Early December 2017 saw me joining David & Jayne on a recce trip to capture images of Helgoland’s Seals (Heligoland). One look at the weather profile suggested it could be challenging but the likely number of seals & their pups on the beach made the trip look worthwhile & it was!
Sean has sent in a selection of images that he captured whilst co-leading the NaturesLens Autumn Birds of Prey Photography Workshop during October 2017 – we are splitting them amongst a trio of blog posts – this is the first, focussed on what you’d probably describe as classic portrait images.
We always have a good selection of birds to work with; Steve our falconer ensures that the birds are in perfect condition for us & communicates with us the week before to ensure that the timetable for the sessions take in the best opportunities that we can offer.
One of the barn owls makes a guaranteed appearance on our workshops – we are lucky in that the land which we use has a large number of farm buildings on it that we can make use of – here Sean has framed the barn owl in a ramshackle algae-covered barn door.
Second appearance for the barn owl, this time framed in the broken window of one of the farm yard buildings!
A bird that has – to date – only made a few appearances on our Birds of Prey Photography Workshops, the kestrel, here posed amongst the heather.
Previously nervous, the kestrel was quite happy posing & here is seen posed on one of the fence posts at the back of the farm yard.
Always a rock-star as far as we are concerned, the long-eared owl that we have available is so chilled out & poses so beautifully, always alert & focussed on the photographers.
Until recently, the peregrine falcon had not been used on our Birds of Prey Workshops, however, gradually over the last three, this bird has become a regular feature, we almost always set up the shots for this bird amongst a small quarry area, which leads to some interesting textural contrasts.
Apparently now over it’s workshop-shyness, the kestrel looks to be ready to become a regular workshop subject.
An old favourite, the buzzard, five years ago, this female was first introduced to workshop attendees at one of our events, now, she doesn’t bat an eyelid – as long as she has food from our falconer, in exchange for posing at the top of one of his hills for the group.
2018 Birds of Prey Photography Workshops
Once again in 2018, we are running a pair of Birds of Prey Photography Workshops in mid-Wales; as mentioned above, Sean is taking over the reins from us, we cannot wait to see the results that our guests obtain with his guidance!
The first of the 2018 Birds of Prey Photography Workshops is to be held during May, specifically May 12, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – May 13, 2018 @ 4:00 pm, you can view the full details of the event & make a booking enquiry on the dedicated event page here – it would be great to have you join Sean!
We have to book our safaris for the upcoming Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday by mid-December, this is the holiday that takes place between the dates of April 13 – 22, 2018, the trip is lead for us by Jayne Bond. Beyond this date, we will still be able to take bookings, but we cannot guarantee that participants beyond that date will get the optimum mix of safaris in the various zones of Bandhavgarh National Park, but will will attempt to accommodate you into the best mix of safaris available at the time. If you would like to attend, and have the optimum mix of safaris in the various zones of Bandhavgarh National Park, then it is important that you make a booking with us before the 10th December 2017.
We can offer one last pair of places at a discounted price, this is a special offer for a pair of travelling companions or photography couple on our 2018 Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh photography holiday – £250 off per person.
If you are a pair of travelling companions or a couple then you can share accommodation & book two places for £2499 each instead of £2749 per person! Quote TIGERPAIR 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.
If you are a single traveller then bear in mind that we have made a few itinerary changes & changed the full-day safari to now be optional on our Indian Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday, this means that we have been able to bring the price down to £2749 – everything else remains the same – stunning non-shared accommodation (as seen here), so this trip is especially suitable for single travellers – & the dates are April 13 – 22, 2018.
Don’t forget that we ensure that only 2 guests travel in each gypsy, giving you maximum freedom of movement to capture images from the optimum angle, & space to keep you comfortable as you experience the wonders of the park over the course of the day. Photography tuition will be provided as needed by Jayne Bond LRPS, with knowledgeable wildlife guidance provided by a team of local experts – you can book now & hold your place with 20% deposit only!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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
If you were not aware – we announced it on Facebook – we have had a new guide join us for the 2018 season, specifically for the Slovenian Bear Photography Holidays, welcome aboard Neil Burton. Neil is a frequent visitor to the Slovenian Bear Photography Hides, so will be able to impart his knowledge of the bears & their habitat upon you. Accompanied by Neil, you will spend afternoons & evenings photographing the bears from within comfortable hides deep within the forest.
Witness this beautiful solitary animal as it roams the fir & beech woodlands, tracking prey across the land that this species has called home for centuries. The images on this blog post & on the event pages, were provided by Neil, you can view many more of Neil’s images of the Slovenian Bears in his own gallery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Join BWPA Winner & long-time NaturesLens guide, Dan Trim, for the Butterflies & Macro Photography of Bulgaria Photography Holiday. Alongside Dan, you will find that Bulgaria in summer offers excellent macro photography opportunities due to its rich biodiversity & variety of habitats.
The Butterflies & Macro Photography of Bulgaria Holiday is of 7 nights duration & is ideal for photographing butterflies, orchids & more, & is offered on a full board, non-shared basis, between the dates of 17th – 24th June 2018. You can hold a place with a £300 deposit, the trip itself costs £1399 per participant.
The rich biodiversity & variety of habitats offers excellent opportunities to capture images of dragonflies, damselflies, grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, flowers & orchids as well as a kaleidoscope of butterflies.
The sessions will comprise of early starts & late evenings to take advantage of the best light & the fact that the butterflies & insects are normally motionless at this time. The early afternoons can be used to take a siesta or enjoy the excellent panoramic views, whilst avoiding the harsh midday sun.
We offer an all-inclusive accommodation & meal package to ensure that all you need to worry about is taking unique & mesmerising photographs. Flights to Sofia are not included within our package price.
You can view all the details of this new photography holiday here – including the itinerary & the species that we hope you will be able to add to your photography portfolio.
Everyone at NaturesLens is proud to congratulate Dan Trim, one of the founding members of our guiding team, who has this year won the BWPA Photographic Competition with the image show below.
Dan is a veteran of the NaturesLens guiding team, being with us almost from the day that we started; he has led events to Skomer, where guests photographed the comical Atlantic Puffin with Dan offering guidance & advice, & Kerkini, where he led a trip in the best conditions, to photograph the awesome Dalmatian Pelicans, for winter photography that had been experienced for many years. He took over from myself in the guiding duties for Calera & made the trip his own, making friendships with those who attended & gaining some great testimonials along the way – & of course impressing all with both the images that he captured & the enthusiasm that he brings to a trip.
He was instrumental in setting up our Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday, & suggested last year that he had a couple of new ideas for trips that he would like to do some research into & take on the guiding duties for – hence the already announced Golden Eagles of Swedish Winter Photography Holiday & another that we are announcing in an email that follows this one, a week long photography holiday focused on the Butterflies & Other Macro Subjects of Bulgaria.
If you would like to join Dan on either of these trips, there are a couple of places left on the Golden Eagles of Swedish Winter Photography Holiday, for the dates of 8th – 13th March 2018; plus the brand new Butterflies & Other Macro Subjects of Bulgaria Photography Holiday, which is to be held during June 2018, specifically the dates of 17th – 24th June 2018.
Once again – congratulations Dan – a worthy winner indeed!