I've been browsing through my many folders of photographs when I realised that I never got to share with you my participating in a wildlife photography workshop at a Scottish National Trust property.
I remember visiting Haddo House many years ago, but unfortunately I was on a mission this time, so didn't get to revisit inside the house.
That will have to be for another day.
Pretty spectacular isn't it?
(The above and below photographs are courtesy of the Haddo House website. I stayed in the grounds of the property so didn't really get to see the house or get a chance to take my own photos of it. If you'd like to visit Haddo House to check out all what's happening and there's always something going on, it really is worth visiting or if you're interested in it's history then click here
The house was originally designed in 1732 so there's a lot of history!
Anyway more about the house perhaps on another day...we're off to join the intrepid trackers for a photo shoot of wildlife and to explore the extensive gardens and country park. Did I mention that there's also a tearoom in the old stable block too?
That was where the group of enthusiasts met one Sunday morning back in May.
Our professional wildlife photographer and cameraman was the delightful Cain Scrimgeour, who has filmed wildlife around the world - from Botswana to Peru.
(He's produced films for the RSPB, Northumberland National Park, English Heritage, The Natural History Society of Northumbria. He's also worked as a specialist camera operator for ITV’s Tales of Northumberland with Robson Green so he's got quite a pedigree)
After an initial introduction over a cuppa aided by some of Cain's fantastic photography we stepped outside.
Here's Cain sharing some of his story's and showing different hides for experiencing nature up close and personal.
As you can see it was not only informative but also a relaxed enjoyable workshop.
The thumb belongs to one of the group who very enthusiastically volunteered to demonstrate one of the hides.
I hasten to add that I was not in fatigues or camouflager gear but did pass the initial talk about what was appropriate clothing to wear to get the best out of the landscape and not frightening everything within a 10 mile radius of my camera.
So let's begin...
I got slightly carried away here (click, click, click) then realised that although I'd thought to buy a complete new memory card for my camera, which would have allowed me to take gazillion's of pictures, unfortunately I hadn't thought to buy an additional battery.
Is that the cardinal sin for a photographer I wonder, because if it is I'm guilty but I did my penance by feeling extremely foolish and totally embarrassed.
I can promise you it'll never happen again that's for sure.
But in the meantime, it was only a red flashing warning light... I still had power and I wasn't afraid to use it!
Surprisingly to me there are rules (which Cain kindly explained) to follow when trying to obtain that perfect shot and I was far from the mark, but when your model refuses to co-operate and time is of the essence, then click that'll have to do for now.
I enjoyed what I did take and surprisingly was quite pleased with my results.
I'd like to nip back early one morning because although it was quite quiet and the wildlife seems to be quite relaxed with everyone around, it would be better with less people.
As in the bluebell wood, this wild garlic patch held us captive for quite some time.
I have numerous photos with bee's and insects etc in various angles of activity, but none unfortunately that are in focus. I was playing with all the various switches and dials on my camera
(I know I should know what the technical terms are for all these things, but that just highlights that I point and shoot without all the theory behind me and hope for the best)
I really must go on another photography course to get to grips with all these delicate maneuvers and technical terms.
All I know is that at this stage the red battery low light was flashing...argh!
Which believe it or not is slightly distracting.
I have a soft spot for pheasants and actually did meet one at the gatehouse on the way into Haddo House, so when I saw this building that in it's past was devoted purely to housing pheasants I couldn't resist to take a snap.
At this stage I wanted to crawl under a stone myself, but the very kind and generous Cain handed me his camera to use!
YES... HIS OWN CAMERA!
Can you believe it.
He's a fantastic guy and truly generous with not only passing on his knowledge, tips and ideas but his equipment too.
Hero of the day.
I felt like I was being handed the crown jewels. I was so nervous to really put it through it's paces, although it was good to have a tinker of another make of camera.
I was hoping like riding a well schooled horse in a riding stables that knows the ropes, the camera would just take the most amazing shots because that's what it knows best... not having some novice man-handling it as in my case.
You could almost hear it tut!
But thankfully the day wasn't spoilt... even with my stupid error of not having an extra battery tucked away about my person.
It was fantastic and so enjoyable that I can really recommend getting out there with a group of like minded people
(it's amazing what little snippets and tips you can pick up along the way)
As usual I'm enjoying capturing anything that takes my eye, trying to remember all that Cain said and will continue to hopefully see some good results.
I'm hoping to perhaps set up a gallery in my sidebar to show all of my favourite photos taken on my camera.
That is if I can work out how to do it
In the meantime here's just a few for now
The fine looking bullfinch below was photographed in my sisters garden but I'm thrilled to say we now have our own pair of bullfinches visiting our garden too.
I hope you'll continue to visit... the kettle's never far from boiling and if you're lucky there might even be some home baked cakes on offer too.
Until next time have a great day and enjoy your local wildlife.