Wildlife & Process

Residential Workshop
 

Monday 27th November 2017 – Friday 1st December 2017

Monday 19th March 2018 - Friday 23rd March 2018

Now includes wine served with dinner and a fabulous goodie bag!

 

I’m delighted to announce that due to the overwhelming success of our inaugural Wildlife & Process workshop held in December 2016 I am proud to announce the launch of our second workshop.
 
Once again I’ve teamed up with Nick Wilcox-Brown, a photographer, film-maker and image processing expert to run this exciting workshop. Combining Wildlife Photography with detailed training in image processing, this much requested tour will be based at the famous Grant Arms hotel in Grantown-upon-Spey, centre of the beautiful Cairngorms National Park.

Each day we will be photographing many of the iconic and specialist species found in the area, followed by informal training on using Adobe’s brilliant Lightroom and Photoshop products with your computer to organise and optimise your images.

There will be a maximum ratio of 1 instructor to 3 participants and all transport is provided
 
Some of the species we aim to capture:

A photograph of a Mountain hares set against a wild and unspoiled vista is what most wildlife photographers that visit this area can only dream of. Andy is the mountain hare guru and is often referred to as the ‘hare whisperer’. He has a deep rooted passion and knowledge of these animals and loves nothing more than sharing that enthusiasm with others.
 
Crested Tits are only found in the central part of the Highlands and without a doubt Strathspey is their stronghold. These tiny wee birds are not only fast, but are also full of character. They show little or no fear of photographers which makes them an ideal subject to photograph. Andy has a private Crested Tit feeding station set in the heart of a Caledonian pine forest. The site was established three years ago and was carefully chosen for its elevated position and south facing aspect, this ensures only the best available light.
 
Ever wanted to capture a picture of a red squirrel flying through the air like superman? Well this is your chance! We will guide you on the correct settings to enable you to capture this tricky but impressive image. Once you’re set up it’s up to you to take the pictures! As well as flying squirrels there will also be ample opportunity to capture some cute portrait style photographs of these charming and captivating animals. We will be using Andy’s comfortable Red Squirrel hide set in a mature Caledonian pine forest.
 
Weather permitting we will take a walk up into the high corries of the Cairngorms to search for the hardiest of all birds found in the U.K;  the Ptarmigan. In the winter months these tough birds are pure white, it’s only their tail feathers and the cock bird’s eye stripe that remain black. In the Spring they are in transition but are very settled and approachable. The walk itself is approximately a five mile round trip and requires a good level of fitness, the track is not steep and at no point will we be venturing into avalanche prone areas. You may have seen Andy on BBC’s The One Show talking about Ptarmigan and again his knowledge of this bird and its behaviour is excellent.
 
 
If time permits we will also photograph Red Grouse. As with all wildlife there are no guarantees but Andy lives and works with these animals and birds and knows how and where to find them. The beauty of the Highlands is that you’re never stuck for something to photograph and this is where local knowledge really comes into its own.
 
 
Area’s covered and explained during the Processing Workshops.
 
Initially, we will go through individual cameras and optimise the settings as necessary. This will include copyright and metadata setup, colour spaces and formats, frame rates and optimal focus settings. Nick has trained both Canon and Adobe staff, so he knows how to make things work.

Each day, we will give thorough demonstrations and training on the use of Adobe Lightroom, explaining the different modules and how each one works to ensure that your final images match you expectations.

The Library module is the engine room of Lightroom and a thorough overview of the available tools will help to organise your images and to find the hidden gems that are so easily overlooked. We will include import and organisation, with Quick collections, Smart and Manual collections. 

Once you have organised the pictures and found the best of them, we need to use the Develop module to help you realise their potential. We will cover Cropping, Colour temperature, Noise reduction and Sharpening, amongst the many steps for optimising & enhancing images. There will be an introduction to Book, Print, Web modules, including a tutorial on how to create a watermark for your images in Photoshop.

We have aimed this workshop at an intermediate level; photographers who have a reasonable working knowledge of their equipment and computers, who may have made limited use of Lightroom or similar products.
By the end of the workshop you will have been shown all the skills necessary to take great pictures and to confidently prepare them for social media, a personal web gallery or a beautiful print using Adobe Lightroom and / or Photoshop.

There will be Fact sheets provided, along with fun quizzes and even a few prizes!
 
This is how a typical day will run:
 
Breakfast: A delicious breakfast served in the hotel; treat yourself to a full Scottish breakfast if you like?  Trust us you’ll need the energy!
 
Morning Photography: We really want you to capture the best possible images, so guidance on lens choices, camera settings, backgrounds and the chosen species behaviour will be readily available. The level of tuition and help will be tailored to the individual’s skills, with a maximum ratio of 1 guide to 3 guests to ensure a very high level of personal attention.

Elevenses: Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate and a chocolate bar.

Lunch: Filled Rolls, Crisps, a drink and chocolate bar

Afternoon Photography: As each session develops, we will use every opportunity to maximise the light. Back lighting is one of Andy’s favourite styles of photography so no doubt there will be some of that during the workshop! You will also learn the importance of backgrounds and how micro adjustments to your position can make the difference between a good image and a great one that stands out from the crowd.

Afternoon workshop:  will consist of presentations and explanations followed by a guided, hands-on session, using images captured by you during the day. Encouraging and positive critiques and feedback will be given.

Dinner: Relax over a hot meal and a glass of wine served in the dining room, followed, if you like, by a wee dram (not included in the package!) by the fire. Finally, bed, to dream about your experiences of the day.

The final schedule of what we’re photographing on the day will be made the day before and is wholly dependent on the weather forecast.
 
It is suggested that as well as a DSLR camera with telephoto lens(es), and a spare battery / Card, each delegate brings a laptop with a copy of Adobe Lightroom and / or Photoshop.
 

 

Primary Species:
 

These are the species we will be concentrating on as our main photographic subjects.


Mountain Hare, Ptarmigan, Red Grouse, Crested Tit, Red Squirrel.
 

Secondary Species:

These are species I regularly see and photography on a typical winter’s outing whilst photographing the above. If any of these species present a good photographic opportunity, we’ll not pass them by!
 

Golden Eagle, White Tail Eagle, Dipper, Purple Sandpiper, Wild Goats, Roe & Red Deer, Crossbills, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin.

 

What’s Included:

Four action packed Photography Days plus four nights accommodation at the Grant Arms hotel in Grantown-upon-Spey. Additional nights accommodation are available at an additional charge.

Food & Drink: Breakfast, packed lunch, three course dinner with wine, drinks and snacks outwith the hotel.

Travel: All Travel from your arrival in Inverness/Aviemore.

Guiding/Tuition: The full attention of the guides, help and assistance with camera settings as and when required. All tutorial workshops and fact sheets.

Goodie Bag: Including a Andy Howard Nature Photography Keela fleece & Keela discount voucher, a top-of-the range lens cloth plus many more surprises!

Fun & Humour: Photographing wildlife should be an enjoyable experience. Although we’re serious about helping to obtain the best possible images, this will be done in a fun and relaxed way.

Fitness: Due to the nature of the environment we will be in you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness, if you're not sure about this please feel free to contact me to discuss it. You will be out in cold and possibly wet conditions for up to five hours so please make sure you are suitably clothed, at the time of booking you will be emailed a recommended kit list.

 

What’s Not Included:

Insurance, Drinks in the Hotel, any other items not mentioned on this page. 

Itinerary:
 

Day 1: 

Arrival Day - We will rendezvous at 16:00 at the hotel for introductions and have a brief chat about the week ahead, dinner then the first of the evening workshop/tutorials.

 

Day 2:

Today we’ll be heading to the hills to spend the day in the company of my favourite, the Mountain Hares. At this time of the year they’ll be in their transition from their winter to spring pelage, and fingers crossed we may even get an opportunity to photograph them in a late snowfall. Depending on the weather conditions we may have lunch on the hillside. We will be on hand to guide you to the best hares in the best locations, taking into consideration the direction of the light and backgrounds. On this day you’ll learn about field-craft and the behavioural aspects of the hares, by the end of the day you’ll know what the hare’s going to do next, before it does!

Late afternoon/Evening workshop tutorial on post processing.

 

Day 3:
 

After yesterday’s exploits in the mountains we’ll take it a bit easier and go in search of Red Grouse. By far the best way to do this is by using the mobile hide (4X4). If the group would prefer we could spend the afternoon photographing the beautiful & charismatic mountain hares. This would be in addition to the full day earlier in the week.

Late afternoon/Evening workshop tutorial on post processing.

 

Day 4: 

After a hearty breakfast we will pick you up from the hotel. Weather permitting we’ll head for the hills in search of Ptarmigan. The walk from the car park to the birds is generally less than an hour, though this depends on the speed of the party, the weather and the conditions underfoot. Absolute care and consideration is given to your safety, you will not be subjected to severe weather conditions. Your comfort and well-being is paramount. Once the birds are located we will maximise the opportunities given and work with the birds. There may even be an opportunity to photograph Mountain Hare. 

Late afternoon/Evening workshop tutorial on post processing.

 

Day 5: 


Being its the end of the week we'll start with a nice and easy day. You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the first location our very own private Red Squirrel site. Here we will help you set up for the iconic 'flying squirrel' shot, don't worry there will be plenty of opportunity to capture those classic portrait shots too! After lunch we'll switch to our Crested tit site and spend some time with my absolute favourite woodland bird. The Cresties are not only great fun to photograph they are also extremely photogenic. Lyndsey and I established this site in 2014 and after  spending many months searching for the optimum Crested Tit site, we chose this spot, not only for the abundance of Cresties but the quality of the light and availability of the clean backgrounds. There are infinite possibilities for different styles of images. The only thing that will limit you is your imagination.

 

16:00 - End of Tour.

 

Cost £1495
 

A deposit of £395 will be required at the time of booking. The balance will be due six weeks before the first day.

Please note: The schedule can change at short notice due to climatic conditions and is only meant as a guide. If this situation arises an appropriate alternative schedule will be introduced, to maximise both your enjoyment and photographic opportunities. There’s always something worth photographing!