Birds of Prey Photographic Workshops


Essence of Light is pleased to be able to host full day photographic workshops with Swinton Park Birds of Prey, located at Swinton Park Hotel, near Masham in North Yorkshire.

Autumn 2019 dates:
Saturday October 26 and Sunday October 27!

Over the course of the morning and afternoon, participants will be introduced to a number of birds of prey, many of which are indigenous to the British Isles. They will have the opportunity to get close to the birds and photograph them in a variety of settings, including shots in the spectacular North Yorkshire countryside.

October 26 – Fully Booked
October 27 – Fully Booked

This is a workshop that is tailored specifically to photography, which means that extra attention is paid not just to ensuring good compositions, but also to provide locations where the birds can be photographed in a natural setting. Equipment on the birds is kept to a minimum and removed where possible, and every attempt is made at presenting the birds so any equipment is hidden. Group sizes are also kept small to keep things personal and so every participant gets more freedom to photograph the birds.


Throughout the day we will create a range of static shots that gives photographers of all abilities the chance to take great photographs, but at various points in the day the birds can also be flown to allow more advanced photographers to get images of these amazing birds in flight. It is very much an open workshop as well, so if participants have something they would like to try, we are always happy to accommodate if possible.

Sophie is available throughout the day to provide information on the birds, while Jed is there to provide photographic assistance and give pointers on composition. In between trying to find good angles for participants, he’ll frequently be heard chasing people to keep an eye on their backgrounds and watch their shutter speeds!

You can view more images of the birds in this Essence of Light gallery.

Usually run from 10am to 4pm, including a light lunch.

Cost is £99 per person, with no more than 8 people per workshop.
Group discounts are available, and additional dates can be arranged – please enquire.

Meeting point is the car park at Swinton Park Hotel, Swinton Park, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 4JH. There is ample free parking at the hotel, although we will be moving around the countryside in the afternoon.

A digital SLR or interchangeable lens mirrorless camera is recommended, although we have had participants manage with bridge and compact cameras.

A lens between 200mm and 300mm in focal length offers a good working distance and pleasing angle of view and subject isolation.

If the weather permits, wide angle lenses can also be used to photograph the birds in their environment.

Sensible, comfortable attire for being out in the countryside.

Lots of memory cards and at least one full battery!

Generally most locations will require no more than a few hundred yards of fairly level walking, although accessing our waterfall location involves a light to moderate climb.

We are happy to cater the workshop to your needs, as we have different locations requiring different levels of mobility. If in doubt, please check with us!

Barn Owl
European Eagle Owl
Great Grey Owl
Little Owl
Snowy Owl
Tawny Owl
Asian Brown Wood Owl

Common Buzzard
Harris Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Various Falcon crossbreeds
Steppe Eagle

Please note that in a typical workshop we normally get the chance to work with 5 or 6 birds. We are happy to work to your preferences where possible, although please note that it is possible that specific birds might not be available for a variety of reasons. If a particular bird is important to your visit, please let us know ahead of time, so we can do our best to accommodate your requirements.