“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Wildlife Photography Workshop at Haddo House

I've been browsing through my many folders of photographs when I realised that I never got to share with you my participating in a wildlife photography workshop at a Scottish National Trust property.
I remember visiting Haddo House many years ago, but unfortunately I was on a mission this time, so didn't get to revisit inside the house. 
That will have to be for another day. 
Pretty spectacular isn't it?
(The above and below photographs are courtesy of the Haddo House website. I stayed in the grounds of the property so didn't really get to see the house or get a chance to take my own photos of it. If you'd like to visit Haddo House to check out all what's happening and there's always something going on, it really is worth visiting or if you're interested in it's history then click here.
The house was originally designed in 1732 so there's a lot of history!
Anyway more about the house perhaps on another day...we're off to join the intrepid trackers for a photo shoot of wildlife and to explore the extensive gardens and country park. Did I mention that there's also a tearoom in the old stable block too? 
That was where the group of enthusiasts met one Sunday morning back in May. 
Our professional wildlife photographer and cameraman was the delightful Cain Scrimgeour, who has filmed wildlife around the world - from Botswana to Peru. 
(He's produced films for the RSPB, Northumberland National Park, English Heritage, The Natural History Society of Northumbria. He's also worked as a specialist camera operator for ITV’s Tales of Northumberland with Robson Green so he's got quite a pedigree) 

After an initial introduction over a cuppa aided by some of Cain's fantastic photography we stepped outside. 
Here's Cain sharing some of his story's and showing different hides for experiencing nature up close and personal. 
As you can see it was not only informative but also a relaxed enjoyable workshop.
The thumb belongs to one of the group who very enthusiastically volunteered to demonstrate one of the hides. 
I hasten to add that I was not in fatigues or camouflager gear but did pass the initial talk about what was appropriate clothing to wear to get the best out of the landscape and not frightening everything within a 10 mile radius of my camera. 
So let's begin...
Bluebells... ahhh
I got slightly carried away here (click, click, click) then realised that although I'd thought to buy a complete new memory card for my camera, which would have allowed me to take gazillion's of pictures, unfortunately I hadn't thought to buy an additional battery. 
Is that the cardinal sin for a photographer I wonder, because if it is I'm guilty but I did my penance by feeling extremely foolish and totally embarrassed. 
I can promise you it'll never happen again that's for sure. 
But in the meantime, it was only a red flashing warning light... I still had power and I wasn't afraid to use it! 

Surprisingly to me there are rules (which Cain kindly explained) to follow when trying to obtain that perfect shot and I was far from the mark, but when your model refuses to co-operate and time is of the essence, then click that'll have to do for now. 
I enjoyed what I did take and surprisingly was quite pleased with my results. 
I'd like to nip back early one morning because although it was quite quiet and the wildlife seems to be quite relaxed with everyone around, it would be better with less people. 
As in the bluebell wood, this wild garlic patch held us captive for quite some time. 
I have numerous photos with bee's and insects etc in various angles of activity, but none unfortunately that are in focus. I was playing with all the various switches and dials on my camera 
(I know I should know what the technical terms are for all these things, but that just highlights that I point and shoot without all the theory behind me and hope for the best) 
I really must go on another photography course to get to grips with all these delicate maneuvers and technical terms. 
All I know is that at this stage the red battery low light was flashing...argh! 
Which believe it or not is slightly distracting. 
I have a soft spot for pheasants and actually did meet one at the gatehouse on the way into Haddo House, so when I saw this building that in it's past was devoted purely to housing pheasants I couldn't resist to take a snap.

At this stage I wanted to crawl under a stone myself, but the very kind and generous Cain handed me his camera to use!

Can you believe it. 
He's a fantastic guy and truly generous with not only passing on his knowledge, tips and ideas but his equipment too. 
Hero of the day.
I felt like I was being handed the crown jewels. I was so nervous to really put it through it's paces, although it was good to have a tinker of another make of camera. 
I was hoping like riding a well schooled horse in a riding stables that knows the ropes, the camera would just take the most amazing shots because that's what it knows best... not having some novice man-handling it as in my case. 
You could almost hear it tut! 

But thankfully the day wasn't spoilt... even with my stupid error of not having an extra battery tucked away about my person. 
It was fantastic and so enjoyable that I can really recommend getting out there with a group of like minded people 
(it's amazing what little snippets and tips you can pick up along the way) 

As usual I'm enjoying capturing anything that takes my eye, trying to remember all that Cain said and will continue to hopefully see some good results.
If you'd like to visit Cain's blog here's the link
I'm hoping to perhaps set up a gallery in my sidebar to show all of my favourite photos taken on my camera. 
That is if I can work out how to do it Emoji
In the meantime here's just a few for now
The fine looking bullfinch below was photographed in my sisters garden but I'm thrilled to say we now have our own pair of bullfinches visiting our garden too.
I hope you'll continue to visit... the kettle's never far from boiling and if you're lucky there might even be some home baked cakes on offer too. 
Until next time have a great day and enjoy your local wildlife.


  1. Hi Neesie - What an amazing course. I have always admired your photography and even more so having seen your pick and click camera. What camera are you using these days, when you don't get away with the old "my batteries flat, can I use your super dooper multi million pound device' trick?!!!!! Ha Ha just kidding....
    Your photos are truly stunning :)
    Wren x

    1. Oh Wren...how could you? ;D
      You know me far too well, but I promise you that I never thought for one second that Cain would let me use his camera. Honestly. What a guy!
      Now are you sitting down for this next bit because I still have the camera that bounced and had to be stuck up with tape.
      Although I have been using my daughters Lumix G1 lately. All the photos above for instance, were taken with it. I'm still getting to know it but I'm not convinced it's for me...hence no decision on a new one.
      Thanks for your lovely comment and I hope that you have a stunning week too :D

  2. We love taking pictures of wildlife and surely would have enjoyed this course. :) Love your photos. We haven't taken any classes... we just wing it and figure it out as we go... Sometimes thats half the fun. :) Especially now that things are digital. :) Hugs! deb

    1. I wing it constantly too Deb, so I'm amazed as much as anyone that I actually achieve a picture at all ;D
      It was so much fun and chatting and listening to a professional was a real treat.
      I think the main thing is to have fun and to appreciate nature no matter whether you get 'that' shot or not.
      Have a great Sunday...enjoy! xoxo

  3. WOW Neesie! really, really enjoyed this post. Your telling of the days events had everything interest, knowledge, information, humour, technical info (well maybe switches and dials is stretching it a bit for technical info) lol but definitely humour and to my untrained eye a most wonderful set of photographs. I love bluebells and looking at your photo I could almost smell their distinct smell. Thank you for sharing what looked like a great day. Hugs Lottie x
    ps where has the fantastic picture of the garlic bulb vanished to, from your side bar ? loved that! x

    1. Oh Lottie thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I'm grinning from ear to ear although slightly pink ;D
      Do you know I have no idea where the garlic went. I never even notice it missing. Maybe it's gone on holiday? I was thinking about changing my sidebar so maybe I clicked on something without realising.
      I'll look into it. Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a great Sunday

  4. An amazing place to hold a photog class! Oh to be able to visit one day.... Your pics are divine, Neesie! I certainly enjoy watching the feathered wildlife around my yard. And had quite the surprise the other morning when I opened the front blinds....a hummer looking in at me! Shocked me and him as he just hovered for a bit then darted off. I think he likes my red throated hibiscus. :) Hugs

    1. Aww Nan...you're doing it again. You're making me blush with your wonderful compliments.
      You're hummingbird friend certainly has good taste! The red throated hibiscus is a stunning plant and can imagine it's nectar would be something special.
      I'll wait to see your photo of him hovering soon ;D

      Hugs to you and I hope you have a 'humdinger' of a week ahead (see what I did there ? hehe)

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Boo ;D
      Trying desperately to find some time to complete an SOC entry but it's not happening so far but I'll keep on it.
      Have a wonderful Sunday xoxo

  6. That sounds (and looks) like it was an exciting day. He was so sweet and generous to let you use his camera, too. You certainly got some great shots even with the red blinking light to distract you. ;)

    1. Wasn't he just Rita, he was so helpful and friendly. His mother would be proud ;D
      Oh please don't remind me about that red blinking light.
      I have nipped over to you and seen your precious newly delivered parcel...congratulations to you all and I'll nip back to read more soon.
      Enjoy xoxo

  7. What a beautiful place to visit! Sending you some warm hugs from sunny Florida! Hugs, Diane

    1. Oh thanks for the warm hugs Diane,
      I certainly felt them yesterday, although today we're having rather a showery day. It's still warm though, so I'll not complain.
      There are so many fantastic beautiful place to visit here especially the Scottish National Trust properties. They are just packed with history and incredible surroundings. There's something for everyone ;D
      Have a great Sunday whatever you have planned...enjoy and thanks for stopping by


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