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The joy of photographing birds of prey

These photos are part of a project I have been involved with,  helping Kevin Bromley with ideas for his new Bird of Prey Photography Experiences. ‘Knight Flights’ will offer photographers the unique opportunity to photograph all the bird of prey species that are indigenous to the UK. Kevin is working at training these bird so they can be photographed in flight with no jesses… giving that natural, ‘in the wild’ shot.

In some cases, the birds are tethered and I created a perch or some ‘scenery’ around them… such as the little owl shots. In other cases, such as the buzzard, we took her out on a walk and looked for positions that a buzzard would naturally land. With careful positioning of both the bird, and for you (the photographer) you can take photos of the birds so that their rings or jesses are not in view.

Many of these birds are young and still in training, but Kevin is aiming to get them all to a standard  where they can be photographed both static and in flight with no jesses and with any rings obscured.

Photographing the eagle owl hurtling straight toward me was probably the most exhilarating!… those orange eyes drilling into you through the 100-400 mm lens was an experience not to forget. The challenge was to focus and to ensure the wing tips were in shot – all as she sped at a frightening speed right for my head, swooping above me only at the last minute!

I have a real soft spot for little owls and this little guy is called ‘Gizmo’… he loved me placing all sorts of mossy logs and materials around him and happily obliged by exploring and peeping out from around them all.

I  have never seen a sparrowhawk male up so close. This one is a young male and tiny! I have only ever seen the females in the garden and they are much bigger. His eyes will develop their intense colour over the next few months and he will be cracking to photograph in flight in the future.

Kevin has 3 barn owls and these are amazing as he is training them to hunt naturally in the field so photographers can get shots that mimic wild behaviour. I had more luck on the static shot… need to practise my flight photography!

In these shots, I tried to achieve a natural look that could have been taken in the wild… if you had the skill and a long enough lens!!….  I will posting more about Kevin’s workshops in the future when the itineraries have been finalised.

This shots are low res for speed of upload and you can take a look on my Flickr account set. Just click the image below.


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