Clients feedback on the Secret British Mammals 2 Day Workshop
I am always interested to receive feedback from people who attend one of my talks, workshops or holidays. The following represents a selection of the comments I have received which specifically relate to my Secret Mammals Workshop in Devon.
Having spent many years studying and attempting to photograph British mammals I know first-hand exactly how difficult this can be as most of our native species are extremely secretive and some even nocturnal.
I am therefore thrilled to offer this opportunity to use a private wildlife collection in Devon as the setting for a 2 day workshop/safari. With over 16 years’ experience working with wildlife film makers and photographers the owner has created a series of purpose built photographic and film sets where we can photograph an excellent collection of captive British mammals. The aim of this two day workshop / safari is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to photograph a broad range of British mammals with relative ease and in highly realistic and landscaped surroundings. We will have unrestricted access to photograph most species including the rare European beaver in an 8 acre enclosure where they have cut down their own trees to dam the river.
As well as large mammals such as foxes, wild boar, muntjac deer, wildcat, pine martin, polecat, weasel, stoats we will photograph small mammals in specially designed sets. These will include species such as the rare water vole and equally rare water shrew as well as many species of mouse and rats.


Feed back received from attendees of this workshop.
"I really enjoyed the weekend and the entire photographic experience. I learnt so much from the "Master" on my first ever photography training workshop.
Bob, you are a great photographer and a truly inspirational teacher. Your advice on using my new camera and the set-up you carried out for me has taken it to a new level.
The link to the youtube is fantastic just what I needed THANK YOU.
You know what they say about behind every great man ....... Ann is an incredible person so warm and welcoming and a supportive photography guide. Goodness knows when I will get all my 5,000 plus images culled and sorted. "
"I've always wanted to do this workshop but just never been able to due to my availability and cost but so pleased I was finally able to do it this year.
Having already done the British Wildlife Centre workshop I had expected it to be exactly the same as that and half expected I'd be shooting the same animals in similar settings. It was great to have a much more relaxed attitude to the day, spending longer with animals if we wanted. It was great to have the flexibility of 2 days to prevent us rushing and being able to build on new skills and techniques. We photographed a more varied set of animals and the enclosures were fantastic. I hadn't realised w'd get such a varied itinerary, from photographing right up close to things like foxes within the enclosure, to learning fieldcraft for photographing semi-wild beavers, to macro work with the shrew and harvest mice.
The price is great value for what you get and the tuition and individual attention is second to none. It exceeded my expectations.
Bob always manages to dedicate so much time to individuals and I never fail to come away from one of his workshops having learnt something new. What I really love about Bob's workshops (over other companies) is he imparts his wealth of knowledge on, not only the photography and technical aspects, but the animals in which you are photographing which is crucial to capture good images of wildlife. I particularly loved photographing the foxes and beavers. I did struggle a little working out interesting compositions when photographing the long eared and little owl. I found it easier on the Birds of Prey workshop where we tried a few different locations to photograph them."
"My expectation was to has some instruction and opportunities to photograph various animals, these were met 100%. I also had the hope of understanding better techniques for focusing accurately on the animals and to get more detail in the photograph which was all dealt with by Bob. I didn't anticipate to finish the course feeling as confident as I did with being able to nail the focusing and following the animals as I can now with the camera which was truly amaz ing. Bob also helped me to get my camera setup correctly and explained the settings very clearly. I was also really impressed with the standard of the other course attendees which I think helped to gauge the course at a really good level. The organisation on the days was incredible and I can't believe how much we managed to do in that time. I would also like to mention the location was superb, the animals were well looked after and the handler clearly cared about the animals and enjoyed her job. "
"This course was simply amazing! It far surpassed our expectations mainly due to the fantastic support and tuition from Bob. There was a great mix of opportunities to practice and develop existing knowledge along side personalised tuition from Bob. We both felt that we learnt so much and really appreciated the extra time that Bob gave us to explain particular concepts. Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend. Sue and David"
"What a fantastic weekend I learnt a lot and a great venue and good company. great relaxed atmosphere, and Bob was always on hand and happy to help I really enjoyed the course. I would do the course again without thinking." 
"I expected to see and photograph a wide range of British Mammals as described in the pre-course information and I was not disappointed. There were many highlights but one in particular was sitting in the orchard with the Wild Boar. What a privilege. What stands out for me is the relevance of the pre-shoot information and the guidance and instruction on technical issues and how to get the best out of our cameras. I learnt so much in a very short time and there were ample opportunities to experiment with different camera settings. Successfully sometimes too! Lavinia's knowledge of the animals in her care was exceptional.." 
"Bob, Thank you for a great weekend in Devon. I've came away with a lot more understanding of not just using the camera but watching and learning about the subject you are shooting. How animals behave etc. I have started to look through my pictures and wow I have some crackers. Please on my thanks to Lavinia, who, I must say, had a great sense of humour." 
"Bob, Just a personal email to thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at the weekend. I have had a quick look at my photos and they are brilliant – well done to you for taking my photography up another couple of notches over the weekend.
Thank you for all the hints and tips you imparted with us during the two days. I can’t believe you have taken me up another couple of notches and looking at my photos it looks like I have only to do some cropping – brilliant thank you.
Even the toughest animals have come out really well – superb. Thank you again for a wonderful time and for all your efforts over the weekend as well as I am sure the huge amount of work behind the scenes that you and Lavinia must have done for us. Hope to see you next year on another workshop." 
"As always, a chance to learn more about the camera - I like the technical info. The photo opportunities, sharing your experience with us, inside knowledge, relaxed approach. I look forward to all of these and wasn't disappointed - definitely fully met and I very much enjoyed the whole weekend " 
": really looked forward to doing this course and it exceeded my expectations. The animals were well cared for and easily accessible for photographers. Bob as usual is a great source of knowledge both from the animals and photography information. The course was not rushed and adapted to the needs of the photographers. would highly recommend this course - Thank you 😊 " 
"The website offers full details of the workshop and is excellent. I knew that if it was as good as it sounded on the website it would be amazing - and it was. My expectations were met and exceeded, everything about the weekend was brilliant. We got to photograph so many different mammals and we also had warmth and sun as the icing on the cake! Your recommendation for accommodation was a good one, I wouldn't have wanted to stay anywhere else. The rural setting was perfect as was the accommodation. Linda is an incredible hostess and the standard of both the apartment and catering couldn't be faulted. I felt totally spoiled with amazing breakfasts, and superb packed lunches delivered to the venue
There isn't anything that I wanted from the workshop that wasn't available. Your personal attention to everyone Bob was fantastic.I never felt as if I didn't know enough and nothing was too much trouble for you to explain. Your knowledge and experience were openly shared with the group. The group was small and enabled us all to get the very best out of the days. I never felt rushed and having time in each of the animal settings was appreciated. I'm also delighted that I have come home with some pictures that I am proud of, but most importantly lots of knowledge that I didn't have before. Thanks for a really great weekend " 
"I wanted to be able to take photos of native UK mammal species in natural settings - which is exactly what happened - with guidance from an experienced, professional photographer as to how to get the best shots. Again, this is exactly as expected and advertised and then some - really appreciated the excellent and very helpful tuition that covered the complete range of experience amongst the group. I certainly learned a lot, and not just about photography! I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, learned an awful lot and, through a first glance, also have some great shots. I thought the workshop was pitched perfectly - informal but massively informative, a nice range of subjects to photograph and well paced and also very focused on us as clients. Bob's amazing photography knowledge was incredibly impressive but, in addition to that, his natural history knowledge was phenomenal. And, he's a gifted and very natural educator, a great storyteller and a thoroughly nice man who couldn't do enough to help. " 
"Fantastic weekend, great company, superb tuition provided in an easy to understand way. Accommodation and catering were great too." 
"My only concern was how wet and muddy all the enclosures which cannot be helped I believe that this has been the best 2 days photo shoot I have been on the instruction and guidence has helped a lot also found the other members of the group a joy to be with and the two days exceeded my expectations I will be booking again next year for a different season so I can cover them all possible June or July Many Thanks for a great weekend " 
"I loved everything about the workshop! The sunny day was superb for photography and the rain the second day brought challenges, but that made for more interesting photography and in turn more things to learn.
I found you to be a wonderful teacher - you explained things so clearly that I had trouble understanding before. There was a feeling of enthusiasm, with everyone being included and respected.
The only thing I'd say is that it would have been good to have a choice over which animals to spend time with, e.g. for me I'd have spent less time with the polecat and pine martin and more in-depth time with the foxes or cats - to get more unique images. I'm not sure if that would work or not as a group though! Having said that, the time we spent with the animals was great and you didn't rush us at all (and there were no dramas!)
I've recommended the weekend to some people in our local camera club, so I hope they too will book up. I'd do the whole week end again in a heartbeat! I'm feeling good about the images I took.
I'd like to thank you for all you did for us, taught us and encouraged us to do! "
"My expectations were exceeded and i took some great photos. The instruction, the accommodation food and company made this one of my most remembered Photography courses.
The accomodation was excellent. Great food through in the midst of chaos with friendly and welcoming hospitality you would not find anywhere better. Thus is an excellent course with the combination of great accommodation ,instruction, and commitment from everyone concerned "
"I wanted to be able to photograph British wildlife that it would be nearly impossible to do in the "real" wild. This was what happened although the weather was far from ideal we got nearly everything we wanted. Missing wild Beavers was a shame but then it was pouring! Lots of excellent technical advice, most of which I understood. Together with the Harvest Mice workshop, I have completely changed the way I use my camera because of what I have learnt. Thank you again.
The accommodation was also very comfortable and reasonably priced; exceptional breakfast & packed lunch. "
"I was looking to photograph British Mammals in an environment which was as natural as possible, The Devon Wildlife Photography Centre provided that and more, a really enjoyable weekend of nature photography.
With reagrd to the accommodation / catering: Linda is a charming lady who made me feel very welcome from the minute arrived to the minute I left, I am really glad I followed your suggestion to stay at Frankaborough farm, the pub at Ashwater was a lovely venue, only wished it could have been closer / easier to get to.
Bob it was a pleasure to meet you and to learn from your extensive knowledge and experience, after a quick scan through the 2,000 photos shot over the weekend I know that I have a number which I am really pleased with. Thank you for your guidance and putting up with my sense of humour"
"A great weekend Bob from a photographic point of view and the wine wasn't too bad either! It enabled me to photograph a range of creatures that would have been extremely difficult in any other way. The animal sets were critical and I achieved some very pleasing results - I will forward some of the better ones to you. Your ability to put over difficult concepts to a mixed experienced and ability group was impressive. Finally, a wonderfully helpful and happy asistant in Lavinia made the experience even more wortwhile!! Linda (B&B) was a very welcoming and accommodating host."
"The whole workshop was very well run from start to finish. Easy booking, lots of pre-course information, excellent accommodation and food, good locations with good facilities, excellent range of species well presented in good photographic locations and excellent help, advice and guidance throughout. A very happy, busy and rewarding weekend. Well deserved score of 5 in every respect."
"Almost everything that I wanted to photograph was available. The settings were very natural and well set up. There was plenty of time to get the shots you want, and never felt rushed. The staff were great and did their best to get the animals into a position that you required. A brilliant two days.
In addition the food and acommadation at Frankaborough Farm was excellent. Nothing to fault."
"My expectations were exceeded in terms of the number of different animals - and birds - available for us to photograph but particularly impressive was the access we had to them and the proximity allowed - without fences between us and our subjects. An excellently designed facility to allow access for the photographer."
"I am very pleased with how much more I have learned. I hoped to move my skills forward from last year when I went on the course for the first time and I feel that the photos I took this year reflect the improvement. I was able to take on board more of what Bob explained and so build on what I'd learned last year. I am pleased that I have fewer specimen shots and more that show some thought about composition. I had a great weekend - I don't think I'd change any of it."
"I wasn't sure what to expect, but hoped to get some decent shots of the animals in natural looking surroundings. The shots I came away with greatly exceeded my expectations, helped greatly by plenty of constructive advice and tips from Bob. It was an unforgettable experience with a lovely group of people, and I loved it!"
"A really positive and informative workshop. My expectations of the two days were met, the variety of animals were great as were the settings which were natural and realistic. I loved the course and learnt a lot from Bob. I was certainly one of the less experienced photographers on the course but this didn't matter at all, I really appreciated the advice on best lens for particular circumstances, ISO, shutter speed etc. I absolutely love many of my photographs and know that I could not have taken these without the support readily offered. Additionally I now have a good idea of where I need to focus my spending to improve my photography kit."
"My expectations were fully met. To be able to observe & photograph so many different mammals in such realistic surroundings was fantastic, it was a superb week-end from start to finish. From the warm welcome by Linda of Frankaborough Farm with her large breakfasts to the staff at the Center who's knowledge & friendliness greatly enhanced the experience. Thank you."
"This was the second time I have attended this course and I was a little concerned that I would not learn anything new. I needn't have worried. The slight differences in weather, new animals and different locations brought new challenges and improved photos. I also gained a deeper understanding of setting up the camera and techniques for maximising the quality of the images. "
"I wasn't sure how my lesser photographic knowledge would hinder my enjoyment of the weekend. I need not have been at all concerned as i thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be close to all the mammals at the centre. I appreciated and enjoyed the chance to try, learn how to and make use of different settings on my camera. Everyone who was on the course and those we met over the weekend were very friendly and a good time was spent together. "
"As always Bob - a superb workshop. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into running these wonderful days - making them so enjoyable, informative and above all giving us the opportunity to get close to and more particularly photograph our otherwise secret native wildlife."
"A fantastic two days. The chance to see the range of animals was wonderful, Thank you also for providing all the additional bits and pieces - the stools, lamps, and for lending your lenses and other equipment. The whole experience was fabulous. I learned such a lot.
Re accommodation / catering: It was great - Linda's cottages were well equipped and very comfortable and she was really hospitable. Really good to meet her and the family. "
"I was full able to consolidate my learning so far on taking moving animals and achieving good results without needing too much manipulation later. I feel that the help given was of great relevance and totally pertinent. The feeling of the day was both purposeful and yet relaxed with time being given when needed. I am delighted with some of my photographic results but most importantly it was the course and leadership which inspired.
Great people and fascinating animals."
"My expectations of the two days in Devon were more than fully met. I was very impressed with the set up at the Farm. Thank you, Bob, for your advice and expertise - you are obviously very passionate about wildlife and photography, and sharing your knowledge with those who want to listen. You made me feel at ease and I felt that I could ask any question no matter how trivial. I certainly picked up a few new tips and as I am no 'technician' I'm sure I will learn lots more on future courses. A really big 'thank you' once again. The two days were great. I think we all appreciated the time you spent with us and I know I thoroughly enjoyed the two days. I think it was the first time, on any course/trip/workshop, that a course leader made me feel at ease and that nothing was too much trouble for you.
The accommodation at the farm cottages was super and really clean and tidy. We were made very welcome by Linda and her family and the breakfasts were excellent as were the packed lunches. We will definitely visit the Farm again in the future."
  Some of Wendy's Photos from the workshop day
"My hope for this workshop was to observe and to photograph some of the harder to find species. My expectations were greatly exceeded. We were able to join the animals within their enclosures and given plenty of time and opportunity to photograph them in near natural conditions.
The Bed and Breakfast at Frankaborough Farm was a great place to stay for this workshop. Very conveniently situated, excellent accommodation and a really friendly and welcoming host who cooks a great breakfast!
This was an excellent two day workshop and a wonderful opportunity to get close to some of the less often seen mammals. The animal handler was very helpful in positioning the animals where we wanted to photograph them and Bob was always nearby to answer queries or to offer advice, if requested, as to how to photograph each animal. Over the two days we spent time with about 14 different species and I came home with cards full of images that pleased me. I would happily return to this venue in the future."
Ken Petch - July 2014
"Many thanks Bob for an excellent couple of days - I would strongly recommend you to any person wishing to experience a wildlife workshop. I really enjoyed the 2 days, the centre and you provided us with excellent opportunities and all done in a very calm, relaxed yet professional manner. Really good value. Yours, Tony "
Tony Banks - July 2014
"The course more than met my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it unreservedly. A very special, memorable weekend. The accommodation and the hospitality provided was excellent. I will be recommending it to friends and family for future. "
Some of Alistair's Photos from the workshop day
"I managed to get good photo opportunities with a number of mammals, especially Wildcats, Polecat and Pine Marten. Great pics of Otter and Wild Boar were a bonus. (Not forgetting the Beaver)
The accommodation was excellent and a very warm welcome from Linda and her family. Great breakfasts and good food in the pub also. I would highly recommend Linda 's cottages to anyone."
Some of Dave's Photos from the workshop day
"My expectations of this workshop were high but were completely and fully met. Whilst being aware that I would probably have less skill than other delegates I hoped to use what I did have to better effect. I was certainly able to do just that and to increase my understanding of using my camera 'in the field' and to improve my technique generally. Bob provided a great deal of help and support and I was extremely grateful to him and other delegates for their friendliness and generosity in lending equipment (hat, flash, lenses) and knowledge which added to both my comfort and improved images. A very pleasant, relaxed atmosphere prevailed on both days and I found the weekend a very rewarding experience. Linda Banbury's accommodation and catering were both excellent: extremely generous portions and suitably priced. Her family were very welcoming and helpful. "
Some of Mary-Anne's Photos from the workshop day
"I had a fantastic 2 days and learnt a few new techniques. Didnt want to leave and will be in touch about re-booking next year"
Tracey Lund - May 2014
"This workshop is excellent and fully met my expectations. The setting is beautiful and I was really pleased to be able to photograph so many different mammals. Some were more difficult than others to capture but Bob was on hand to provide advice on technique and equipment. Lavinia was a great animal handler and both she and Bob helped to get us the best opportunities to photograph the animals in their natural setting. The highlight was watching the beaver collect rushes for its lodge as the sun was setting. What a memory to keep.
The accommodation at Frankaborough Farm was great. The cottage was spacious and Linda was a lovely host who made the most wonderful breakfasts and lunches. There was a lovely relaxed, homely atmosphere despite it being a working farm and it was lovely to see the milking"
Rona Bassett - May 2014
"I was pleasantly surprised about the number of animals we were able to photo and also the variety within the farm itself. It was great to be able to go into the enclosures to take the photos rather from outside netting! The weather proved to be no problem due to the flexibility and variety on offer.
Karen Thomas - May 2014
"The close working relationship that Bob had with the Wild life centre was invaluable in making this such a good experience. I managed to see and photograph a wide range of mammals, improve my technique and had reasonable photographs to take away thanks to excellent tuition from Bob."
Hilary Spurrier - Oct 2013
"The course was first rate. It did what it set out to and exceeded my expectations. Thanks again for a great and productive weekend. Regards Dave "
Some of Dave's Photos from the workshop day
"Bob thanks for the weekend it was absolutely brilliant and far exceeded my expectations."
Mike Evans - July 2013
"Just a quick thank you on behalf of myself and Nigel for arranging the Devon weekend. We both agreed that it was the best photographic trip we'd been on. We both have a stack of great images of animals we would never get the chance, probably, to see in the wild. "
Some of Jim's Photos from the workshop day
"Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for the wonderful weekend in Devon – I really enjoyed it and feel I learned loads.
Val Saxby - May 2013
"My reasoning for doing the course was to have the chance to photograph animals that have evaded me despite spending many hours patiently waiting. The venue certainly fulfilled this. Having Bob on hand to give advice on technique and equipment was a big bonus. The Animal handler could not have been more helpful in trying to get the subjects to perform and her knowledge was very interesting. What more can I say it was a brilliant week end, perfect in every way. Cannot honestly see how it could be improved."
Phil Kemp
Some of Phil's Photos from the workshop day
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