Tag Archives: Research

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:




CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 4 Research

Although having visited Edinburgh Zoo numerous times in the past for various shoots including my higher in photography and knowing what to expect of the place, I know that for this graded unit project capturing a variety of techniques is extremely challenging especially when photographing animals in a Zoo. I don’t expect to capture anything like a pan shot using the slow shutter speed and depending what and where it is in Edinburgh Zoo I maybe limited with using wide angle as it would be preferable to capture the animals as if they were in their natural environment. Capturing a variety of the animals at Edinburgh116 Zoo may give me a variety of images that could potentially be used towards my final 20. Even if I use a few images from this shoot it will give me enough opportunity to capture images with other techniques from other shoots. There are some parts of the Zoo with wide open space such as where the Zebra’s are kept where I may have the potential to capture wide angle.

I checked the weather forecast for tomorrow (Saturday) and the weather seems decent first part of the day till afternoon. It will be sunny with clouds which would be ideal for capturing the animals. As my project is targeted at wildlife tourism in Scotland it would be nice to have several images of the different animals to show for what is on offer. For visiting Edinburgh Zoo the cost will be £18.50 for per adult with a £4 parking charge which I’ll be travelling by car.

There are the feeding times throughout the day as well as the times they do talks on the animals so I would be looking to capture portraits, preferably of them doing something that tells a story. For the shoot I will be using my Canon 5D Mark iii full frame body camera, I may use my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L ii lens for wide angle and hopefully mostly
use the 70-200 f/2.8 L ii lens. I may also carry my Sigma 150-600 sport lens but preferably use the 70-200 for the f/2.8 wide open aperture. I won’t require a tripod and flash is prohibited from use at Edinburgh Zoo. The portraits of the animals I hope to capture I want to be professional which I’m positive I can capture a good mix of.

The Zoo from April through t213ill September opens from 9am and closes at 6pm so will give me sufficient time to capture plenty of images from around the Zoo. It would be difficult to capture any landscape shots for the habitat of these animals as many are not native to Scotland, although as planned there are places I have in mind for a later shoot at the Highland Wildlife Park in the Cairngorms.

Here you will find the source for my research on Edinburgh Zoo:

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 3 Research

Cairngorms Wildlife 1 to 1 Photographic Day with Neil McIntyre — Shoot 3

Neil-McIntyre-bio-pic--1024x1024As I planned to photograph Scottish wildlife in the highland Cairngorms region of Scotland upon doing research on Google search engine I randomly came across an award winning Scottish wildlife photographer, Neil McIntyre. I did research on his website for information to find if there was anything I could book and came across his 1 to 1 day photography sessions, as described: “These trips offer the optimum chance to experience the wildlife and photo opportunities of the Cairngorms and surrounding area.” For me this would be the perfect opportunity to get close and perhaps capture some professional images, the 1 to 1 day will start from 9am in the morning and will last throughout the day which will cost £250.

I contacted Neil to find out further information about the photography 1 to 1 day session and also asked about landscape, as mentioned there are no guarantees with capturing any sunset shots. He did mention about the wildlife that at this time of the year photographing the red deer wouldn’t be ideal as they’re shedding their coats coming into spring time. What he did promise me however was the fantastic opportunity to Rsq-03991photograph the Red Squirrels as he does have a close bond with the Red Squirrels. As of now I’m uncertain whether there will be the opportunity to photograph more of the wildlife on the 1 to 1 session as it solely depends on what he offers.

I hope that on this shoot I could capture a number of quality images although will attempt to mix the shooting techniques up. It would be ideal to capture some pan shots if possible, wide angle with extended depth of field and even shallow depth of field. If I could capture 2 or 3 of my best images it would be ideal to use towards my final 20 photographs for my graded unit project. I do also plan to capture some landscape photographs as well to show their habitat.

Knowing how sporadic tRsq-0302he weather can be in Scotland I will be well prepared wearing my boots and waterproofs to ensure I stay dry. It is also required for me to use a 300-500mm lens so I’ll be using my Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens. I will also pack my 70-200 f/2.8 incase as well as my 24-70mm wide angle lens for landscape shots. I will be travelling up by car which takes roughly 3 to 4 hours. The 1 to 1 day photography session has been booked for Wednesday, 5th of April, the weather on some forecasts mentions that it will be partly cloudy with sun and others cloudy, I am hoping the weather goes in my favour as lighting will make a big difference.

Photographing the landscape will be challenging depending on the weather and will look to use half gradient Neutral Density (ND) filters for keeping detail in the skies when shooting long exposures. I will also be required to carry my tripod so may carry my photography bag on my back with what I require for the day with the tripod strapped to the back.

Ideal shots that I would love to capture are photographs of Red Squirrels being active to create wonderful action shots, this would be perfect for capturing pan shots I would like, even just as stills which tells more of a story. The big advantage will be the fact I’ll be able to capture the nature in the 1 to 1 session of the wildlife in their natural habitat.

You can find the source for my research through Neil McIntyre’s official website which has his contact information and tour offers here: www.neilmcintyre.com

CoGC GU2: Scottish Wildlife — Shoot 2 Research

Edinburgh’s Butterfly & Insect World: Research

_20A5009.JPGHaving failed to capture macro shots of insects at Benmore Botanic Garden I decided to dedicate the time there capturing landscape images of their habitat, the limited time I had I didn’t feel I found quite what I was looking for. However, as my project is based around general wildlife targeted for tourism in Scotland I captured a landscape shot for the Red Squirrel habitat. I must also add that I should have added my target audience in my plan. As I failed to capture any images of insects using macro technique I decided to plan a visit to Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World, this for me was the perfect location as I had already visited a place very similar before called Amazonia in Scotland, so I somewhat knew what to expect.

Having done the research about Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World there were several websites showing images as well as videos I researched on YouTube which gave me an idea of what to expect. Information was also provided through the wimgres-2ebsite such as the location, what was available to see and opening and closing times. As the location is indoors it was greatly beneficial for me.

As soon as I returned home late due to traffic problems from Benmore Botanic Garden I had limited time and spent a considerable amount of time updating my blog for the outcome of the first shoot. I planned my visit to Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World for the following day and unfortunately it didn’t leave me enough time to update the workbook with the research I had done. Perhaps I should have been better organised rather than rush into things. The research was fairly simple and straightforward in that circumstance but still should have left myself that time to update the blog before the shoot. I also took costs into consideration such as the estimated cost on petrol for travelling by car  which was about £5 and entry costs £7.95 per adult.

imgres-3A small issue upon doing my research I found there was no information on photography which left uncertainty as to whether or not I was able to use flash indoor as I planned to use my 600 EX-RT speed-light with my small Lastolite softbox on top of my camera. Thankfully on arrival I asked the receptionist whether or not I was allowed to use flash and she said it was perfectly fine as the butterflies would think of it as lightening from a storm. Being indoors it was a slight concern of thought that without flash being forced to use higher ISO to compensate. I knew that for this shoot there would be limited space and knew I didn’t require my tripod. I planned to use my Canon 5D Mark iii with my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro USM lens and extension tubes. Before arrival I knew from experience shooting macro without flash from a similar place turned out good results so I wasn’t overly concerned, although was my preference.

imagesI knew from visiting a similar place called Amazonia in Scotland that I would most definitely capture photographs I planned for and despite my uncertainty of whether I was able to use flash or not at the time I had a fair idea from what I could capture as I photographed a butterfly last year in Amazonia of a butterfly feeding on sliced apple. I also planned to use their environment to capture the insects to look as if they’re in their natural habitat.

Another issue with shooting the insects at the Butterfly and Insect World were the type of insects I was going to shoot where their natural habitat isn’t Scotland and shooting landscape indoors for their artificially made up environment isn’t ideal, however for Scottish tourism to give an example of what is available for tourists to see, I feel the macro shot would be sufficient to show for what Scotland has to offer. Given the place is open 7 days a week all year round and is a closer location I could always revisit if I wish to capture better. Another thing I had to take into consideration for planning this shoot was their heating environment and therefore to help prevent the lens of the camera steaming over I planned to keep a lens hood on.

You can find the research source for where I gathered the information about the Butterfly and Insect World from the following sources here: