It’s been a while since writing a new blog on the site, as we have been so busy establishing our new sister company for aerial photography (SkyBugs).  However, I wanted to share a new experience and photographs with you all.

I was recently given a present to attend a photography course to photograph Birds of Prey, which I was absolutely made up with.  “A photography course!?, but you already know how to take photos!”.  Well, I’m not so up myself to think I know everything and one area that I’ve longed to do is wildlife photography, especially birds of prey.  Everyday you pick your camera up you are learning, even when you think you know it.  There’s so much to explore, both in the features of your camera as well as the composition and techniques in executing the photography.

I’ve always longed to get that shot of a bird flying straight at me yet have sharp detail, pin sharp focus on the eyes and the colours of the birds feathers, which is often so difficult when most of the time they are flying against a white sky.  I normally always end up with slightly blurred, or a silhouette of the bird against the white sky.

So the course was with Jessops Academy, and I have to say I used to have a real mis-guided opinion of Jesseps thinking they were just a high-street store that were only in it to sell and make money not for the passion of the photography and the people who want to learn and improve it.  Maybe it did use to be like that I don’t know but I will eat my words on this now though, my recent experience of Jessops has been nothing but exceptional.  My nearest store is in Shrewsbury and have to say the staff there are superb and love their photography!  I have made a fair few purchases, repairs and received no end of advice.  So when I saw my gift of a course was with them too I was definitely looking forward to it.

This is part of the reason for sharing this, is to give Jessops Academy the praise they deserve.  The course was brilliant!  They certainly knew their stuff, and to be amongst people that so clearly had a talent and passion was such an enjoyable time.  Not only did our trainer Owen Clayton have a nice manner about him, and knew his cameras, he knew how to explain things clearly and understood that we all had different levels of knowledge/experience ourselves.  Never once did I feel patronised or embarrassed to ask anything.  We were all very much on different levels of our experience, some who were almost complete beginners, yet no one was held back or made to feel uneasy.  I really liked that.

The course was very practical, rather than being sat in a class, which was so great.  There was just enough education before heading out to photograph the birds that you felt you had the tools to pull of the shots you were after.  Then whilst actually taking the shots, the instructors including Phil Gould (a published wildlife expert & photographer himself) were always right by you to give guidance and answer questions so that you were literally improving your shots every minute.  So much of what I’ve learnt in the past has been self-taught through trial and error, and I believe that is still a good way to learn but these guys taught me why the settings chosen worked and other alternatives to achieving different style shots in the same situation.  To have their experience at your side was invaluable.  Right at the beginning of the day, they asked me what I wanted to get from the course, and I had described my ideal shot and they made it their mission to help me achieve it… and I did!

I can’t not mention Feather Perfect too.  A social enterprise company in Falconry, helping so many people in our community. They had the most amazing collection of birds, and you could see just how much love and care they had for them.  I could have simply stood there and looked at the birds and had just as much an amazing experience.  Hats off to a team of people that so clearly do a great job.

So I would like to dedicate my thanks and the following photos as a big thank you to both Jessops Academy and Feather Perfect – a great experience and I cannot recommend them enough.  It was a real pleasure to have met you all and I’m made up with my photos.  Top drawer!

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