I’ve just spent a great weekend leading my two day Beauty Of Wildlife workshop in conjunction with Calumet photographic, Manchester. My aim of these wildlife workshops I run throughout the year is to offer some fantastic practical one and two day seminars in some great locations where you will learn many tips and techniques, most of which I use in my own work as a wildlife photographer.

You can then put these into practise within your own work which will improve your photography, at the same time learning more about the wildlife that you see and capture with your camera. I enjoy sharing my vast accumulated experience of the natural world, at the same time I’m very passionate about helping each of my clients hone his or her photographic vision.

On the first day I went through  a mixture of talks, slideshow presentations and photographic tips and advice all geared into inspiring everyone within their own photography while at the same time helping them understand more about their settings, cameras and most of all fieldcraft. This was all rounded off with a cup of tea and biscuits. After which I went through each client’s camera showing how to get the best from each make and model in readiness for the second day out on the moors.

 

The group was a great mix of people, from all over the UK at varying levels of competencies and were really good company. We met at 5am on the second day, in the pitch black of the morning. I had gone through some key elements to wildlife photography the previous day in my presentation to the group. One of those elements was ‘light’. Find it, work with, and create your image alongside what light you have.  The weather was really kind to the group with a beautiful spring day which started with an amazing sunrise.

The group had a very nice surprise very early on during the day in the form of a couple of Mountain hares still in their winter coats. They stuck out very well against the heather which made them amazedly jumpy to approach I had touched on in the previous day’s presentations the importance of fieldcraft and your approach to wildlife so it was good to see everyone putting this into good use. The hares were very jumpy though due to their winter coats so were very hard to capture photographic wise.

Out in the wild, working with wild animals those tips could make all the difference to a well composed image so I made sure everyone had a better understanding of the key elements in order so they’d really benefit from their time with me. All the information and advice we discussed was contained in a handout I’d prepared for each client as seen above, this would help once the group had gone home to use as a reference guide.

After lunch the group were free to explore for themselves, put into practice skills and tips I embedded throughout those two days and it was really good to see them all going about their own work and capturing some lovely images with strong composition, good use of natural light and above all listening and watching wildlife to build a picture of whats happening around you.

Photographing wildlife in ‘the wild’ is the only real and true way of learning about behavior and fieldcraft, so it was very important for me to show the group on the second day how I work and go about getting the images that I achieve, while working with subjects that are free to come and go as they please and have fear for humans. Where you have to work the land and the environment to try and obtain an image, straight from the wild so to speak. The key to my photography is fieldcraft first and foremost, photography for me came much later in life.

On all my workshops, photo tours I have and do always stress the need to understand nature more and be able to work with her, alongside her in order to become part of their landscape and habitat without disturbing wildlife. The result is a better understanding of the wildlife and more importantly a greatly respect for the subjects around us all key ingredients in making better wildlife photographs in my eyes. My next wildlife workshops with Calumet can be viewed here

A big thank you to all the clients for your time and efforts during the two days. I really hope you got a lot from the days and learned something new. You were all great on the second day and looking back now you can see through the images you captured why the early start was so important to capturing lovely images of wildlife.

I recently judged the -New Beginnings Spring postcard competition 2012 where the first prize was a chance to see your image in print – over 50,000 times and also on Calumets invitation postcard for their customers for the Spring Open Days in our stores next month. Calumet had a phenomenal amount of entries for the competition. It was a tough decision for me to choose a winner, with so many outstanding images to choose from.

There was an excellent standard across the whole group where many could have won the first place. I chose this image because from the first moment I opened the image up it popping out of the screen at me with its beautiful and vibrate colours, clever use of depth of field and really nice out of focus areas giving the image a real soft and delicate appearance. The colours and the flower symbolize new life and the coming of spring for me, a wonderful image.

Congratulations to the winner Nigel Burkitt who’s winning image can be seen here and will represent Calumets Spring Open Days that can been seen by clicking on this link. The image can be seen above alongside the dates. I will be attending the Manchester and London stores to do a couple of wildlife talks and presentions during those days so hope you can come along.