Photographing birds of prey
At the end of may my wife and I joined a workshop photographing birds of prey. This workshop was organized in Gelselaar by Keimpe and Marleen of Valkerij Schaap. Besides fifteen participants, Andreas Hütten was present. He will organize this workshop with Valkerij Schaap for German photographers.
To prepare for this workshop, all participants received a pdf-file of around fourty pages. It explained the basics of photographing and which settings you can use on your camera to get the best results. Besides that some specific tips are given to photograph birds. A very nice feature, which especially helps the less experienced photographer.
It was a warm day: 30 degrees celcius, and the sun was shining in a cloudless sky. We started with coffee or tea on a terrace before setting off to a field surrounded by bushes. While the participants unpacked their camera’s, the birds of prey were placed ar various locations on the field. While we were photographing, we could ask all kinds of questions, and things were explained about falconry and the birds. There was plenty of time to make nice portraits and to play with things like depth of field.
After all the birds had been placed back in their sheltered cages, some of the birds were flown one at a time. The falconer started with the slower birds like the Bateleur and owls. This way the participants could get familiar with panning flying birds. Due to the warm weather each bird was not flying as long as usual. After the slow birds faster birds like the falcons appeared. The falcons were quite a challenge to photograph, due to their speed. The Gyrfalcon didn’t feel like chasing the lure at first and decided to fly around. When he returned after a couple of minutes, he chased the lure a couple of times before he could enjoy a nice bath. After the falcons the biggest attraction came: the Bald eagle. Big because it’s wingspan of over 1.80 meters was much larger then that of the other birds of prey. The participants had the opportunity to experience what it is like when the imposing eagle lands on your arm.
After the workshop there was a drink on the house and some time to chat. In all we had a fun and educational afternoon. You can learn a lot about falconry and birds of prey, and besides that you have the time to practice various photography techniques where in turn aperture settings or time settings are important for the best results.
As usual you can view a selections of my photo’s below.