second Puffins of Skomer Island Photography Holiday of 2017 for NaturesLens. This time I was to be co-leading the trip with the talented Kevin Morgans. He has a wealth of puffin photography experience so I was sure that it was going to be another amazing trip.

The trip for me started off at Gatwick airport. I was collecting a guest – who will be contributing his own Puffins of Skomer blog, I understand – Csaba, a long-time friend of David & Pui Hang, who was flying over from Hungary just to come & photograph the Puffins! It was great to have some company during the long 6 hour drive from Kent to the South West of Wales.

Kevin & myself met the rest of the group the following morning at Martins Haven which is where the boat departs from to Skomer Island. After a meet & greet everyone loaded their bags & food supply on the boat & off we went.

The weather forecast on arrival was not that great at all, Thick sea mist & heavy rain. Typical British summer weather!

Once everything was unloaded from the boat the group all made our way to the farm house which was going to be our home for the duration of the trip. Kevin & myself then gave a short briefing to the group asking what images & photography help they wanted to get out of the trip. I would say around 90% of the group wanted to learn or improve their bird in flight photography & also wanted to learn how to get a Puffin in flight with a very dark background. It is always useful when a big group of guests want to achieve the same thing, as allows us as guides to group people up to teach them all the same thing.

One of the Puffins of Skomer stood amongst the sea campion with a great meal of sand eels photographed during the July 2017 Skomer Island Puffin Photography Holiday Read more

One of the Puffins of Skomer stands at The Wick with a beak full of sand eels photographed during the June 2017 Skomer Island Puffin Photography Holiday

June took me back to the stunning Skomer Island in Wales. I was co leading the first of two NaturesLens Puffin Photography Holidays with David.

One of the Puffins of Skomer stands amongst the sea campion of Skomer Island with a beak full of Sand Eels photographed during the June 2017 Skomer Island Puffin Photography Holiday   Read more

One of Skomer's Puffins looks skyward photographed during the 2017 Puffins of Skomer Island Photography Holiday

I hope to share with you in this post, a technique that I used during the second of the NaturesLens Skomer’s Puffins Photography Holidays, to achieve some, what I think are, striking images of the puffins on a dark background.

Isolated in the darkness, one of Skomer's Puffins photographed during the 2017 Puffins of Skomer Island Photography Holiday

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A collective of puffins of Skomer Island, also known as a circus of puffins, showing tht unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins jpg

There are two fantastic reasons for taking an overnight stay on Skomer Island, simply put, if it happens, the golden light & puffins – if these two happen to coincide, some magical imagery can be achieved.

A solitary puffin of Skomer Island, showing the unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins Read more

I’m always filled with anticipation heading over to Skomer Island; the gannets, puffins & other auks flying around the boat as well as the sea rolling. In addition to that, on this occasion, we had very limited visibility into the sea mist creating a great atmosphere.

A variety of weather is something I quite like with photography but I’ll always keep my fingers crossed for at least one afternoon of killer golden light!

Alas, it was foggy for the first two days. However with these conditions we were able to experiment with high key simple portraits on a white background. The resulting photos looked as though we’d trained the puffins to pose in a studio environment.

High-key puffin photographed on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography HolidayHigh-key puffin calling photographed on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography HolidayA slow shutter speed puffin image captured on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

The flat light allowed us to shoot all day & because of the time of year quite a few pufflings were exploring the area around their nesting burrows – a lovely sight. Here’s one just peaking out;

A puffling photographed as it peeked from the burrow whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

The benefit of murky weather becomes apparent when waiting for the Manx Shearwaters – they come in earlier when compared to nights with a clear sky meaning a little longer in bed for us! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wandering out across the island at night with the sound of just a small proportion of the 300,000 pairs that nest on the island curling around above our heads.

On our third & final day the island was blessed with lovely weather, it was 30 degrees & positively tropical. That day we enjoyed the nice weather waiting & hoping for it to continue into the afternoon & evening; & it did.

As the sun sets on the island & the light softens, the images take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun sets on the island, captured images take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.

We had a wonderful sunset at the Wick with puffin numbers increasing as the light got better & better, everyone took a completely different set of photos when compared to the higher key images captured with the flat light.

As the sun sets on the island, captured images, such as this calling puffin, take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.A silhouetted puffin photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun set, the opportunity for backlit puffin images becomes available - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun sets on the island, captured images, such as this grouo of puffins, take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.

Myself & one guest, John, stayed at the Wick well after dark to take some photos in the blue light & into the night. Having not done this before I found it great fun seeing the puffins’ activity at night.

As the sun sets the puffins remain active & distinctive images may be captured - photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday Even when the sun has set the puffins still pose for images - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

They continued to renovate their burrows, squabble & make their strange noises but the place felt a lot more serene!

After the sun has set the puffins remain active & calling for mates - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday After the sun has set the puffins remain active & distinctive images may be captured - photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

All in all, it was simply another great trip to Skomer Island.

JOIN US TO PHOTOGRAPH THE ATLANTIC PUFFINS OF SKOMER ISLAND FOR YOURSELF

Skomer Island is one of the most important locations for the colonies of Atlantic Puffins in Europe & it is easy to see why. For photographers keen to add puffin images captured in different conditions & lighting to their wildlife portfolio, a three night stay on the island provides an abundance of opportunities. Our focus during the NaturesLens photography holidays are the comical puffins, which can be seen on Skomer in abundant quantities from mid-May through to July.

Our puffins of Skomer Island photography holiday costs £499 for the 3 night stay on the island & is held during the dates of July 15 – 18, 2017.

We enjoy showing off what our photography tour & holiday participants achieve with us, so we’re happy to post this selection of images, captured by David Margetson whilst on the 2016 Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday; which was lead this year, with a small group, by Dan Trim for us.

A puffin on Skomer Island clutches a bill full of sand eels - photographed by David Margetson on the 2017 Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday

Staying on Skomer Island for 3 nights means you have the opportunity to re-visit images that you may have taken on earlier days & improve on them. Since island weather can be changeable, there is also the chance that you could end up with very different images from each day. Read more

Although he is a veteran of leading photography holidays for NaturesLens with multiple trips to Poland & Fair Isle under his belt, Kevin Morgans has yet to lead a trip for us to photograph the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer. Next summer, this changes, as he will be co-leading one of the regular trips that we run to Skomer Island. A popular trip that we’ve been running these for the last three years!

That said, Kevin is no stranger to puffin photography, or Skomer itself. He has lead our Puffins of Fair Isle Photography – you can read his report here – & he has visited & stayed on Skomer a number of times himself. The focus of these holidays is obviously the comical clowns of the sea & as such, we thought that our blog readers might like to see some of the recent additions to Kevin’s Atlantic Puffins of Skomer Photography Portfolio, since he was kind enough to send us a good selection of images for us to publish here in this blog post.

A serene portrait of one of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday A serene portrait of one of the Puffins of Skomer in the evening light.

The spectacular evening light provides a gentle catchlight in the eye of one of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday The spectacular evening light provides a gentle catchlight in the eye of one of the Puffins of Skomer Island.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, returns to the island having gathered many sand eels from out at sea - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday One of the Atlantic Puffins returns to dry land having gathered many sand eels from out at sea.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer preens itself amongst the sea campions that litter the island - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday A Puffin preens itself amongst the sea campion that litter the island.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun in the evening light - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday A beautiful image captured as one of Skomer’s Puffins was illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun in the evening light.

Having just landed with a great catch of sand-eels, one of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, shakes itself dry - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday Having just landed with a great catch of sand-eels, one of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, shakes itself dry.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, with a bill full of nesting material - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday A capture of an Puffin, with a bill full of nesting material, returning to its burrow on Skomer Island.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, gathering nesting material to line the burrow with - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday One of Skomer’s Puffins, seen here gathering nesting material to line the burrow with.

One of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, calling in the rain - typical of the image that you will be able to capture on the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday Calling in the rain, one of the Atlantic Puffins of Skomer, appears to be bemoaning the weather that Wales is often blessed with.

Kevin is co-leading the July Puffins of Skomer Island Photography Holiday in 2017. Additionally  he will be heading back to photograph the puffins of Shetland, more specifically Fair Isle’s colony.

JOIN US TO PHOTOGRAPH THE ATLANTIC PUFFINS OF SKOMER ISLAND FOR YOURSELF

Skomer is one of the most important locations for the colonies of Atlantic Puffins in Europe & it is easy to see why. For photographers keen to add puffin images captured in different conditions & lighting to their wildlife portfolio, a three night stay on the island provides an abundance of opportunities. Our focus during the NaturesLens photography holidays are the comical puffins, which can be seen on Skomer in abundant quantities from mid-May through to July.

Our puffins of skomer photography holiday costs £499 for the 3 night stay on the island & is held during the dates of July 15 – 18, 2017.