Posted by: photographytuition | January 4, 2012

Where to photograph birds

Many people who come to me for Photography Tuition ( are keen bird watchers and want to learn more about bird photography. Having learnt the techniques and practised them at the excellent Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding Centre (  they then want to know where they can go to photograph birds in the wild.

How about Bardsey Island? (

Bardsey is off the north west coast of Wales – lovely and wild – very peaceful and great if you’re into birds, seals and sunsets.

Oyster Catcher. Nikon D80 with 70-300mm vr lens at 300mm. ISO 400. 1/1500 sec f6.7. Cropped.

The accommodation on Bardsey is basic but full of character. Basic means no electricity, outside loo, no shower or bath, no hot water even! It sounds bad but it’s really worth the effort.

To visit Bardsey you need to stay for at least a week and book (well ahead) into one of the cottages dotted around the island. I stayed in Carreg Bach, the cutest of cottages, situated in the middle of the island with fantastic views, and sunsets right on the doorstep.

Carreg Bach. Nikon D80 with 16-85mm lens at 20mm. ISO 400, 1/500 f8. Exposure + .5 stop. Polariser to deepen the blue sky.

Bardsey sunset. Nikon D80 with 16-85mm lens at 55mm. ISO 250, 1/500 sec f8.

You need to take your own food as there’s no shop on the island but the fishing’s great – pollack are plentiful and easy to catch.

But the best thing about Bardsey is the wildlife.

Chough. Nikon D80 with 70-300mm vr lens at 300mm. ISO 400, 1/1500 sec f6.7. Cropped.

Chough are rare birds but easy to see on Bardsey. I love their red feet and bills.

Zoom lenses like the Nikon 70-300 used above don’t produce their best results when used at 300mm – they perform better in the mid range, up to around 250mm. However, having said that, I’m pleased with this picture and the others taken with the 70-300mm set at 300mm particularly as they have all been cropped.

Grey Seal. Nikon D80 with 70-300mm vr lens at 300mm.ISO 400, 1/1000 sec f6.7. Cropped.

Bardsey has a resident group of Grey Seals – very easy to photograph.

Meadow Pipit. Nikon D80 with 70-300mm vr lens at 300mm. ISO 400 1/1000 sec f8. Cropped.

I probably underplay the difficulty of photographing wildlife – it does take considerable patience and guile and a little thought about ISO’s, apertures, shutter speed to get the best out of your equipment. However if you go to a place like Bardsey where the wildlife is less wary of people it is easy – relatively!

If you’re interested in learning more about wildlife photography you can contact me: or see my website:

You can book a Photography Tuition session for any day of the week, any month of the year. Nikon cameras and lenses are available for use, free of charge!




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