Recently I joined 7 other young wildlife photographers on a 3 day trip to the Farne Isles,Northumberland . The first leg of our journey involved a four and a half hour train journey from Kings Cross station to Newcastle and then on to another train to reach our accommodation. When we arrived Max opened his case to reveal a huge bag of cider, from that point on we just knew it would be an exiting trip. In the evening we all decided to walk down to the beach to photograph the glorious sunset and to get our bearings of the area. The sunset was as glorious as you could get, the light was beautiful and allowed for some really great photo opportunities.
The next morning we got picked up by the taxi and we dropped of in the harbour where we boarded Billy Shiel’s boat trip and headed towards the Islands. The journey took it’s toll on some of us and there were a few heads in laps, but the distant views of the Islands kept us going. We knew we were close when puffins zipped past the boat and guillemots bobbing up and down on the sea like black rubber ducks. We first arrived on Staple Island and we were met by a cacophany of sea bird chatter and the multitude of birds was very overwhelming. My first thoughts where how do I go about photographing such an action packed scene, so I decided to set my sights on puffins in flight(not an easy task). But after getting a few in the bag I decided to focus on some of the more overlooked species such as the shags, it was fascinating to watch their antics and to witness mating.
We then travelled over to Inner Farne, and this is where the real fun began as we were dive bombed by the ever protective Arctic terns. If you ever visit the Farne Islands a hat is a very useful piece of equipment because the terns don’t hold back when it comes to the force at which they peck. But this worked to our advantage as I had envisaged getting a wide angle picture of a tern, and I had more than enough chances to get my shot as the Arctic terns seem to have more energy than the photographers and the dive bombing was a non stop event. You instantly forget about everything and your mind is set to Terns, which can cause a problem as me,Harry and Kyle found out as we missed our boat and had to get another one later(I suppose there are worse places to be stuck !).
Back on dry land we decided to hit the local Chippie and after our stomachs were full we decided to head down to a sandy inlet in the harbour to try and photograph the local eider population. We thought that they would prefer to stay out in the bay but we were taken by complete surprise when the young eider ducklings zoomed across the bay to come and get fed. Before we knew it we had little eiders wandering around our legs and if you were really lucky in your laps too ! It was away with the long lenses and out with the wide angles for those close ups. The ducklings couldn’t have been a better subject, with their trusting nature they were feeding right up against our lenses and enabled a truly wonderful experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
In Part 2 I will be writing about the sunset cruise, which has a sting in the tale !