Photography sessions are run in two ways;
Private photography day
- 4 to 5 hour day depending on the weather in either morning or evening for the best light
- photograph birds on natural perches and in trees
- spend around 2 to 3 hours photographing our birds flying in repetitive and predictable ways
- birds eating natural quarry
- some opportunity to remove falconry equipment and/or have reflection pools, etc
Group photography days (up to 15 people)
- following the details above for a group or photography club
- further details here
Sparky our (tiercel) male Peregrine falcon eating a feral pigeon. He was placed on our specially constructed reflection pool for this shot. It can be lined with any sort of perch to match the natural surroundings of any of our birds. The background can be altered by careful positioning and various shots accomplished - eating, resting, preening, bathing to name a few. These type of shots can take a good amount of patience.
In the Wilderness
Rene a male Harris Hawk posing on a lone branch. Shots like these are possible with us as we ensure that all our time is spent with the photography group. We have one type of day running at any one time and thus don't have public demonstration to put on. We can spend as long as is needed out in the field capturing a multitude of shots. We allow the birds free reign to explore the area around them rather than a high paced exercise session.
This is a Barbary Falcon. It is a shot accomplished due to our knowledge of each individual birds we work with. Because we know their personalities we are able to predict which paths they are likely to take around trees. Here a background was selected and manually focus used at a certain distance to capture him in centre frame.
Steppe Eagle Profile
All our birds make great subjects for portrait photography. Our birds are weathered out each day on easily accessible perches allowing everyone the chance at a well lit photograph even if simply walking around the centre. Part of our Photography days include specific static shot sections where the birds are placed onto natural perches. This is also sometimes done either whilst free flying the birds (allowing them to choose their own perch) or without falconry equipment.
Setting the Scene
This shot of Red Leicester a male Red-tailed Hawk was taken to one side of our facility. We are able to scout around and find the best locations with natural backgrounds. This means we are able to allow you to produce some really different images.
Flying with Confidence
Rene, a male Harris Hawk, showing how confident he is. Because a lot of our time is spent working with our birds we are able to understand and appreciate their limits and thus encourage them to try new things in a calm and reassuring way. In this shot you can see how we are able to set up repeatable flights with a vary close proximity to the camera and photographer.
Film & TV work
There are a wide range of possibilities when working with birds of prey. We take the time to get to know our birds and they build up a high level of trust with their handlers. We are thus able to pick out some great qualities to express and encourage. From birds posing in trees, circling over fields or flying down to an actors fist we are able to provide well mannered and confident birds for most scenarios and with time can cater for some unique requests.
Our Birds are used to noisy and busy sites and are regularly photographed in flight so we can be sure that this will not put them off when performing their role
BBC Production - Bespoke film work
Back in the Summer 2016 we attended a film set all day with one of our owls to achieve a scene where some door mice are being chased and have a narrow escape through an open window.
This was achieved in a purpose built aviary where the owl could fly around and behave naturally. The footage of him pouncing on a windowsill was then superimposed on the mouse running over the edge - thus the two creatures never met! We had a 4 mounth period to rehearse for this shot and took around 5 hours to complete along with close up shots and sound.
The production was aired on BBC2 at 19.30 on December 23rd 2016.
Bettany Hughes (left) working with Baintha Brakk a female American Kestrel on ITV's Britains Secret Treasures.
The piece was about a verval discovered near norwich belonging to Prince Henry, a piece to camera was completed with Baintha flying into and out of shot on cue - this took two takes (the first was a mistake by handler not bird!), there was also a discusion on falconry history with one of our experts (below) and then we completed a series of flying shots with some of our hawks.
Close up filming
Ra, at the time a 3 ½ month old Tawny Owl, is pictured opposit and below, getting some close up filming done.
He was flown without any falconry equipment (except a tracking device mounted on his tail and therefore out of sight). This was conducted between 3am and 10am and in all he flew in and out of the tree over 60 times giving the film crew plenty of opportunities to capture the perfect shot.