Latest News 

I am trying to introduce new information, talks, workshops and tours all the time but as the website grows I realise that this may be difficult to locate. I will therefore carry links to all such new information on this page.
 
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11th November 2014 - New Website Section - Reflections and Musings of a Wildlife Photographer
 
 
All too often these days articles relating to photography - wildlife or otherwise - amount to a technical discussion and fail to recognise the creative aspect of photography. Maybe it’s a statement of the times we live in but there are more articles about the gear and the technical business of photography that is all too easy to forget that photography is as much an art as it is a science. Photography allows us to express our feelings and emotions and to do so we do need to master the scientific part of the medium but all too often that’s where we stop.
 
I like to describe myself as a naturalist who photographs what he observes rather than a photographer specialising in wildlife. This is very important to me and I believe makes for a better wildlife photographer. I am not suggesting for one moment that I don’t ever concentrate on the technical aspects of my photography – you have to understand how to use the wonderful tools we have access to nowadays. In my workshops and talks to camera clubs I spend a great deal of time exploring the technical aspects of photography. Every so often however I like to stop, take a break from the technical chatter and remind myself that I take photographs for the love of photography for the love of observing wildlife.
 
I have added a section of this website that is devoted to technical explorations and techniques but felt that there were a number of articles that I wanted to publish that didnt fit maturally into here, they were not technical ! Here I will publish my thoughts, musings and reflections on various aspects of photography and wildlife photography in particular. Each is introduced with a short precise but to read the full article click the link and download a PDF. You can even print this if you like to read it at leisure and please do share it with friends who you think would find it useful too.
 
I will add to this section over time and as more thoughts strike me so please check back regularly for new ones or join my mailing list here.
 
I am always keen to learn if and how these articles have helped you please do take a little time to tell me either through the feedback page on this website or direct to bob@naturesphotos.co.uk.
 
 
September 2014 - New Africa Safari
Botswana and Zimbabwe in October 2015
 
 
A private guided photographic workshop to two of Africa’s finest areas for elephant, birdlife, big cats and other game.
 

Working closely with Safari Consultants, the UK’s leading specialists in tailor-made safari holidays, I have created a totally new photo safari exploring two very different areas of central Africa both well known for their elephant populations, big cats and bird life but with all the other game one would expect in equal abundance.

As this is the first trip I will be running to this destination I am offering it at a significantly reduced price of £4,995 (including all air fares from London Heathrow, local internal transfers, full board accommodation, laundry, park fees, guiding fees etc. See detailed itinerary for more information).

We’ll be staying in two very different camps - the first using a private mobile camp in the Chobe National Park Botswana and the other in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe with an overnight stay and chance to explore the world renowned Victoria Falls in the middle.

In Chobe we will staying in a private mobile camp erected just for us where we will be the only guests and the guides, drives and camp staff will be there just for us. We will also be chartering a unique boat that has been specifically designed for photographers. Click the link here for a YouTube video of this very special craft. In Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park we will be staying at the newest luxury camp in the area, opened in 2012, with its own private hides and water hole and owned and run by the famous professional safari guide Dave Carson. In addition to providing great photographic opportunities, this tour has been carefully designed to offer a wide appreciation of the natural beauty of Africa’s wildlife, people and the environment. As with all my safaris the itinerary is constructed to give the maximum time in the field in order to provide you with unrivalled experiences and the very best photographic opportunities. I am always on hand to provide ad-hoc photographic tuition and assistance if required. My aim is simple, to ensure you have a highly enjoyable holiday where you can concentrate on your photography with truly unique opportunities to view and capture images of the natural world. All this whilst soaking up the very best wilderness experience in a comfortable and magic environment. Each trip will be limited to a maximum of 8 people and is often less. I have designed this trip specifically for the enthusiastic wildlife photographers interested in learning more about their camera and at the same time capturing some memorable images.

 
 
 

  

7th August 2014 - New Tip / Technique
 
 
We are always told that if you are serious about macro photography you need to buy a quality macro lens. I would agree up to a point but dedicated macro lenses come at a significant cost. Thankfully there is a more cost effective alternative, a set of extension tubes.
 
Extension tubes are often wrongly considered as the Cinderella of macro photography and dismissed for serious macro work. Having had over 40 years’ experience using extension tubes as well as many different dedicated macro lenses I strongly disagree. With the right technique you can easily produce images of equal quality to those with much more expensive and dedicated macro lenses. In my view the only real benefit of macro lenses over extension tubes is convenience in that you have just one lens that will focus from infinity to 1 to 1 or life-size magnification. With extension tubes however you do need to change them to achieve different focusing ranges. This is however a very small price to pay for as much as a seven fold saving in costs versus a dedicated lens. (£100 for a set of extension tubes - £700 for a Canon 100mm f2.8 L macro lens).
 
In many instances it’s even possible to produce images at a higher magnification with extension tubes than with most macro lenses. A true macro lens must focus down to life-size or 1 to 1 magnification. Only very specialist macro lenses go beyond 1 to 1. With the right extension tubes however, any lens – macro or otherwise – can focus much closer and produce a much higher magnification image.
 
Another very powerful use for extension tubes is to enable telephoto lenses to focus much closer than would normally be the possible and thus produce frame filling photos of timid insects such as dragonflies and butterflies. For that reason alone they always have a place in my camera bag.
 
 
22nd April 2014 - 2015 dates for popular Kenyan Maasai Mara trip
 
 
An escorted trip to Kenya's famous Massai Mara region.
 
The Massai Mara is deservedly known as Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, and is famous for the abundance of lion, the other big cats, the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Maasai people. It is without a doubt Africa’s most well know and famous safari destination. The area has become well know having featured in many excellent TV programmes including the BBC’s long running “Big Cat Diaries” and “Big Cat Week” as well as the more recent Disney Nature’s “African Cats”. Staying in luxury bush camps the big cats will definitely be on our agenda but we will also have ample opportunities to photograph the wide variety of other wildlife this area supports. 
 
Join me on a very special guided photographic safari to this famous  region of East Africa. Experience one of the world’s last true wildernesses and bring back your own photographs of its iconic wildlife.
 
With many years’ experience of East Africa and photographing its wildlife I have designed this trip specifically for the enthusiastic wildlife photographers interested in learning more about their camera and at the same time capturing some memorable images. Each trip will be limited to a maximum of 8 people and is often less. We’ll be staying at Kicheche a small and extremely comfortable classic tented camp hidden in a beautiful acacia valley overlooking the Olare Orok stream. With only 8 tents the intimate and relaxed atmosphere gives you the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in this prime wildlife area of the Mara North Conservancy.
 
I have been offering trips to the region for some time now and have developed very special arrangements with an absolutely magical, very select camp in the Mara and a top safari firm in the UK. As a direct result of these relationships I have been able to put together an extremely attractive trip for 2015 at a very much reduced price of £3,995 all inclusive (unlike some other providers this price includes all air fares from London Heathrow, local internal transfers, full board accommodation, laundry, park fees, guiding fees etc. See detailed itinerary for more information).
 
 
 
 
22nd April 2014 - 2015 dates for Southern Tanzaninan photo safari.
 
 
Southern Tanzania is far less frequented by the western tourist but yet has some largest and best preserved parks in East Africa. Safaris in Southern Tanzania offer the true bush wilderness experience whilst staying in comfortable, well equiped modern camps set in an area with some of the purest remaining tracts of unspoilt game viewing left in Africa.
 
This is a photographic exploration of two of Africa’s finest wildlife areas - the vast Selous Game Reserve and wild Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania. We spend the first part of the trip in the Selous exploring the Rufiji River (East Africa’s greatest waterway) and surrounding woodlands by boat and by vehicle, before heading off to Ruaha for the rest of the holiday and further spectacular wildlife viewing.
 
This is simply one of my favourite safaris in East Africa and this trip, visiting as it does two very different regions, gives a real taste of what safaris used to be like many years ago but using modern vehicles and staying in small comfortable camps with all the modern conveniences such as a flush loo, hot shower and proper beds.
 
It is the longest trip I run at 11 days and is not offered by any of the other UK based photo tour companies. Because of my excellent relationships with the camps in Souther Tanzania and the UK company I use to organise all my trips I am able to offer it at just £5,399 (only £100 more than last years trip despite air fare rises and local inflation of 9%)
 
(As with all my African trips this price includes all air fares from London Heathrow, local internal transfers, full board accomodation, laundry, park fees, guiding fees etc. See detailed itinerary for more information).
 
Use the links below to view a the full trip report, guest testimonials and sets of sample photos. If you want to know more or would like to look at the details for next year’s visit either contact me at bob@naturesphotos.co.uk or view the tour itinerary with the link below.
 
 
 
 
 
27th January 2014 - New Workshop/Tour
 
 
A 5 day escorted photographic workshop to photograph some of Europes most spectaular and enigmatic mammals in the Bavarian National Park.
 
25th June - 29th June  2014 
 
Capture those “once in a life time” images of some of Europe’s most endangered and enigmatic species within the natural setting of the Bavarian Forest National Park . Grey wolves, brown bears, lynx, beavers and wild boar will be our main subjects on this unique workshop tour.
 
Using the spacious enclosures to be found within the Park there are over 30 species of mountain and forest animals to photograph including mammals such as grey wolves, brown bears, lynx, wild boar, otters, European bison, wildcat, red deer, elk and birds such as capercaillie, black grouse and hazelhen and numerous birds of prey.
 
To run this very special photographic workshop I have teamed up with Gerhard Schwab a leading mammal ecologist who has worked extensively with Europe’s endangered mammals. Living in the area and as the current head of Southern Bavarian Beaver Management Group he knows this area and its iconic mammals better than most. We couldn’t ask for a more qualified and enthusiastic local guide.
 
With Gerhard as a co-leader part of this workshop/tour will include a very special afternoon session at a European beaver facility. This will provide unique photo opportunities with beavers in a natural wetland setting and highly realistic surroundings.
 
We will be staying for 5 days (4 nights) in a small family run guest house near Neuschönau in the foothills of the Bavarian National Park and very closes to one of the three parks we will be using.
 
 
 
 
8th January 2014 - New Workshop
 
 
Have you just bought a new digital SLR camera and are not sure how to use it?
 
Do you rely on the automatic modes built into the camera?
 
Do you want to achieve better results from your photographic efforts but are confused by how all those camera settings work?
 
Do you want to take control of your camera but are not sure where to start?
 
If so, then this workshop is just for you!
 
With a healthy mixture of classroom and practical sessions my aim on this workshop is to provide a relaxing and comfortable setting where you can learn more about your camera and practise your new knowledge by taking some stunning photos. You will learn how to control aperture, shutter speed and ISO to produce more creative images.
 
The workshop is based at Toft Alpacas, a leading alpaca stud with 200 alpacas in the beautiful rolling Warwickshire countryside giving you the opportunity to practise your new found skills on these delightful animals. The workshop includes a wonderful hot lunch and a short farm tour; what better way to learn and experiment with those basic camera settings that always seem so difficult when you read the manuals.
I am always keen to provide a showcase for the excellent work that guests produce on my workshops and safaris. These are all displayed on my website linked to the pages providing details of the relevant workshop or safari. They have however proved so popular with visitors to my website that I have decided to publish a single page with links to each of the different galleries and thus save you having to navigate to the deepest recesses and corners of the site.

 
 
 
 
21st December 2013 - New Guests Gallery
 
 
I am always keen to provide a showcase for the excellent work that guests produce on my workshops and safaris. These are all displayed on my website linked to the pages providing details of the relevant workshop or safari. They have however proved so popular with visitors to my website that I have decided to publish a single page with links to each of the different galleries and thus save you having to navigate to the deepest recesses and corners of the site.
 
This gallery showcases the work undertaken by guests on my very popular new (for 2013) fungi workshop.
 
Whilst looking at this gallery why not spend a little time viewing the other guests’ galleries. If you too would like to produce photos like these and learn more about digital photography at the same time why not book on one of my workshops or foreign trips. There are links against each gallery entry to the web pages relating to each workshop which give much more information, dates, prices and availability. There are also links to feedback from those who have attended before you so you can get some idea as to what to expect.
 
 
 
 
14th December 2013 - New Workshop Dates
 
 
An escorted trip to Kenya's famous Masai Mara region.
 
A guided photo safari to the world renowned Masia Mara home to the long running BBC “Big cats diary” and the more recent Disney film “African Cats” is always high on any photographers wish list but is often just too expensive.
 
I have been offering trips to the region for some time now and have developed very special arrangements with an absolutely magical, very select camp out there and a top safari firm in the UK. As a direct result of these relationships I have been able to put together an extremely attractive trip every year at a very much reduced price.
 
I wont know the final prices for 2015 until May 2014 but as this is such a popular tour please register yoru interest here.
 
 

 

 
8th December 2013 - New Newsletter
 
Autumn / Winter 2013 Newsletter
 
I send out the occasional newsletter to keep people in touch with what is happening at Natures Photos. These include reports on trips, new workshops, tours and talks as well things I have been doing, photos I have taken and projects I am working on.
 
This edition includes:
  • My thoughts on what constitutes “being prepared” when out shooting wildlife written in response to a question I was asked at a camera club

  • Early announcement of an exciting new trip to Bavaria to photograph some of Europe’s more endangered mammals

  • Announcement of two new photo workshops

  • A guests perspective on a 2 day workshop at the specialist centre I use in Devon for wildlife photography

  • Introduction to some new photo galleries on my website

  • Announcement of a new camera club talk 

  • An early announcement of a new workshop specially for beginners to wildlife photography

 
12th November 2013 - New Camera Club Talk
 
Beyond Auto Mode - Taking back control of your camera
 
Modern cameras have powerful computer processors which can greatly assist you when taking photos. It is therefore very tempting to either set your camera on automatic, and allow these in camera computers to do all the work calculating the exposure, sorting out focus or alternatively to use the so called “creative modes” to manage a particular situation.
 
With all this computing power in the camera do you ever wonder why some of your photos look too dark and some too light, do you wonder why some are blurred but some taken few frames later are not?
My aim for this talk is to show you that allowing your cameras computer to make decisions for you isn’t always the best option. More importantly you will be reassured that taking back control yourself isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. I am not advocating shooting completely in manual mode. You just need to take control of the 'in camera' computer, work with it and make it work for you.
 
Anyone can take absolutely superb photos but the first step is leaving the auto mode setting on your camera behind and learning how even the basic controls, together with the inbuilt computer can make for a very different photograph.
Seeing our British reptiles in the wild is extremely difficult – photographing them is normally even more challenging.
 
If your club might be intersted in thsi or any other of my talks please contact me via this website or on the phoen at 01327 352505
 

 
 
14th August 2013 - Special "Golden Light" British Wildlife Workshop
 
Special for 2014

Photograph Iconic British wildlife at Sunset in natural and realistic surroundings.

Many of the best photos of our native wildlife are taken at or around sunset. Natures Photos have made a special arrangement with the British Wildlife Centre where we run our very popular British Mammals photo workshop to allow you to photograph through that very special golden light when the sun is setting.

This opportunity is only available for the June session so book early to avoid disappointment.

This very popular workshop is held at an amazing location which offers the very best opportunities for photographing British wildlife. The centre is only 45 mins south of London and has been especially created with large enclosures designed specifically for photographers.
 
Animals available at the centre include foxes, otters and wild cats - you will be able to enter all these enclosures for stunning photographs. Stoats, weasels, polecats, mink are all kept in enclosures carefully landscaped to provide really natural settings with logs, water and appropriate undergrowth. Other animals available include Badgers, roe deer, red deer, muntjac deer, snakes, water voles, frogs and more. This is a truly magnificent centre and provides unrivalled photo opportunities.
 
I have booked the centre just for my workshop and we will have privileged access into the pens with some of the animals so there will be no barriers or wire obscuring your view! You will come home with stunning photographs that would be extremely difficult in the wild, will have improved your photographic technique and learnt a great deal more about your camera and the wildlife. This is a workshop not to be missed.
 
Don’t also forget our special 2 day weekend workshop at a totally unique setting in Devon where we can also photograph all most of our native British Mammals in totally realistic sets. So realistic that some were recently used for the August 2103 BBC2 "The Burrowers" series. Additional species here include beavers, wild boar, water shrew, edible dormice and mole and being a 2 day workshop we have much longer with each species.
 
30th June 2013 - New Guests Photo Gallery
 
Rolling plains of Africa Safari
March 2013 - Guests Photos
 
This is a very popular trip and a true introduction to Africa. If you are considering a trip to Arica, either your first photo safari or a return trip take a look at these galleries of guests’ photos and you will understand what can be achieved on a trip specially run for photographers.
 
Not all such trips are the same. On this one I take no more than 8 people with only 4 per specially adapted completely open sided landcruiser thus giving everyone ample opportunities for superb photographs. Read the guests testimonials to understand the difference. With my long experience of the region and special arrangements with the camps this is also one of the cost effective trips currently available. 9 days at about £700 less than most other similar providers.
 
Staying at Kicheche Mara Camp, a classic luxury tented camp hidden in a beautiful acacia valley, guests are treated to fantastic hospitality and superb photo opportunities. Located in a prime wildlife area, in a private conservancy, game viewing starts frequently in the camp itself. Being a private conservancy gives unique opportunities to photograph the animals without the hindrance of lots of other competing vehicles and photographers which are so often found in other areas.
 
These galleries contain just a few of the 1000's of photos guests took on my 9 day 2013 trip. Each are grouped by guest who has written a brief note about themselves and their experiences. Some have included contact details in case you wish to contact them to buy what are true masterpieces. Take a while to browse and enjoy their work.

 
More about this trip
21st June 2013 - New Workshop
 
 
Fungi are the perfect subject for the keen close up and macro photographer. They come in a huge variety of colours, shapes, and sizes and the peak autumn season reveals them at their best as wonderful subjects to photograph. Once you know where to look for them and have mastered the basic photographic and lighting techniques they are an excellent subject to practise and perfect your close up and macro photography skills.
 
For this workshop I have teamed up with Justin Long, an experienced mycologist, who has been studying fungi for around 15 years. He has led the very popular adult education fungi forays since 2008, and hosted events, forays and talks on fungi for a wide number of different groups and organisations. He is thus is the perfect person to introduce us to this exciting subject and from whom to learn more about identifying different types of fungi including the dangers of certain varieties.
 
This is the perfect opportunity to practise and develop your close up and macro photography, learn more about fungi from an expert and gain some stunning photos at the same time.
 
 
All workshops
27th May 2013 - New Tip / Technique
 
Handy Depth of Field Calculator
 
Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp, the distance between the nearest and furthest sharp objects. It varies depending on camera type, aperture and focusing distance, although print size and viewing distance can also influence our perception of depth of field. Managing this depth of field when creating a photo is an extremely powerful tool when seeking to tell viewers where exactly to look in a frame.
 
Using a shallow depth of field will turn the background silky smooth, produce a good “Bokeh”, and isolate the subject. Using a wide depth of field will render sharp detail from the very nearest to the farthest object in your photo. One of the questions I am often asked on workshops is what aperture do I need to use to achieve a particular depth of field and the temptation is often to shoot at the widest possible to produce a silky smooth background. This isn’t however always the case and shooting at f2.8 particularly with a long lens or when particularly close can produce a depth of field so shallow that it destroys the photo.
 
There are a number of online and “mobile phone app” based depth of field calculators but these may not be of use when in the field. The spreadsheet (link below) allows you to select the camera you are using and the length of your lens gives you a printable table of f-stop against distance.
 

 
4th May 2013 - New Tip / Technique
 
Camera Settings Simulation
 
One of the really great things about photography is that there is always something new to learn. I have been lucky enough to have worked with some great photographers who have taught and shown me techniques that have really helped enhance my wildlife photography. I am also a highly inquisitive individual who is always asking the question, how can I improve this or, how can I do that, especially when it related to photographing the natural world.
 
I publish a number of the tips and tricks I have learnt on this website and in my newsletters. This one is a great little simulation published by Canon but equally as valuable to all photographers.
 
Those of you who have met me on a workshop or at a camera club talk will have heard me use lots of different approaches to explain what many find difficult namely the basic camera settings. These are of course f'stop, shutter speed and ISO number and between them are the main controls we need to understand in all aspects of photography wildlife being no exception. They can however at first seem quite confusing so I recently was really pleased to find this online simulation which I feel makes understanding this much easier. Have a look at it and in particular try the simulations and 'game'.