I just returned home form my UK Puffin trips. On the plane ride home I watched the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the 5th time and cried when he hugged his dad towards the end… yikes, even after five times it still got me! When I landed I felt a bit airsick and seasick. I soon felt carsick and the temperatures in Jersey didn’t help; it was so hot, humid and nasty out. By the time I got home I was starving as I hadn’t eaten in 8 hours. I was probably a little dehydrated as well. Soon after I got inside out of the heat and refreshed my system I started to feel much better. I was still tired so I did some laundry and went to bed early.
I woke up feeling great! The temperatures outside dropped overnight and with a hot cup of coffee in hand I am ready to face the day- and boy what a busy day it will be. I need to see my sweet grand kids, unpack-repack for Alaska as I leave in a couple of days for Katmai. I also have to get my snail mail and answer emails and phone calls as well as book a few more trips etc…
The last group did not get to land on Bass Rock but we spent a morning with some captive owls and they seemed to keep everyone’s attention before we made our way out to the Inner Farne for the rest of the afternoon. It is important when attending a photo workshop or trip to keep your mind open to going with the flow even if it is not what was intended. I try my very best on all my workshops to provide every opportunity to make each and every scheduled landing or photo shoot but I still can’t seem to control the weather just yet—but I’m working on it—wink!
The second group was also wonderful, we had some really nice times together and a lot of great chances with the puffins, who are after all, the stars of the show. When you see a puffin with it’s clown-like bill filled with sand eels, the first thing you think is how? How on earth do they keep them all lined up? The puffin’s raspy tongue holds the fish against spines on the palate, while it opens its beak to catch more fish. Thanks to Tom Wester (who was on the second trip) I finally got around to looking that up after he shared it with the group.
Puffins are amazingly fast and agile, they fly like bullets looking for their burrows. Sometimes they drop right into their burrows and other times they are chased around by multiple gulls looking to steal their fish. It is happening all around, so many puffins coming in at once and the action never seems to stop. It is great for photographers wishing to hone their flight skills.
On my last day photographing at Farne Islands I met 16 year old nature photographer Jake Kneale and his family; including his 11 year old brother Joshua who is also an aspiring photographer. Jake asked me if I was Denise Ippolito, he said he recognized my voice from watching my B&H YouTube videos online. Jake has an interest in bird, landscape and flower photography. He has won several awards and will be someone to keep an eye on.
While we were on the island (before meeting him) I watched as Jake photographed a female Shag protecting her two young chicks from the wind. He was belly down with his wide angle lens inches away from her. Initially his being close alerted me and I was carefully watching him but he was slow and thoughtful with his movements not to disturb them. In fact they seemed quite comfortable with his presence, going about their business. We spoke about it on the boat and I mentioned how important it is for photographers to respect their subjects and to allow each animal their own space and he seemed very aware of that and understood his place as an up and coming professional photographer to be a steward for nature—I liked that quality in him. If you get a minute check out his website (link above in his name).
Below are a few more of my favorites. The owls are all captive.
To learn more about how I compose for bird photography check out my latest eBook “Bird Photography-The Art of the Composition” available HERE through A Creative Adventure only.