Testimonials for "Wolves, Bears & Wolverines 2019"
Me and my husband have recently returned from the Wolves, Wolverines and Bears trip to Finland arranged by Craig. To summarise for those of you who don’t want to read me bang on about a fantastic holiday: It was great and if you have an interest in wildlife and/or photography, I would highly recommend it! If you want to know a bit more to see if this is for you / read me bang on some more…
A bit about Craig
We went with Craig as I had previously been out with him on a Voles and Dippers day of fun in the Peak District and had initially chosen Craig because of his commitment to animal welfare and conservation.
After enjoying this (and seeing his passion for the animals), and seeing the opportunity to photograph Bears in the wild, we decided he was the right man to take us on the most expensive (but ultimately great value) holiday we have ever been on. I was not the only returnee as two others from our group of six had previously been on expeditions / trips / holidays with Craig. The fact that half of the group were Craig’s previous “clients” is a pretty good indicator of the quality of the photo tours and workshops which Craig leads. We were very lucky to have a great group which resulted in a lot of laughs and a comfortable atmosphere all the way through the trip.
Let’s get the boring, but important admin out of the way. The trip was really well organised: Craig was in regular contact prior to the trip, recommended a helpful travel agent to book the flights and hotel in Helsinki and was there to meet us at Manchester Airport. The transfer vehicle to basecamp was waiting for us as we arrived at Kajaani Airport and dropped us off again in good time. The accommodation was clean, fairly basic (although you do not spend much time there) and in a beautiful location. Admin done.
Basecamp itself was run by lovely people. I contacted them prior to the trip to arrange to hire a lens, converter and ball head for use in the hides and this was sorted in minutes. Testimony to their trust / general niceness was the fact that I was handed a lens that (after a bit of googling) appeared to cost around £10,000, with no paperwork . waiver etc… and was left to pay at the end. All meals were included, including sandwiches for the hides, and they were very accommodating to my diet (vegan), even whipping up a vegan birthday cake for the group to eat, despite them being well over an hour away from any shops. If you are tempted by purchasing alcohol on the stop off at the supermarket en route to basecamp, don’t bother. There is no time to drink and I do not say this lightly.
Let’s be honest, spending 14 hours in a hide overnight is a bit uncomfortable and the toilet situation not perfect. But the amazing photographs I took and overall experience of being so close to such magnificent creatures more than made up for it. We were lucky enough to see the wildlife we had come to see every night, bears every night, wolves on the two nights in paradise hides (on the second night we were privileged to see the two wolves trying, and succeeding, in taking food from the bears, it was amazing to watch this play out) and wolverines. On the two nights in the wolverine hides, we also had a bear come through, which given the proximity of the hides to the animals was quite a nervous experience, but resulted in some great shots.
The hides are small and only hold 2-3 people, so couples are not split up and you are not scrambling for a view or stuck in a hide with random people. Craig gives all the advice for each location prior to going in the hides, will help set up if required and reviews any shots the next day if asked, providing feedback and advice on how to improve for the next night. As novice photographers, this proved invaluable for us, focussing our minds on camera settings and composition, rather than just using spray and pray which resulted in much improved images after the first night.
As an extra bonus, Craig, who offers macro workshops on his website, offered to provide us with a lesson whilst we were in Finland. He told us what we needed to bring and brought additional lenses for us to use if we didn’t have our own. He wouldn’t take any additional payment for this even though this has taken two potential clients for his workshops.
Overall, we have come away with some amazing memories and the best pictures I have ever taken, a number of which are already adorning our walls. I would definitely go on another of Craig’s trips maybe eyeing up a Scotland trip next year!
Thanks again for an amazing trip.
Nicola and Pat Hyde
I attended a week with Craig in Finland on the Bears and Wolves workshop. I couldn’t of ask for a better trip. The wildlife was showing, and we had some amazing moments with the bears and wolves competing over food. This is my first encounter of these large animals in the wild, i was totally blown away, and to top the experience off we had the wolves howling at 2am one night. Craig is laid back, and always on-hand to give some pointers when needed, his has a wealth of knowledge, and his passion for wildlife and conservation is infectious. This is my third outing with Craig, and I have also sign up for the trip to India next year, need I say more.
Hi Craig Just a note to say thanks for another amazing wild experience. Despite the lack of sleep, hot hides, ferocious Mosquitos and equally ferocious snoring it was all worth it to see one of those elusive Wolverines...... Couldn't believe our luck after it hadn't been seen for a few days. What a beautiful place Finland is and what a place Lassi and his family have. They all made us feel like part of their family for a few short days and we could have happily stayed there for a good while longer. Even though I'm not a photographer myself I know Stu has some of the best shots he's ever taken The more wildlife photographers I meet the more I'm convinced that you're all crazy boys and girls But in a good way Thanks again and well see you soon.