Sorry 2021 Mountain Hare Masterclasses are FULL
Due in part to both the success and the feed-back from my guests who attended the 'Mad March Hares' workshops in 2017 & 2018 I've decided to expand the range of mountain hare masterclasses on offer.
Masterclasses are designed to maximise your time spent with a given species, there is no doubt that focusing on one species over a period of days will greatly increase your opportunity to capture stand alone images. Over the four days we will endeavour to create for you a varied and striking portfolio of images you can be proud of, many of my previous clients have gone on to win not only their camera club trophies but one client even went on to win the portrait category in the B.W.P.A's. I'm not promising you award winning images but you never know!
All of my tours, workshops and masterclasses are very much tuition based and the level of tutoring is tailored my guests individual skill sets and requirements. For the mountain hare masterclasses the maximum number of clients is limited to three, this is to ensures you the photographer get the best experience and a decent amount of attention from me, as your host and guide. In my experience three is the perfect number of guests to have on a mountain hare workshop or masterclass.
Let’s be honest Hares are everyone’s favourite (especially mine) so it makes sense to spend four full days concentrating on photographing these fabulous animals, and don’t think that every day will be the same! First of all it’s very rare to get two days of the same weather back to back. Secondly the hares are wild and free so their behaviour varies dramatically due to the weather conditions, and the direction and speed of the wind. Thirdly, there are an absolute myriad of photographic opportunities available. Over the four days we will try to capture as many different styles of images as possible, and here’s a list of what we will be aiming for.
Portrait – Side on, Face on, Low Perspective, Using Terrain to create soft foregrounds, Behavioural.
Action – Boxing, Chasing, Running, Mating! - Mainly on the Mad March Hares but this does occur all the way unto June/July.
Habitat – Small in the Frame, using the terrain to create striking effects.
Backlit & High Key (Conditions Permitting) & DSLR - Video Filming of behaviour.
Due to the nature of this tour and the diverse styles of imagery we will be working towards, this tour will be slightly more physically demanding than on a normal day of mountain hare photography. Trust me the effort will be more than worth it!
The furthest distance we will be walking in the mountains is 2-5 miles each way, so someone with a medium level of fitness or better will be fine. You will have to be prepared to sit for prolonged periods in cold and uncomfortable conditions. There’s a saying in the Highlands: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing” and there’s a lot of truth in this. I’m happy to advise on the most suitable clothing and footwear to bring.
Mad March Hare Masterclass
We’ve all heard the expression ‘Mad as a March Hare’ and interestingly this applies to both species of hares found in the U.K. - the Brown and Mountain Hares.
It’s at this time of the year that mountain hares start to wake up from their winter slumber and become a lot more active. Love is most definitely in the air as trips of male (Jack) hares gather around the females (Jills) who are just coming into season. Action, when it happens, is fast and furious and at times can be rather brutal. It’s not unusual to see clumps of fur flying as the Jill boxes off the amorous advances of the Jacks.
Mountain Hares in Spring Masterclass
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year to photograph mountain hares, as each day passes the sun gets higher in the sky the days are stretching and in turn the temperatures are rising. There also a noticeable change in the hares, not only in their physical appearance with the morphing pelage, but also in their behaviour. The hares are more relaxed, they graze a lot more, at times they will lay flat out in the heather and soak up the heat from the suns rays. Jills are ready to give birth to their first litter of leverets, this triggers her back in to season and in turn the second round of boxing and mating commences. On this Masterclass we will concentrate on all the aspects listed above but with less opportunities to photograph boxing and mating, don't be too despondent though, theres nothing more striking than a spring hare with its mottled and striking pelage.
Our main focus (pardon the pun) will be Mountain Hares.
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!
Otters, Golden Eagle, White Tail Eagle, Dipper, Wild Goats, Roe Deer, Stoat.
Four action packed Photography Days plus four nights accommodation & travel from your arrival in Inverness.
Additional nights accommodation on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis are available at £65.00 per person per night.
Breakfast – Prepared with locally sourced produce, free range eggs, fresh local bread, and award winning butchery meats.
Elevenses – Tea, coffee served with lots of snacks.
Lunch - Hearty homemade soup, filled rolls & sweet treats, tea or coffee.
Afternoon Coffee - Tea, coffee served with lots of snacks.
Dinner: Home cooked two course dinner. Typically a roast with veg and gravy followed by a decadent dessert (trust me, you will have earned it!)
Travel: All Travel from your arrival in Inverness in a comfortable 4X4 fitted with full winter tyres.
Guiding/Tuition: The full attention of the guide, patient and courteous help and advice when and where it’s required.
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.
After a cold and tiring day in the mountains imagine arriving home the warmth of a roaring wood burning stove. This is what will await you at your carefully selected accommodation. After time to relax, Eileen your hostess, will serve to you home cooked dinner made from only the finest locally sourced produce. Sit back and enjoy the twinkling lights and panorama from your elevated position overlooking Inverness and the Black Isle. I’ve known Eileen for many years and she is a fabulous hostess, one of the best you’ll find in the Highlands.
Day 1: Monday
Arrival Day - You will be picked up from the airport or train station, if you are making your own way to the accommodation we will rendezvous at 17:00
Day 2: Tuesday
After a hearty cooked breakfast I will pick you up at your accommodation. We’ll head for the hills to photograph the 'stars of the show' the Mountain Hares. The walk from the car park to the hares is between ten and twenty minuets, though this depends on the speed of the party, the weather and the conditions underfoot. Once we have located a compliant hare we will maximise the opportunities given and work with the hare on its time scale. it's during these periods of inactivity that you'll be glad of the extra thermal layers you put on in the morning!
Home for dinner. Sit back and enjoy your photographs whilst soaking up the warmth of the wood burner.
Day 3: Wednesday
A delicious hot breakfast prepared with award winning produce. Day two of photographing the beautiful & charismatic mountain hares. After yesterdays exploits I'm sure you'll be raring to go and chomping at the bit to fill up those memory cards with more images of Hares. It's impossible to say exactly what we'll be doing each day as we will make a informed decision on the day, as and when we approach the hares.
Dinner – Log fire – Bed!
Day 4: Thursday
Today after a tasty cooked breakfast we’ll be again 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 thick and cosy white winter pelage, and fingers crossed, we’ll have the opportunity to photograph them in snow. lunch will be taken on the hillside. I 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 each day you’ll learn a bit more about field-craft and the behavioural aspects of the hares, by the end of the week you’ll know what the hare’s going to do next, before it does!
Dinner – Log fire – Bed – Dream of hares.
Day 5: Friday
I think by now you will be familiar with how the schedule works! Breakfast.
Don’t be too despondent because this is the last day, as you’ve still got an action packed day to look forward to. Today will be the day to try for the images missing in your portfolio of Mountain Hares. I'm sure by now you will have totally and utterly fallen in love with the Hares, there's something special about these animals. I never get bored of spending time with them and I spend a huge amount of time in their company, I see it as a privilege.
18:00 - End of Tour
For those of you traveling to London there are British Airways Evening flights to London Heathrow from Inverness airpot or the Caledonian Sleeper overnight train to Euston to consider.
Cost £1199 Per Person
Maximum number of clients: 3
All Travel from your arrival in Inverness is included.
Any items not listed on this page aren't included.
A £299 deposit will be required at the time of booking. The balance will be due six weeks before the first day.
*The schedule is very unlikely change due to climatic conditions, although its highly likely we will have snow there is a real possibility this may not happen. Snowy conditions are never guaranteed.
If the situation arises where due to high wind speeds etc. it isn't possible to photograph the hares an appropriate alternative will be offered, this will most likely be Red Squirrels.
Much that I'd like to say for certain we'd see boxing hares this may not be the case, saying that I wouldn't offer this type of behaviour if I didn't it was achievable.