A great way of getting into wildlife photography is to practice on captive subjects such as birds of prey. I don’t consider this as ‘cheating’. In the wild you often have to react quickly and know your settings inside out to get the best out of any given opportunity. Bird of prey workshops offer you the chance to learn the skills necessary – in natural surroundings and often with variable weather conditions. Working with SMJ Falconry in Oxenhope, Yorkshire we have access to wonderful surroundings including moorland edge with gritstone boulders and heather.
The male merlin is one of my favourite birds. This particular merlin is incredibly relaxed around photographers and often preens for us.
We also like to make use of prey. This peregrine was photographed with a quail. It soon ripped into the bird with feathers flying, making for images with real impact.!
Flight photography is always a test – not just of the photographer but also the equipment. Our barn owl is perfect for straight flights and we can usually repeat this a good number of times.
Willow, the female red kite is quite a star. We usually let her fly around the valley before photographing as she comes in to the food. The beauty of this location is in being able to get flight shots against the hillside rather than just sky.
If you are interested in joining one of theses Bird of Prey Photography Courses get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org Further photo workshops can be found at www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk All the birds at SMJ Falconry are in remarkable condition and it’s obvious that this family run business put a lot of effort into the birds’ welfare.