Nicky and her Nikon

By NickyR

Birds of Prey

Today I attended a Bird of Prey workshop organised by the Royal Photographic Society. It was quite near to home so fortunately I did not have many hours to travel. The morning was spent photographing birds on stands and hoops. It was lovely to see the connection the birds had with their handlers, there was even one huge eagle owl who wrapped his wings around his handler as if hugging her. I loved the Bataleur Eagle, also known as the snake eagle. As he originates from high altitudes in Africa, which is cold, he has learnt to spread his wings and sun himself to warm up. See the extra for him presenting to the sun when it came out from behind a cloud.

After lunch we drove a few miles to an open field where some of the handlers were flying their birds in the open. They all have GPS tracking on them as they can go astray and fly off. As someone in the group said, photographing flying birds of prey must be the most unproductive photography one can do. The success rate of getting a falcon or hawk flying to the lure is very low, as they are incredibly fast - flying up to 60 miles per hour. They fly off and can cover a few miles before coming back to the lure at great speed.  I did not think I had managed to get any shots of them flying at all, so I was very pleased to see this one of the falcon flying back to the lure from some distance away, when I got home and loaded them up on my computer. It was very challenging photography, and there was a lot of standing around in the cold wind while we waited for the unpredictable falcons to fly back to us again. I even got some shots of the hawk flying over the bluebells in the woods. 

I took about 600 images today, which was nothing compared to the rest of the group (all men) who shot thousands of images with the motor drive rattling away. I don't see the point of that! I also am strict about deleting ones that I don't think are keepers.

It was a long day and I have not had a chance to look at all the images yet. Tomorrow I will be busy editing photos!

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