Wildlife Flash Techniques
Sat 25th Feb / Sat 25th March
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.
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. However, we’ll be using bright halogen lights in the event of no sun. (Well happily let people take a few photos without the lights if they’d like to, but we’ll have to turn them on to teach the technique).
- Positioning flashes for best effect
- When and how to use ETTL / iTTL (and FEL), and manual settings
- High Speed Sync / FP Sync - uses and limitations
- Using modifiers to shape and soften light
- When and how to use flash gels
- Key daylight flash techniques:
- Fill (for harsh sunlight / backlight)
- Making the subject stand out from its surroundings
- Overpowering daylight
- Lighting action scenes
- Key night time flash techniques
- Lighting for sunset / twilight
- Creating a backlight halo effect
- Focussing techniques at night
- Setting up for stills
- Mixing flash with continuous light sources (spotlights/floodlights/streetlights)
- Techniques for flying birds and other action shots:
- How flash power impacts motion stopping (understanding t-curves)
- Freezing fast action - birds in flight
- Introducing controlled motion blur
- Dragging the shutter to add starscapes / habitat to flight/action shots
- Multi-image strobe technique for flight/action shots
- Advanced equipment options
What equipment to bring
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Times, location and cost
The workshop will run from 14:00 until 21:00 (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.
Cost: £95 per person