Prior to the Coronavirus lockdown, back in February I facilitated a Get Out And Learn Off Camera Flash mini workshop for Andrea and her daughter Emily who wanted to take the opportunity to photograph Red Squirrels and learn how to use flash off camera.
I provided Andrea and Emily with wireless TTL triggers, together with four Godox AD200’s and some small lighting modifiers so that they could experiment taking images with their cameras and lenses. Despite the cold and drizzle they both came prepared with plenty of warm clothing, sandwiches and a flask.
I wrote a blog about their experience and mine which you can read here: Reds Squirrels & Off Camera Flash A lot has changed since we met up in North Yorkshire, but I recently received an email from Andrea telling me that Emily had sent one of the better images she took of a Red Squirrel to Outdoor Photography Magazine and that there was a small mention of me in the write up, so I thought it only reasonable to write a blog and share a screen shot of her image and the article.
Despite the advances in technology you cannot learn everything online. We think we have a unique way to develop new skills in relation to off camera flash, so If you feel that your photography skills or creative expression have hit a wall, why not join us on a Get Out & Learn Workshop and try photographing Red Squirrels with flash?
Due to the location and uniqueness of photographing Red Squirrels with flash, I only facilitate this workshop with a maximum of two people. I have two meet up locations: Hawes & Ribble Head. The duration of the workshop is a maximum of three hours and the cost is £40 per person.
A century ago reds squirrels were common in woods and plantations throughout the UK, but with the spread of squirrel pox their numbers have declined significantly over the years. There are now around 160,000 red squirrels left in the UK, populations can be found in Scotland, the Lake District, Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales.
As I live in Yorkshire, fortunately the Snaizholme Red Squirrel Nature Reserve is not too far to get too and the reserve provides some great opportunities to watch and photograph the reds. I can also take advantage in visiting at different times of the year.
The red squirrel’s recovery in the Dales took off when the late Hugh Kemp and his wife Jane encouraged a small colony around their farm, Mirk Pot, 1,200ft up in a remote offshoot of Wensleydale called Snaizeholme. The National Park Authority and local landowners have funded the viewing area, which can be found in a woodland clearing and has a feeder to attract wildlife and if you are patient, you will seem them running around the viewing area.
Snaizeholme is in the Widdale area, the reserve is located in a remote area and provides an ideal habitat for Red squirrels with a coniferous woodland. One of the issues in photographing the reds is the light, the light within the reserve changes considerably depending on the time of year and time of day.
I have mainly used a 70mm-200mm f/2.8 for the images displayed here, but if you want to capture the reds in the air or on the feeders, you will need more reach, minimum 400mm. Like most wildlife photography, you have to be patient and look for potential locations to frame shots, but if you are persistent you will be rewarded.
You can find full details of the Red Squirrel Trail at Snaizleholme by picking up a copy of “Go Nuts For Red Squirrels” leaflet from the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes or download it