Ok, let me start by talking about the elephant in the room for the 2020 Birds of the Swedish Winter tour! On this holiday, the golden eagles did not visit us, even though they were in the area. There could be a few reasons why this may have happened. We know that one of the male area eagles had gone missing & we believe it may have sadly died. We are patiently waiting to see when another young male eagle takes over its territory. Also, the weather could be some of the reason too, by not being cold enough. The temperature was above zero for a lot of the time, which is too warm for some of the eagles that live in this area to be hungry to come in & feed. There are around five different golden eagle nest sites within this territory. With so many potential eagles to visit, it was extraordinary not to see any at all here on this trip. Sadly, the eagle not showing up has happened only once before around 8-9 years ago during the 35 years Conny has been monitoring & watching the eagles, so it’s uncommon for this to have occurred.
NaturesLens plan this trip for when the eagles are the most likely to come down to the hides which are early March. Continue reading →
I wanted to share more images from our White Horses of the Camargue photography trip in September 2018 to give everyone an idea of the sort of photographic opportunities available. You’ll notice that I haven’t included any images of the frenzy of white horses running towards you with water splashing everywhere. The point of this blog post is to demonstrate what else can be achieved.
A group shot of these stunning horses is a definite must-have. The reflection shot was taken at sunrise using a Canon 1Dx Mk 2 & Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM at ISO 640, f/7.1, 1/250s, -1ev at 80mm. As the horses started to move towards us, I changed settings because I wanted a tight group shot. For those of you interested in my settings, this shot was taken at ISO 1000, f/8, 1/500s, 0ev at 300mm.
I had packed my 16-35mm & 70-200mm, but at the last minute, I decided to ditch both lenses in favour of my Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens. I bought this lens back in 2010 because I hated changing lenses & wanted something that would give me a wide range of focal lengths.
The Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens is known as Canon’s travel lens due to its incredible flexibility, but it wasn’t popular due to its weight & the fact that it was a push/pull zoom. I am a huge fan of the push/pull zoom; in fact, my go to lens was the original Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens before I (reluctantly) upgraded to the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Telephoto Lens. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the original 100-400mm, but I never experienced any of the issues described with my lens so I guess I must have been the lucky owner of one of the few good ones.
I found it incredibly liberating travelling so light & throughout the trip, I fell in love with the Canon EF 28-300mm all over again. In my opinion, this lens is even more versatile than the Canon EF 100-400mm since it covers most of the most commonly used focal lengths in a single lens & with an aperture of f/3.5 at 28mm, it also works very well as a non-dedicated macro lens. And let’s not forget the enormous advantage of not having to change lenses in the middle of a photo shoot!
The Canon EF 28-300mm Lens turned out to be the perfect lens for this White Horses of the Camargue photography trip. I was able to capture clean shots of the horses at 300mm, as they ran towards us in the salt marshes & the sea before they kicked up too much spray. The push/pull system allowed me to easily adjust my focal length right back up to 28mm as the horses ran past us.
The Natureslens photography tour to Calera has been running for a few years now & always offers a wide variety of birds to photograph on the plains & the mountains close to the area. 2018 was my first visit here after taking over guiding from the incredibly talented Dan Trim. Having seen his images from the previous trips he led for NaturesLens, I couldn’t wait to see them for myself.
Hi! I’m Georgia Wilson. It wasn’t my idea to attend the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of JapanPhotography Holiday … that belonged to my eagle mad husband, Graeme. Complicated photographic gear makes my eyes glaze over. So why, you may ask, would I consider going?
Well, I’ve never been to Japan & I like being out in the wilderness areas. I love observing animals & birds in their natural habitat … probably more to the point, I have a spirit of adventure. The thought of being on a boat in the middle of pack ice sounded fun. So with that thought in mind, I agreed to go.
Some wouldn’t consider me as a serious photographer because I only used a Canon Powershot SX720 HS, which has 40x optical zoom & HTC One XL phone camera. However, that thought didn’t stop me from trying to get the most out of my little cameras.
For this trip, I wanted to keep things simple. I set the Powershot on automatic, so the camera made all the technical decisions. I was in charge of the framing. The photos below, just a selection from over 300o, are just as they were taken … no ‘doctoring up’. BTW, the cameras were handheld, i.e. no tripod or monopod. & I think the photos are a testimony to what a fine camera the Canon Powershot is.
Moral of the story … you don’t have to have the expensive photographic equipment to enjoy this trip. All you need is a spirit of adventure & imagination, plus a sense of fun; if you go with the flow, you’ll have a wonderful time.
This trip to see & photograph the Winter Wildlife of Japan was a bazillion times better than any written description could convey. I lost count at the number of jaw-dropping experiences I had … the sunrises, sunsets, every changing light to watch a living painting unfold, surreal, elegant, mystical.
Blend this with the graciousness of the Japanese & their culture … PLUS a small group of quirky travel companions … all perfect ingredients to create a trip that I will remember forever.
Photograph the Winter Wildlife of Japan for yourself
To photograph the charismatic winter wildlife of Japan for yourself, join David Miles & Ian Roberts, members of the NaturesLens guiding team, in Japan during February 2019 for a trip lasting 13 nights; this photography holiday will offer you the opportunity to capture images of the red-crowned crane, snow monkey, steller’s sea eagle, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan, plus more; the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday is offered on a half board, non-shared room basis, & costs £5249 per participant, but there are several early-bird places available priced at £4999.
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.
In late April/early May I completed two back-to-back Indian trips. The first being our Tigers of Bandhavgarh Safari Holiday. I always look forward to our annual trip to photograph tigers & this year was no different, apart from the fact that I was more excited than usual.
We took a break from Bandhavgarh in 2016, so I couldn’t wait to get back there. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited about going back to what I consider to be my second home.
We have been visiting the park for 7 years now & have gotten to know its residents very well. Along with the drivers & guides who have become our friends, we have mourned the loss of favourite tigers & celebrated the birth of new cubs.