Tag Archives: Natural World

COGC: Scottish Wildlife—Evaluation

My thoughts of my graded unit project is that I was pretty successful for what I captured despite limited time. Wildlife photography is something unpredictable, like the weather it can change quickly, there is no guarantee of capturing what you would like. I set out the task of trying to capture a variety of wildlife to see in Scotland as part of wildlife tourism. I feel strongly for the protection of our wildlife and there has always been that small part of me that looks back thousands of years when Scotland t003hrived with wolves, wild black boar, bears and many other species that were hunted into extinction. Part of me feels wildlife has been severely limited in many ways and therefore with the interest in wildlife tourism it helps capture people’s love and imagination so they themselves become aware of what they have here to see, not just Scotland’s beautiful landscape to help protect what Scotland has.

I was inspired by photographs I saw for sale asprints in places like Edinburgh Zoo’s souvenir shop or from images captured of the wildlife on Visit Scotland’s wildlife tourism pages. You get a sense of the animals in their natural habitat rather than pictures just taken of them held captive in a zoo, the researched images were appealing and that’s what I aimed to achieve through the images I captured that not only gives an image for what Scotland has to offer but tells a story. Many of the animals aren’t native to Scotland so that was also challenging as much of their natural habitat can be somewhat different. The images _20A7511I captured I feel were very successful in this regard, a great example of the wolves I captured with the woodland surrounding them.

There were a few shoots I felt disappointed with, visiting Benmore Botanic Garden I was unsuccessful capturing any insects using macro technique and became increasingly difficult to find, with the restricted time and the one image I had for a red squirrel habitat I felt wasn’t sufficient enough, the perfectly lined trees felt slightly out of place rather than a natural wild forest. I was also disappointed with the shoot at Edinburgh Zoo as shooting at a downward angle wasn’t appealing, some of the animals I would have imagined and liked to have captured weren’t in the right place to capture such as the meerkats closer to the back fencing, or the inactivity of the monkeys I would have liked to have captured. This shows the nature of wildlife photography, there is no guarantee of capturing something appealing.

Benmore Botanic Garden Trees

Row of trees in Benmore Botanic Garden with sun breaking through.

Some places I had originally planned to visit such as Glencoe, I changed plan. Having visited the Cairngorms National Park it changed my perspective. I visited the Cairngorms early April for a one to one photographic day tour with a professional wildlife photographer, Neil McIntyre and having later visited the Cairngorms over the duration of a weekend later that month there were many things I discovered available in the surrounding area which opened up opportunity for capturing great images, therefore decided to stick around that surrounding area. The day tour with Neil McIntyre proved to be my most successful shoot, not only did I learn a good few things from Neil, the experience was worthwhile and thanks to his excellent work I was able to get close to the red squirrels and wild hare in their natural habitat. You learn from Neil that it’s not as straightforward as taking a camera out into the wild and hoping for the best, you get an appreciation that it takes time and hard work for wildlife such as red squirrels to grow accustomed to you. Also _20A6001why spending a dedicated amount of time in the one area can make the difference requiring a great deal of patience.

From previous coursework I have done throughout the year in telling a story, Neil’s work is certainly inspiring in that regard and when it came to showing me how to properly photograph landscape for habitat shots, it became apparent to me the finest smallest details, such as the patterns on a rock face. You can definitely see this in his work from images he has captured himself of empty trees that although no sign of the red squirrels, it tells a story of where to find them, where they live. It also helped greatly as I gained an important understanding of using the sun behind me to wait for it to break out from the clouds to light the foreground, using leading lines to capture stunning landscape images with detail in the sky using the correct exposure.

I felt it greatly benefited me having done the one to one tour with Neil McIntyre, he has a wealth of experience and knowledge in wildlife and landscape photography, he was able to offer me guidance if that’s the field I wish to go towards in my career as well as helped me improve my insight with techniques. A few examples of this was switching from manual mode which I usually use on my camera to aperture priori_20A5972ty with high speed drive mode when photographing the red squirrels. The camera does fantastic work for correcting exposure as the light behind me kept changing from the sun breaking from
clouds. The second example was learning the camouflage technique using the extended depth of field, something I would not have thought of or spotted myself. These small things greatly helped improve my skillset for capturing some fantastic images.

Having revisited the Cairngorms National Park I did a photographic tour of the Highland Wildlife Park which was a slight disappointment photographing through the wired fencing and the tour guide had no knowledge in photography. I wouldn’t say it was worth £150 however did manage to capture a few fantastic images. If comparing that to the photographic tour I did with Neil McIntyre, there is a big difference. Neil as mentioned has a wealth of experience who can tell you where to stand and suggest what is best, this you can benefit from. Some sections of the park you could walk around yourself and _20A7592capture, the only difference with the photographic tour is that they feed the animals giving you the chance to see them closer.

Some images I captured were a slight disappointment such as the noticeable wired fencing in the backdrop when photographing the wolves or even the Scottish wildcat. Another disappointment was shooting down at some of the animals such as the monkey’s which is less desirable. I knew that from what I captured on the tour with Neil, the pictures I captured of the red squirrels and wild hare stood out as my best images. It was then challenging for me to try and capture images that could match that standard, especially in places such as Blair Drummond Safari Park or the Highland Wildlife Park.

Another slight disappointment was a shoot I planned for the Osprey Centre in Boat of Garten, I was limited to what I could capture due to the distance between the Osprey nest and the hide we watched from in the Osprey Centre. Saying that it was a wonderful experience getting to see the nest and the birds in flight and for the limited images I captured they tell a story with the male having flew back to the nest with food and the female taking off with it to eat. It wasn’t until later that I discovered therewas a Rothiemurchus hide for capturing the Osprey diving for fish which gets you close to thestunning birds, however from research on the BBC documentary, ‘Highlands:
Scotland’s Wild Heart, the BBC mentions it took them 5 days just to capture the action Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 20.59.05they wanted, so there is no guarantee. When you look at some of the images other photographers have captured of the Osprey closeup diving for fish it is spectacular and therefore I couldn’t help but feel I could have captured something spectacular, but with costs and time I’m pleased with what I captured given the limited time I have.

I feel that overall from the 11 shoots I done and some of which weren’t as successful as I would have liked, I managed to pull off many fantastic images that illustrates the variety of techniques which fits perfectly with the project requirements. It was a difficult task narrowing down my final best 20 images which was no easy task, especially knowing that I had to swap out many stunning shots in exchange for other shots to show for the variety of technique. Some techniques I struggled with such as the pan shot technique _20A8377using the slower shutter speed. I captured some pin sharp images using this technique, however didn’t feel the images were good enough to be placed among my final 20 images. Another technique that was tricky as I depended upon the sun was the silhouette
technique, I did use Camera Raw to help me achieve my desired result.

The techniques I used to show for variety throughout my final 20 images were:

  • fast shutter speed (red squirrel leaping in mid air).
  • shallow depth of field (wild hare, red squirrel and variety of other images).
  • silhouette (Osprey nest at Loch Insh).
  • extended depth of field (landscape habitat shots).
  • camouflage (wild hare).
  • Shapes (wild hare looking up hill).
  • Composition (framing the wolf).

The weather was sometimes unpredictable and challenging and managed to work around that. I tried to capture as much as I could using the sun for good lighting, I also managed to capture some dramatic skies such as one dramatic landscape shot I captured with the dark clouds, however never included it into the final 20 images. I did mention it would be nice to include a variety and this was perhaps the only thing missed out. Bearing in mind, wildlife photographers capture photographs of the wildlife throughout the different seasons of the year and I was somewhat fortunate enough to have a lot of good weather making the best of the lighting I had. Taking into consideration the time spent and travelling I made best for what was made available to me.

The research work I did towards each individual shoot was pretty straightforward, some of the shoots turned out different than expected and I do feel that for some of the research perhaps deeper research could have led me to something better.

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Illustrated from my workbook, some of the post processing work I did were of images I had not yet completely decided whether or not I was submitting towards the final 20. The editing I feel shows a consistency which I wanted and aimed to keep the images looking as natural as possible with bear minimal editing. Upon attending a one to one with my lecturer I discovered there were several other techniques in post process I could have used that may have helped further enhance my images such as using Camera Raw to lens correct, fixing individual colour luminance and even the use of high pass filter for enhanced sharpening. Some of these were techniques I had forgotten about but I feel with more use and experience it will help me improve in that area. Unfortunately I had already ordered my final 20 prints IMG_1226prior to the one to one meeting as I knew I needed to give the printing business Deadly Digital time to print as they have a heavy workload of other orders to deal with.

After paying for and collecting my final 20 prints I am delighted with the quality of the metallic print and for many of the images you can see the quality most notably from the picture of the lions playing. I was told however that metallic does look similar to lustre however noticing the difference with certain prints. Having looked through the prints all have been printed correctly to the correct given A3 size which I’m delighted with. I was pleased that the pictures turned out bright and clear and none of the prints turned out dark. I feel the format I used having them printed was the right choice, a book format would have been nice but you do commonly find also separate individual prints sold in tourist souvenir shops in the highlands etc for the wildlife. It is also notable that several of the images I showed in post processing I decided not to use due to having to break down not only my best images but what I felt would tell a story as well as show the variety of techniques as mentioned.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 8 Outcome

001As I had booked the Dolphin Spirit Cruise in Inverness I knew that there was no guarantee I would get to see the dolphin’s, although I was expecting there to be other wildlife surrounding the area. As expected and was unfortunate we never got to see the dolphin’s on the cruise, however it was interesting hearing about the surrounding area which gives me enough information about the wildlife surrounding such as a place you can visit for photographing red kites as they are fed every day at 2:30pm. Due to there being no dolphin’s in sight and constantly keeping an eye out on the water I was limited with what else I captured. There were some pictures I captured of the birds surrounding land that I managed to capture, but nothing I would have personally favoured. I was fortunate however to capture a bird flying low across the water at speed using the pan technique which I captured razor sharp, however it’s a consideration as to whether or not I feel it’s good enough to be placed among my final 20 images.Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 16.57.43

The Dolphin Spirit Cruise toured around the Inner Moray Firth and although it can carry up to 70 passengers I was fortunate I had room for myself to capture anything I wanted. The weather turned out fantastic for it with the sun and clear skies. The tour lasted for over an hour which gave me plenty of time to get back to Boat of Garten for the Osprey Centre in the Cairngorms National Park. I was hoping I would find seals however unlucky. From the shoot capturing one pan shot technique it certainly gives me the option to use towards my final 20 images.

Here is a sample contact sheet of the best images from that shoot:ContactSheet-001

The first image was arguably my best shot from that shoot having captured the low flying bird pin sharp with the landscape showing the blurring of the movement; in the second image I liked for landscape and composition whilst capturing some of the birds on land, it also captures some of the surrounding water where the dolphin’s may be and the final image of what looks to be a lone heron at the edge of the water.

Here is a sample contact sheet for the worst images:ContactSheet-002

These were failed attempts using the slower shutter speed as I tried to capture a pan technique, not only were they out of focus but blurred. The third image illustrates not only it being out of focus but did not favour shooting up into the sky. Comparing the pan technique to my favourite image you get some of the backdrop to show for the fast movement of the flying bird, an empty sky doesn’t turn out the same results.

For the best image I made slight adjustments to enhance the image using Camera Raw, first by enhancing the highlights, slightly increasing clarity and then increasing sharpness. Finally for better composition I used the crop tool to get rid of unneeded space and using the shore line to straighten the image.

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After opening the image in Photoshop CC I then used the dodge and burn tools to enhance the lightest and darkest areas of the photograph to give it more punch.

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I then duplicated the background layer and used Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to make the top layer black and white and then reduced the opacity of the desaturated layer to 15% for the final touch.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 7 Outcome

004As planned after doing the reindeer shoot I arrived at the Loch Insh boathouse for the wildlife guided boat tour around Loch Insh. From the research I had done about the boat tour I had imagined that there would have been more to it, however it was slightly disappointing. It did mention about the possibility of spotting Osprey on Loch Insh and from the shoot I managed to get one several pictures of the Osprey nest which I was fairly pleased with. A lot of the birds that were mentioned on the guided tour around the Loch were said to be on the surrounding areas. The boat itself was further out from land and therefore even with using the 150-600mm Sigma Sport lens there wasn’t enough zoom to capture much and for me it wasn’t good enough to place towards anything I would wish.

_20A8280The wildlife boat tour was booked for 4pm and lasted for 1 hour. The area the boat stopped for the Osprey nest was perfect enough to capture several images, although I never spotted the Osprey themselves I felt this was ideal for capturing something environmental slightly different from the normal landscape shot that captures their habitat. The tree itself was dark due to coming from behind which influenced me to capture a silhouette technique as this was something I never had. I took several shots of the tree and nest both landscape and portrait for variation of choice. The hopes were to capture any birds flying past using a pan technique but found it was difficult as the shoot was indoors on the boat shooting through smaller win
IMG_0256dows.

The wildlife tour by boat on Loch Insh cost £7 per adult which I feel for what it was worth, capturing that one image stood out and feel it’s good enough to include for my final 20 images. I did use a faster shutter speed of 1/800 of a second for capturing the exposure darker to help create silhouette, a wide aperture of f/6.3 and ISO setting of 100. There wasn’t too much information about the tour on the flyer in the boathouse from where I originally found out about the boat tour or on the website, but was worth checking out. I suppose it is just your luck whether you find the Osprey or not. There was also a nature walk, however uncertain with how long it is I decided to avoid much of it, for the woodland landscape it wasn’t my favoured choice as I wanted to capture something to relate to the red squirrel habitat. It did mention however that there were red squirrels but I wanted something more eye catching that would help stand out.

Although limited here areis a sample contact sheet of my best images from that shoot:

ContactSheet-001

The first image is a picture I captured of a closeup of the Osprey nest, with the overcast sky I decided to enhance the image to enhance for silhouette; in the second image it was another favoured shot I captured of the Osprey nest only with portrait; another shot I captured of a bird flying past the boat, wasn’t the best of images but limited with this shoot, not something I would favour for final 20 and the final image I captured on part of the nature walk for habitat landscape with as I captured the sun glaring off the water and much of the land where the birds nest.

Here is a sample contact sheet of the bad images and some mistakes made from the shoot:ContactSheet-002

The first image image the birds dipping into the water water not only very quick but too distant and therefore turned out to be a poor image; in the second image the first picture I captured was over exposed and didn’t help shooting through a window at an angle; another attempt you can see the underexposure and the lack of contrast again due to shooting through a window on the boat and the final image attempting the pan shot technique with birds flying past on land, the birds were completely blurred out, plus they were too distant.

The first step to enhancing my favourite image I began by lowering the shadows and greatly increasing highlights to enhance for silhouette and reduced the temperature to add a slight blue tinge to give it more atmosphere; secondly I increased the sharpness of the image using Camera Raw.

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Using the Image > Adjustments > Curves I began by moving the white slider at the bottom in a little to where the detail ends and added a slight S curve to add more punch to the lightest and darkest areas.

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The final slight adjustment I made to the photograph was further enhancing the sharpness by using the Unsharp Mask tool under the Filter > Sharpen menu.

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CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 5 Outcome

G0082141.JPGThe Highland Wildlife Park shoot was something rather quite unexpected, perhaps slightly disappointing, although can understand due to the nature of the animals and
safety of those they take on photographic tours, however for what it was worth I wouldn’t quite value the photographic day tour at £150. As the website described they would get you closer to the animals, however didn’t state how. The biggest disappointment was knowing that the tour guide for the tour was not a photographer therefore had no experience with photography which I found odd, he was a nice enough guy but again if you compare that to the day tour I did with Neil McIntyre there is quite the difference:

  1. IMG_1121.JPGNeil himself has more than 30 years of experience shooting wildlife and was able to pass on his knowledge and experience which I learned from. When doing a photographic day tour of the Highland Wildlife Park with someone who has know knowledge in photography there’s nothing to take from that.
  2. Being out in the wildlife it is more of an experience such as where to stand and how you approach. The Highland Wildlife Park we were given access to certain areas the general public wouldn’t have however still shooting through wired fencing. We were photographing the animals during their feeding time, that was a benefit but I wouldn’t value the tour at that price.

I managed to get some great pictures which I was pleased with such as the wolves eating etc, however a lot of the time we were left photographing either up or down at the animals which I felt wasn’t favourable. If I were to compare how many good images I captured through Neil’s photographic day tour to that of the Highland Wildlife Park there’s a telling G0031027.JPGdifference, then again it was to be expected as it’s a task in itself photographing through fencing and in restricted areas, especially the task avoiding capturing the wired fencing.

When photographing the animals, as expected I was pretty much limited regarding the techniques I could use and wide angle wasn’t ideal, especially when shooting through fencing and surrounding fencing to the back of the wildlife. I managed to capture the odd stunning shot however that made it appear as if I was level with the wildlife, an example being the Musk Ox which I may consider towards my final 20 images. It was difficult photographing much of the other animals due to the angles, but was pleased with shots I captured of the wolves as it appeared as if they’re in their natural habitat in the woodlands. I was disappointed with several images however such as capturing the wildlife with fencing or being slightly off focus such as the tiger and any closeups I did capture I wouldn’t quite place it as my one of my favourites.

For much of what I had captured I could have captured myself going around the park like a normal visitor. Some of the time I had to use a higher ISO for my 1_20A771050-600mm Sigma Sport lens as zoomed into 600mm the widest aperture is f/6.3 and using the faster shutter speed. I am pleased I captured a variety of shots of the different animals to give me options but will limit that as I want my final 20 to show a variety of different techniques and will only include if I feel it stands out.

The photographic day tour started at 8:30am in the morning and lasted throughout the day until 3:30pm in the afternoon. Within that time we were given a certain allocated amount of time photographing the wildlife whilst they were being fed. Thankfully I did take the Sigma Sport lens with me as I was unsure how close I would get to the animals and what I was to expect on the day.

Here is a contact sheet of some of my best shots I captured on the day:ContactSheet-001The first image of the alpha male wolf staring directly at the camera was one of my favoured portrait shots I managed to capture with the hint of the trees surrounding him, this certainly helped make the picture stand out; another shot I was fortunate to capture was one of the wolves eating a carcass showing it’s teeth, not only does it show the character of the wolf but was also pleased with the framing of the shot with the trees to make it appear as if in it’s natural habitat; the third picture was one of my best as I was lucky to capture the wolf eating with the expression on its face looking at the camera. I also captured it framed with the wood across the bottom and the tree, again appearing natural; The fourth image of the Musk Ox looking to play with another was another one of my favoured shots not just for the moment but also managed to capture them framed with raised bit of land to make it appear level with them which appears more natural; for the tiger, although a slight disappointment with it slightly off focus on the eyes but love the composition and finally one my favourite closeup portraits of a monkey with the sharp detail on its face and eyes as it calls out as it knows it’s about to be fed.

Here is a sample contact sheet of images I was disappointed with:ContactSheet-002The first image of the wolf was a disappointment due to capturing the back cross hatched wired fencing, I did try to take out in post processing but the higher ISO grain noise makes that extremely difficult. This would have been one of my best images had the wolf been closer to blur the background out more; the second image was one of my absolute favourites for the way the wolf was walking towards, again it shows the character of the wolf and loved the framing of the shot, however it was a big disappointment with the eyes completely out of focus; for the third image of the Scottish wildcat it chose to eat at the back of the enclosure with the wired fencing and shooting through the fencing was problematic especially shooting down at the Scottish wildcat; another disappointment and example shooting upward was the snow leopard on top of the rocks as you can barely make out the creature; the second shot of the snow leopard eating, again it was one of my favoured shots but disappointment due to the wired fencing you can see slightly blurred across the face of the snow leopard which ruins the overall image and finally although I loved the shot of the tiger walking towards and looking at the lens, the eyes were slightly off focus due to the woods and fencing.

A sample of post process work I did for one of my best images I began by making slight adjustments in Camera Raw, first by reducing shadows to enhance contrast in the shadows and then by increasing sharpness. I also added a slight increase to the clarity:

postprocess1

Using the Smart Sharpen tool from the filter menu I reduced the grain noise in the image as well as enhanced the sharpness by 10 to retain sharp detail on the wolf.

postprocess2

After reducing the grain noise and retaining sharpness in the detail, I used the burn tool at 2% to paint over the midtones and the dodge tool at 1% set to highlights to enhance the overall image.

postprocess3

The final touch I made to the photograph was by adding slight colour desaturation. I began by duplicating the second background layer, then choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate from the Image menu. From the layers palette with the 3rd background layer selected I reduced the opacity of the layer from 100% to 20% for a more realistic look.

postprocess4

COGC Graded Unit 2: Isle of May Seabirds Research—Shoot 11

During summer last year as part of summer project work I visited the Scottish Seabird Centre and booked one of the boat tours that lasted 1 hour taking me around 2 of the islands, one of which was the famous Bass Rock off the coast of North Berwick. I know from that experience that there are a lot of seabirds surrounding the rocky cliffs with many in flight. I fully expect the Isle of May trip to be similar as it is in the same region. During my photographic shoot with Neil McIntyre I mentioned to himself about the Seabirds shoot and as he kindly recommended there are private boats that taklanding-on-the-isle-of18-eliseandlife-isleofmaye you from Anstruther to the Isle of May. As he mentioned the Scottish Seabird Centre are very restrictive in limiting access, it is for this reason I decided to book privately for a boat to the Isle of May from Anstruther.

The weather is forecasted to have the sun with clouds which is something I would prefer, especially for capturing some landscape images if I can. I would hope to capture some close images of the birds especially the puffins and there may also be the slight chance of capturing any seals if lucky. For this shoot I would more than love to capture pan shots of the birds using the slow shutter speed technique as I feel this will be my best opportunity. This being due to the fact birds tend to follow a more predictable flight path compared to photographing the likes of squirrels that are sporadic in movement. The ideal shots I would like to capture would show a bit of character and action. It would also be nice to capture a silhouette shot of the birds depending where the sun is situated, shooting into the sun may help for this.

I will be travelling to Anstruther by car and booked the May Princess boat through the
Anstruther Pleasure Cruise which can carry up to 100 passengers. The trip to Isle of May on boat and ashore the Island lasts around 4 and a half to 5 hours. Depending on the weather which should be good it allows a slow tour around the ent2955940_2cf7b453ire Isle which would be the perfect opportunity for using my Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens to capture any sea life on the outskirts of the Island. Given that I will be on the boat I will be sure to wear waterproofs to keep myself dry. Both my 70-200mm and Sigma 150-600mm lenses are ideal not only as they are waterproof but for their own individual use. The 70-200mm lens will be ideal for capturing the pan shots required and for distance subjects using the Sigma 150-600mm lens.

The Isle of May is 5 miles from the Fife coast is open to visitors between the beginning of April until the end of September. The island is meant to have stunning scenery which will be perfect for any landscape images I aim to capture. Theremum-and-pup should be sufficient enough time given there will be an estimated 3 hours on the Island which gives me ample amount of opportunity to photograph what I would like. The Isle of May is home to a wide variety of wildlife with an estimated 250,000 seabirds including; 120,000 Puffins, which between April through to mid August is said to be the best time for capturing these spectacular birds; large groupsof Guillemots, Razorbills and Shags are also available with 150 seals living on the Isle of May all year round. There will also be the slight chance of spotting Dolphins and Porpoise if lucky with the odd spotting of a whale if lucky.

Sources for research can be found here:

http://www.isleofmayferry.com/
https://seabird.org/index.php

 

COGC Graded Unit: Dolphin’s and Osprey: Shoots 8 and 9 Research

Dolphin-spirit-crewWith the weather forecasted for sunny weather tomorrow I have planned and booked for a Dolphin’s Spirit Cruise in Inverness as well as the Osprey centre in Boat Of Garten. The Dolphin Wildlife Spirit Cruise can take up to 60 passengers so I’m unaware of how busy the cruise maybe. The tour has been booked for 10am in the morning so I would hope that it would be relatively quite, whether this may go against me for capturing Dolphin’s is yet to be seen. There will no doubt be various birds and other wildlife surrounding the water that I would hope to capture. The Dolphin Spirit Cruise tours through the inner Moray Firth and admission costs will be £18 per adult. Given how unpredictable the Dolphins will be it would be nice to capture them jumping if lucky using the fast shutter speed, if any birds flying past I could hopefully capture some pan shots using the slower shutter speed. I also have to take into consideration whether the boat will be sturdy in movement that may go against me for using the slower shutter speed.
dolphin-on-water
For the second part of the day I would hope to travel back to the Cairngorms to photograph the Osprey at the Osprey centre in Boat Of Garten which is said to offer fantastic views of the Osprey and their nest. This would be the perfect opportunity to capture fantastic images of the Osprey if active. I’m unaware of the surroundings, if possible it would be fantastic to capture images of the Osprey diving for fish if available. There is also walks available which gives you the opportunity to capture red squirrels, crested tits and even dragonflies as mentioned on the official website. Early spring also gives the opportunity to capture the largest grouse, the Capercaillie.

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The Osprey Centre will opens 10am in the morning through till 6pm at this time of year and the last entry to the centre will be at 5pm. The cost for entry charges into the osprey centre will be £5 for adults. I’m hoping to capture one of the Osprey’s in flight to the nest which would make for a fantastic shot, although I know there is no guarantee, from this I might capture a silhouette shot and pan shot for a variety of other techniques, again, no guarantee. I also plan to use both my 150-600mm Sigma lens and 70-200mm depending how close I will be from the Osprey’s and their nest. I will be travelling to the Dolphin’s and Whales centre by car and is a fairly straight forward road back to Boat of Garten for the Osprey Centre.00228832

The Dolphin’s Spirit Cruise tour will last for 1 and a half hours giving me plenty of time to get back to the osprey centre to spend time photographing the osprey. The clothing I will be wearing is sufficient with my waterproof trousers, hiking boots and both my 70-
200mm f/2.8 lens and Sigma 150-600 sport lens are waterproof given that there will probably be splashing from water.

Sources for my research can be found at the following sites:

https://dolphinspirit.co.uk/
https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/find-a-reserve/reserves-a-z/reserves-by-name/l/lochgarten/about.aspx

COGC Graded Unit: Cairngorms Wildlife Tour and Reindeer Centre: Shoot 6 and 7 Research

1207039441WildlifeBoatWebHaving successfully completed my photographic tour and currently staying in the Cairngorms over the weekend I have planned 2 shoots in one day. The first shoot I discovered from a leaflet posted on a wall in a restaurant / hotel advertising about a wildlife tour at Loch Insh which begins midday between 4pm and 6pm and having been to the Cairngorms reindeer centre previously when I did the photographic shoot with Neil McIntyre, I was informed the reindeer centre take groups of people up the mountains to see the free ranging reindeer before 11am in the morning. I’m hoping with both of these tours I will be able to capture some more of the wildlife and plan to capture some landscape images especially to show for the reindeer habitat.

cairngorm-reindeer-centre-see-do-walks-largeThe wildlife I captured at the Highland Wildlife Park are well suited to the environment surrounding that area such as the wolves, likewise the reindeer would be in their natural habitat. For this I would imagine the terrain will be mucky and therefore will be wearing my waterproof trousers with my hiking boots in preparation. Admission costs to visit the free ranging reindeer will cost £14 per adult for the hill trip and will be travelling to the reindeer centre in the Cairngorms by car. I would hope that on the hill trip I will get enough time to spend photographing the reindeer in their natural habitat, it does mention however that there is no guarantee of seeing the reindeer.

The wildlife tour bcairngorm-reindeer-herdy boat midday I plan to use my 150-600 Sigma Sports lens for capturing distant subjects, depending where the boat will travel and much of the wildlife birds I may find on the outskirts of Loch Insh. If the boat stops at points I maybe able to shoot landscape shots depending what I see, however I maybe restricted if the boat tour is inside which I would then have to shoot through the windows. The boat travels at a speed of 2 to 3 mph which is ideal and tour lasts roughly 1 hour. There are specified times for booking and due to visiting the reindeer centre first I will be looking to book the wildlife boat tour at Loch Insh for 4pm. As noted there is the opportunity to capture the Osprey’s which is something I would love to photographand if lucky I might capture one of them fishing or flying. The
y are fascinating and beautiful birds and would be great to cWILD2apture some images of their nest. There is no admission costs for the boat tour which is also greatly beneficial.

As the website mentions about the boat tour there will also be a nature walk available that can be done before and after the tour. I would love to capture some nice landscape of woodland area as it would be fantastic for Red Squirrel habitat. The tour has to be booked so hoping to visit in the same day, if not available I hope to have the boat tour booked following day. The weather is forecasted to be overcast but may work in my favour for woodland habitat shots. On the Monday the weather is forecasted to be sunny.

Sources for my research can be found here:
http://lochinsh.com/product/tour-boat/
https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/the-cairngorm-reindeer-centre-p253801
http://cairngormreindeer.co.uk/