This month Pui Hang & I have a wonderful multi-page feature containing a new selection of Dalmatian Pelican images from out photographic trip in January in Wildlife Photographic Magazine – it has some new images in there that we have not published before. Continue reading
I had planned to write a blog post about each trip as they came to end but as with all the best-laid plans, things did not quite work out that way! So, now, eight months after our return from Greece, here is a report on the 2015 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday …
In mid-January, NaturesLens took a group of clients to Greece for a 2-day trip to photograph the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini. Our base was a lovely hotel, 5 minutes walk from the lake itself, with a roaring fire in the bar & lounge area, superb food & each guest had their own room with no single supplement required.
The first morning began with a hearty breakfast after being treated to a special demonstration on how to turn phyllo dough into delicious Bougatsa breakfast pastry. Once we had eaten, we headed out onto the lake in a boat in search of the pelicans.
Once again, NaturesLens are proud to be running a pair of three night puffin photography holidays on Skomer Island to photograph the fantastic puffin population – and other wildlife. Our trips for 2014 & 2015 yielded some fantastic images, mainly due to the fact that we are able to stay with our photographic subjects well after the day-trippers have left the island, this, without fail, produces stunning photographs.
During the NaturesLens Puffin Photography Holidays, you will stay on the island in the converted farm buildings which make up the hostel, this is the base for your holiday, we provide food and tuition if you require it; the puffins should be at the height of their season, hopefully producing the famous shot of a puffin with a mouthful of sandeels.
If you would like to experience one of these superb puffin photography holidays for yourself, you can find the booking pages under the workshops & tours heading, secure a place on the first trip with Drew & Richard, to be held during June 2016, or the second trip with Drew & Daniel in July 2016 … a deposit of £125 holds your place with the balance due in April 2016.
The recent spate of enquiries about our photographic holiday to India to photograph the Royal Bengal Tiger has got me reminiscing about our last visit to India & why this tour is one of my favourite trips. I know I keep saying this but seeing a wild Bengal Tiger really is something very special. The first time I saw a wild tiger, I almost forgot to breathe because I was so spellbound by this majestic big cat. I can still remember seeing the pug marks in the soft sand before B2, Lord of Bandhavgarh, strode into view & lay just a few feet away from our car. We choose to visit Bandhavgarh because it has the highest density of tigers of all the national parks in India. As with all wildlife photography, there are no guarantees but one can always stack the cards in one’s favour by choosing the right time of year to visit. In our case, we choose to visit during the height of the Indian summer because the wildlife has to come to water. Our Tigers of Bandhavgarh India workshop is probably one of our toughest due to the searing heat but at the same time, it’s also one of our most relaxing workshops thanks to the luxurious accommodation we have chosen for our downtime. And what an awesome base we have chosen! Each person or couple has their own villa measuring a minimum of 1000 sq. ft. Each villa has a bedroom, a dressing area, spacious bathroom, private courtyard with rain shower (perfect for cooling off after a hot game drive) & a private deck. The rooms are air-conditioned with TV, mini bar. safe, phone, wifi, hair dryer, basically all the modern conveniences that you may expect to find in a modern hotel. A typical day starts at 4am when we make our way to the jeeps for the short drive to the entrance of Bandhavgarh National Park. Once we have been assigned our naturalist & route, we head into the park. In May, the landscape of the park is probably at its most diverse with areas of arid dry grassland, pretty meadowland & pockets of lush green jungle, reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. As you will see from the photos, all make fantastic settings for a Bengal tiger. Wildlife aside, there are also some fantastic architectural photographic opportunities such as the 35 foot long statue of Vishnu, carved out of a single piece of sandstone which is located halfway up to Bandhavgarh Fort. The path leading to & the area where the statue is located looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie with water falling into a pool just below the statue & monkeys chasing each other across the statue. Man-made caves that were once used as stables, guard rooms & justice courts also make for great images, especially if a Bengal tiger happens to wander in front of them. One such cave is home to hundreds of bats which can be photographed if you are brave enough to enter. The morning safari typically ends around 10am when the heat is starting to become uncomfortable. After a refreshing cool shower, breakfast is served as we talk excitedly about what sightings we had achieved. I remember one morning drive where my guest & I had no tiger sighting BUT we managed to grab photos of a sloth bear & her cub. We watched with much amusement as David & the rest of our guests sympathised about how my guest & I had not managed to see a tiger, that is, until they saw the back of our cameras. Sloth bear sightings are incredibly rare & definitely trump tiger sightings! After breakfast, the rest of the morning is at leisure for you to either catch up on some sleep, go through the morning’s images, take a dip in the enormous swimming pool, take advantage of the massage or therapy rooms or all of the above! A light lunch is served around noon if you fancy a bite to eat & we head out for the late afternoon/evening safari around 3pm. Whilst our target species is the Royal Bengal Tiger, there is also a wide variety of colourful birds & other wildlife such as Sambar, Spotted Deer, Langur monkeys, Gaur & wild boar. If we are lucky, we may even see Leopard, Sloth Bear & Asian Wild Dog. We leave the park as the sun goes down to head back to our villas. The evening meal can be served either indoors or outside under a star strewn sky. The cuisine is truly international with all requirements catered for. One evening, David had a hankering for fish & chips & that evening, he got exactly that for dinner! Nothing is too much trouble for the staff. Our Safari tour is based on the use of private jeeps & expert local naturalists. These guys really know their stuff & are excellent trackers. One morning, we were lucky enough to photograph a tigress emerging from the jungle because our naturalist had heard her sneeze & was able to judge where she would emerge! With just two people per jeep, there is plenty of space for camera equipment, tripods & for you to move around. David & I can offer one to one sessions to anyone who wants it. The Tigers of Bandhavgarh India Photography Holiday will run from 28th April to 7th May 2015. We have just one place left on this tour so if you are interested, please use our contact form to register your interest. Please note that all bookings have to be made by 28th December 2014 to guarantee the game drives.
We are happy to announce an osprey workshop for July, 2015; NaturesLens have secured accommodation & hide spaces for a stunning Osprey Photography Holiday during July 2015; these osprey photography sessions are one of the most exciting sessions of photography a wildlife photographer can encounter. The sessions typically start at 4.30am, the anticipation builds, the birds come in to fish, a splash as the bird dives to the loch an to grab a trout, then the lift-off … an exhilarating experience to photograph.
The bulk of the days are free for participants to catch up on sleep, however, one of the days does include an early evening session of Osprey Photography in the same hides. These evening sessions provide opportunities for backlit shots.
The NaturesLens Osprey Photography Holiday, which costs £599, includes:
- Two morning hide sessions for photography of the ospreys as they fish to feed their new offspring.
- One evening hide session for photography of the diving ospreys.
- Accommodation at the High Range Lodge Hotel from July 9th – July 11th.
- Tuition as required.
In addition to the Osprey Photography Holiday in Aviemore, NaturesLens will, if demand is sufficient, run a 3 day trip immediately afterwards to Mull for several days of Sea Eagle Photography. This extension will include transport to Mull, three nights bed & breakfast accommodation, two public Sea Eagle Photography Cruises & two exclusive Sea Eagle Photography Cruises.