I joined in on one of our photographic days a few weeks a go, and after having rain on the open days I did and dark skies on the owl day I had... both! for the BWC photographic day. It seems my luck was against me, but I still had a great day, got a couple of photos I am very pleased with and for two brief spells we did get a bit off light piercing through.
As always, we started with our red squirrels. The rain was light, and the skies were dark hence the low aperture and high iso obviously visible in the photo above, but I have to confess I really like this one. Also goes to show, push the iso up if you have too! Better to have a slightly noisy photo which is sharp than a blurry photo with no noise.
We tried the foxes next, but they were having none of it so we had to move on to the wildcats. But since we usual do the foxes second I thought I would show those photos second here too.
This is where the real advantage of a photo day comes to. Having the keeper with you for the squirrels is great, as we can even move them to a certain extent on to logs and branches for natural photos, but with the foxes, wildcats and otters you get to enter the pens with them and not only have a keeper but also avoid the barriers/mesh fencing.
This gives you the chance to get some nice portraits, looking straight at you with a little help from a keeper, or off to one side.
The other advantage is being able to get close enough for something a little more abstract.
And if they are up for it, we can always get the animals moving a bit too for some action shots.
Next up is the wildcats. Once again, close up portraits is the obvious advantage, but we can get the cats running and even jumping for some great action shots. I didn't do too much with them during our session, but at the end of the day went back in of the last few minutes and with a brief spell of sunshine to take the photo above... one of my favourites from the day.
And who can resist a yawn shot when it shows itself!
After the cats and before lunch, we bring out the hedgehogs and harvest mice for some more natural looking photographs on little sets. The mice are usually on teasel or corn and the hedgehog can be placed on the grass, bark or even leaves during the early autumn days.
We don't do too much with our owls, so as not to take away from our owl photographic days, but we do perch a tawny owl and barn owl for those who are interested and don't wish to come on one of our owl days. Ironically, this was my favourite photo of a tawny owl our of both our normal day and owl day I joined in on last month.
After lunch we start with the deer, and to be honest this is the one animal where there is not much difference to if you attended the keeper talk on an open day, but next is what I think is the best part of the day... going in with the otters. Once again it was very dull, but with a ten minute spell of beautiful blue sky! I just had to put on the wide angle to prove we actually did get a bit of light during this day.
With the otters we can get them on the bank, in the water and if they are up for it even a little bit of running. The big advantage here is you can get very low on the ground to get more intimate photos of them.
And as with the foxes and cats, it really shows the advantage of a photographic day over an open day. The low angle, inside the enclosure, and with a keeper keeping them interested and varying where they are.
At the end of the day we finish up with our stoats, weasels, polecats, mink and badgers. You have no extra access with these than you would on an open day, but having the keeper there does help. They can help position the animals a little bit, and make sure they are out for you to photograph. A little bit of food of course helps keep them interested.
Thanks for looking.