Workshop sources

Puffins on Skomer - 2 night residential workshop

A chance to stay on the Island of Skomer and photograph some of the 30,000 breeding Puffin pairs that return here every year between April and August. You’ll be part of a small (5 guests maximum) workshop led by John Gooday, an award winning wildlife photographer. John will show you the best places and angles to photograph from, provide expert tuition on techniques to capture Puffins and the other island wildlife and will be on hand to help you get the best pictures possibl

Cost - £315 per person, shared accommodation, half-board

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Day trippers are limited in number and are present only during a six hour window between 10am and 4pm - for the remaining 18 hours Skomer is peaceful, empty and the perfect place to photograph Puffins. The workshop includes accommodation, tuition, crossing charges and breakfast and dinner. Skomer: Off grid and wildlife focussed.

Although Puffins are the main attraction, Skomer is host to much more wildlife: short-eared owls, meadow birds, iconic seabirds including Razor bills, gillimots and manx shearwaters to name Just a few.

You’ll need to prepared to pack light, get up very early, walk everywhere and manage without mains electricity for a couple of days… but the photographic opportunities are worth it.

There are two workshops in 2019: one in May - courtship, mating and nest building time; and another in July when the Puffins are busy feeding their young with sand eels.

Day 1:

8am Meet at West Hook farm, between Marloes and Martn’s Haven. We will then carry our luggage to the Martin’s Haven jetty where we will take a boat for the short journey to Skomer Island. As we approach the island you will see Puffins and Razorbills flying low across the water. From the landing point there is a steep, long track to the top of the cliffs so pack light! The Skomer visitor’s officer will meet us and give an initial briefing before we walk to our accommodation (approx 1 mile along a track).

After room allocation and general orientation, we will head out as a group to visit the key areas on the west and north of the island, Dinner will be served at 5pm back at the accommodation so that we can return to the Wick and photograph puffins an evening light.

At 9pm I’ll give a presentation on techniques for photographing the wildlife on the Island along with tips on location and camera angles.

Day 2:

Following an early self-service breakfast we will walk the coastal path on the south of the Island looking out for meadow birds, the occasional wader, short-eared owls and others. We will spend a while around the cliffs at North Harbour photographing Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins in the water and any other interesting species around at that time. During the afternoon you’re free to visit an area of your choice, or join me on the trail North from the farm in search of meadow birds.

Dinner will again be served at 5pm before we go out again for evening light. At midnight, there’s an opportunity to join my in search of the Manx Shearwaters that arrive by night to avoid predatory gulls.

Day 3:

We’ll need to ensure all bags are packed and ready in the accommodation courtyard by 8:15am. However, there’s still a couple of hours of light before then for those who want to explore further or revisit earlier photographic sites. Once the bags are ready, we’ll walk back to North Harbour and take the boat back to the mainland. There will be a truck to take the luggage back up the steep hill to Hook Farm where we will say are farewells around 11am.

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Level

Suitable for wildlife photography intermediates and advanced level.
High activity level - we’ll be walking up to 2 or 3 miles on rough trails.

Equipment

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Essential Equipment

You’ll need a DSLR or good mirrorless interchangeable lens camera plus enough batteries and memory cards to last the trip (recharging batteries may not be possible on the island - solar power is dependent on the weather!).

Lenses: on a full frame body a 300mm plus extenders or 100-400 zoom will be ideal for most subjects, a 500mm plus a shorter lens such as 70-200mm is an alternative but heavier combination. A wide-angle lens is useful if you want to take landscapes or astro-photography images.

Contact me directly for any specific equipment queries: john@johngoodayphotography.com.

Other

We provide breakfast and dinner but you’ll need to bring some lunch with you - noodles, soup, pasta and energy bars are favourites and relatively light-weight.

 

 

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Wildlife Photography 101 - hands-on learning with Birds of Prey

An introduction to wildlife photography. A full day learning  the key techniques and  practicing them  with a variety of Birds of Prey from  the award-winning Coda Falconry. Classroom sessions with quick-reference handouts, and photographic sessions in the Lee Valley countryside, all under the friendly professional guidance of John Gooday.

**** 17 OCT: FOLLOWING A LATE CANCELLATION, REDUCED-PRICE PLACES AVAILABLE ***

Cost - £70 (was £90) per person

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Overview

Working with professional falconers we’ll guide you as you photograph a variety of native British owls and birds of prey in natural  settings. In the morning we'll be focussing on static shots with a classroom session followed by a couple of hours out photographing. The afternoon will focus on action / flight with another classroom session and 2-3 hours photographing. We finish with a final classroom session on image editing in Lightroom.

You’ll learn how to set-up your DSLR for wildlife photography, how to compose classic and habitat portraits effectively, the best techniques for capturing birds in flight and how to post-process your images to bring out the best in them.

 

  • wide range of native species to photograph

  • portrait, close-up and flight shots

  • printed how-to guides to take away

  • places limited to 8 students

  • 5 miles from the M25 junction 25

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Level

Suitable for wildlife photography beginners and intermediates.
Moderate activity level - we’ll be walking up to 1/2 mile in muddy woodland and fields.

Equipment

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You’ll need a DSLR camera and a telephoto lens, with a focal length of 200mm or greater. There will be opportunities to use wide angle and macro lenses for those who want to, but these are not essential.
Please wear footwear suitable for walking in muddy countryside and comfortable clothing. Pack a waterproof coat in case of showers. Feel free to bring along a laptop if you want to follow the section on image editing in Lightroom . Contact me directly for any specific equipment queries: john@johngoodayphotography.com.

Other

Please bring a packed lunch with you. Tea and coffee will be available during breaks

 

 

Times, location and cost

The workshop will run from 09:00 until 17:00 (approx.) and will be held in the Lee Valley Nature Park, Essex/Hertfordshire border approx. 10 mins from Junction 24 of the M25.

The cost of the workshop is £90 per person.

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Wildlife Flash Techniques

This is an advanced workshop that will cover the key techniques of using flash for wildlife work both at night and during the day. Classroom sessions on the techniques followed by practical sessions with captive birds of prey (in flight and stationary) to put theory into practice. The emphasis is on using flash responsibly to capture stunning images without distressing the subject.

£95 per person

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Workshop description

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The purpose of the workshop is to teach people how to set up and use flash for themselves and to then practice a number of flash techniques for photographing responsibly using captive birds of prey (so that we can practice repeatedly until everybody has mastered the technique – wild owls tend not to turn up on demand every minute or so, which makes it difficult to repeatedly try out a technique). We’re *not*  providing ready set-up hides and detailed manufactured scenes to photograph wild animals , we'll be photographing trained birds of prey and owls on location at the farm and surrounding countryside.

We will be doing at least one hands-on outdoor exercise for each of the techniques we cover. For each exercise , we’ll take birds with us into countryside of the Lee Valley around the venue, You’ll then set-up your equipment based on what we’ve talked through about the technique (with us nudging you in the right direction, or showing you how again – depending on your level of confidence). Once that’s done, the falconers will put the birds into position (this might be e.g. on a low  branch or a tree stump for a static shot, or for flight shots the birds will be released by the falconers to fly to a predetermined point where we’ll place some bait). We’ll have already chosen the locations / stumps / etc. before the workshop to be a scenic as possible. In some cases we will have placed suitable props/moss/leaves etc in advance to beautify things. We’ll usually a different location for each exercise, although some will be similar. An exception will be the ‘introducing a artificial backlight’ which we will do in the same location as the sunset/twilight lighting technique so that you can compare the effect of using it.

We won’t need hides as the birds are captive and trained. The birds will, however, have falconer’s leather attachments on their legs (called jesses). We’ll do our best to hide these but for the flight shots they will most likely be visible.

We need specific weather conditions for two of the techniques:

  • star scape backgrounds for dragging-the-shutter require a clear sky. If it’s cloudy, we’ll still try the technique but with an artificial light (or maybe the orange light pollution from London) which certainly won’t be as nice, but lets us teach you.

  • Daylight fill-in for harsh sunlight needs… sunlight.

What equipment to bring

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You'll need: A DSLR, tripod, lens in the 100-300mm range (plus wide angle if you'd like an alternative perspective); one or more Speedlights with at least eTTL/iTTL and manual settings (plus HSS / FP Sync and strobe/multi if you'd like to try these techniques with us); radio trigger system for your flashes(e.g. Pocket Wizard, Yongnou 622 system, manufacturer's own system or others that support eTTL/iTTL, HSS). Warm outdoor clothing and footware and a good torch,

Contact me directly for any specific equipment queries: john@johngoodayphotography.com.

Times, location and cost

The workshop will run from 15:00 until 22:00 (aprox) and will be held in the Lee Valley Nature Park approx. 10 mins from Junction 24 of the M25.

Workshops are limited to just 6 participants and places are assigned on a first-come basis

Wild Bird Photography in Hungary

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Koros-Maros National Park Hungary

 May 2019   £895

 Exact dates and booking to be shortly

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Overview

Join us for an intense small group (4 guests max. per workshop) 5-night Wildlife Photography Workshop set  in and around Koros-Maros National Park, Hungary. Every day we’ll be photographing a variety of wild birds from a mixture of pop-up and permanent hides while learning the key techniques of bird photography. I’ll be on hand to give you one-to-one guidance and help you get the most from your visit and equipment. There’s also the chance for you to learn advanced use of flash to tame tricky lighting situations including harsh sunlight and limited light.

This is very much real wild life photography - we’ll be starting very early(often 4am) to be in place ready for the first action, usually taking a break in the middle of the day before continuing later in the afternoon when the light becomes softer. Sometimes we’ll continue shooting straight through the day, if subject and light are good.  There will usually be periods of waiting followed by frantic bursts of activity. You’ll have to work harder and longer than on some other photography workshops but you’ll learn a lot that you’ll be able to apply to your photography elsewhere and return home with a portfolio of images.

Pricing

The price of the trip (£895) is for  5 nights including accommodation, meals and transport/airport transfers. Please note that flights to Hungary, travel insurance and alcoholic drinks are not included!  

Detailed Information:

Click here to down load the full, detailed workshop brochure

 

Winter Eagle Photography on the Hungarian Great Plain

 

February 09 - 14, 2019

Cost: £845 per person including 5 nights accommodation, meals, airport transfers, tuition and use of hides. Flights and alcoholic drinks not included

 

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This workshop is a very intense small group (3 guests max. per workshop) Workshop in search of Eagles in Koros-Maros National Park, Hungary. Not for the faint-hearted - mornings will be very early, days long, and conditions in the Eagle hide basic but we should be rewarded with close-up images of White-tailed and Imperial Eagles visiting  a site we have prepared in the heart of the National Park. They are normally joined by large numbers of Buzzards and hooded crows. Occasionally, Marsh Harriers and Sakker Falcons may fly past. We need to be in place in the hides before dawn and won’t be able to leave until after dark as the Eagle are very sensitive to human presence. The hide has one-way shoot through optical glass both at ground  and chest level and is heated, There is also a fan system to prevent condensation on the glass and a chemical toilet in an anteroom.

As the birds are all wild, we can’t guarantee exactly what will or won’t turn up but we will have been attracting them to the site with daily food offerings (hare, rodents, sheep carcasses) for several weeks prior to the workshop. The images shown were taken during trips over the last two years.

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In addition to days spent in the Eagle hide, we will also visit a thermal pool to photograph Kingfishers and use one of several purpose built hides for woodland birds.

At the end of a hard day, we’ll eat in a local Hungarian restaurant and then relax in our well-appointed private villa. Each guest has their own bedroom and shares a bathroom with one other. There is a well appointed lounge and dining/kitchen room plus wide screen TV, Espresso coffee machine, dishwasher etc.

There will be an opportunity to review some of your images at the end of the day to see what’s working well for you and where you  might need a bit more focus.

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Pricing

The price of the trip is for  5 nights including accommodation, meals and transport/airport transfers. Please note that flights to Hungary, travel insurance and alcoholic drinks are not included!  
If the  Pound - Forint exchange rate drops by more than 10% from its Feb 28th  2018 value of 331.43 Forints to the pound  (as listed by HSBC UK bank Travel Money website) then we’ll add a surcharge to the final amount to cover the difference. This will be paid with the final instalment 6 weeks before the trip date . If we do so (and I’m hopeful that it won’t be necessary) then you will, of course,  be offered the option to cancel the trip at that point and we will refund your deposit. Should you prefer to pay the entire amount of the holiday when you book then I can guarantee there will be no surcharge..

Our current price (not including the above described currency exchange rate proviso) is: £845 per person. A deposit of £195 pounds per person  is required at the time of booking, with the balance due 6 weeks prior to the trip.

Equipment to bring

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Camera
A DSLR is essential for this trip. The perfect choice is a model with good high-ISO performance as winter light, especially early and late in the day, can be quite limited, a reasonable frame rate (for flight shots), and a modern autofocus system with multiple focus points. Both full frame (FX) and crop sensor (DX) models are suitable although I recommend longer lenses for full-frame. You’ll need enough batteries for a full day of shooting, and plenty of memory cards.

Tripod
You’ll also need a sturdy tripod for use in the hides. This should be rated to support the weight of your heaviest lens plus camera plus tripod head plus an extra kilo or more. We won’t be walking long distances, so weight of the tripod isn’t too important. The tripod head should be similarly rated. Generally, people tend to use Gimbal heads, fluid video heads (or, occasionally,  ball heads). You’ll be using the tripod while sitting on chairs so it doesn’t have to be particularly tall. We can supply beanbags for shooting through the additional floor-level windows in the eagle hide. Most wildlife photographers remove the centre column of the tripod (if it has one) to improve stability.

Lenses
You’ll need a long telephoto lens for smaller or distant subjects - ideally at least 400mm for a crop-sensor (DX) camera and at least 500mm for a full frame. If possible (and if your lens is compatible with them) bring along extenders to give yourself further flexibility. 1.4x extenders are the most useful, but 1.7 or 2x can be occasionally helpful.
A mid-range telephoto will be needed for larger (and closer) birds. 200mm for a crop sensor, 300mm for a full-frame sensor are ideal. Of course, if you have a zoom that covers this range then that adds flexibility.
If you have a choice of suitable lenses, it’s best to bring one with the widest maximum aperture (lowest f-stop value) to help with low light shooting and to render backgrounds nice and soft. One-way glass in the Eagle hide lets us get closer to the birds than open hides but it reduces the light reaching the camera by 1.5 stops.

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High-quality telephoto and super-telephoto lenses are expensive. If you don’t already have one, you might want to think about hiring one just for the duration of the workshop as this is a lot cheaper in the short term than buying. I’ve found www.lensesforhire.co.uk to be very good in the past in terms of range of lenses and reliability.
If you have white lenses (Canon, Sony) you’ll need to cover these with dark material or lens camouflage as they can easily be seen by the birds, even behind one-way glass. 

Please pack battery chargers for your camera (and a European to UK adapter plug). A cable release can sometimes be useful for longer exposure tripod shots. Lens cleaning cloths and a blower are always recommended.

Laptop
If you have a laptop, I’d suggest bringing it along. If you pack a memory card reader you’ll be able to back up and review your photos on the computer. We’ll also be looking at post-processing techniques for wildlife images during the workshop, so a laptop will enable you to try these for yourself. (We’ll be using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, but the techniques apply to other image editing packages). There’s WiFi at the accommodation, so you’ll be able to keep in touch with the outside world.

Clothing
All clothing should be in subdued or dark colours to aid concealment. It’s likely to be cold, so so pack layers - ideally a thermal base layer then an overlayer. You’ll need water/snow proof winter  coat, trouser, boots and good gloves.