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Review Mountain Hares in heather Andy Howard Nature Photography.
 
This will easily go down as one of my most amazing and memorable experiences this year. On my first attempt to photograph the mountain hares in heather, we saw no hares. Andy had warned me that the weather was against us but I was unable to reschedule during my time there. We tried and as he predicted no hares although we did see red grouse, a golden eagle and a white-tailed eagle. He very kindly invited me back for a second attempt, being keen to ensure that I had a good experience so I made the journey back to Inverness a couple of weeks later. This time I had such a wonderful day.
Andy picked me up whilst it was still dark and we climbed the mountain as it was becoming light. Andy proved to be a font of knowledge, sharing with me lots of information and facts about these beautiful creatures. He was able to spot them at great distances by just a couple of ear tips protruding above the heather – hence I now think of him as the British man with Zulu eyes!
 
One of my aims for the day was to learn the field craft around working with wild mountain hares and I certainly achieved this. Eventually we found a leveret and sat with him/ her for nearly three hours taking photos, talking to him/ her (yes, really!) whilst he/ she slept, ate, groomed, yawned and pooed. He seemed completely comfortable in our presence. Intermittently we photographed other hares around us who were now coming closer and at one stage we counted 25 of them around us. Seven hours later we were heading to Andy’s red squirrel hide and again this was an incredible experience. One of them even leapt around the top of the pop up hide before making an appearance.
 
All in all I spent over twelve hours on this one-to-one workshop, had some unforgettable experiences, observed wild animals I had not previously seen, learnt aspects of field craft around photographing wild animals and came away with photos I am really pleased with. Would I recommend Andy? Wholeheartedly 100% YES. The whole day was worth every penny and I will definitely be booking again.
 
Monica - Warwickshire

 

"Mountain Hares have been a creature I have wanted to see and photograph for a while and we chose Andy to help us achieve this! We could not have asked for more.... he was not only great company, but his understanding of the landscape and the hares within this, meant that we had a truly wonderful day. The hillside was covered in snow and it was very cold. Andy thought us how to spot the hares (Which is amazingly difficult!) and then how to approach them, always with their welfare paramount. We had some truly wonderful encounters and I came away with photographs I had only dreamed of! Thank you so much!"
 

To Read Kate's Blog about her day out with the Mountain Hares and me - Click Here 

Kate MacRae (Wildlife Kate) - Staffordshire - U.K
 

Thanks you very much for yesterday, I really enjoyed it. even with the weather we got! It was good to watch a professional at work, from which I learned a lot of tips, some you showed/ explained to me and some I just took in from watching you at work.I have never been so close to a hare before,with all my years on the hill, it was amazing to watch/photograph them so close.
 

John - Achnasheen - U.K
 

I have just now after two days came of my HIGH from our black grouse lek morning, we were not so lucky with the weather on our hare day but what about the wee covering of snow for the lek, absolutely fantastic!
 

The cocks were magnificent and the hens too with their mottled colours. I have some wonderful photos (with just under 800) now got it down to about 600. 
 

it was wonderful to see and to photo the birds so close and was worth every second I was with them , which I will always remember .
 

 

once again my thanks for the advice and help.
 


 
John - Achnasheen - U.K
 

I wanted to drop you a wee note to say thanks for such a great day yesterday. I have some outstanding images which I will take great pleasure in viewing, sorting and processing. The time with the hares was special and your expertise got us really close for some great images but without disturbing them, it's clear you have built up good trust from them. The conditions were also perfect and I got everything I had hope for an more.
 

 
The crestie site was a beaut! I couldn't get over how many there were in one place and the lighting was ideal, I've got some brilliant images. You and Lyndsey should enjoy some great times up there capturing some great images, I hope you get the 3 on the branch.
 
Good luck with all the other setups you've got going on. It would be great to get a day in July with some other species.
 
PS Thanks to Lyndsey for the amazing Brownies!
 
Lyle - Cleveland - U.K
 
 

Having seen pictures on Flickr that Andy's other clients had taken on guiding days, I knew I wanted, to photograph mountain Hare. It is obvious when you see his images and read his blog how much he cares about the animals. We had a brilliant couple of days 1st photographing Cresties in the snow and then the mountain Hare.

I benefited from the hundreds of hours Andy has spent in the company of the hares. He knows the hares behavior inside out and always puts the animals welfare first. We spent several hours watching one individual Hare, which was so relaxed he would fall asleep in front of us.

I would not hesitate recommending Andy as a guide, not only is he a talented photographer he has excellent field craft skills and pointed out many animals I would have missed if on my own.

Teresa - Birmingham - UK

 

For a long time it was a big wish of mine to see Mountain hares in their natural environment. You made it possible my friend.

It was my first time in Scotland and I'm sure, I will come again.
The locations were great for wildlife photography and the landscape was so beautiful. Your guiding was very professional and helpful. I enjoyed our tours a lot.
I think the most important thing for good photos of Mountain Hares is experience, and there is no question you have it.
Every single day was an adventure, we were very lucky because the weather conditions couldn't be better. The highlight was our last day with ptarmigan, just great. 
 
Thank you very much for these fantastic days with Mountain Hare, Red Deer and Ptarmigan.
 
Hope we see you again.
 
Christoph - Vienna - Austria
 
 
I can thoroughly recommend Andy to anyone who is considering one of his guiding days. Andy is very knowledgeable about his subject and this
shows through in the images he helps you to take. The subject comes first with Andy and this makes him a man after my own heart i would use
Andy again without a second thought.
On top of that he is a nice guy with a great sense of humour and is more than happy to share his wealth of knowledge on other subjects.

 

Richard - Malvern - Worcestershire.
 
 

I booked a session with Andy after seeing his "How To Photograph Mountain Hares" blog post. What struck me was how relaxed the hares looked in his images and how willing he was to share his passion. Even with high expectations I was not disappointed and Andy's passion for his favourite subject really shone through!

To read Robins Blog about his day out with the Mountain Hares - Click Here

Robin - Leicester - U.K

 

Andy,

Have to thank you for an amazing day with the mountain hare.  My expectations were to see them at a distance and come home with some photographs that need enlarging/cropping but am home with some stunning full frame images of wild mountain hare. Your photography tips certainly enhanced my images especially the backlit hare resting.

The proximity of the hares was down to your field craft skills which must come from the many hours you have spent on the hills.  I look forward to our next outings on the hills - I think you will have quite a challenge to better my day at the mountain hare - a thoroughly memorable day with stunning images to enjoy.

Gordon - Forres - Scotland

 

A really top day out with superb views of Dotterel, Ptarmigan, Ring Ouzel, Mountain Hares and Red Grouse. Dotterel is a bird I have always wanted to see so I am really pleased I have now seen one and to get to close to two of them was an amazing experience. Thanks very much Andy for a fantastic day out and thanks for showing us all the great wildlife around the area and another big thanks for telling me some great camera settings to help with my photography. It is definitely one of my best highlights this year

Ellis Lucas (aged 12) - U.K.

 
 
I found Andy to be a great guide with excellent knowledge of our target species - Dotterel, Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan, but also valuable mountain safety awareness of the Cairngorms and surrounding areas, the weather can be very changeable. we had some memorable encounters with all of our target species and also had a great laugh too!
I would highly recommend using Andy as your guide if you are visiting the Highlands and are looking to do some wildlife photography.
 
Tom - Cheshire - U.K.
 
(what Tom didn't mention is the sudden and unexpected thunder and lightning storm that caught us and many others out on this day. We had to make a rapid decent down the face of a corrie and 'go to ground' until it passed, with the intervals between lightning and thunder being less than a second I knew we had to find a safe place and quickly)
 
 
 
 
Wildlife can be so unpredictable, Andy’s field craft and knowledge of the highlands ensured we were able to get some great shots of all my target species.  Time was never an issue Andy is great company and I had both relaxed and enjoyable time. 
 
Steve - Norfolk - U.K

 

"Spot a white animal in the snow from a quarter mile away, sounds hard? Not for Andy it's not! I had an absolute blast with him on a recent day out with Mountain Hare. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from him with his approach and technique to tracking down these furry creatures.

Thankfully the weather was on our side so it made for a pleasant day crawling around in the snow and ice and using Andy's instructions; gaining some superb close up views resulting in getting the shots we wanted. This wasn't at the expense of the welfare to the animals though. It was a great feeling of gaining the Hare's trust through spending 90 minutes with some individuals. Watching them go about their natural behaviour; preening, feeding and then leaving them sitting in the same place we found them.

I recommend anyone to head out with Andy for a day in the hills. A great laugh and you'll come away with some memorable images!"

Drew Buckley - Pembrokeshire - U.K

 

 "We had a wonderful day with Andy in a stunning location. Andy's spotting skills and reading of the hare's body language clearly come from a passion for these amazing animals. Without his skills we wouldn't have had so many great encounters and images. The hare's are already photogenic anyway but Andy knows how to predict their interesting behaviour. As he puts their welfare first we saw relaxed hares behaving naturally which was a joy! I'd go as far to say it's the most enjoyable photography guiding I've experienced. Much nicer than sitting in a hide too, even if there was the occasional blizzard!"

"When going up to  Scotland I had high hopes for photos and Andy only raised the bar!"

Eugene & Andy -  Midlands - U.K

 

"Starting at the Crested Tit & Red Squirrel hide I had a brilliant time photographing two of my target species and to be so close to them was amazing! After this we went on to the Mountain Hares and was I in for a treat. Both my Dad and I were amazed of the knowledge Andy has for these stunning creatures. He would say what they regularly do and not a minute later they were doing it!! I came away from the session an extremely happy man and with lots of pictures! He helped so much on the photography side throughout the day too. Knowing what settings to use and explain why with each change."

"A superb day in great company! His passion and knowledge for the animals he takes pictures of is unbelievable. If anyone wants a guide, he's the man for the job!"

Dan & Arnie - Kent - U.K

 

 "If you want to learn about Mountain Hares in their natural habitat you would be foolish not to select Andy as your guide. His knowledge and empathy with the hare is second to none. Having read superb testimonials on his web site we were still astounded at his ability to track and approach these wild creatures keeping their well being paramount in all that we did.

We were blessed with excellent weather and came away with photographs that we could only have dreamed of prior to our visit.
 
Thanks for sharing your knowledge of all the wildlife in the area. We had a superb day Andy."
 
Andy Swinden - West Yorkshire - U.K

 

"I find it difficult to put into words how much I enjoyed the day spent with Andy photographing mountain hares. He took the trouble of calling well in advance of the day to ensure we had the right kit and so that he knew what we were hoping for from the day. Andy contacted us again the day before, to arrange a straightforward meeting place. Based on our levels of fitness (mine being particularly woeful!) he quickly worked out a plan of action and off we went!
Informative, enthusiastic and amusing, Andy's style of guiding not only proved to be perfect for locating and approaching the hares, but also second guessing the animals' behaviour, which allowed us to get some very interesting shots. Based on his wealth of experience of photographing these normally elusive characters, he could offer advice on camera settings and also angles to get the best images possible in the conditions.
And while we were glued to our cameras, he was ensuring that we didn't miss any other interesting wildlife in the area, such as deer, eagles and grouse.
I came away from the day with hundreds of images of mountain hares, with a far greater knowledge and respect for them, their habitat and life on the harsh, unforgiving hills, and memories to treasure for years to come. Andy's respect and affection for these animals is plain to see and only adds to the experience.

I honestly cannot recommend Andy enough as a guide."

Pete Walkden - Birmingham - U.K.

 

"I spent a fantastic few days photographing in the Cairngorms and surrounding area with Andy, who is a very experienced guide and whose fieldwork skills and knowledge in all aspects of wildlife, is excellent. First and foremost, he respects the wildlife around him and taught me to do the same. I learnt so much from Andy in such a short space of time and he went that extra mile by advising me what settings to use on my camera.
Nothing was too much trouble for Andy. He made it his job to make sure that I was happy and even fed me half of his lunch and shared his flask of Earl Grey tea as I kept forgetting to take food and drink with me and he even let me use his shoulder as a tripod!
Under Andy's guidance, despite all the elements of the rain, wind and snow that Mother Nature threw at us, I still experienced the most amazing and close encounters of Ptarmigans, Mountain Hares, Crested Tits and Red Squirrels.
I highly recommend Andy as a guide and will most definitely be booking him again next time I'm in Scotland."

Julie - Warwickshire - U.K

 

 Thanks Andy for the couple of days spent photographing our intended 'targets' of Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan.

"With just two days available to me to locate/photograph these species and it being the first time I have visited the Highlands in Winter conditions, I thought it would be money well spent to use the services of a guide and you did not disappoint, proving to be a most friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and experienced host who's enthusiasm and respect for wildlife was self-evident. Whilst you could not control the weather (it either rained or was cloudy for the most part!) you managed to get me up close and personal to both Hare and Ptarmigan and did your up most to ensure I came away with the best images possible in the given conditions. Your field-craft skills are second to none and you had me crawling on our hands and knees over all sorts of terrain ,the waterproofs which you recommended me to bring proved invaluable. All in all a very enjoyable, productive couple of days and I hope to catch up with you again this year."

Jerome - Midlands – U.K 

 

“Andy was my guide on a recent trip to the Cairngorms National Park, where we spent time photographing mountain hares in the snow. It has long been a dream of mine to be able to capture these beautiful animals in the wild and Andy's superb knowledge of the area along with his love for wildlife and photography meant that I could not be in more capable hands that weekend. I would highly recommend Andy for your next trip”

Susanna - London - U.K

 

I spent a day photographing wildlife with Andy in January. I had great views of Red Deer and Red Grouse, and had an incredible encounter with a Mountain Hare - we were just a few metres away and the Hare just calmly observed us and even dozed off and appeared to be dreaming while we watched!

I can highly recommend taking a day with Andy - he is passionate and respectful to the wildlife around him.

John - Shetland - U.K

 

"Dave and I had a superb day with you experiencing not only four seasons in one day but the joy of photographing one of the UK's most endearing animals. Without your skill and knowledge it would have been difficult to find them let alone get close enough to get decent pictures. We both look forward to coming out with you again. We only wish we lived closer!"

Dave & Steve - Wigan - U.K