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Gannets in focus with the RSPB

Last modified: 31 July 2014

Gannets with 'necklace'

Steve’s award-winning photograph, ‘True Love’.

Image: Yorkshire Coast Nature

Budding wildlife photographers are being given the chance to learn from the best with RSPB Bempton Cliffs and award-winning photographer, Steve Race.

In partnership with Yorkshire Coast Nature, the RSPB will deliver gannet photography workshops throughout August and September. Steve, the Education and Outreach Officer for Bempton Cliffs, has years of experience of the reserve and its birds, so knows how to get the best shots.

He said: “These workshops are suitable for beginners and enthusiasts who are keen to learn about and practice some of the essential skills of bird photography. We’ll be looking at how to capture that perfect image and covering field craft, technique, exposure, basic camera settings and working with birds in flight.”

There will be eight 3-hour sessions, running from Monday 4 August to Friday 26 September. The price is £40.00 per person (normal car parking charges apply for non-members). Participants will need to bring their own photographic equipment; a digital SLR camera and a lens with a focal length of 200mm to 400mm would be ideal. Participants should also bring clothing appropriate for the weather, and good footwear as there will be some walking over uneven, and possibly wet or muddy ground.

Steve’s award-winning photograph, ‘True Love’, which shows a gannet and its mate wearing a ‘necklace’ of Red Campion, was commended in the ‘Bird Behaviour’ category of the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. The prestigious awards are run jointly by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide and have been running since 1964.

These workshops are part of a pilot being run across four RSPB nature reserves in northern England. In response to the rising popularity of wildlife photography in the UK, the reserves are delivering a number of photography activities, designed to give photographers the best possible opportunities to get closer to wildlife in action.

Blacktoft Sands, near Goole, has built platforms to set up hides to enable photography of harriers as they come into roost in the winter. At Geltsdale, near the Scottish borders, the team have been offering portable hides to give access to upland species such as breeding waders and whinchat. And Old Moor, near Barnsley, has been creating dedicated spaces for photographers to get the best photo opportunities; including developing a sunken hide to give unparalleled eye-level views of the farmland birds that feed there in the winter.

For further details on any of these opportunities, please contact the reserve directly. See for contact information.

For full details and a list of gannet photography workshop dates, visit

To book, call Yorkshire Coast Nature on 01723 865498 or email


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From scrub bashing to guided walks, the RSPB run events all around the UK