This Saturday I attended a Technical Wildlife Photography Workshop, at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Barnes, with Mark Carwardine. Having had an interest in wildlife photography for some time and nature documentaries pretty much since the advent of the Discovery Channel on Sky, I was very aware of Mark's work. The opportunity to meet and learn directly from him was an incredible. His photos are amazing and that level of photography is very much where I aspire to.
The aim of the course, as the course suggests, was aimed at the more technical aspects of wildlife photography once you have taken the shot. This includes how to choose your best shots and the work-flow necessary to touch up and make the very best out of the images you have captured.
To start, Mark walked us through his standard work-flow, giving us practical advice on what software he used and how he used it. Although I already had a work-flow for my images in place, I have to admit that it has changed slightly and I'm very pleased with the results so far from doing so.
Mark continued, explaining his standard camera set-up and why he set it up this way. I was pleased to hear that this is very much the same as I set up mine. Once you have the set up, you just need to practice with your camera so that changing functions and settings becomes second nature, meaning you won't miss that once in a lifetime shot because you're busy changing the focussing point.
Following lunch, it was time for a practical session. It was great to go out in a group and have the advice of Mark as we were snapping away in the sun, although I must admit I did feel slightly pressurised to take a good shot.
While outside, we were able to meet up with Laurence Arnold, one of the reserves volunteers and, as we were told, a self confessed reptile addict. He was able to take us to a few places in the reserve not usually seen by the visitors and he was able to show us Slow Worms...
... and a Grass Snake.
Once back in the classroom, the subjects covered were entering a competition and giving yourself the best chance of doing well in it, and signing up to and selling your images through a stock agency. These were of great interest to me as I would sincerely love to be able to make a living from my nature photography. There's lots to look at but with Mark's advice I am at least on the right track.