Wildlife Photography Workshop in Order to Photograph the Red Deer’s Rut in Charente-Maritime – September 2018
The red deer’s rut of the September of 2018 will remain engraved within our memories. The excessive heat (more than 30 degrees Celsius during the day, or 86 degrees Fahrenheit) delayed the deer’s rut. The lack of water in Charente-Maritime (more than two months without rain) did not permit the ferns or the trees to develop themselves correctly during the summer.
Nevertheless, all 6 photographers were successful in realizing some very beautiful photographs including red deer and wild boars. These exceptional weather conditions did not hinder their enthusiasm or obstinacy in creating beautiful photographs in a realm of nature which remains above all else exceptionally beautiful and unique.
The participants to the wildlife photo workshop dedicated to the rut of the red deer in France in 2018 : Annik, Jean-Philippe, Pierre, James, Dominique and Pascale.
The Heat Perturbed the Deer’s Rut
Charente-Maritime did not escape the phenomenon which has impacted every region of France where the deer’s rut can be photographed. The elevated and abnormal temperatures did not allow the doe to go into heat. The bucks did not get excited. They did not experience the habitual increase and rise in testosterone. The deer’s rut was more discrete than those preceding years in Haute-Saintonge.
Each and every morning, we placed a photographer in a strategic position for their stakeout. It’s just about the only moment in time where the deer come out of the forest in order to rut a bit and feed themselves. Next, as the temperatures would rise, sometimes even reaching some 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), the bucks and does would return back into the forest in search of both coolness and shade. They would but reemerge at around 1800 hours (6 p.m.) as the temperatures descended with the approach of night.
When the bucks aren’t crying out, it is difficult to locate them. In addition, the locations of the event in question have changed. We’ve had to go over our entire strategy once again as well as focus on the usual locations where we’ve tended to position our blinds and plan our stakeouts.
Despite these issues, the photographers were able to adapt to these unusual conditions in order to create beautiful wildlife photographs with very beautiful decors.
An Autumn Abundant with Wild Boars
Another strange phenomenon from this year of 2018 concerns the abundance of wild boars and especially their young piglets.
Normally, when the deer’s rut begins, the wild boars hide themselves amongst the neighboring forests and undergrowths. As to be expected, throughout this period bucks become violent and do not hesitate to lash out and throw passing kicks, hits and glances to the woods around them. The wild boars whom usually inhabit these parts prefer to from thereon stick to the said undergrowths, there where the trees act as a sort of barrier to the deer by bothering them and getting in their way.
Yet Autumn is also the season of acorns and chestnuts. Wild boars love to feast upon these by eating those having fallen down unto the forest floors.
Yet this year of 2018 during which everything is strange, the wild boars were quite many in number to roam back out into the open prairies so as to dig up wads and packs of dirt in search of earthworms and other large insects.
The most extraordinary part of all this however was the sheer mass proliferation of very young wild boar piglets whom still sported their spots and stripes. Truth be told, the year of 2017 was abundant with food. Certain young sows grew fat quite late within the mating season as nuts were abundant. They gave birth to piglets even later down the line. It is for this reason that we observed so many young wild boar piglets.
In the Field from the First Day
The rendezvous point was preordained as a group in Charente-Maritime just before noon to meet up and prepare ourselves a hearty lunch in the typical and local flavor of cuisine. It was undoubtedly the occasion for us to better get to know each other and present our plans for this photography workshop.
Once each individual had had their rooms and bunking arrangements worked out, we set off in a Land Rover in a reconnaissance mission of some 800 hectares (~1977 acres) of forests, undergrowths, woods, ponds and prairies that would, for the following six days, serve as our photographic playing field. Each participant was equipped with a map to inform them of the various pedestrian roads and tracks, the important locations marked so as to provide orientation at their discretion.
At around 5 p.m., once the sun had started to fall slowly back down towards the horizon, it was time to put things into motion. We divided up our sandbox into large geographic zones, with each of these said divisions encompassing some 150 hectares (~370 000 acres) to themselves.
For this first outing and day, we take two of the participants for a unique and specialized training session. This act repeats itself every day of the workshop’s duration. The photography trip begins in earnest. The rendezvous time is set for dinner at 8:30 p.m.
An Organization Based Around Patrols
This year we changed things up a little regarding the workshop’s organization.
Usually, we drop off photographers in different zones in order for them to do their stakeouts. Following that, they can then wander and hunt at their leisure should the animals be lying low or making themselves scarce at the time.
Near the end of each photo session which lasts around 4 hours, each intern would then have to reach a rally point in order to be picked up via a 4x4. It was simpler as none of us otherwise knew where the others had gone. The region is vast, so not always accessible by car. Yet this technique was tiring for the photographers and took away from some of the time that could have otherwise been spent on continued observation and photography.
This year, each intern would send us an SMS (text message) to indicate their exact position and we would come and pick them up no matter where they were. The interns appreciated it as they could now make best use of the available lighting all the way ‘till each session’s end.
Days Organized and Split Between Image Captures & Photo Analyses
Every day followed the same ritual. A filling breakfast is expected at 5:30 a.m. every morning. The departure time, either on foot or by Land Rover, is previewed by 6 a.m. Certain areas are rather far off from the house. The most effective method we could come up with was to drop off the photographers at predetermined locations to have them endure unnecessary two-hour long walks. Next, they would either set up shop with their blinds or continue on walking and attempt an approach by stealth.
Every session we accompany a lone photographer to teach him new techniques and their section’s terrain and topography. In reality, the ability to achieve good images and wildlife photographs necessitates an almost perfect knowledge of the surrounding environment in question. We show them the locations of the most favored ponds for animal bathing, mud baths for wild boars, bushes for bucks and brambles in whence roe deer find shelter. Only the day’s chosen photographer has a camera. We bring only our pair of binoculars. We have not come along to take photos but to teach how to take them.
The time of return in the morning is set at 11 a.m. at the latest. We from thereon engage in a quick image review so as to ascertain our progress, answer questions and offer suggestions and ideas in order to improve the next batch of images. Throughout this stay, every participant has presented us with some five images daily.
From a technical standpoint, as the photographers’ level of expertise was elevated, we chose to broach the subject of artistic animal and wildlife photography. These somewhat new concepts have encountered great success among the participants. This proves yet again our profound interest and trust in our ACAPN method to realize photos based on nature.
Following a very hefty and very rich lunch as the physical expenditures are intense, comes the so eagerly awaited midday nap for rest and recuperation.
At around 3 p.m., we meet up once more within the auditorium for an informational expose. Wildlife and animal photography require specific settings and adjustments in terms of software. Every day, we have developed new subjects so as to approach subjects including trimming, the reduction of noise pollution, all the whilst broaching issues such as pixel quality and image definition. All forms of technical subjects are taken into account, even the exporting of photos with added watermarks.
Testimonies of the Trip of September 2018
This year of 2018 really isn’t a good year for the deer’s rut. The deer didn’t cry out all that much. It doesn’t have the same amount of energy or activity as the previous years did. It’s too hot. The lighting is present, but the vegetation is not a beautiful as it usually is. However, there is always something with which to occupy oneself. The animals are very skittish as they cry out less often. When deer rut, they pay less attention to us. This year isn’t an easy one as the herds are spread out all over the place. You’ve got to search through a lot of forest.
I didn’t capture as many snapshots and images as usual, but I think I realized some excellent ones. Notably, I realized one whilst in a blind one morning. There’s a pond in the background. The lighting is beautiful. There are gorse bushes in the foreground. It’s the kind of photo you know will pan out well when you press the trigger. It’s a superbly satisfying type of sensation.
The ambiance this year, once again, was truly sympathetic. We had a riot of laughter.
Concerning the organization, the fact that this year you come and pick us up at a location of our choice is a real boon. I’m all for it to the max. I think it’s superb. The act of sending you an SMS (text message) to tell you where we are, avoiding having to walk back towards a rally point, this saves time. We can stick around longer to conduct actual photography.
It’s really comfortable. For example, at the end of the day accompanied by some beautiful lighting conditions we can stick around longer.
I’ll keep in mind that this year there were a lot of young wild boar piglets. They’re still wearing their ‘pajamas’. They come up real close to the blinds. It’s incredible. I had a feast concerning the wild boars.
Despite the somewhat difficult conditions in this year of 2018 due to the excessive heat and that the deer’s rut was only just beginning, this workshop went along smoothly. I realized some very beautiful photos.
This year as opposed to the last, it was difficult locating the deer as we couldn’t hear them. Yet in the end it was a real challenge as we needed to find them. Despite these very peculiar conditions, I am very happy.
This year, you accentuated your artistic approach in terms of the wildlife amongst your exposes. I adored it. I’m completely convinced. However, it is not an easy thing to apply while out on the field. Yet I also learned that I needed to apply this creative aspect during the development of my images. With every workshop I participate in along with yourself, my level of expertise increases a notch. I really appreciated your method for defining each individual’s artistic profile.
This year, I found that the deer were even more powerful than they were last year. They seemed bigger, taller, larger. I photographed an enormous number of does but especially wild boar piglets. We can find them everywhere. I happened to find myself nose to snout with some piglets on the various small forest paths.
The ambiance throughout this workshop was the best that I’d ever known. Is it because I was more receptive? We laughed a lot. Everyone had their own style. It was enriching.
This year, I found the fact that you could come and pick us up at the location of our choice to be more practical. We didn’t have to come to a rally point. Once on the terrain, we focus on nothing but our photographs. That’s all. It’s superb. At most we walk some 50 meters and you come back to pick us up. It’s complete and total liberty and freedom.
If I had to conserve a nice moment from this workshop it would be from yesterday afternoon. First of all, you helped me find a nice spotting location. It’s not always evident as you have to know how to handle the lighting and the wind. Finally, we succeeded in photographing the deer. The preceding day I’d taken only 3 photos. Yesterday I shot an enormous number of pictures. It was awesome.
This year was bizarre due to the excessive heat. The herds did not completely form themselves. I saw for example a herd composed of three bucks and some fifty or so does. The bucks tolerated each other. It’s not normal. The rut has begun but it’s rather timid. This year it’s really difficult. It’s too hot. In France’s Vercors Mountains there’s the same problem.
Despite these peculiar conditions, the rut in the region of Charente-Maritime is superb. The decors are magnificent. Yet I have not yet accomplished those photographs that I wanted to create.
I came to Haute-Saintonge for the birth of the fawns during the summer. I awaited the fall season with impatience. Yet it has not yet begun. The colors are not yet present. The lack of water renders the present colors strange. Really a bizarre year.
Your technical exposes on artistic wildlife photography were very interesting. They opened new doors for me. I’ve begun to reflect upon my approach in terms of a professional photographer. I will put into practice everything which you explained to us. Yet on this type of terrain it’s difficult. But I’ll hold on. My job has changed. Your technical exposes are a real plus. Without them, we’d be doing basic, normal photos.
The ambiance as is the habit was excellent. We had a good laugh. The photographers are perfect.
The organization surrounding this rut of the deer was perfect as usual. Everything is going well. We let ourselves get carried away. We focus on nothing but our photos.
If I had to preserve a good memory from this week, it would be that of Monday’s afternoon. I had the chance at 1800 hours or 6 p.m. to see a buck cry out some 6 meters (~20 feet) ahead of me. The observation was exceptional. Yet the week’s ambiance was great as well.
I am delighted by having participated in this workshop. I am someone who’s really connected and plugged in. I spend a lot of my time on the internet. I’d discovered your workshops. I told myself that by coming along with yourself, I’d certainly be able to concentrate uniquely on the deer’s rut. I’d read the previous photographers’ comments and testimonies. I came with complete confidence. It also happens that among my acquaintances, I knew someone who’d been along on one of your workshops.
My general impressions of this workshop are very good. The welcoming was sympathetic. The cadre of people were enchanting. The house which you rent was very nice. The beds are comfortable. It’s very important. During this workshop, we spend a lot of time in the field. It’s important that everything be comfortable.
By coming on this workshop centered around the deer’s rut, I wanted to see some deer. I’m from Alsace. Encounters with deer are not guaranteed. I also wanted some nice decors. Here the oaks and gorse bushes are magnificent. I would have liked photographing the deer whilst they were in water. It will be difficult to do during this workshop. This workshop answered all of my wishes. There was always something to photograph.
The ambiance during this workshop was very nice. I wanted to encounter new photographers to discuss technique. The participants mingled amicably and got along well.
The organization is very good. I find you very close to your photographers. You’re a really cool person, chill too. Being with you is a fun experience.
If I had to preserve a good memory from this week, it would be your exposes pertaining to artistic photography. I really appreciated them. I learned that a photographer must make use of his feelings and being when creating his images. It’s very important to me.
The deer’s rut is a bit of a break during the year. It’s a beautiful break as the forest is magnificent. The animals are beautiful. It really is an occasion to realize beautiful photos.
I’ve already come along with you multiple times on your workshops. This year was particular. The weather is magnificent with copious sunlight and lots of heat. We don’t hear the bucks crying out. It’s too hot. I didn’t realize that many photos. But that’s okay as I’d also come along for the ambiance, for the forest, the stay and the friends.
Your workshops are very open and accepting. Ideally, they would also be for creating nice photos. This year, there will be fewer but very beautiful.
The ambiance this year was perfect. I’d known only one photographer. Everyone was very friendly.
This year with your patrolling system where you come pick us up from our stakeout positions was practical. When we’re dropped off rather deep within the forest, we can stay there without having to come back towards a rally point. This avoids us having to sometimes walk several kilometers or miles.
If I had to conserve a nice memory from this workshop centered around the deer’s rut, it would be that of a small red fox who came to see me as I was doing a stakeout in a ditch. He passed by and in front of me by some 10 meters (~33 feet). As I wasn’t moving, he didn’t get scared. Thereafter, a wild boar passed by running. When using blinds, the advantage is that the animals can come rather close without getting scared.
Due to conditions pertaining to the weather, I have not yet been able to photograph a deer rutting (even if I could hear them doing so). On the other hand, however, I did witness, and photograph bucks locked in combat. The workshop was very welcoming and friendly. We all ate to our hearts’ contents. The ambiance was excellent.
I came here to Haute-Saintonge as in this region the animals are free and very easily spooked. It’s difficult to get to them up close and personal. We must always pay attention to the lighting, to the direction of the wind. Yet thanks to you, you point out those spots where it’s best to carry out our stakeouts and use the blinds. You permit and allow us to realize the best snapshots possible. Here in Haute-Saintonge, we have no choice and are obligated to use blinds in order to realize photos. To me, personally, it makes up 70% of what is necessary to successfully create good photographs. It’s a given and certain that you’ve got to be patient as you don’t know if an animal will pass by. There’re always some surprises. Yet this warms my heart. The ambiance was incredible. We had a lot of laughs. We got along well. There was a lot of sharing between the photographers. The organization with the big house all to ourselves and the fact that you have a Land Rover to accompany us on the field, it’s perfect. With your system of patrol, this avoids us having to walk too much. The biggest advantage is that you drop us off at our blinds and stakeout positions and that you come and pick us back up again later. The meals were excellent. The rooms were magnificent. I wasn’t aware of Haute-Saintonge. The landscapes are savage, pristine and all natural. There are a lot of bocages. There are many forests. It’s the ideal place to practice wildlife and animal-based photography. If I had to conserve a nice memory from this workshop it would be the fight between the bucks from this morning. I am very happy
Landscape and Wildlife Photography Workshop at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks In USA In The August Of 2018
The 11th of August 2018, five photographers experience for 13 days an exceptional photographic adventure by going to photograph the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in the United States of America’s State of Wyoming. On the menu, fabulous landscapes immortalized by Ansel Adams and a grand diversity of animals and wildlife, the famous bison naturally included.
Participants in the photo workshop in Yellowstone in August 2018: Patrick, Pascale, Philippe, Josiane and Daniel.
Yellowstone – A Myth to Nature’s Photographers
Yellowstone, with its herds of bison and its geysers, is certainly one of those places most known about in the United States. This natural park can only be invoked by superlatives. Its surface area is greater than the entire French island of Corsica. It is the second largest National Park within the United States. It possesses more than two thirds of the planet’s geysers, including the infamous “Old Faithful”, the second most important in the world following Island’s Strokkur. Inhabiting its lands are herds of bison, black bears, grizzlies, coyotes, wolves, moose, deer and elks. It’s also one of the last intact ecosystems among the temperate climate zones.
Yellowstone is crisscrossed by rivers, possesses numerous waterfalls, rapids and lakes. The alternating landscapes of immense prairies and forest are among the most beautiful that we know of.
Every participant in the workshop had previously had the occasion to watch numerous television documentaries which had Yellowstone as their primary subject. One of our photographers had been dreaming of visiting this area for some more than 15 years. His wish was granted above and beyond his expectation.
Imaging Yellowstone is difficult as the park is simply immense. The roads and hiking footpaths are numerous. When you’re unfamiliar with the park, you’re not exactly certain as to how to approach it. For years, we’ve been capturing on camera its most isolated corners. During this excursion, we guided the photographers towards the best places to realize interesting snapshots.
The first photographs of the morning have always been made very early on Yellowstone’s lake. It offers photographers extraordinary spectacles. The very early morning wakeup call while difficult was rewarded in a beautiful manner. The lingering fatigue is quickly forgotten for all those whom accepted to get up so terribly early. The early morn’s fog which hovers just above the lake due to the former night’s very low temperatures produce unreal and magical effects. Once the sun begins to pierce the veil of night and said cottonseed blanket, the lighting becomes extraordinary. No dawn was identical to the last. Each day was a veritable surprise.
Once the photos of the sunrise upon the lake were concluded, we would rapidly direct ourselves towards the volcanic fumaroles in order to seize in time the kaleidoscope of lights playing across Yellowstone River and through the jets of smoke and steam. These are photos whom are difficult to make into reality, yet the early morning hours are ideal for creating unreal and interesting snapshots.
From thereon, each day, we would fetch ourselves a large breakfast in the first of our hotels which sheltered us whilst in Yellowstone.
As the park is immense, we choose to explore it in two steps. The first permitted for the discovery and exploration of the Eastern portion. It is constituted by immense prairies where large herds of bison pass by. The geysers and fumaroles are many in number but less so that in the park’s Western portion which acted as the second piece of the trip within the region.
During this stay at Yellowstone, the workshop’s interns observed and photographed bison by the thousands. We must recognize that this has been the first year where we’ve personally seen so many. In the preceding years we’d always seen them number in the hundreds, which was already a lot yet here the herds were simply remarkable in their quantity.
For us, it was enchanting to discover the photographers observe them for the first time. The bison are legendary animals as they have been immortalized by numerous cowboy films. Everybody knows who and what they are. Everyone can recognize them. Yet precious few people have seen them in real life. Seeing their eyes sparkle as the first large males raunchily cry out made for a multitude of small magical moments. The males are searching for females in order to mate. It’s the time of combat and rolling in the dust so as to showcase their power. The photos realized are magnificent.
Yellowstone had fulfilled each one of its promises whether it be in the Eastern portion or the Western portion. Every participant within the workshop realized some extraordinary photographs. As some have already confided in us, these were better than they every hoped to accomplish. They’d never imagined that such works turn out as beautiful as they did.
Grand Teton – Retracing Ansel Adam’s Footsteps
Grand Teton is an immense National Park situated to the south of Yellowstone. It is known worldwide due to the photographs of Ansel Adams who immortalized the mountain in question along with the Snake River.
The park owes its name to a very tall mountain which is covered in glaciers. Our goal for this portion of the voyage was to photograph the highest peaks of the mountain chain which bifurcates the park.
The first big surprise was the blue hour. The Grand Teton offers mornings where the blue hour is of a rare intensity. Also, it is crisscrossed with rivers which allow for the realization of artistic photos containing magnificent water-based reflections. The price to pay is the requirement of getting up very early yet the effects upon the photographers is guaranteed. This photography workshop did not change this rule. The images realized were each one more beautiful and profound than the last.
As one of the participants underlined quite profoundly: Photographing the Grand Teton is no easy task. It is true that one must know the good staging points by heart and memories those hours were taken landscape shots will be at their best. But it is our job to bring along our extensive knowledge and knowhow to the field. Once the photographers understood how exactly to photograph this great and jagged mountain chain, everything turned out perfect.
In Grand Teton, everything revolves around the mountains. Yet the staging points are so numerous and diverse that it takes at least 4 days to do everything. The interns also had the opportunity to photograph a herd of bison whom accepted to play along for the game called photography.
The interns also traversed a lake by boat in order to photograph the lone waterfall within the park. It is immense, and the spectacle is truly worth the trip to get there. The reward for this intense moment is a hike amongst the forests on sinuous paths on the edge of the Grand Teton itself. We could not dream or hope for better to approach it so closely.
The Icing on The Cake and The Cherry On Top: An Island on The Great Salt Lake
To conclude this workshop dedicated to the State of Wyoming, we decided to offer the participants yet another discovery of Antelope Island. It is an island situated on the Great Salt Lake some several kilometers away from the immense agglomeration of Salt Lake City, Utah.
This island holds the particularity of housing thousands of birds as the salty waters withhold a treasure: Insect larvae of which said aerial fauna is quite fond of. In addition, the island serves as home to a herd of some 700 bison. It is a strange twist of nature as they are prisoners of this place, yet such a case also serves as a great boon towards the creative potential of photographers. Furthermore, we had the right to experience a terrible thunderstorm with many deep black colored clouds who worked to wonderous effects on the captured snapshots.
A Voyage Out of Time for A Group Passionate for Nature
This out of season trip permitted a group of nature passionate photographers to realize several dreams: Photographing Yellowstone and the Grand Teton. The ambiance was particularly welcoming and always placed under the banner of exchange and friendship.
We have done all that we can to communicate our passion for not only these magnificent landscapes but also our adoptive country. Once again, the gathered impression holds that we succeeded in this bet that we hold onto so close to our hearts.
It is a certainty that 13 days is insufficient to apprehend and discover these wide-open spaces of nature where we uncovered to meaning of the words liberty and freedom. Yet we hope that we will once more see Josiane, Pascale, Philippe, Patrick and Daniel for a following voyage to the land where their dreams came true.
Testimonies of the Participants
My general impression about this trip throughout the State of Wyoming between the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks was breathtaking. This voyage showed me nature in all its wilderness, all its purity. All these vast open spaces are protected. I adored it.
By participating in this outing, I wanted to photograph the landscapes and the wildlife. I wanted to discover.
To me personally, now Yellowstone represents the wide-open space, an untouched nature, bordering on virgin. It’s been adapted to human visitation but in an ecological manner.
Grand Teton is from now on the blue hour in my mind. It’s the first discovery on this grand voyage. Nature there is less uncut.
When I first witnessed the bison in Yellowstone’s Haydn Valley, it was just like being a kid all over again. I was deeply moved to observe these wild and prehistoric animals in their natural habitat. To gain access to them in the way you took us was an incredible opportunity.
Within the volcanic portion of Yellowstone, my photography was greatly inspired. I discovered graphics. Up until now I’d little envisioned photography which such theme. Yet I was inspired by the forms, the colors, the motifs. They geysers, the fumaroles were magnificent. We were right at the center of the jets. It was beautiful.
Yesterday, the day spent on that paradisiac island was astonishing. We were close to Salt Lake City. It’s practically impossible to imagine this island with all its wilderness and wide-open spaces to close to such a heavily populated area. The number of birds was impressive.
This trip was awesome as we made only three stops. We were able to get to know our surroundings. We were less tired. Ending with this island was a great idea. I’d unplugged so profoundly that this day allowed me to reconnect with the outside world.
If I had to preserve into memory a strong moment from this voyage, it would be the bison. I would’ve never imagined getting so close to them and taking such beautiful images.
I’m not exactly certain as to whether I’ll be able to find the correct moments to express what I fell. It was all just so woah!
I didn’t see the days go by. It was a fantastic trip. The landscapes I bore witness to left me breathless. We’re right in front of them. We’re not sure as to how to capture them on camera. It was magnificent.
Now that I’ve seen the Yellowstone’s and Grand Teton’s landscapes in the flesh with my own two eyes, I’d like to say that they’re grandiose. I’d already felt this sort of impression back when you’d brought us to the Grand Canyon out west. Yet here I’m even more surprised just by the sheer enormity of the landscapes here.
In coming on this voyage, I await the colors present within mountainous regions. It’s within Yellowstone’s second portion that I saw them. The documentary I’d seen on the television doesn’t correspond to at all the reality of what I witnessed.
What surprised me the most was at Grand Teton was still the simply scope of its immensity. We had some exceptional lighting conditions; the reflections present across the various bodies of water were amazing. The sunrises were breathtaking. Everything was superb.
For me Yellowstone, it’s the colors. It’s the only appropriate word I can find to describe it. There were bison everywhere. It was superb. We stood at the center of their lives. It was incredible.
The organization was excellent. Spending several nights at the same place was less tiring. This year once again I learned several things on how to use my camera, my filters and my lenses.
The last day on the island not far from Salt Lake City was very nice. We went from the calm of nature back to the city. It was a beautiful transition.
If I had to hold onto a grand moment from this trip it would be Grand Prismatic Spring back in Yellowstone. I adored the colors, the landscapes. Yet more importantly I cherished all of the moments we’d shared between ourselves. It was amazing.
This photography workshop at Grand Teton and Yellowstone was exceptional. I’d even go so far as to say, ‘like usual’. I’ve discovered something new.
Yet the most important aspect was that I’ve rediscovered myself as a photographer. I’ve past through many countries globetrotting across the world due to my employment as a photographer but this time things were completely different. The feeling of emotion of very powerful from the beginning all the way to the end.
Sometimes it was difficult to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning, but the photos were so exceptional that our fatigue made itself scarce. The intensity and the beauty of the landscapes along with the blueish or reddish lighting schemes were incredible. Even though I worked only in greyscale I adored these ambiances.
It’s perhaps one of my most beautiful trips. I’m sincere as I say this. When I look at my images and I develop some of them, I felt like I was farther off than usual. I discovered something else.
I’d enjoyed the voyage you’d organized for us in the States of Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Yet this one is on an altogether different level and dimension. I was more sensible place in front of the power of these landscapes. It’s a bit and difficult to explain. It’s more emotional. It’s unique in the world. For example, Grand Teton, you must own it. It doesn’t give itself away as easily as Yellowstone does. Yet we understood how, it’s defined by carefulness, sensibility. It’s all great poetry.
Yellowstone, on the other hand that’s whouah! It’s huge. I saw bison by the thousands. We were next to them. The volcanic potholes and geysers, that was woah! There I made an extraordinary snapshot. It’s the most memorable and incredible image I made. I’ve lived through many such experiences.
The organization was very nice with multiple nights spent at the same place. It wasn’t tiresome. It was comfortable. I was able to make up for those early morning outings, catch up on some lost sleep. But I understand why you made us get up a 4 in the morning as 15 minutes before dawn, it’s exceptional. If we hadn’t done as such, we would have missed it all. It’s fabulous.
Now, I’ve got a totally different impression about Americans. They are charming, agreeable, open. They were always trying to satisfy us. Me, I’m a fan of the United States. I await your next trip to this country, but the bar is already set so high I wonder how you’ll be able to do that and beat it.
We’d already traveled with you to the Grand Canyon in the western portion of the United States of America. Already it’d been magnificent as well as gigantic. This time, it’s even more impressive and quite different. We saw colors, magnificent landscapes. It’s a moment with weight.
Yellowstone is the continuity of our childhood with its large American landscapes, wide-open spaces and bison. Now that I’ve photographed this region, I find myself yet further confronted by my desire to protect the environment and its resident animals and wildlife in general. I find myself deeply attached to wildlife and humans have done so much damage to Earth that I think that they must be even further protected as we’ve seen throughout this trip.
What surprised me was how the Americans protect nature by establishing structures catering to visitors and protecting the landscape all the whilst touring within. It’s incredible.
To me, Yellowstone represents enormous landscapes, liberty, sunlight, silence, homesickness and colors.
When I witnessed my first herd of bison, I was a bit scared. We realize that when we don’t bother them, they graze and sleep tranquilly. You can observe it from up close and capture some fine images.
Grand Teton, in my eyes, is the blue hour I’d never known. There were some grand moments. I burned into memory the little 45-minute outing which was quite fun. It’s again quite different. It’s another facet of wide-open spaces. I’d live within them quite happily.
This voyage in three unique steps was very good. This allows one to rest, to integrate themselves within the landscapes.
The last day on the island no far from Salt Lake City was fabulous. We were a bit tired. Yet we discovered an untouched and savage island, protected. It was a paradise.
If I had to preserve an important moment from this workshop, it would be the bison. Life amongst the herd across the Great Plains. We get the impression that they’ve always been there. It was beautiful.
My general impressions about this photography workshop are positive. The ambiance was excellent. The trip was agreeable. The landscapes were a thing of beauty. We had excellent weather.
I participated within this workshop to discover two of Earth’s most major landmarks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone. This had been some fifteen years since I’d first planned on coming. I wanted to take some interesting photos. I’d already seen several shows about Yellowstone. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do but I didn’t know exactly how as I was unfamiliar with the terrain. I was already aware that there was wildlife.
My expectations were met. I found anew the landscapes that I’d seen on television. In addition, I was well aware of the island. I rediscovered the volcanic cityscape that I’d previously seen back in Northern Europe.
For me, Grand Teton is part of the highlands. They are mountainous landscapes. Yellowstone, it’s more volcanic, apocalyptic and its geography marks the end of the world.
Within Yellowstone, I uncovered landscapes, most notably further up north, to which I was not ready for at all. Within these regions, the landscapes we more peaceful. It was tranquil.
The ambiance throughout the trip was very good. Our getting along was excellent. The cohesion went very well.
The organization was without issue. I’d heard of you before. I knew what expectations to hold myself to. Everything occurred as was planned. There were some out of left fields tied to nature’s and the weather’s unpredictability. There’s nothing to be done. Everything happened as I expected it to.
If I had to conserve a nice moment, it’s difficult as there were many. That which comes to mind is the one at the base of the Grand Teton. Were at the edge of Snake River at sunrise. It was a peaceful moment, bathed with emotion. It was nice, restful. I had this impression of serenity and plentitude.
I enjoyed spending several nights in the same places. We can immerse ourselves within these areas. We can dive as deep as we desire into the photography.
Wildlife Photography Workshop to Photograph Fawns, Wild Boars and Bucks, July 2018
Six Participants to Photograph Fawns, Red Deer and Wild Boars
In the July of 2018, we reunited six wildlife photographers within the Charente - Maritime region. The goal of this photography workshop was to capture on camera not only both baby fawns and red deer, but also roe deer.
Truth be told, the female deer did little to make their presence known throughout these months of June and July. As to the roe deer, they, however, tend to be born during the month of June. Throughout these six days, the interns amongst this workshop were able to fully appreciate a vibrant and explosively growing return of nature.
The fine weather and beautiful lights of the Charente - Maritime region allows them to photograph these animals under the best of circumstances.
Participants of the wildlife photo workshop in Charente-Maritime in July 2018: Jean-Pierre, Nelly, Germain, Christiane, Guy and Yves.
A Year Rich with Fawns and Young Wild Boars
This year of 2018 will have been marked by numerous fawns and roe deer both observed and photographed. In reality, the precedent year of 2017 was made memorable by its rather notably rainfall prone time period at the time of the deer’s rut. The prairies were rich with food. The oaks and chestnut trees were abundant with fruit. The animals could gorge themselves at their own leisure. The females were quite fertile.
During the workshop, it was not uncommon to see six or 7 fawns per herd of deer. It was really quite rare. Also, we were able to observe some gatherings of 8 to 9 young wild boars per wild sow.
Right in the Field, From the First Day
The rendezvous was fixed within the Charente-Maritime region by morning’s end by the group in order as for us to all be together and enjoy a hefty and traditionally regional afternoon meal. It was more importantly the perfect occasion to better get to know one another and to map out the photography workshop’s overall structure.
Once the rooms had been assigned, we left by way of Land Rover on a reconnaissance mission covering some 800 hectares of forests, undergrowth, ponds and parries that would from thereon serve as our hunting grounds for the ensuing six days. Each intern was equipped with their own personal map so as to be able to locate the paths, those key location and the spots to orient themselves at their own discretion.
At some time around five in the afternoon, once the sun had started to slowly set over the horizon, it was time to get everything in order. We dividend up the area between ourselves in a facsimile approximation of a geographically based game of Risk. Each zone had an aura of some 150 hectares of surface area.
For this very first day, we took two lucky participants with us for a personalized training session. We proceed as such henceforth every day after as well. The meeting up time is set for dinner at nine at night.
A Somewhat Capricious Weather
The weather was somewhat capricious this year with quite a lot of wind and even a storm which forced us to abandon one of our photo ops. Finally, we organized an afternoon focused around the learning and usage of the Photoshop and Lightroom programs and software’s.
A Wildlife Photography Workshop under the Sign of Creativity
For this workshop, we made the choice of creative photography with many technical presentations having as subjects Photoshop and Lightroom. We discussed the use of filters to improve photos.
Days Organized Between Framing & Photo Analysis
Every day announces the same ritual. A hefty breakfast is prepared by five thirty every morning. The starting line begins either on foot or by Land Rover by six in the same morning. Certain zones are some rather quite ways away from the origin point that is the house. The most efficient way we’ve discovered to deposit each individual photographer is by letting them off at precise points so that they do not tire themselves with redundant and tiresome walks of some two hours or longer. Then, they choose whether to go by floating blind or to walk in order to make their close-up shots.
We accompany a photographer at each outing in order to properly explain to him the photographic techniques and the topology of the terrain. As it turns out, the creation of a beautiful wildlife photography image captures relies upon a perfect understanding of the surrounding and encompassing terrain. We show them where are the best ponds to bathe in with relation to wildlife, the best clearings for finding deer and the best bramble to locate roe deer. The intern is the only person with a camera. We bring naught but our pair of spyglasses. We have not come along to take photos but to explain how to take them.
The morning return is established to be eleven hours later or more. We then engage in a review of the photos taken so as to establish a ladder of progress, respond to any questions or suggestions there might be and propose ideas on how to improve upon the now previous photographs. Throughout this trip, each participant would should us around five images per day, typically speaking.
From a technical standpoint, we touched upon the usage of camera settings, how and where to place tripods, composition, framing, the usage and handling of various fields of depth, the choice of apertures, sensitivity and speed. We have also extensively studied the manners in which to best portray and add value to our subjects within a photograph, whether it be by way of panorama or mood and ambiance. It can be hard to realize the difference between photographing an eight horned buck to a sixteen horned one. Each individual situation possesses their own proper settings but also, and especially, rules of composition that are quite specific to the said event in question.
Following a very big and very rich lunch, as the efforts required are intense, comes the time of rest and a nap to recuperate our energy.
At around three in the afternoon, we then reunite once more as a group within the house’s dining hall in order to present a technical expose. Wildlife animal photography requires some tinkering with relation to different computer programs and applications. Every day, we have developed new subjects in order to address issues such as reframing, noise reduction and how to increase image sharpness. All the various kinds of technical approaches are touched upon, including even the exporting of photos by filigree.
Coming up on five in the afternoon, it’s the starting off point for the afternoon’s session of photography. At this specific time of the year, it’s at this time that the lighting comes into its own and at its best. We accompany a photographer. The others depart towards their own attributed geographical sectors.
Each and every day, the return home is set at nine at night just in time for dinner.
Testimonies of the Workshop – July 2018
This wildlife photography workshop was excellent on all points from across the board. I saw many beautiful and magnificent animals. The surrounding decors and environments were sumptuous. Nature is beautiful.
Haute-Saintonge is virgin nature. Everything is pristine. It’s a redundant description and a pleonasm. Yet there are some construction zones whom have begun to chip away at the area’s natural beauty.
The deer throughout the region are magnificent. Their woods are impressive. They too are impressive. It’s a magnificent moment whenever one is encountered.
I really enjoyed the workshops ambiance. I found that everyone was open and available, as well as friendly. All of the photographers had the same goal in mind. We got along well together. There was a lot of sharing and exchange.
Everything went smoothly.
I’ve been practicing wildlife photography for some time now. I’d already made a couple snapshots of does in the past. In coming onto this new stage, I wanted to learn how to improve my framing. I wanted to learn how to do more in general. That’s exactly what happened when couple to your technical exposes and photo reviews. The workshop was packed, learning wise. Time went by in seconds in between the actual photography sessions whilst on the ground, the technical exposes and the aforementioned image reviews, as well as the meals and, of course, the indispensable naps. It isn’t much a stress to believe that all of this would take time to setup and get everything, and everyone, into their proper place. There’s little time for dallying about or sitting around, waiting, all on our own.
If I had to preserve into memory one good moment that had happened throughout this workshop, strangely enough, it wouldn’t be one from whilst out on the field but, instead, during an instance on the sidelines. One day, I was bitten by a few ticks. You really showed your sense of care and duty as you then took me later on to see and doctor and pass by a pharmacy. I found that this sense of responsibility for your interns in response to my problem a superb display of never leaving someone from the group behind or of just simply ignoring them.
I’d already accompanied you on a number of different and varying workshops. It’s my first one pertaining to deer. I came on this workshop particularly because I was curious. I’d wanted and desired to know something other than birds and fish for a change. I’d like to go and visit Africa one day but I find it a little too far from home as of right now, so I choose instead to photograph some dear while much close to home, here in my native country of France.
I came along on this trip as I knew it would be you, especially, who was organizing the trip in question. Because I know you well, I was both confident and certain that the workshop would be well organized. Such was the case.
The second reason as to why I came along was because you were not on proposing a workshop focused on capturing images of deer, but also due to your promise of basing said experience on creative and artistic research.
Photographing bucks, does and fawns is a bit of a similar experience to playing cops and robbers as a kid. Capturing them on camera is in the same spirit as a hunter who always come back for more. Seeing the animal is a real adrenaline rush. The little fawns are marvelously beautiful. The does as well. I adored the little baby wild boards.
I’d never been to Haute-Saintonge even if I’d lived in La Rochelle for around a year. There’s genuine, untouched nature there. It reminds me of when I’d been a young kid back in Provence. My parents were farmers. This trip reminded me of a kind of nature that had never before been touched by human hands. It’s very serene, calm. There were times where there was not a sound to be herd, at all; complete and total silence. It’s a surprising thing, really. The silence reigned supreme, domineering.
The ambiance was nice. Each and every one of the photographers were pumped and energetic around the same passion. Everyone had stories to tell one another.
If I had to hold into memory a good moment from this week it would be my encounter with a buck that I’d been tracking for some time. I was watching the herd. To my right, there was a superb buck who was watching me in turn. I hadn’t yet seen him at the time. I was able to snap two quick photos. They were magnificent. I also had a face to face with two wild boars some two or three meters away, approximately 6 to 10 feet. They didn’t see me either. It was incredible.
It was my first wildlife photography workshop within your company following the last one during the last trip. Near the beginning the animals were numerous though later on their numbers dwindled in amount. It wasn’t easy. By the end of it all we actually had some trouble just finding them. In comparison to the this, things were a lot harder this time around seeing as we couldn’t even hear them.
On the other hand, I absolutely adored the part where I got to photograph deer whilst the woods acted as a backdrop. It’s exactly what I wanted to do. It was great.
I also managed to be able to photograph the deer right in the middle of their bathing session. It’s one of the reasons that’d pushed me to going on the trip.
We had some rather nice lights. The weather was uncooperative. However, throughout both of the week’s last two days things were rather nice.
The group’s ambiance was superb. We had a lot to share between one another. I’m rather more of an introvert by nature by I still had an enjoyable time.
If I had to preserve a nice moment from this workshop, it would be my encounter with a fawn the second day of the internship. He just started to jump, hop and skip right in front of me. I even had to reduce my camera lens’ zoom function so close to me he got. I got one or two fine poses. At most, he was some four or five meters away, around 13 to 16 feet.
It’s my second workshop in your company. This internship was wonderful as it really made for a deeper understanding of photographic technique overall. We worked quite a lot on the composition and artistic side of photography.
I enjoyed the wide-open space of the Haute - Saintonge region as well as the fact that we were the only ones there. It’s indispensable. It’s quite rare to have such perfect conditions. Often where we’re doing wildlife animal photography we are surrounded by multiple people. Here we experience the most profound of solitudes. We can decide and choose as we see fit.
I especially appreciated the adaptation and personalization of the lessons given to each photographer and based upon their previous levels of experience. It was a real bonus.
I keep and maintain this impression of calm, serenity, silence and liberty. Throughout your workshop, there were no constraints. I came on your workshop as I wanted to learn new techniques and desired to see bucks and fawns in their natural habitats. I also wanted to make some beautiful images.
It’s my first time seeing bucks within nature in France. The one criticism I have of them is that they’re rather cowardly. Yet I understand. I saw quite a few deer as well.
The ambiance all throughout the workshop was excellent. The photographers are quite modest. The people were very interesting.
The organization was perfect. It is well adapted to each photographer.
If I had to hold onto a good memory from this workshop it would be my meeting with four deer yesterday. I was walking along and suddenly they all stood there right in front of me.
It was my first workshop with you. I really appreciated this past week. Seeing as how I adore nature, I was perfectly in my element. I had some incredible hikes. I saw animals just how I like them. I was made happy by this week.
I came on this wildlife photography workshop as I wanted to experience some technical advice from a professional photographer. I’ve been practicing photography for a long time but only in an ordinary manner. I wanted some information but more importantly some remarks on my manner of photography in order to improve upon it and better myself.
All of my objectives were reached. I learned many things that I will now but into practice even though it isn’t evident. I came to understand that I desired and graced creative photography. Up until now I was content with photographing animals from a naturalist’s approach. Now I will try to be more critical on the manner in which I attempt to capture my snapshots.
I was happy to walk for hours amongst this nature of Haute - Saintonge. The region is exceptional. It’s calm, it’s tranquil. You’ve got the impression of being at home. If your well-hidden, it doesn’t seem as if we’re bothering the wildlife.
It’s the first time I found myself being face to face with a deer amongst his own natural habitat. I’ll admit they’re rather impressive. I didn’t think them all that aggressive. When they spot us, they seem curious. They observe us. They’ll run but they don’t look all that threatened.
The roe deer and wild boars, them on the other hand, are not at all cooperative. They’ll bolt the instant they see us.
My primary difficulty whilst on the ground is with escaping the heat. It’s a very hot era of the season. On the other hand, everything was fine during my multi hour walks.
The lighting and decors of the region of Haute - Saintonge are exceptional. Nature here has yet to have been damaged by man. It’s absolutely fantastic.
The ambiance during the photography workshop was exceptional. Every person payed attention to his neighbors.
The organization was perfect.
I appreciated the photography reviews as the permitted me to realize the errors that one can make. The technical exposes served me well. If I had to hold onto one memory from this workshop, it would most definitely be those deer bathing in a pond. I was speechless when I saw them. I hope to go back there. It was marvelous and magic.
I’m used to your photography workshops. I came along as each of the others had been a different moment of joy. It’s the third. I learn new things. It’s magnificent.
The Haute-Saintonge puts forth a magnificent display of nature. I had some good times.
I had some beautiful moments, most notably with roe deer.
It’s the first time I see fawns. It’s really magical. It’s completely different from the Buck’s Call. A lot softer and a lot less violent.
The ambiance throughout this workshop was calm and the photographers rather introverted. The people were charming.
The organization was just as usual. It’s well handled. That’s Amar for you.
The exposes were precise and understandable. We can feel that you’ve really got a deep understanding on your subject.
If I had to hold onto one particular moment of this workshop, it would be the sunrise. It was like literally recharging my batteries. It’s extraordinairy.
Wildlife Photography Workshop in Floating Blinds in Dombes the 9th Of June, 2018
For this first wildlife photography workshop in the Dombes during the year of 2018 we rented 16 ponds. We have put in place 10 floating blinds. The weather was a bit capricious put the water leave within the ponds was exceptional. As a result, the available lights and lighting were magic. This workshop has been placed under the sign of creativity. The interns realized extraordinary photos and have gone above and beyond simple naturalist photography.
The participants of this wildlife photography workshop with floating blinds in La Dombes in June 9th, 2018: Nathalie, Daniel, Jean-Francois, Luc, Philippe J., Gerard, Robert et Philippe H.
The Dombes: A Paradise for Wetland Birds
The region of the Dombes hosts numerous species of birds. Near 130 species nest and reproduce there regularly. 30,000 Birds migrate there regularly throughout the winter months.
The region of the Dombes is peppered by more than 1,000 ponds. These ponds are of human origin and not natural. Their uniqueness is due to their slightly sloped bottoms that permit their waters to slowly and regularly trickle down towards the tributaries. These fish filled waters attract numerous species of birds. It is an important international zone for those migrating wetland birds.
During the months of May, June and July, it is possible to observe several emblematic species of the region: Great crested grebes, little grebes or dabchicks, black-necked grebes or eared grebes, red-crested pochards, whiskered terns, black-crowned night herons, purple herons, grey herons, squacco herons, little egrets, great egrets, cattle egrets, cormorants, Eurasian coots, Eurasian reed warblers, Sedge Warbler, common kingfishers, warblers, western marsh harriers, red kites.
The Dombes does not solely attract birds. The muskrats and coypus or nutrias are also mammals that we often come across on the ponds.
Dragonflies, green frogs or common water frogs and grass snakes or ringed snakes are also part of the animal landscape.
The lights which flood the Dombes are exceptional. In the spring and beginning of summer, the early mornings are often bathed by warm and felted lights. What joy to observe the ducks or grebes moving themselves along the ponds in this magical setting.
The Floating Blind: An Unforgettable Experience for An Animal Photographer
The use of a floating blind always leaves an indelible trace in the memory of an animal photographer. It's a unique way to observe and photograph the animal world. This is the only way to photograph birds at the water's razor edge without disturbing them. The approach is an incredible way to go a few meters from a bird. We can spend hours in front of a grey heron to observe.
The floating blind scares many photographers who are afraid of dropping the camera into the water. Many people are afraid of taking water in the waders or not knowing how to get back to the starting point. During our courses, we give all the explanations to ensure maximum security. If the advice is scrupulously followed, no problems can concur. It is a safe photographic activity that allows you to live closer to aquatic animals without ever disturbing them. It allows you to realize exceptional creative photos that would be impossible to create otherwise.
The floating blind is certainly the best way to capture an image of animal behavior frozen in time that is impossible to achieve from the mainland. The choice of point of view is certainly the most essential element in this technique.
Our Workshops in Floating Blind In The Dombes Always Obey To The Same Ritual
On the first day, after going around the various ponds and explaining how to launch into the waters, taking care of the photo equipment, each photographer leaves for a first session of 3 hours in search of the first ponds, Eurasian coots or common coots and others great crested grebes. Returning at dusk, the satisfaction of the first shots successful sets the tempo of the atmosphere of the week that follows.
Acquiring A Solid Technical Expertise & Developing Creativity
Throughout our workshops, we have either those experienced photographers with a very advanced photographic level or we have those amateur photographers whom are not well versed in wildlife photography, let alone the techniques involved in the usage of floating blinds. We always prepare a learning curve adapted to the group. We always give due to photography’s creative nature whilst all the while retracing our steps on the fundamentals without lingering to long upon the basics. The act of unveiling the numbers secrets which render our photographs successful is a real boon in the eyes of our interns.
A Workshop Placed Under the Sign of Artistic Creativity
This year we choose the development of artistic creativity for our wildlife photography workshops. We opted to make use of the Lightroom and Photoshop programs. They are two reliable and very practical computer editing tools for photographers who want to get creative.
During our technical exposes, we have chosen to develop tricks and techniques which we use in our daily work to create interesting photos.
It is certain that one week is a bit short to put into practice all of the tricks we unveil yet we are certain that the participants will make use of them once they get back home. Our principal objective is to demystify these programs which seem complex to most people.
A Friendly & Relaxed Ambiance For 7 Days
For us, a photography workshop is composed of three elements: technical learning, discovering the region ’s hidden treasures, good humor and conviviality.
The recipe still works. We rent two large holiday homes with comfortable rooms. All of our meals are done within these buildings. Therefore, we do not lose any time by waiting to be served at a restaurant. All of the dishes which we prepare are large, flavorful and varied.
Each participant brings a regional specialty. In general, the week is not enough to each everything. Yet this assures a fine ambiance. Breaking the ice is always done very quickly Finally, our wildlife photography workshops in floating blinds are beautiful weeks whom occur in a friendly and relaxed ambiance.
Dombes Wildlife Photography Workshop Testimonies - June 9th, 2018
I’m used to your workshops. I came to the Dombes as I hadn’t yet realized images of birds based upon a them. I learned about a world different from those of fish or terrestrial mammals.
The floating blind is a tool completely different from those that I knew. At the begging it’s a pit perturbing. We have to look out from some little windows with veils. But after, we no longer pay attention. We forget.
We learn to approach the birds little by little. It’s not that obvious the first time. For example, today, I went really close to the waders and ducks. You have to learn patience.
The Dombes is a region with a particular set of ambiances whether it be the morning fog, the lights. In addition, the reflections were something of a new thing for me. The act of being at just above the water level is also something quite surprising. The points of view are different. From an artistic point of view, it’s interesting.
The ponds you choose are very beautiful with beautiful reed-beds. The blurring is magnificent.
The ambiance throughout the week was nice. We’re all united with the same passion. Everything can only go well.
The organization was perfect. The food was excellent. The cook was very good.
If I had to conserve a good memory it would be the proximity with the birds. They are indifferent to our presence. It’s a different world to those of mammals.
It’s my third workshop with you. I didn’t know the technique involving floating blinds. I was tempted by experience. I appreciated the differing angles and snapshots which were completely different. It’s another way of envisioning wetland birds.
The photographers were really nice. I enjoyed the Dombes. I really liked the morning ambiance waking up alongside the birds and fog.
I’m interested in nature in general, but I wanted to do some photography just above the water level.
I didn’t know the Dombes. For wetland birds it’s perfect.
The floating blinds permit us to approach the birds at their closest without bothering them. We’re part of the decor.
The ambiance was great. There was a lot of exchange concerning technique and the sensations. It’s really inspiring to communicate with other photographers.
The organization was good. Wakeup call is in the morning. We discuss a lot. The holiday home is nice with view on the pheasants and roe deer.
I really appreciated the technical exposes. I wasn’t really at ease with the post-editing. After this week, I feel better when preparing to develop my photos. I learned techniques which permit me to improve my photos. The techniques surrounding image captures were also interesting. It’s another way to go about whilst on the field.
If I had to conserve a nice memory from this week it would be that of yesterday’s noon. Upon the pond there was a heron’s nest, I had fun by sharing a nice moment with them. The lighting was beautiful. It was magnificent.
It’s my first workshop with you. My impressions are very good. I had a pleasurable experience.
I came along as I’ve had a passion for ornithology for a long time. I’ve been involved in photography for far less than that. I was lacking some technical skills. During this workshop, I received the answers to a great many of my questions.
To begin with, I wanted to learn how exactly to use my camera. Then, throughout this photography workshop I discovered the complete realm that is post-editing and treatment that I had no clue existed before at all. Finally I also discovered the dimension that is artistic photography. Now I believe that I will pass from a naturalist approach to a more developed artistic one.
I think that following this workshop, I’ve acquired all the fundamental that will permit me to go above and beyond the basics of photography. Now I will be more creative.
The floating blind is a magic tool as we can approach the birds extremely closely without scaring them off. Our impact upon the surrounding environment is virtually null. We make no noise. We are very discrete. The birds see nothing. Face to face, they engage in their natural and normal behavior. We can easily photograph and observe them.
I knew the Dombes but from the shore. Seen from the interiors of the ponds, it’s completely different. The perspective is different whether it be for watching the animals, the flowers or the countryside.
The Dombes is a very wealthy region when concerned with nature. She is very diversified. It’s magnificent.
The ambiance was excellent during the week. I thank you as it’s kind of thanks to you. It’s very positive. All of the photographers are passionate. It’s better to stay together within the holiday home. It’s friendlier and we exchange a lot.
The act of being solely among photographs is a real plus for me as each has their own creativity. Since we share a lot, we progress easily. We can therefore skim ideas. Some of the participants had a very high level of experience with photography. Their advice was interesting to me.
It’s positive across the board.
If I had to conserve a nice memory, it would be difficult as there were many. Yet I believe that my encounter with the little grebes or dabchicks was the greatest surprise. I had never seen them so close to me. I saw them arrive without having expected them. The lighting was beautiful. It was a magical moment.
It’s my first photography workshop with you. I am surprised and fine. With the floating blinds we are part of nature’s realm. I am Swiss. As we say back home “I am disappointed and well”.
I came on your workshop as I have friends who’d already practiced using floating blinds. They recommended that I try it. I did an internet research and found your workshops.
What I was expecting was more getting lost in a swamp. Usually when we realize images of wetland birds, we’re on the coast. We’re not immersed in the middle. I wanted to know the sensation when we’re at the center.
I knew a little of the Dombes after having done some light tourism. But I’ve gone farther. It’s a magnificent region. Back home in Switzerland we feel a bit oppressed. Here it’s savage. As all of the ponds are private, we’re alone. The birds are numerous.
The ambiance was excellent as there’s a lot of sharing going on. All of the photographers are animated by the same passion. We exchange a lot of techniques. It’s very welcoming.
The organization was very good. You put us at ease. At the beginning of the workshop, we ask ourselves a lot of questions as it’s a bit special going out onto the water with the gear. You accommodate us well.v With your technical exposes and photo reviews, I will see animal photography in a completely different manner. I was never all that comfortable with computer software. With the workshop, I understood many things. I think I’ll go further now. I’ll will take my time and practice from home. I can only progress.
In one week, I progressed further than in 5 years of practice.
Up until now I did everything that fit my style. This workshop permitted me to acknowledge other more efficient techniques. Doing a workshop opens doors.
If I had to preserve a memory from this workshop, it would be being nearest to the wildlife. It was a rush. I had the impression of being part of their family. It’s incredible.
This wildlife photography workshop in the Dombes was super interesting. I learned an enormous amount whether it be in technical photography, image development with Lightroom. I have only one desired now, that is to continue.
I came on this workshop to live the experience of photography from floating blinds. During an exposition, I’d seen pictures taken from just above the water’s surface level. I asked how they’d been taken and learned that it was from floating blinds. I wanted to try from same bodies of water and with quality material. I did not want to go in a rive where the quantity of water is much more important.
After a week, I took great pleasure. I now watch the birds as an ornithologist or as an animal photographer in a different but competent manner. With floating blinds, we can play nonstop with the lighting. We can easily select our point of views. Everything is different.
In addition, we can approach the birds much more closely. We can enter within their intimate space.
I did not know the Dombes as I came along to do some ornithology. But we quickly came across the ponds. This year I took my time and specifically stayed indoors.
The ambiance throughout the week was cool.
The organization with the 16 ponds and 10 floating blinds was perfect. I think it’s better to live together in a large holiday home. We can live at our own rhythm and we are not vassals to the hours of restaurants.
Your technical exposes were a real plus, but they are dense and complete. It’s hard to remember everything.
It’s my first photography workshop in your presence. During this photography workshop in the Dombes, I learned how to observe birds. I’ve also perfected my artistic approach. During this week I learned to develop my creativity. It’s something very important which I appreciate. I also learned how to better use those skills which I already knew. You showed some tricks that I knew absolutely nothing about. It’s very positive.
I met you at Melun during a conference. You approach towards photography peaked my interest. It’s one of the reasons that pushed me towards participating in this photography workshop within the Dombes with floating blinds. Another reason is that I really like birds. The occasion was a dream come true. Finally, I have a friend that you know who convinced me to come along by telling me that I’d learn a lot about photography.
I would never have guessed that I’d learn so much. My objectives were met and then some.
I wasn’t aquatinted with this region of the Dombes. For me, it now represents calm, nature, stillness. You can isolate yourself, watch the birds, the scenes of life. It’s very interesting. We’re at our closest to the animals. The lights are magnificent. The ponds are beautiful. The reed-beds are in perfect shape.
The ambiance throughout the week was very good. We learn about one another rapidly.
For this week, you’d placed at our disposition 16 ponds and 10 floating blinds. My petty regret is that for each photo session, we changed pond. I would have like for the first session to be for a sort of scouting and the second outing be dedicated to actual photography. But oh well you’ve got to learn to adapt to all kinds of circumstances. The beds were a bit small for someone like me. The floating blinds were very practical and very lightweight.
Your technical exposes are interesting and especially your image reviews. We can learn a great deal by looking at what other photographers are doing. It’s very positive and very enlightening.
If I had to hold onto a memory from this week, it would be the Dombes itself. I’ve discovered a kind of incredible background landscape. This kind of nature is truly spectacular.
I’ve accompanied you on multiple workshops: the rut of the deer, Ethiopia. It’s my first photography workshop with you in the Dombes. My general impressions are excellent. I went along without question. I had absolutely no knowledge about the Dombes or floating blinds. I was left breathless by the experience and the procured emotions caused by this technique and image captures. I was surprised by the birds I was able to see. It’s very exceptional.
Up until now, I was attracted to large terrestrial mammals. I came along on this workshop as I wasn’t aware of the floating blind. Even if birds aren’t my subject of photography by predilection, that is not to say that they have many qualities, that they are beautiful and gracious. I wanted this avian universe and wanted to meet other interns of photography. It’s this ensemble of considerations that pushed me to come on this workshop.
Here I discovered the quality of lighting. There’s always something interesting going on. I discovered some incredible scenes. I observed some combats between different species. I wasn’t expecting that at all. The floating blind permits for the realization of photos at the water’s level. We get the impression of being at the heart of an ecosystem with many living elements such as the insects, the birds or the mammals. Everyone orbits around us. It’s extraordinary at the sensory level. The floating blind permits entrance into the intimacies of birds’ lives.
We would not be able to experience these sensations otherwise. The images are incredible as we are level with the animals’ eyes.
Everything you teach us from a general fashion is extraordinary. I know only of you whom revels his secrets as a photographer. It’s rich and we can advance far more quickly within our creative research. At each stage we are still learning. I wanted to thank you for your work.
The ambiance throughout the week was very relaxed. I always have the impression that we’re a big family whose just had a week of vacation. Yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s serious as it’s a photography workshop. Your workshops are very familial.
The organization with the 16 ponds, the 10 floating blinds was very good. The idea of rotting between different ponds at each photo session is exceptional. We therefore avoid routine. Each pond is different. You have to adapt every time. The sensations and motions are different at each occasion. This obliges us to put back into play our creativity every time. It’s great.
If I had preserved a nice moment that would be difficult. Yet the main schticks for me is the ambiance we can feel on a pond. It’s unexplainable. You’ve got to live.
It’s my second wildlife photography workshop whilst in your company. I’d come along to the Dombes last year.
This year was very different. It rained a lot. There were fewer waders but more ducks. Last year I’d been able to photograph many purple herons and grey herons. This year, they were a rarity. This year, I did not see any spoonbills.
This year, I had a great time with the grand diversity of ducks that we didn’t have last year. They are really interesting animals to photograph as we’re always in the movement, in the action. I spent some nice moments with them.
This year, I took great advantage of the great crested grebes with good attitude and beautiful body language that I hadn’t been able to do last year.
This year, since I was better informed about the ponds, I put some extra work into my images with more researched compositions and better framing. I accentuated my choice of lighting.
This year, I finished the series of photos that I’d started last year.
The ambiance was cool throughout the week along with photographers rising from different horizons.v The organization was excellent. Since we didn’t go to a restaurant at noon, we were able to spend more time as a group. We were able to further share and discuss technique.
If i had to hold onto a single point of this wildlife photography workshop in the Dombes it would include my photographic approach which became more qualitative and less quantitative. I’ve also taken further steps to remedy my compositions, my lightings. I enjoy working movement and action. Yet this year, I had my scenes take a more static approach. I have some interesting photos.
Wildlife Photography Workshop In The Danube Delta - Romania, The 26th Of May, 2018
Five photographers passionate about wildlife animal photography participated in a photography workshop located within the Danube Delta in Romania the week of the 26th of May 2018.
The goal was to photograph the birds present through the reed beds: Waders, passerines and pelicans.
This workshop was filed under creative photography while including not only fresh and original framing techniques, but also technical exposes related to Photoshop and how it could be used in the pursuit of higher quality photographs.
This workshop happened under the best of circumstances and occurred within a fine ambience of good humor, openness and especially lots of sharing and interpersonal exchange.
The participants of the wildlife photography workshop in the Danube Delta in May 2018: Amar Guillen, Annik, Patricia, Josiane, Jean-Philippe and our guides (Agnes is absent from the photo).
The Danube Delta: A Unique Biodiversity
The Danube Delta is the second largest in Europe following that of the Volga.
It covers an area of 3446 kilometers squared, or approximately 2141 miles squared. It is an extraordinary universe that is also a protected natural region and classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, or United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Committee.
The waters of the delta are poisonous. They attract numerous species of migratory birds such as pelicans (white or Dalmatian), night herons, pond herons, little bitterns, Eurasian hobbies, red-footed falcons, western marsh harriers, white-tailed eagles, bearded reedlings, Eurasian penduline tits, Caspian terns, great reed warblers, little crakes, white-winged terns, Eurasian curlews, Kentish lovers, etc.
The mouths of the Danube Delta count more than 1200 varieties of plants, 300 species of birds and 45 species of fresh water fish. During the periods of migration, the swamps and numerous lakes welcome millions of birds of different biomes of the Earth in provenance of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean.
The Danube Delta is a very rural region and poorly populated with around 40000 people living in small villages and towns. The region is therefore barely touched by the urbanism of large metropolitan cities. The birds have found in this region the tranquility to breed and abundant food to sustain themselves throughout the mating season.
An Original Method for Photographing Avian Fauna
The Danube Delta with its innumerable waterways is an immense territory. The best way to discover it is by boat. For this workshop, we opted for motorized power boats with flat hulls. Each vessel can house 3 photographers.
Without boats, it would be impossible to find and photograph the birds. In reality, the area of the Danube Delta is so large that the birds have but the paradox of choice to hide themselves within the reeds or choose a pond so as to feed.
The majority of bird species are not scared by boats with human passengers. On one end, the Danube Delta is a protected nature and wildlife preserve where hunting is forbidden. On the other, many boats navigate the 3 main waterways of the Danube River. The animals are accustomed to observing humans on these boats.
Capricious Meteorological Weather Conditions
Much like the first workshop, the weather conditions were very strange and included copious amounts of wind. It’s a boon that the Danube Delta is so large as our guides were able to locate areas perfectly sheltered from these issues and which allowed us to make our photographs. The fact is that, when taking pictures from a boat, the most minuscule of waves or tides can render photography extremely difficult due to the boat’s undesirable rocking.
Paradoxically, however, the lights were magnificent. The reed beds stretched rather high with some magnificent greens monochromes. This dream worthy decors permitted the interns to realize some interesting images. We have the habit of expelling the surrounding environment’s decor as the background which shines the spotlight upon the actual animal’s value and importance.
Varied & Thematic Days
In this year of 2018 we decided to add some greater variety to our landscape choices. We organized a day in the humid zones of Leta in order to photograph the waders whom were present in vast numbers this year. The interns had the opportunity to photograph numerous collared pratincoles and also pied avocets that were literally the stars of the show.
During our trip towards Leta, we had the good luck of witnessing hundreds of birds flying into the arms of the delta. We’d never before seen such an amazing sight. Dozens of purple herons stood hidden amongst the reed beds. When we passed by, all of them took off into the air simultaneously. It was an extraordinary display.
This year, everything was different throughout the delta as the overall water level was quite high as a result of the overabundant springtime rains. The birds had therefore decided to nest much further into the reed beds. Normally, they tend to rest far closer to the canal banks where food and shelter is nothing but a beak away.
However, 2018 will most likely remain as the year of the passerine. The interns photographed numerous families of bearded reedlings and Eurasian penduline tits building nests. A silver lining.
As another memorable moment, we’d organized some floating blinds with camouflaged nets atop the boats we’d rented.
This new technique enables our photographers to capture up close images of common kingfishers and a nest of grey-headed woodpeckers. The participants were therefore able to live and experience instances more powerful and memorable than previously before. The emotions followed everyone to the rendezvous.
Testimonies of the Workshop – May 2018
Following the Dombes and the Deer’s Cry, I’ve just spent a magnificent week throughout this workshop within the Danube Delta. Everything was perfect.
I’d already been to the Danube Delta; it’s been a few years now and I’d only ever used a boat once. I went on this workshop as I wanted to relive this experience once more.
My goal was to photograph birds in flight and to observe new species I hadn’t before already been aware about.
This week I experienced three memorable moments. The first was when we arrived at Letea during the part of our journey dedicated to waders. In order to protect her nest, she pretended to have a broken wing and a sprained leg. It was amazing.
The second instance was while I was photographing bearded reedlings. It was really cute.
The third time was actually this morning before sunrise while upon the Danube river itself. It was truly memorable.
I’d then like to add a fourth. It was on our way to Leta. There were hundreds of birds whom flew away from the passage of our boat. It was the first time that I’d ever seen so many.
Nature within the Danube Delta is magnificent. I arrived still a little bit stressed from the everyday Parisian life. As the days went by, I gradually became more and more relaxed. I felt better the longer I stayed in contact with nature. It’s beautiful and relaxing. Everything is pure. There is no noise.
This year, I worked on flight and altitude dynamics. Your technical advice really helped me. On the ground, your advice pertaining to camera settings and image framing were important to helping us.
I appreciated your council on matters pertaining to the usage of photoshop. Your technical exposes really opened some interesting perspectives from my point of view. Everything was clear. I took notes. I understood the philosophy behind the program.
The organization was perfect. You know how to handle yourself. There was never any lost time. We were never stressed, never tired. Everything was well prepared. We get up early but we’re ready for it.
The ambiance was really great. You cause everyone to have an enjoyable time. There’s a lot of exchange of ideas and sharing to go around. I had a beautiful week of vacation.
This makes for the second time that I have accompanied you to a workshop in the Danube Delta. It was completely different from last year’s. There were fewer large birds such as the grey and purple herons, yet the decors and environments were far more beautiful. I was therefore better able to capture snapshots of these birds whilst they were in flight. I also made many photographs of the surrounding countryside’s as they were magnificent.
In addition, this year I spent more time taking panoramic pictures so as to better put into value the birds themselves. Last year the images I’d realized were far more compact. This year I took it upon myself to become completely immersed within the surrounding nature.
I was more contemplative. I spent more time analyzing the composition of my backgrounds so as to better put them into value within my images. I put a lot of work in relation to my various uses of shade of greens and contrasts. I took the time to focus my attention upon the birds so that they would mesh well with their surrounding decors.
This year were photographed far more passerines than last year, with some notable examples including the Eurasian penduline tit, bearded reedling and common kingfisher. I adopted an approach quite different than that to the regular fashion in which I used to take my photos. I focused on their positioning. I found that there was a very human quality in the manner in which they interacted with one another. For example, in a very anthropomorphic fashion, the chicks of Eurasian penduline tits would often give each other little kisses and hugs. However, I took great care in placing them to the forefront and making use of the environment. I made good use of the reed beds as a background yet this year, I also made use of the reflective properties of the surrounding waters and the various attributes of nature’s colors.
This year, I extracted the full use of the Danube Delta’s full natural color palette whilst creating my snapshots. You must be able to learn to wait and have patience, yet the resulting photographs are truly stunning.
This year, I decided to take my time when realizing my images. I sometimes waited over an hour for something to happen, but the results speak for themselves. It’s a such moments in time that things really becoming magic.
This morning, I realized an extraordinary series on grebes. We stayed half an hour observing and photographing them. Everything had come together so as to make for beautiful images. The wind was blowing amongst their feathers. The chicks were moving from one parent to another. We had some magnificent panoramas.
This year, I really went and tried to make the most out of positioning and framing. I no longer content myself of imaging a bird simply because it is a bird. I’ve become more demanding in my sessions. That’s the advantage of coming here for the second time. I knew what to expect and what was waiting for me.
This year’s memorable moment would frankly be the special feelings that I experienced whilst within the Danube Delta. The best of example of this would be whence we left for Leta in order to photograph waders. I’d equipped my camera with a 24 to 70-millimeter lens. I captured some background photos of reed beds with all of the birds taking off. These photographs permitted me to present what exactly the Danube Delta looked like. I was able to recreate the ambiance which reigned here. Last year, seeing as how I’d focused far more on more compact and restricted snapshots, I was not able to pay proper respect to the beauty of the surrounding countryside’s and ambient feeling of the region itself. Now I have with me photos of birds of the Danube Delta whilst last year I’d made images of birds I could have just as easily taken back in France. The style of approach was completely different. It was awesome.
This year, I appreciated the fact of seeing the use of photoshop along with its implementation of layers and blending tools. It’s not a tool that we make use of all that often simply because of the sheer amounts of time that can be lost within them. I’ve participated in many competitions where the images presented have had little to no editing or retouching. Yet for an exposition, it is in my belief that the advice which you presented us with could be of possible interest when the time comes. You demonstrated to us several astonishing techniques such as the high key.
The group ambiance was open and accepting. Everything went well. I was pleased by your skills at organization. Thank you for the experienced guides. It really made for an amazing week of vacation.
What a shame that this workshop has already ended. It really went by too quickly. I had an amazing week. It was a really wonderful experience as a workshop. Every session was excellent.
I’d never been to the Danube Delta. I’d originally heard about your workshop by word of mouth from Patricia when she’d gone last year. She had such high praise for it that I could only tell myself that it had to be great.
I was especially touched by the kind of ambiance which reigned throughout the Danube Delta. I was surprised as to how easy it was to approach the local birds. I’d already been to the Dombes with you but here you could get even closer. For example, one morning I was able to photograph some grebes and their chicks for amazingly up close. I’d never once been able to realize such astonishing captures from these birds usually so easily frightened. The dual system of boat and tour guide enabled us to capture some excellent photographs. I find it more practical than whenever it was that we used floating blinds.
I was surprised by the sheer variety and number of birds. I photographed quite a few numbers of passerines. The guide was excellent at his job.
This past week I experienced quite the profound moment. Yesterday afternoon whilst none of us were expecting it, a grey heron came to fish from right off the front bow of our boat. We were all on the tip of our toes in order to get some nice snapshots out of him.
This week’s ambiance was excellent. The photographers were always in good spirits and eager to share their individual techniques and expertise. The workshop’s overall organization was very well planned out.
You gave us a lot of advice as to how to probably make the most out of photoshop. I hope to be able to make us of such information within the near future. You’ve given me a taste of the potential which lays behind such a program. Up until now, it really hadn’t crossed my mind as all that useful for what I was doing. I’m hoping that my notes won’t have too many errors.
Throughout this workshop I got some rest, had some fun but also and especially, realized some great images.
It was my first workshop with you. This trip into the Danube Delta was a neat discovery. The organization was well thought out. The ambiance was welcoming. However, I especially enjoyed the amazing photography.
I’d already been to the Danube Delta but only for images based from solid ground. The idea of using boats makes for a great advantage as not only can we get much close to the birds themselves up also right at their eye level.
The other advantage of using boats comes also in the ability to rapidly cover large distances. We’re able to search for birds throughout the whole of this immense region. Once they’ve been found, we can easily position ourselves in such a fashion as to photograph said birds whilst in midair. We also have the added luxury of choosing our desired lighting and background decor.
Those birds which had held my attention the most throughout this journey were the whiskered terns and the pelicans whilst in mid-flight. It’s a rare thing to be able to photograph these animals while in midair. Here, within the heart of the Danube Delta, the conditions are excellent for trying out such techniques.
Yesterday, I had a stroke of luck by being able to photograph a little bitten. It’s a rather rare species. I was pleasantly surprised.
The ambiance throughout the workshop’s duration was exceptional. There was a lot of goodwill between the interns and we shared a lot.
I appreciated all the technical talking points concerning the camera setting adjustments. Now I know the best possible setting choices whenever wildlife photography is concerned.
I appreciated the courses pertaining to photoshop. I have some experience with the program. I use it for some minor polishing work when working on my snapshots. I’d never gone so far as to using multiple layers, masking fusions and highlighted sections. I’ve just learned every technique there is to know. Now, it’s up to me to do the rest.
The trip’s organization was excellent. Wakeup call was at 4:45 in the morning and, while difficult, was the best time to take advantage of the excellent early day’s weather conditions. I ended up getting used to it. The lightings within your images are always beautiful given how you organize your photo sessions.
Every day, we spent around 10 hours doing nothing but photography. It was the full package. I’ll come back next time.
It’s the second time that I’ve come along with you to the Danube Delta. It was a completely unique experience from last year’s as there were far less waders as the overall water level was quite high. The springtime rains were quite heavy.
However, we also had the chance to picture numerous passerines, most notably the Eurasian penduline tit and bearded reedlings. The waders at Leta were far more numerous as well. Finally, things were very different from last time.
In terms of a creative standpoint, I was able to create images that were more interesting than last year’s due to my previously accumulated knowledge of the terrain. I was able to capture birds in mid-flight. The surrounding environmental decors and lighting were more beautiful than last year’s. I was able to use them to better put into focus the birds themselves.
Your advice in reference to framing a shot taught me much. I was able to create a scene with the birds that made for more interesting photos. Your classes on photoshop were a real bonus, most importantly in reference to the layer fusion and editing tools. I will make use of these techniques to create more impactful photos. I really enjoy this artistic approach you use throughout your workshops. It’s a real plus.
Once again, I appreciated the fact that each of us were granted the right to our own individual rooms and personal comfort. The group ambiance was excellent. There was a lot of exchange. Your workshops are chockfull of rich experiences.
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