In preparation for our week on Fair Isle, scheduled for June 2016, when our main focus of attention will be taking photographs of sea birds - specifically Puffins - I decided to enrol on a Bird of Prey Photography workshop, (Lyn as non-photographer participant), in order to gain more knowledge and develop skills in two areas: composing images of birds and taking photographs of birds in flight. (Birds move a lot quicker than the Cricketers who are the subject of a lot of my photographs).
The workshop we booked was run by wildlife photographer Paul Miguel at the SMJ Falconry centre, situated just outside Oxenhope, close to Keighley in West Yorkshire, aka "Brontë Country" and the home of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. This was an ideal location for us, as at a distance of around 26 miles from home, it is less than an hour's drive away.
The description of the workshop on Paul's website suited my needs perfectly: "..we photograph our birds of prey in wild settings – on natural perches with wild backdrops; we will also be able to remove some of the jesses. Birds on these workshops include barn owl, tawny owl, little owl, long eared owl, merlin, kestrel, peregrine, – and raven.! You will be given tuition on lighting, composition, exposure combinations and focusing techniques. There is a maximum of just 8 places for photographers, with an additional 2 places for non-photographers/partners. After photographing bird of prey portraits we move on to capturing images in flight. Two birds will be flown, including straight line flight on pre-planned routes. This is often the most exhilarating part of the day!"
The photographs shown in this gallery were all taken on 9th April 2016. We had a great day out - decent weather, warm hospitality and an excellent lunch at SMJ Falconry from Sandra and her very knowledgable staff along with expert individual and group tuition from Paul certainly contributed to this as did the friendly and informative conversation we had with the other workshop participants: Denise, Hayley and Steve. Thank you.