Silverband Falconry Photography Days

Whiteacres, Kirkby Thore, Penrith, Cumbria. CA10 1XR.  Tel.07876632912.  

Days for All Photographers who want to Photograph Native Birds of Prey and Animals from across the Lake District, Cumbria and the UK.

Hawk and Owl Photography Workshop Details

Silverband Falconry is based on the edge of the Lake District, a beautiful part of rural Cumbria at the bottom of the eastern fells, 15 minutes drive off the M6 motorway. The centre sits amid rolling farmland, with lots of opportunity for naturalistic bird portraits against the backdrop of the fells. We will also spend part of the day photographing on the moorland at the top of those fells, a superb for pictures of birds of prey in a wild habitat.

Experience necessary

The workshop will be a fun, relaxing day suitable for photography enthusiasts of all abilities. We will be working in very small groups so there will be plenty of time for individual help if you want it.

Professional Photographers Ann and Steve Toon are well placed to offer this help, being regular contributors for national photographic magazines - one of their photographs of a Silverband Falconry tawny owl was used in a recent Bill Oddie BBC book - such is the high standard of their photographs. There will be the opportunity to try flight shots, while more experienced photographers who simply want to make the most of unique access to some wonderful subjects in beautiful settings will be assured of superb opportunities.

The Birds of Prey

We will photograph a range of birds of prey from the Silverband falconry collection, including Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Snowy Owl, European Eagle Owl, Kestrel, Buzzard. Exactly which species we work with on the day will depend on which birds are in peak condition. Silverband’s birds are well-used to being handled, and photographed at very close range. Richard is happy to remove the jesses from some of his birds, where conditions permit.

The Day

We will meet at 9.30am at Whiteacres, for coffee and a quick briefing. Depending on the weather, we will spend the morning photographing on the moors and the afternoon in natural settings around the centre, or vice versa, mostly photographing in two groups of four, each working with Ann or Steve and a professional falconer. This will ensure that everyone has the best possible access to photo opportunities with time to seek individual help and advice. Our first photo session will last from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm, with a break for a light lunch (included in the course fee). During lunch you will have plenty of opportunity to speak to the falconers, and to pick Ann & Steve’s brains about photography. Photography resumes at 1.30, and we will aim to finish at around 4pm. Exact times may vary a little, depending on weather conditions.

Equipment to bring

The workshop will be best suited for 35mm SLR users (film or digital), though there is nothing to stop you bringing a larger format or panoramic camera if you wish. Working with controlled birds it will be possible to get very close, and you can capture some dynamic shots with a wide angle lens. For most portraits, lenses in the region of 70mm to 200mm will give you a comfortable working distance and natural perspective. A focal length of around 200mm to 300mm will be useful for flight shots, but isn’t essential.

It’s up to you whether or not you use a tripod, but we’d recommend one to ensure you avoid camera shake, particularly if we have a cloudy day. Optional accessories include a gentle warm-up filter (say 81A), which is useful in dull light (not necessary for digital users), and a circular polarising filter for bright sunshine. If you wish to use flash in the event of low light, the birds will be comfortable with this.

Bring plenty of film, or digital storage capacity, and spare batteries. Bear in mind that in this part of the world we could experience anything from bright sunshine, light drizzle, heavy cloud or even snow – possibly all of them in one day! So if you are using film, bring a variety of speeds.

Wear warm and comfortable clothes and bring a waterproof. There will be a little easy walking, sensible footwear is recommended. If, like us, you are keen on taking interesting low angle shots, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!

Individual Days

If you are confident with your photography and just fancy some individual time Photographing the Birds at Silverband Falconry you can book individual days.

These run in a similar way to the Group Workshops but you have exclusive access to the birds for the day. If you want to practice flight shots for the day to the exclusion of everything else, or there is a specific portrait you want to achieve or species you want to work with which we can’t do on the group workshops, then this is your opportunity.

Contact us for details

Whiteacres, Kirkby Thore, Penrith, Cumbria. CA10 1XR.  Tel.07876632912.

Animal Activities Licence Holder: Mr R Cooper

Animal Activities Licence Number: 003329/23