Category Archives: reports

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

Dan reports in following a successful Skomer Island visit

I’m always filled with anticipation heading over to Skomer Island; the gannets, puffins & other auks flying around the boat as well as the sea rolling. In addition to that, on this occasion, we had very limited visibility into the sea mist creating a great atmosphere.

A variety of weather is something I quite like with photography but I’ll always keep my fingers crossed for at least one afternoon of killer golden light!

Alas, it was foggy for the first two days. However with these conditions we were able to experiment with high key simple portraits on a white background. The resulting photos looked as though we’d trained the puffins to pose in a studio environment.

High-key puffin photographed on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography HolidayHigh-key puffin calling photographed on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography HolidayA slow shutter speed puffin image captured on a foggy day whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

The flat light allowed us to shoot all day & because of the time of year quite a few pufflings were exploring the area around their nesting burrows – a lovely sight. Here’s one just peaking out;

A puffling photographed as it peeked from the burrow whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

The benefit of murky weather becomes apparent when waiting for the Manx Shearwaters – they come in earlier when compared to nights with a clear sky meaning a little longer in bed for us! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of wandering out across the island at night with the sound of just a small proportion of the 300,000 pairs that nest on the island curling around above our heads.

On our third & final day the island was blessed with lovely weather, it was 30 degrees & positively tropical. That day we enjoyed the nice weather waiting & hoping for it to continue into the afternoon & evening; & it did.

As the sun sets on the island & the light softens, the images take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun sets on the island, captured images take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.

We had a wonderful sunset at the Wick with puffin numbers increasing as the light got better & better, everyone took a completely different set of photos when compared to the higher key images captured with the flat light.

As the sun sets on the island, captured images, such as this calling puffin, take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.A silhouetted puffin photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun set, the opportunity for backlit puffin images becomes available - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday As the sun sets on the island, captured images, such as this grouo of puffins, take on a magical golden light - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday.

Myself & one guest, John, stayed at the Wick well after dark to take some photos in the blue light & into the night. Having not done this before I found it great fun seeing the puffins’ activity at night.

As the sun sets the puffins remain active & distinctive images may be captured - photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday Even when the sun has set the puffins still pose for images - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

They continued to renovate their burrows, squabble & make their strange noises but the place felt a lot more serene!

After the sun has set the puffins remain active & calling for mates - captured whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday After the sun has set the puffins remain active & distinctive images may be captured - photographed whilst on the NaturesLens Puffins of Skomer Photography Holiday

All in all, it was simply another great trip to Skomer Island.

JOIN US TO PHOTOGRAPH THE ATLANTIC PUFFINS OF SKOMER ISLAND FOR YOURSELF

Skomer Island is one of the most important locations for the colonies of Atlantic Puffins in Europe & it is easy to see why. For photographers keen to add puffin images captured in different conditions & lighting to their wildlife portfolio, a three night stay on the island provides an abundance of opportunities. Our focus during the NaturesLens photography holidays are the comical puffins, which can be seen on Skomer in abundant quantities from mid-May through to July.

Our puffins of Skomer Island photography holiday costs £499 for the 3 night stay on the island & is held during the dates of July 15 – 18, 2017.

My thoughts on the Puffins of Fair-Isle

Fair Isle, measuring at just 3km wide & barely 5km long is Britain’s most remote inhabited island. It can be found marooned in the North Sea between Shetland & Orkney. Due to its location it is not the easiest place to get to. But once you set foot on the island, it truly is a puffin paradise & with almost 24 hours of daylight during June it is a photographers dream. The puffin population on Fair Isle may not be the biggest in the UK, but it is difficult to argue that it isn’t the most beautiful. Read on for my thoughts on the Puffins of Fair Isle & why Shetland, & in particular, Fair Isle, is one of the best locations to capture images of the comical clowns of the sea.

Posing with a gathered flower, one of Fair ISle's Puffins looks in a contemplative mood - photographed on the NaturesLens Puffins of Fair Isle Photographic Holiday Continue reading

Some of Skomer’s Puffins from Steen

Every year, we delight in seeing the images from our photography holidays to Skomer, each & every year produces a different crop of imagery, & a different interpretation of Skomer’s Puffins by the guests that visit & spend 3 nights on the island – Steen has kindly sent in a selection of images from his visit to the island as part of the group that attended our June photography holiday.

A puffin class, it's eye illuminated with a catchlight from the soft evening light - photographed during the NaturesLens Skomer's Puffins Photography Holiday Continue reading

Some thoughts on the Puffins of Skomer

The enigmatic island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coastline comes alive in the summer. Recently I spent three nights on the island guiding a photographic holiday focused on the Puffins of Skomer for NaturesLens, with Richard Peters. I visit the island tens of times every year with my own business, but it’s always an exciting time to head over to this seabird paradise.

A puffin seeks out a burrow amongst the Sea Campion - photographed during the NaturesLens Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday

Continue reading

Ian’s Memories of Skomer’s Puffins

I count myself fortunate; I’ve been able to take photos from Alaska to South Georgia, India to the Masai Mara. What’s the relevance to Skomer? Well, Skomer, on our own doorstep, presents one of the more challenging environments to ‘get the shot’, the shot being that of Skomer’s Puffins.

A puffin lands at The WIck with a mouthful of sand eels - photographed during the NaturesLens Skomer's Puffins Photography Holiday

Put aside the “will I get there” conundrum – it’s only a 15 minute boat ride, but if the wind’s from the North & over 10 knots, “you ain’t going” (been there, done that), the climb once you get there (87 steps carrying everything you brought – teamwork to the rescue – you make friends quickly), & the basic living conditions (all very comfortable & clean, but ‘snug’ bedrooms, solar battery powered lighting, & the prospect of a cool shower (if you time it wrong!). The real challenge is your reason for being there – puffins. Continue reading

Birds of the Spanish Plains from a recent visit

Although our main photography holiday for the birds of the Spanish plains takes place in late April or early May; for the first time this year, we additionally visited at the end of May, specifically over the bank holiday weekend. Our local guide opined that some of the species would have left & the young of others would have fledged, so there was a possibility of a lesser selection of species to photograph – this would not be a hardship, given only four photography sessions over the weekend & plenty of species remaining, we would still have plenty to photograph.

As it turned out, this was not the case, we had virtually the same species as those who had visited 6 weeks previous; due to rains earlier in the season, the bee-eaters were still courting, nest-building & mating, the black-shouldered kites had not departed for their migration south & many other species were still displaying a full set of behaviours.

Jason was amongst those who accompanied us on this trip to our location, which is about 90 minutes from Madrid, he has kindly sent in a selection of the images that he captured whilst on the Spanish plains, he had sessions with shrike, bee-eater, hoopoe & time in the carrion hide, which sees visits from black & red kites, storks, many vultures, ravens & more.

We have one place remaining available for the 2017 weekend, which will be held between the dates of May 27th – 29th 2017, if you’d like to attend & capture images of the birds of the Spanish plains for yourself, send us a message using our contact form.

Jason has kindly sent us a selection of his images that we are happy to publish below:

A male bee-eater delicately passes a freshly caught insect to a female of the species - photographed on a NaturesLens Photography Holiday to Spain to photograph the birds of the Spanish plains Continue reading

More participant photos of the Birds of the Spanish Plains

We are pleased to post up another selection of photos of the Birds of the Spanish Plains, taken on the Birds of Calera Photography Holiday, these were taken & contributed by David Jones, who visited Calera with me in 2015, but was so taken with the area & the variety of species on offer that he decided to revisit in 2016, with Dan leading the trip on this occasion.

You can view some of the images captured by Andrew, one of the participants, on another blog post located here & some of those from Dan, who led the trip for us in 2016 & will do so again in 2017 & 2018, here! But for now, here are some great images from David

A Bee-eater captured tossing a bee before swallowing it - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday Continue reading

Some thoughts on the Birds of the Spanish Plains

The rare & elusive Black Winged Kite - photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday in Spain

Spain’s central plains, about 90 minutes from Madrid, retain their rustic charm & beauty with dilapidate terracotta roofed buildings, rusty farm machinery & very few built up areas. Subsistence farming mixed with large areas of cork oak, olive groves & wilderness create a wide range of unspoilt habitats for the birds of the Spanish plains. This all has the wonderful backdrop of the Sierra de Gredos, a stunning mountain range home to Iberian Ibex, Imperial Eagle, Black Vultures & much more! What really struck me though was the abundance of invertebrates & small birds. A clear indication of how productive the area is. Continue reading

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