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.
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

Christiane Christiane.

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.

Germain Germain.

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.

Guy Guy.

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.

Jean-Pierre Jean-Pierre.

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.

Nelly Nelly.

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.

Yves Yves.

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.

Some photos taken by the participants

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