Two new Hungarian Bird Photography Holidays

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A post rouse red footed falcon typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

Back in the summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Hungary to meet with a hide owner out there; I had heard great things about the area & the species on offer, but one set of hides in particular caught my attention.

A post rouse red footed falcon typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

Now, we are inviting you to join NaturesLens on a new pair of exciting photography holidays, photographing the diverse bird species that inhabit the Tisza Valley in Hungary. With a wide selection of hides designed & built to provide optimal opportunities throughout the area at our disposal, we will provide you with some of the best bird photography opportunities possible, capturing them in flight, within their habitats & interacting with one another.

A gull coasts by the pond hide typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

One of the herons takes off from the pond hide typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

Working from dawn ’til dusk watching this wonderful range of species in action, this is a pair of experiences that you won’t want to miss!

One of the female red footed falcons perched typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

The hides are designed & built to provide optimal opportunities in terms of light, background, & distance for a wide range of iconic species including Red-footed Falcon, Kestrel, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Spoonbill, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Garganey, Ferruginous duck, Kingfisher, & more.

The hides are located in different habitats & the set-ups varied to provide the maximum number of species & opportunities.

A grebe floats serenely on the waters in front of the lake hide typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

For Summer 2018, we will have two new opportunities: the first, is a week long visit to the area, on a full board non-shared accommodation basis with airport transfers & all hide usage & guidance included. This photography holiday is of 7 nights duration, & costs £2199 on a non-shared basis.   It takes place in Tiszaalpár in Hungary, between the dates of 27th May – 3rd June 2018. The trip is ideal for photographing bee-eater, black-necked grebe, common kestrel, hoopoe, kestrel, kingfisher, lesser grey shrike, little grebe, middle-spotted woodpecker, red-backed shrike, red-footed falcon, roller, scops owl, spoonbill & more. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 4 participants & a maximum of 7, plus our guide.

The kestrels are frequent visitors to the hide sites typical of the type of image that may be captured during the NaturesLens Red footed Falcons & Steppe Birds of Hungary Photography Holiday

The second trip is in the format of an extended weekend, & it is designed to allow you to specifically photograph the amazing Red Footed Falcon & other raptors of the Kiskunság National Park.

During your 4 night stay, you will have opportunities to capture images of the falcons as they display, mate, keep their eyes on the nests, fight, & fly. This tour is the perfect introduction to the Steppe Birds of Hungary photography holiday for those who can’t manage the longer 7 day photography trip or can only get away for a long weekend.

This photography break is of 4 nights duration, & costs £1399, it takes place in Tiszaalpár in Hungary, between the dates of 29th June – 3rd July 2018. The photography break is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. As with the longer trip, the photography break starts & ends at Budapest Airport, & transfers between Budapest Airport & Tiszaalpár are included in the cost.

For the next week, both of these holidays are bookable with a £100 discount on each trip, should you book before December 8th 2017, we will automatically discount the price of the longer trip to £2099, whilst the shorter trip will cost £1299 whilst the launch offer is running.

For the longer holiday – you can hold a place with a deposit of £440 – for the shorter tour, a deposit of £280 will secure your place, in both cases, the balance is due 90 days before the holiday commences

Spanish Bird Photography in 2018

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Nestled in the trees within the olive grove, the little owls make their nests image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

We run a number of wildlife photography holidays to the Spanish Plains, each is designed to allow you to photograph the wide variety of Spanish bird species that live in, on & above these expansive vistas; you may wonder what species are likely to be photographable during each of the various Spanish Bird Photography Trips.

One of Calera's Bustards at sunrise image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Our weekend to weekend offering, Spanish Birds of the Calera Plains, is now in the fifth year of running – this Spanish Bird photography holiday takes place between 21st – 29th April 2018 – during the 8 night duration trip, you should hopefully be able to spend time in the hides capturing images of bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, cuckoo, great bustard, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red kite, red-legged partridge & more. The trip is designed to allow you to take advantage of each of the various hides, multiple times; additionally there are further hides that you should be able to make use of, one for passerines & another, the lake hide, which has produced some amazing images of stilts & other lake dwellers through the years.

On the ground, a little owl attempts to out stare the camera lens grove image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Running several weeks earlier, on 30th March – 2nd April 2018, the long weekend trip, of 3 nights duration, known as Birds of the Spanish Plains, will afford you time in the hides to capture images of black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, cuckoo, great bustard, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red-legged partridge & more, plus hopefully, at this early point in the calendar, there will be opportunities for photography of the marsh harrier.

The afternoon sessions at the shoreline hide are often bathed in a glorious light image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

At the beginning of May, specifically 5th – 7th May 2018, a weekend visit will afford clients four hide sessions, two morning & two evening, hopefully providing opportunities to photograph bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red-legged partridge, roller & more; we also hope to include the little bustard for this 2 night trip.

Tossing an insect, this European Bee eater demonstrates it's agility image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Our last trip for 2018, sees us visit during the weekend of 26th – 28th May 2018, this trip, will again afford clients four hide sessions, two morning & two evening, hopefully providing opportunities to photograph the following species, bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, little bustard, little owl, red kite, roller & more besides.

A mated pair of the little owls that live in one of the nearby olive groves photographed during the Natureslens Birds of Spain Photography Holiday

The location of the hides in the area surrounding Toledo is superb, teeming with wildlife & has never failed to impress, this is why we have used this network of hides for the last four years, & will continue to do so, it would be great to have you join NaturesLens for any of the above wildlife photography holidays, the 8 night trip is led for NaturesLens by Sean Weekly, whilst Pui Hang & myself split the guiding duties on the weekend visits – all four of the Spanish Bird Photography Trips are conducted on a full board, non-shared hotel room basis; & we include easy transfers between Madrid Airport & Calera y Chozas.

One of the Lesser Kestrels passes food to it's mate photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

We have a place become re-available for Zimanga in 2018

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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

We have had a place become re-available to join NaturesLens in 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

You can join the NaturesLens African Hides & Safari Photography Holiday, which is taking place between the dates of 4th – 11th May 2018, for £3599 – details of the whole trip are available here, this is a trip that sold out as soon as we released dates for it & we did not anticipate having a place become re-available – hold your place 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 in 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 reserve.

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 fact that a place has become re-available!

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.

 

Dan’s second report from our Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

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One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

I mentioned in my previous blog that during this year’s trip to Calera, for the NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday, that Spring was far more advanced than the year before. Previously the rollers hadn’t even turned up yet whereas this year they were already establishing nesting locations & ferociously chasing anything that came near, including a kestrel at one stage! They weren’t feeding young yet so the visits weren’t so frequent but there aren’t many birds in Europe as stunning as these & it was a pleasure to photograph them.

A European Roller showing it's rear plummage photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the European Rollers found on the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

A firm favourite amongst everyone is always the carrion hide. The action is constant with varied species & even the odd guest appearance from a fox or if you’re really lucky an imperial eagle! The regulars are just as fun though & watching lots of griffon & black vultures feasting is quite a sight! This hide really fills up the memory cards!

A griffon vulture comes into land at the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of black vultures amongst the heather that lines the area around the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Speaking of favourites, my favourite hide in Calera is that of the lesser kestrels. They are charming small falcons & a joy to watch at the colony as they bring back all sorts of tasty morsels. With the odd hen harrier flying by in the fields behind & the bubbling from bee-eaters overhead it’s a great hide to spend an afternoon or two in!

One of the lesser kestrels photographed from the roof level hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the lesser kestrels returns to the roof top nesting site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A different angle for this lesser kestrel on the roof photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of the lesser kestrels mating at their nesting site photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

During this year’s trip I took a drive with our local guide to look for red-legged partridge. An introduced species in the UK but don’t be put off – the birds in Iberia have quite striking markings & make a nice subject. We stalked them in the car in the surrounding countryside & the array of photos you can take make a nice addition to the hide work here.

A red legged partridge walks through a ploughed field photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A red legged partridge walks amongst the dried grass of the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

I’ll finish with another common european bird but also another wonderful one; the hoopoe! I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like seeing or photographing one of these. When they raise their crest there are few European birds that look more tropical!

One of the hoopoes lands upon returning the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

If you’re looking for a great trip with a really wide variety of European classics as well as the Iberian specials such as black-winged kite & the bustards then the Spanish Bird Photography Holiday will not disappoint!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO UNDERTAKE THE SPANISH BIRD 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 Bird 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 Bird 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.

White-Tailed Sea Eagles on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour

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One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Elsewhere, we have covered the Goshawk, Buzzard & Woodpeckers that you might encounter on the Polish Winter Wildlife Tour, amongst the other species, & one that many people hope to be able to photograph are the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, there are two days spent in dedicated hides, hopeful that these enormous avian predators come into visit the feeding sites.

One of the White-Tailed Sea Eagles comes in to land against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the Białowieża Forest typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA juvenile White-Tailed Sea Eagle circles against the backdrop of the BiaÅ‚owieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Obviously, the eagles visiting the feeding sites is dependent upon a number of factors, not least of which is that it is cold enough that their only food source is that which is placed out for them.

A trio of squabbling White-Tailed Sea Eagles photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA mature White-Tailed Sea Eagle strides through the snowy environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The other bird of prey that is commonly seen & that often interacts with the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, mainly as it also wants to scavenge food that is available, is the Common Buzzard.

A pair of Common Buzzards squabbling over food photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A pair of squabbling Common Buzzards photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A perched Common Buzzard photographed at a hide set within the environs of the Białowieża Forest - typical of the type of image that may be captured on the NaturesLens Poland’s Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE POLISH WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLES FOR YOURSELF?

We have a photography tour that is to be run at the end of January 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the wildlife of the Białowieża Forest, including the White-Tailed Sea Eagles, for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1499 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Warsaw itself – all ground transportation from Warsaw & back, & to & from shoot locations, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the NaturesLens Polish Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday are January 21 – 28, 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.

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.