Tag: Photography tuition

Look who’s stalking; bespoke photography 24/03/2014

by on Mar.29, 2014, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Photography

Monday was a day with the potential to go either way, and I was nervous.  I first met John when himself and Helen were on a North Sea pelagic in June last year and we found this little beauty.  This trip was something altogether different though – Helen had arranged a one-to-one photography day.  Our one-to-one days focus on whatever our clients would like to work on – sometimes techniques (exposure/composition/fieldcraft etc.), sometimes species (Black Grouse, Otter and Red Squirrel are just some of the ones we’ve helped clients to photograph) – and John’s request was to develop his techniques for getting good images of shorebirds.  Now, using fieldcraft developed over 40yrs is one thing when I’m in the field on my own…teaching it, with our subject right where it can see us, is slightly more challenging 😉

I collected John from home in Morpeth and we headed north until we were in the impressive shadow of Bamburgh CastlePurple Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Eider were all approached with stealth and patience before we made our way down the Northumberland coast to Druridge Bay, stopping off and stalking Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Sanderling, Redshank, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover and Dunlin and finishing the day’s photography with the slightly easier proposition of Reed Bunting, Blue Tit and Lesser Redpoll at a feeding station before admiring the Red-necked Grebe that I first found back in mid-February – now in a much more attractive plumage than it was five weeks ago.

John very kindly supplied some of his images from the day, for which we’re very grateful, so here they are 🙂  You can click on them to see the full size images, and please do get in touch with us if you’d like to get more from your camera equipment.

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Northumberland, photography tuition, bird photography, one to one photography, bird photography holidays

Common Eider

Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, Purple Sandpiper, Calidris maritima, Northumberland, photography tuition, bird photography, one to one photography, bird photography holidays

Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone

Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus, Northumberland, photography tuition, bird photography, one to one photography, bird photography holidays

Oystercatcher

Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, Northumberland, photography tuition, bird photography, one to one photography, bird photography holidays

Common Redshank

Sanderling, Calidris alba, Northumberland, photography tuition, bird photography, one to one photography, bird photography holidays

Sanderling

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Marsh Harriers and Murmurations; Photography mini-safari 23/03/2014

by on Mar.26, 2014, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Photography

Some wildlife experiences are so special that on their own they can make an entire trip memorable.  Having two happening at the same time is just distracting…

I collected Rebecca and Gill from Church Point, for an afternoon around Druridge Bay that had only been finalised earlier on Sunday morning.  Northumberland hit us with its own peculiar brand of ‘four seasons in one hour’ as we set out, including a shower of hail/snow.  Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Woodpigeons, Tree Sparrows and Reed Buntings were clustered around feeding stations – always a good spot to practice your wildlife photography – and we popped along to Amble Harbour to catch up with some nicely photogenic Common Eider.  Equally entertaining, as always, was Dave Gray 🙂

As sunset approached we headed for the final destination that I’d planned for the afternoon.  A small flock of Starlings was just the warm-up act for the finale to our trip.  Soon, a larger group could be seen gathering away to the south and they began to head northwards towards our vantage point.  Group after group joined the murmuration and suddenly they split as a male Marsh Harrier flew in, followed quickly by a female.  Drifting in unison they kept rolling in mid-air to touch talons, as the murmuration carried on just a few metres above them.  As the sun dipped below the impressive ridge of Simonside away to the west, the murmuration did just what Rebecca was hoping for and passed right over the last glow of the setting sun 🙂  As we returned to Newbiggin a flock of Whooper Swans flew north overhead, calling as they faded into the gloom of the coming darkness.

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A walk in the woods; Beginners Photography 12/10/2013

by on Oct.29, 2013, under Northumberland, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

Our October photography workshop subject was Fungi.  The morning was damp and drizzly, but I’d packed several versatile waterproof camera covers – you can pick them up from your local supermarket, usually free with your shopping 🙂 Dave was on his third day with us this year, and kindly emailed some of his images from the day to post in our blog.  We’ve just added our 2014 dates and topics to our Beginners Photography page.  You could come along yourself or, if you’ve got a friend or relative who’s trying to get to grips with their camera, our Gift Vouchers make ideal Christmas presents 🙂

fungi,macro photography,photography workshops, photography tuition,Northumberland

fungi,macro photography,photography workshops, photography tuition,Northumberland

fungi,macro photography,photography workshops, photography tuition,Northumberland

fungi,macro photography,photography workshops, photography tuition,Northumberland

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Waiting for the light

by on May.23, 2013, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

In an ideal world, a bespoke photography day with a client involves arriving at our chosen location, discussing techniques that will be required to achieve the desired image and then waiting for the perfect light to fall on the subject…

I arrived at Church Point on Sunday afternoon to collect Gareth for his bespoke photography trip.  My task was to deliver locations that would provide the opportunities for landscape or wildlife photography, and give advice on technique when needed.  In advance I’d planned a route through Druridge Bay, southeast Northumberland and the Northumberland coast that would provide a series of landscape opportunities.  So, discovering that visibility on the coast was poor was a bit of a spanner in the works 🙂  My backup plan was some nice close, obliging wildlife…swifts, swallows and martins were the ideal subject for the afternoon.  Difficult enough to test the abilities of most photographers, but usually obligingly consistent in their feeding, bathing and drinking behaviour.

As Gareth honed his ‘birds in flight’ skills we had an unexpected bonus in the shape of four Otters!  A writhing sinuous mass of muscle and menace, they twisted and turned in the water before climbing onto the bank and one of them munched contentedly on the fruits of it’s labour – a large Eel.

Displaying Redshank, typically unobliging Little Grebes and a ghostly Barn Owl drifting across a reedbed as dusk approached all added to the wildlife experience as Gareth shot lots of images of Swallows as they twisted, turned and stalled just a few feet away from us.  I managed a few shots myself, as we compared the effect of different camera settings, focal lengths etc.

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Barn Swallow,Hirundo rustica,bird photography,Northumberland,bird photography courses,bird photography tuition,www.northernexperienceimages.co.uk

Barn Swallow,Hirundo rustica,bird photography,Northumberland,bird photography courses,bird photography tuition,www.northernexperienceimages.co.uk

Barn Swallow,Hirundo rustica,bird photography,Northumberland,bird photography courses,bird photography tuition,www.northernexperienceimages.co.uk

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Early rise

by on Apr.04, 2013, under Bamburgh Castle, North Sea, Northumberland, Photography

Saturday 03:30 and the alarm clock starts ringing.  After eight long days out of the office, things were going to be topped off nicely with an early start for our ‘Dawn on the Coast’ Beginners Photography session.  I arrived just ahead of Dave, and met up with Steve who had arrived early.  In the shadow of Bamburgh Castle, with the North Sea washing close to our feet, we worked our way through the holy trinity of photography (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and various compositional techniques as the approaching dawn illuminated the landscape around us.  Snow, driven by a strong northerly breeze, passed by almost horizontally and the broken cloud to the east produced intermittently good lighting conditions.  Red-breasted Mergansers and Fulmars flew by, Common Scoters and Eider were riding on the swell, Purple Sandpipers crept around the base of the rocks and we finished our session as less amenable weather approached from the east.

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Focusing on the coast

by on Oct.19, 2012, under Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Photography

Having lived on, or near, the Northumberland coast for 15 years (apart from my 6 month sojourn to Texas and Arizona) it’s a location I return to time and again with my camera/binoculars/telescope/camcorder/sound recording gear (delete as applicable depending on my mood and/or aim for the day).  The coast is my favorite location for one-to-one photography tuition with clients too (although the North Pennines AONB runs it pretty close!).

I drove down to Wallsend to collect Mac for his day of photography tuition, and we set off along the coast of southeast Northumberland and Druridge Bay.  I’ve always seen dilapidated farm buildings as ideal locations for Little Owl and Barn Owl, but one group of buildings made an ideal location to explore the reciprocal relationship between shutter speed and aperture, before we headed north and Mac added immeasurably to my knowledge of the opencast mining operations of the area.  Next stop was on the top of the dunes overlooking the north of Druridge Bay and, as well as the impressive scene looking across the rolling surf out to sea, a high-tide wader roost was building up on the rocks below us.  Redshank, Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Curlew were all arriving as the surf lapped at their feet.  Then they all scattered.  Sadly this didn’t herald the arrival of a Peregrine or other predator…but, instead, a jogger.  As luck would have it, I was due at a meeting with a Lead Adviser from Natural England a few days later, to discuss coastal activities and wildlife disturbance.  The conclusion of  a brief discussion at that meeting was that jogging through a high-tide wader roost in a SSSI is mindless stupidity, sheer ignorance and possibly an offence.  People really should know better.

Boats at Boulmer and Holy Island came under the focus of Mac’s camera before we arrived at our final location for the day.  Breaking surf, rock pools and the Northumberland coast’s stunning edifice of Bamburgh Castle provided our last shoot before the sun dipped behind the dunes and out of sight, and we headed back south.  The light wasn’t the best, although it was a good day to experiment with exposure settings, so here’s a shot of Bamburgh Castle in the sort of conditions that I really enjoy.

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Like a different world

by on Jun.09, 2011, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Photography

I had 2 days in the North Pennines late last week; a one-to-one photography day and a birdwatching trip.  Separated by just 48hrs, the days could hardly have been any different.

The photography day took place in gales that were so strong, I had to choose the direction of the car carefully when parked so that we could open the doors, and plan the route as we went along so that Michael would be in a position to get shots from his side of our mobile hide, with as little interference as possible from the weather.  As well as serving up Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Golden Plover, Curlew and Short-eared Owl I had a stint as photographer’s assistant, holding my Cubelite in place so that it acted as a diffuser and windshield as Michael enjoyed having some of the area’s flora in front of his macro lens.

2 days later and I collected Mandy, Sara and Stevan from Jesmond and headed west again.  As we crossed the remote moorland roads and walked in Upper Teesdale, we found Snipe, Curlew, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Wheatear all displaying.  We had excellent views of 2 Greyhens and a Blackcock was dozing in the afternoon sunshine.  Common Sandpipers were flitting about across the water and the Mountain Pansies were glorious in the sunlight.  All too soon, it was time to head back towards civilisation.

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Contrast and compare

by on Apr.19, 2011, under Bamburgh Castle, Choppington Woods, Northumberland, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

Sunday and Monday illustrated the range of things that NEWT do on a regular basis.

Sunday saw me leaving the office at 03:30 and driving to Alnwick.  Highlight of the drive was a Barn Owl, hunting alongside the A1 near Eshott.  After collecting Helen and Steve, two of our returning clients, we headed to Bamburgh, and a rendezvous with the sunrise.  Landscape photography tuition was first on the menu, followed by some macro photography around the rock pools at low tide.  All the while, the crowds were building further along the beach in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle, enjoying views of the Black Scoter just offshore.  Once the sun was well above the horizon, and the shadows were getting too harsh, it was time to drive back to Alnwick.

A walk around Choppington Woods in the afternoon produced plenty of butterflies, Small White, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma, and the unexpected patch tick of Hooded Crow.  We weren’t finished yet though, and  an evening excursion in southeast Northumberland produced excellent views of 2 of our favourites; Tawny Owl and Badger.

Yesterday morning, the day dawned overcast and calm; ideal for our latest Northeast Cetacean Project Transect Survey.  I met up with Maeve, Claire, Rachael and Steve at Royal Quays and we set out on just about the flattest sea I’ve ever seen.  Even 4 miles offshore it was glassy calm.  Cetacean sightings were down compared to the February/March surveys, with a pod of 4 Harbour Porpoises being the only sighting of the day.  Avian highlights were our first Manx Shearwater  and Pomarine Skua for the year, and lots of Puffins throughout the day.

Now it’s Tuesday morning and I’m getting ready for 9 tours with clients in the next 11 days.  Hopefully I’ll find time to blog…

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Findings

by on Mar.04, 2011, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Photography

On our photography tours I carry my camera with me, particularly when delivering photography tuition, but on our other trips I don’t; our clients deserve, and receive, my full attention.  When I’m out on my own I don’t always carry a camera either – sometimes it would just be inconvenient (scrambling up trees, crags and dunes isn’t always compatible with having a heavy camera bag on your back).  Occasionally, though, there are times when a camera would come in quite handy.  These are nearly always stunning sunsets, and a quick shot with my Blackberry records the scene…and is then forgotten about 😉  I was downloading the images from the Outdoor Leisure Show yesterday when I realised that there were a few sunset shots sitting on the memory card;

First at the end of a stunning day birdwatching on the Northumberland coast in February ’10

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And then a couple of images from May last year, after our clients had been safely returned to their b&b, showing how light (or the camera’s perception of it) changes so quickly; these two images were taken only a minute apart.

landscape photography, photography tuition, photography courses, Northumberland

landscape photography, photography tuition, photography courses

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Damsels in the sunshine

by on Jul.14, 2010, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Family and friends, Farne Islands, Northumberland Coast, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

I’m sitting in the office writing this , and the rain is hammering down outside.  We had a Prestige Photography trip yesterday in brilliant sunshine, but first a quick catch-up (hard to believe but sometimes there are other things to do that are more important than blogging…).

Kirsty and Sarah continued their running plan by competing in the Sunshine Run last Wednesday, with yours truly again acting as pack animal.  I’m seriously considering taking up running,  as everyone seems to enjoy it so much.  They both bettered their personal best times for 5km, so a big well done to them from me 🙂

On Sunday we had something quite different; a photography tuition afternoon with a group of ‘looked-after’ children.  We had planned to visit the Farne Islands but the strengthening wind meant that the afternoon sailings were cancelled, so instead we walked along a section of the North Northumberland coast and looked at techniques for creative landscapes and birds in flight.

Yesterday was a wildlife photography tour of Druridge Bay.  I collected Eileen and Dave from Warkworth and we visited our favourite southeast Northumberland sites.  Damselflies, butterflies and moths featured heavily throughout the day, as might be expected on a sunny day in mid-July, although with it being so warm they were a bit skittish.  As ever, patience paid off.

Ringlet, Druridge Bay, Northumberland 13/07/2010

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, Druridge Bay, Northumberland 13/07/2010

Latticed Heath, Druridge Bay, Northumberland 13/07/2010

Blue-tailed Damselfly, Druridge Bay, Northumberland 13/07/2010

Common Blue Damselfly, Druridge Bay, Northumberland 13/07/2010

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