Wildlife photography is becoming more popular by the day with more and more amateur photographers wanting to become connected with the natural world. It's obvious why, as wildlife photography can be very relaxing and generates a wonderful appreciation of the world around us. The problem with wildlife photography is that it can be very difficult and confusing to know where to start, where to go and what to do. This is the goal of this workshop, to give photographers a head-start with the basics that you need to know....and avoiding the things that you don't.
These days the art of fieldcraft is being lost. The intended audience for this workshop is for photographers that want to do their own fieldcraft, for photographers that are willing to invest the time to get the satisfaction of a great shot that is all their own work and expertise. Once you get started it's addictive, the trick is knowing where to start. That's where Andy's experience comes in, he knows what he is talking about!
Andy believes that the key to great wildlife photography is fieldcraft. You can own all the latest gear but that will not help you get close enough to animals to get great shots.
The workshop will be based around the 7 S's that the British Army teach to see the enemy or avoid being seen. During this workshop you will learn where to look for wildlife, how to approach it by using fieldcraft, when to use hides and when to just use camouflage and stealth. Andy will discuss the use of all kinds of concealment clothing, what gear to take when you are stalking and the use of remote control photography. This workshop is not a technical one and the discussion will always centre on how to get close to wildlife and how to behave so that you don't scare it off.
Everything will be covered that you need to know and by the end of the day you will know a lot more about fieldcraft than when you started. All of this will be illustrated throughout with Andy's stunning images, backed up by years of experience in the field.
Andy will illustrate all his techniques with intensive species led case studies showing how he managed to approach and outwit each subject shown. They will all be drawn from his extensive experience, he will never teach anything that he has not practically used in the field.
For example he will show how he stalks deer, how he sets up hides for garden birds (and at the other end of the scale ospreys), how he gets great badger images by getting them to trust him and how he outwitted a local fox.
He will also cover using cars as hides and will look at ethics too which is usually overlooked but very important to him. And finally we will look at how to step back and visualise what you want the shot to be, putting you more in control of what happens. All in all a very packed agenda.
The workshop will take approximately 3 - 3 /12 hours.
Once completed we will vacate the lecture theatre and move out to the wonderful reserve at Slimbridge WWT. Here you will find amazingly diverse collections of Wildfowl from around the world. Many are in very naturalistic enclosures and if the sun is shining the light can be epic! Certainly the flamingos are probably the most photographable in the UK here and we see many great pictures coming from them.
It's likely that the Bewick Swans will have left by this time but there will be plenty of Mute Swans flying about. In the late afternoons geese will come in too plus Shelduck, Mallard, Pintail and many others. It's a lovely thing to see and again if the light is good then it's totally and utterly epic!
Bits and Pieces
Timing - We meet at 9.30am for tea, coffee and a danish pastry outside the lecture theatre. We expect to finish the theory session by 2pm, when you can have lunch in the onsite restaurant or head out and do some photography. Slimbridge closes at 5pm.
Cameras - Please also remember that this is primarily a theory day and the practical element is really an extra so don't come with everything that you own, you will have 2 hours of light at best! The captive birds at Slimbridge generally need at least a 300mm lens whilst the wilder cousins you need to get a 500mm reach. Feel free to bring a tripod and whatever you need, the grounds are flat and easy to pull stuff around.
Please note there is VERY limited room in the lecture theatre so be aware that whatever you bring will need to sit at the front and not with you!
By Road – Slimbridge Wetland Centre is conveniently located near to the M5 between Gloucester and Bristol. Exit at either junctions 13 or 14 and follow the brown duck signs. The postcode for your satnav is GL2 7BT. There is ample car parking.
By Public transport - Unfortunately there is no bus service directly to Slimbridge. The nearest services stop at the A38 leaving a walk through the village to reach the centre, which is along a very narrow and busy road and will take an hour. The nearest railway station is located at Cam and Dursley Station and is a 4 mile taxi journey away. Since the workshop is on a Sunday it's unlikely that either of these options will work!
Weather - since this is mainly a theory day we will run it no matter what the weather. If it is torrential rain all day then the workshop will still run!
Accessibility - All WWT centres are designed with accessibility in mind. At Slimbridge all of the paths are level and well made, although there are some gates to open. There is an access ramp and several disabled toilets throughout the site. Access to the lecture theatre is on the ground level so come in via the restaurant entrance.
The cost of attending the workshop is £69 plus VAT. Please add your booking to the cart above and use our secure payment system. You will receive an email confirmation of your booking and Andy will be in touch a few days before the event.
This will not be an overtly technical day so please do not expect to be taught Photoshop or exposure in depth, but of course AndyR will analyse any images in technical detail when requested. So as you can see the theoretical part of this workshop will concentrate on the fieldcraft elements of wildlife photography that are sadly often overlooked these days. Please note that we will not be giving out any notes during this workshop so please bring a means to write down those vital hints and tips.