Sunday, 23 June 2013

Farne Islands Photographic Workshop

18th June.  Sometime ago Sam won another photography competition with the WWT and his prize was a Farne Island Workshop with Hawkshead Photography.  The prize offered two places and Sam very kindly asked me to join him on the workshop.  I love the sea, seabirds, seabird colonies and islands, so it took me less than a second to say ‘thanks, of course I’ll come along’ and I/we have been eagerly anticipating the experience.  We hoped for half decent weather and what we got was much more than half decent, and the lighting was perfect for a day’s photography, especially in the evening when, as Sam suggested, it felt like we were on the Mediterranean.  With the group of eleven we had a Serenity boat more or less to ourselves during the day and we spent time on both the outer and inner Farnes before returning to Seahouses for a fish and chip tea (yes, more fish and chips).  After tea we walked around the harbour and took the chance to take some close ups of the Eider Ducks and their young (what a difference in temperature and light from the wet, misty and cold morning that we had spent here in April during our stay at Bamburgh) before joining a Serenity boat again for the evening cruise which was a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Guillemot inc bridled

Unlucky chick not to see much of the world!


The camera had precedence over the binoculars today and I hardly had need of the latter.  It was a great day with great company.  Lots of photography undertaken by me, and a great deal more by Sam!  I no longer take the line that photography can get in the way of watching, as I simply think it enhances watching, if used in an appropriate and wildlife friendly manner (when I watch a minority of folk with or without cameras the term wildlife friendly manner seems to mean little to them).  I’m still a trainee photographer of course and have room for improvement especially with in-flight images.  I need some better kit but recognise that doesn’t ensure a better quality end product by any means!  I’m sure everyone always wants better whatever they have.  There was an amusing incident today when a guy with a gigantic lens had it and his eye focused upon a post waiting for a Rock Pipit to carry food back to a nest whilst he assured us it would return to the same post.  As he kneeled intently watching and waiting, we and others took a number of photographs of the Rock Pipit when it returned to another post only feet away. 


Following the boat

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern
A great day which I’m sure will be a highlight of 2013 thanks to the wildlife, Alan Hewitt of Hawkshead Photography, the guys with Serenity, a really nice group of fun people on the workshop, Neptune’s Fish and Chip Restraunt and last, but certainly not least, Sam without whose generosity I would not have been there at all!  Here’s hoping we can get back soon.  It’s even given me an idea of launching a new fragrance for men and calling it GUANO 4 REAL MEN.  I can vouch for the fact that the fragrance stays in the nostrils for two days!   On this occasion I’ll let a few of my images describe what was a fantastic day.


Sam's Tern :-)

Eider Chick Seahouses Harbour

Grey Seal 

Seal Youngster


Great Black-back Gull with Guillemots

Got to end with Puffins.:-)


  1. Nice photos. Yeah it looks like it was a fab day and I feel a bit sorry for the guy with the gigantic lens, lol.