Stilton the long-eared owl arrived at Silverband in summer 2016 as a fluffy chick, but by 2017 he'll be in his adult plumage, and a beautiful subject to photograph. We can't wait!
One day workshops cost £120 including lunch. Participants are limited to eight photographers per workshop, to ensure everyone gets excellent opportunities and advice. There are also two spaces per workshop for non-photographing companions, at a cost of £20 each (lunch included). We have to limit these spaces to two per workshop for logistical reasons, and they are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you want to bring someone with you, book early!
If you would like to book onto the workshop or have a question, please email us and we'll contact you to discuss details. Please be patient, as when we are photographing abroad we may be unable to check our email regularly. Booking requests will be dealt with strictly according to date of enquiry, so if we are a little slow in replying it won't affect your chance of booking.
Join us for a day photographing some of Britain's most charismatic birds of prey, in the beautiful and dramatic scenery of Cumbria's Eden Valley. We will be working with Silverband Falconry, winner of a Cumbrian Tourism Board award for excellence. Species include Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Snowy Owl, European Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Kestrel, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and more.
Exactly which species we work with on the day will depend on which birds are in peak condition. We've been running this course with Richard Cooper of Silverband for more than nine years, and he and his fellow handlers understand exactly what photographers are looking for and work very hard to ensure everyone gets superb photo opportunities.
Silverband falconry is set among tranquil and unspoilt farmland, at the foot of the North Pennines, yet only 15 minutes drive from the M6 (Penrith exit). With wildflower meadows, hay fields, dry stone walls, hedgerows and farm buildings all at hand, we have a wealth of natural settings to choose from. And it's just a few minutes drive up to the top of the dramatic fells, offering superb backdrops for birds such as eagle owl and peregrine.
We will meet at 9.30am at Silverband for coffee and a quick briefing. Depending on the weather, we will spend the morning photographing on the moors and the afternoon in natural settings around the centre, or vice versa. We will mostly photograph in two small groups, each working with Ann or Steve and a professional falconer. This will ensure that everyone has the best possible access to photo opportunities and plenty of time to seek individual help and advice if you need it. Our first photo session will last from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm, when we will break for a light lunch. During lunch you will have plenty of opportunity to ask the falconers about the birds, and to pick our brains about photography. Photography resumes at 1.30, and we will aim to finish at around 4pm. Exact times may vary a little, depending on weather conditions.
Whether you are an experienced enthusiast or a relative beginner, you should get great shots and lots of practical help from this workshop, with plenty of opportunity for one-to-one advice from Ann and Steve. The emphasis is on a fun, relaxed day, with great photo opportunities. The workshop will be best suited for 35mm SLR users, though there is nothing to stop you bringing a larger format or panoramic camera if you wish. Working with controlled birds it will be possible to get very close, and you can capture some dynamic shots with a wide angle lens. For most portraits, lenses in the region of 70mm to 200mm will give you a comfortable working distance and natural perspective. A focal length of around 200mm to 300mm will be useful for flight shots. You don't need to be super-fit, as there is only a little walking involved.