Shetland Nature

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Review of the Shetland Nature Photography Holiday 2012

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Sunday 22nd July 2012 | News

A round up by David Tipling of this year’s two week-long Shetland Nature Photography holidays, with a selection of photos from our guests, to whom we are grateful for image use in this review:

As southern Britain suffered monsoon like weather this June, on Shetland our two nature photo tours enjoyed some of the driest brightest conditions I have encountered in 30 years of visiting the Northern Isles.

The highlight for most were close encounters with Otters, made possible by Brydon’s experience, local knowledge and fieldcraft. Bird photography was however outstanding at times, from Puffins amongst Thrift in beautiful light to Gannets diving within a metre or two of our wide angle lenses.

Our Arctic Skua bathing pool site, offered some participants their first taste of being in a purpose built hide, though somewhat rustic in build it consistently produced not just great Arctic Skua images but Whimbrel and Golden Plover for some lucky people.

Hermaness is always a highlight of these tours from the teeming Gannet colony to marauding Great Skuas. This year a beached Sperm Whale carcass provided an added attraction and nearby both Golden Plover and Oystercatcher were photographed at close range, brooding day old chicks.

These tours always offer opportunities for everyone to learn off each other. This year was no exception as we grappled with photographing Arctic Terns hovering above us against white skies to give striking high key images, to stitched panoramics of Muckle Flugga against a stunning sunset.

It was a wrench for me to leave. I can’t wait for June 2014 when I will be leading another Shetland Nature photo tour.

David Tipling
July 2012

2012 Guest reviews:

Hello Brydon
I really enjoyed my trip with you and David.
The people skills of the both of you make everybody feel very welcome and that can make or break a trip. There are very few companies that deliver what they promise in their brochures or on their website but you do more than that. Having been on a Shetland trip before showed me how much your company stands out. Never had I thought to see wild otters this close in their environment. It was only possible because of your tracking skills and great knowledge about otters. The choice of taking only two people at a time to minimise disturbance works very well. So while some two people are off to find otters others of the group are photographing birds from a hide near the bathing pool of the arctic skuas. This hide gave good opportunities for getting pictures of all kinds of bathing birds. I also enjoyed Hermaness for photographing sea birds.
The combination of seeing and photographing otters and birds make this trip stand out from other trips offered on Shetland
If at all possible I will be back to Shetland to do another trip with you.
Keep up all the good work
Dick van der Lely

Just a quick note to thank you for an excellent week in Shetland, and of course, especially for the otters! It really was a wonderful experience and I’m delighted with images I got from the day. The full frame head shots were the ones I expected to be favourites, but of course those could be taken anywhere, so the ones of the cubs fighting in the surf I think will be the ones that will be special when I look back after a while. The rest of the trip was great and I’ll look forward to coming back again. Thanks also for your tremendous enthusiasm and for sharing your knowledge of Shetland. Dave Bartlett

The bird experience led by David was excellent. Stunning sightings and lots of fun. Brydon taught me so much about photographing Otters. I came away with shots every one of which is in a totally different league to any I have taken previously. A great experience. Richard Bennett

“Hi Brydon, David and Team. Sorry I’m slow replying but 6000 pics takes me a lot of sorting! I’m probably not ruthless enough yet but I’m still trying to discover what I think makes a good pic. Thank you for a great Holiday, which also gave me great opportunities to find, see and photograph various wildlife that I have failed to find for years. I learnt a lot re technique. With the chance to argue out the pros and cons with experienced photographers my pictures clearly improved during the week. A special thank you to Brydon, the Otter-Spotter, for the fantastic opportunities he consistently found for us all. James Hogg

Find out about our 2013 dates led by Chris Gomersal and Brydon Thomason →