Gigrin Farm has become the premier venue to see and photograph wild Red Kites inBritain. The regular feeding schedule has boosted visiting Kite numbers; a normal day can see between a few dozen and 400 Kites, depending on weather and time of year. The site is also visited by numerous Buzzards and Ravens.
The day begins with an introduction and a welcome cup of tea or coffee (and delegates can bring a packed lunch to eat if they have travelled far to the venue). We then have a training session on photographing birds in flight. We will cover the bird behaviour you can expect from Kites, Buzzards and Ravens so you can anticipate the action. We will also discuss all the aspects of camera control used by the professionals to get great action pictures. Of course if you have any questions we will be happy to help either in the group or through the day on a one-to-one basis. We will also give hands-on help in setting up cameras for the day.
There are three hides for photographers. The two tower hide are up 12 steps and stand above the other hides. The hides are open top and front so photographers can stand with long lenses mounted on tripods or use cameras handheld and have clear views of sky above the fence line for the best flight shot opportunities. The gateway hide is only a couple of steps up from the ground but is much closer to the main feeding area, so portraits of birds on the ground or flying level with the grass are ideal from here. In all the hides, disturbance should be kept to a minimum by wearing dull dark clothing and keeping large lenses from protruding out the front during the feeding period. The hides are open to the weather and quite exposed to the wind (especially the tower hide) so warm layered clothing and windproof/waterproof coats are strongly recommended. Delegates need to be settled in the hides well before the feeding time of 3pm (2pm in winter).
The Kites come quite close during feeding time and the skies are crowded with birds. Kites will swoop to grab food from the ground in an uninterrupted flight. They may also harry the Buzzards on the ground or Ravens in the air. When the initial feeding frenzy calms down, birds come to feed in smaller numbers, making photographing them much easier. Buzzards that spent the first hour feeding on the ground will often start to move off at this point, giving good opportunities to capture these birds flying. A second wave of Kites begins as the younger and less aggressive birds come to feed. This often gives the best results as the skies are less crowded, the birds come closer and the photographers have a better idea of the direction the birds will fly due to the wind and weather on that day. It also coincides with softer golden light. As the hides all face towards the south, the light is ideal later in the afternoon.
This event is suitable for most levels of fitness as there is limited walking involved over good pathways.
This event is suitable for most levels of photographic experience, and most people will be able to get good photos of wild birds. This workshop includes a photography tutorial to guide delegates on the technical challenges of photographing birds in flight. We will cover focus mode, shutter speed, tracking, panning, motion blur, exposure compensation and fully manual exposure as well as bird behaviour and how to anticipate the action. This would be beneficial to delegates with some experience with bird photography who wish to improve or get better impact in their photos as well as those starting out with wildlife photography.
An SLR camera with telephoto lens either handheld or on a tripod would be ideal especially for the more challenging shots of birds in flight. Lenses in the range of 300mm to 500mm will cover most opportunities. However, non SLR camera models with a good zoom would also be sufficient for good photos of the birds on the ground.
This venue is accessed by an inclined roadway from the main car park and the subjects are photographed from within hides. The hides are accessed by a rough uphill path approximately 300 yards from the car park though wheelchair users could use the adjacent roadway. The gateway photographic hide is accessed by a couple of steps, however two public hides are accessible by ramps. A small bench is provided at the back of the photographic hides, but not designed for use when photographing. People who cannot stand for long periods could retire to the bench to rest, or bring a portable stool for use while photographing. We advise you contact us in advance for special arrangements.
The normal group size for this event is 7 delegates, potentially, split between two hides.
12:45 Welcome, tea and coffee
13:00 Birds in flight photography tutorial
13:30 Settle into hides and set up kit
14:00 Kite feeding begins
16:00 Summary & Close
Summer Timings (when the clocks change for British summer time)
13:45 Welcome, tea and coffee
14:00 Birds in flight photography tutorial
14:30 Settle into hides and set up kit
15:00 Kite feeding begins
17:00 Summary & Close
Please note: The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on weather conditions and the availability of the exhibits. Start and finish times are fixed to enable transport planning.
Tea/coffee on arrival
Full Photographic tuition and venue guide
Entrance to the venue
Our wild kite experience day is held at Gigrin Farm where the kites are fed every afternoon into a large open field bordered by trees and other fields.
Additional drinks and snacks are available to purchase
As a result of the rural nature of this location, public transport links might be difficult. Please contact us for more specific information.
A detailed map, with full directions, will be sent to all delegates before the workshop and a mobile telephone number will be provided in case of any difficulties on the day.