Category Archives: reports

Georgia’s thoughts on our Winter Wildlife of Japan photography holiday

Early morning in Rausu sees the eagles greet the fishing fleet captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

Hi! I’m Georgia Wilson. It wasn’t my idea to attend the NaturesLens Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography 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.

Georgia herself, bringing a special kind of Aussie bubbliness to the tour captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Mount Fuji captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday The mountainous landscape of Hokkaido in Winter captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday The red crowned cranes at their roosting site near Tsuri captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Perfect moon captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Close up of one of the red crowned cranes of Akan captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday A trio of whooper swans sleep on the thermal waters of Lake Kussharo captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday Early morning in Rausu sees the eagles greet the fishing fleet captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday One of Hokkaido's red foxes pauses as he crosses the snow captured NaturesLens during the Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday

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.

All the details of the  Winter Wildlife of Japan Photography Holiday are available on the dedicated event page.

Sorcha’s view of the land of the Wild Brown Bear

A portrait of one of the juvenile wild brown bears photographed during the NaturesLens Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holidays

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.

One of the large male wild brown bears up close to one of the hides photographed during the NaturesLens Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holidays Continue reading

Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday Report

One of Bandhavgarh's tigers stares straight down the lens photographed on the 2017 Tigers of Bandhavgarh Safari Holiday

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.

The spot where three tiger brothers have made home their island in the middle of one of the watering holes photographed on the 2017 Tigers of Bandhavgarh Safari Holiday

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Wolverines & Brown Bears of the Taiga Forest

A wolverine stood on the edge of the Taiga Forest amongst a field of cotton grass

It was not all about big Brown Bears during the Finland Photography Holiday in the Taiga Forest; we had opportunities to see other species too & this included the rather rare & elusive Wolverine!

A wolverine stood on the edge of the Taiga Forest amongst a field of cotton grass

Once abundant in numbers, the wolverine is now a very rare animal due to over-hunting. However it was certainly one of the main highlights from the Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday.

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Dan reports in from our Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

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

This was my second year leading a group for NaturesLens on their Spanish Bird Photography Holiday that is focussed around the fantastic hides in Calera & once again they did not disappoint.

The stars of this area in Spain are the bustards & the black-winged kite but when Europe’s more common but still wonderful & colourful birds are also on your doorstep there’s really nothing not to like – add in some paella, sunshine & a few beers & I’m happy!

This year I had the chance to photograph a few species I missed last year. Starting with the charismatic little owl! I’ll share the others in my second blog but for now just look at those eyes…

A little owl poses in the Spanish olive grove image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday Continue reading

Pelicans of Greece … continued …

Dalmatian Pelican Trio Detail one of Daniel Trim's images captured on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday

As we moved into the second half of our Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday the lake had really started to thaw with larger areas opening up. With an increasing area to fish in the birds started to move around, the sheer number of cormorant fishing in the open areas was astonishing & another reflection on how productive the lake is. Here rafts of them can be seen snorkelling whilst pelicans wait on the peripheries hoping to steal their catch. I shot this with a slower shutter & again high key to try & replicate the effects of a painting.

Creative Dalmatian Pelican Photography one of Daniel Trim's images captured on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday Continue reading

Sean reports in from our Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Last month saw me heading off to the mountains of the Sierra Morena in Spain leading the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday.

I knew from the itinerary that had been planned that it was going to be an amazing week of photography with some great sightings & photo opportunities. After a very early flight, the group & I arrived in Spain meeting up with the local guides. After a couple of hours on the road we arrived in the local town of Adamuz, which would be our base & home for the duration of the trip. The town is situated in beautiful natural surroundings & is a very picturesque location. Due to the time we arrived, we decided we were going to explore a few wildlife locations that we would be working on over the coming days. It was a great afternoon exploring our surroundings & getting some ideas for the images to come.

The next day we split into two groups to keep noise etc to a minimum whilst working from the hides. A couple of us spent the day in the Golden Eagle hide.

A magnificent Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography HolidayA Golden Eagle peers around a log photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday Continue reading

Jayne reports back from our Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays

Dotty looks back, she is one of the new mothers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

My first visit to India was in April 2016, also with NaturesLens, & I absolutely fell in love with the place, we had some awesome tiger sightings in Tadoba, but let’s just say I came away with some ‘unfinished business’ so it didn’t take much persuading to book myself onto the Indian Wildlife Photography Holidays that NaturesLens had arranged for May 2017.

In the weeks prior to our trip there had been many posts on social media showing some amazing tiger sightings so the anticipation grew, & Bandhavgarh didn’t disappoint. It has to be said, however, that nothing is guaranteed – we heard of a few people who had seen very little but NaturesLens put everything in place to give their clients the absolute best opportunity, securing top class drivers & guides, who, over our time in Bandhavgarh, became part of our ‘Team Tiger’ group.

When I refer to ‘sightings’ I really mean ‘photographic opportunities’ not a shadow in the bush which is hardly distinguishable or a bum shot! When I say ‘photographic opportunity’, I mean time to capture an image of quality that meets my own personal standards & that I would be happy for others to see. In total, over the week the group encountered 17 different tigers, some shared moments with numerous other folk & some very special exclusive moments with no one else around other than one Gypsy vehicle – just you & the tiger – those really are moments to treasure.

This image is very much one shared with practically everyone else on safari. For several days Kankatti & her cubs visited the waterhole at pretty much the same time each day so naturally, everybody gathered to witness this special event. We sat & we waited for over an hour in the blazing heat – about 45˚ – & then suddenly the sound of camera shutters. I couldn’t see anything to start with thanks to a beautiful growth of bamboo but then the family appeared, walking around the waterhole & bathing in just the perfect spot.

Kankatti and cubs a regular sight in Bandhvagarh in May 2017 captured during the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday

What an absolute treat! Continue reading

Another successful Japanese Winter Wildlife tour to Hokkaido & Honshu

No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

I’ve just returned from spending two weeks, in good company of some great NaturesLens clients, where we were on a trip to attempt photograph the fantastic Japanese Winter Wildlife, including the Blakiston’s fish owl, the red crowned crane, the adorable snow monkeys in their spa & in the snow, the fantastic Steller’s Sea Eagle, & their close relations the White-Tailed Sea Eagle, dreamy Whooper Swans & more in the wintery landscapes of Japan.

One of the young snow monkeys found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

This year, for potentially the last time, we started our Japanese Winter Wildlife trip with the snow monkeys; for next year, we will be starting on Hokkaido & finishing with the snow monkeys, this is mainly so that we can get into a truly wonderful hotel, that no-one should miss out upon. This year, as every year, the snow monkeys did not disappoint, all our clients captured some fantastic images of these primates in their hot spa & in the surrounding snow-clad valley.

A young snow monkey, as can be found in the Jigokudani Valley photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

The first photographic target species on Hokkaido are always the red-crowned cranes, every year, we try for sunset, sunrise & daytime images of these graceful birds – this year, we only had a decent sunset on the first day of two in the area, but the cranes obliged & flew over the tree-line & in-front of the setting sun.

No bird typifies time on Hokkaido more than the Red Crowned Crane photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Moving on from the cranes, we spent several days photographing the beautiful whooper swans on their caldera lake, these are a subject people always fall in love with. Our hotel for the swans was one that boasts wildlife literally outside the windows, & we had a Blakiston’s fish owl & fox come up from the river. The next morning, sable & Hokkaido squirrel were spotted, along with another fox.

After a couple of days in the area, we moved on, northwards, three days of bitter cold, early morning starts & a plethora of eagle action was promised, & delivered upon. Each of the days was very different in conditions, with pack ice forcing us back into the harbour on the second day. Each day, the eagles kept us entertained & the memory cards just kept being filled with superb images of the birds diving, posing, performing flypasts & more.

One of the Sea Eagles soars over the ice laden seas of Hokkaido photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A quick sojourn down the peninsulas on our way towards the south of Hokkaido, saw us photographing fox & deer in large quantities, & heading to a large frozen lake to photograph the morning squabble for fish amongst Black-eared Kites, White-tailed Sea Eagles & Steller’s Sea Eagles. This location produces some of the cleanest background images of the eagles that I believe are achievable, the action is frantic, like a kite-feeding station, the interactions often harsh, but the photographic opportunities are plentiful.

A steller's sea eagle flies over one of the frozen lakes of Hokkaido in the Winter photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

A Steller's Sea Eagles lands on the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

One of the Steller's Sea Eagles soars over the ice of one of Hokkaido's lakes photographed on the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

February 2018 is yet another return visit to Japan to photograph the various species on offer, including the blakiston’s fish owl, red crowned crane, snow monkey, stellers sea eagle, ural owl, white tailed sea eagle, whooper swan & more; so if you fancy photographing the wonderful winter wildlife & the amazing bleak landscapes, whilst absorbing the culture & everything else Japan in Winter has to offer, then join me for this spectacular Winter Wildlife experience, all the details of the Japanese Winter Wildlife photography holiday may be viewed here.

More Osprey Photography from Blue Cypress Lake

As mentioned previously, there are a number of blog posts coming showing the bird life of Florida from the trip in early 2016, & this is the 2nd of several posts in which I will publish images of some of the wildlife that I was lucky enough to photograph during the week-long trip to photograph ospreys in Florida.

PS my favourite image from this set, is right at the bottom, I was saving, what I thought was the best until last!

A Female Osprey Perched On The Edge Of Her Nest Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

A female osprey perched on the edge of her nest waiting for the return of her mate

A Female Osprey Patiently Awaits The Return Of Her Mate Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

One of the female ospreys patiently awaits the return of her mate &, hopefully, freshly caught food for their young

Following A Successful Fishing Expedition, One Of The Male Ospreys Removes The Head From It's Catch Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

One of the male ospreys, having successfully fished, removes the head of the fish, prior to returning to the nest

An Osprey Looks Backwards Back Towards The Lake Itself Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

One of the Ospreys, gently lit in the beautiful light that we experienced virtually every morning, looks backwards, back towards Blue Cypress Lake itself

A Female Osprey Sitting On Her Nest, Later In The Week, We Saw Her Newly Hatched Young Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

A female osprey sitting on her nest, later in the week, we saw her newly hatched young peeking above the edge of the nest

An Osprey Perched On The Ramshackle Collection Of Twigs, Branches And Lichen That Make Up The Nest Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

One of Blue Cypress Lake’s ospreys perched on the ramshackle collection of twigs, branches and lichen that make up the nest

An Osprey Returns To The Nest Following An Expedition Out To The Lake Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

An osprey returns to the nest following an expedition out to the lake

An Osprey About To Land On It's Nest With The Remains Of A Fish Caught From The Lake Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

A Floridian osprey about to land on it’s nest with the remains of a fish caught from Blue Cypress Lake

Heading Out Before Dawn Each Day, Ensured That We Experienced Beautiful Sunrises Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

Heading out before dawn each day, ensured that we experienced beautiful sunrises as the sun rose opposite all the cypress trees that grow into & from the lake

As The Sun Rose, The Ospreys Came To Life And Began To Leave The Nests Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

As the sun rose, the ospreys came to life and began to leave the nests, as long as we had made it to position correctly, silhouette shots were there for the taking

An Osprey Rides The Thermals Above Blue Cypress Lake Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

An osprey rides the warming thermals above Blue Cypress Lake

An Osprey Patiently Watches The Fish In The Lake Below Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

An osprey patiently watches the fish in the shallows of Blue Cypress Lake below

JOIN NATURESLENS ON THE OSPREY PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY FOR YOURSELF

We have an opportunity in 2019 for you to undertake osprey photography for yourself, the photography holiday costs £3749 exc travel to Florida itself – all transportation within Florida, accommodation & guidance/tuition from myself is included, the date for the Ospreys of Blue Cypress Lake is April 13 – 21, 2018.

To hold a place on the trip, we only require an £800 deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

An Osprey Prepares For Flight Photographed On The NatureLens Ospreys Of Blue Cypress Lake Photography Holiday

An osprey prepares for flight – opportunities for images like this present themselves many times during each session on the lake, the density of ospreys means all types of behaviour are easily photographed