The Bird of Prey Centre is based in picturesque farmland to the south of Bedford. The centre is home to one of the largest collections in the UK with well over 200 birds including many different species of Owls, Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, Kites and Vultures as featured in our Birds of Prey Gallery. Their wonderful facilities and surroundings will provide you with the opportunity to capture fantastic portraits and stunning images of the birds in flight. The Centre is open to the public but we will be in quiet areas around the farm to photograph static birds in natural surroundings or using the flying arena when no one else is present.
Learn How to Capture Great Images of Birds of Prey
These workshops are led by Peter Smart, the owner of Going Digital South Midlands. Peter is an experienced wildlife photographer and tour leader with a wealth of experience teaching photography and escorting wildlife photography tours to many countries around the World. He will be joined by a resident falconer who has a great deal of experience of working with photographers, and has an amazing knowledge of the birds.
Our Birds of Prey Photography Workshop begins with a briefing on how to set up your camera for the morning session. This will concentrate on capturing portraits of the birds in natural settings, with attractive backgrounds appropriate for each species. Tuition will be provided on how to adjust the camera for the conditions, how to compose an image to take advantage of the surroundings and how best to bring out the characteristics of each bird.
During the buffet lunch, there will be a further briefing on setting up your camera for action photography as we prepare for the challenge of photographing birds in flight. We will begin the session with the larger and slower eagles and owls and, once we have mastered these, we will move on to more challenging species! The day will end with a review of the techniques employed and an opportunity to ask Peter any questions to further improve your wildlife photography.
Our weekday Birds of Prey Photography Masterclass - limited to no more than six photographers - follows a similar format and is designed for those wishing to further improve their wildlife photography and capturing images of birds in flight.
Previous Experience & Equipment
If you wish to improve your wildlife and action Photography skills then ideally you should have attended our Explore Your Camera Part 1 -Get Off Auto workshop or be confident shooting in Aperture Priority mode. For those without a DSLR camera then excellent portraits may be obtained of all the birds featured throughout the day although photographing birds in flight may be more challenging depending on the features of your specific camera.
Spectators & Age Restrictions
Spectators are not able to join the group as we will be away from public areas for most of the day. However they are welcome to pay the normal admission fee to the Centre and enjoy the public facilities.
Students under the age of 16 are welcome but must be accompanied by a paying adult at all times.
The Bird of Prey Centre, Bedford
The Bird of Prey Centre (also known as The English School of Falconry) has well over 200 birds in its care so there is never a shortage of subjects to photograph. Although we can never be sure which birds will be available on a particular day, our experienced falconer will select a good variety that are suited to our needs. On a typical day the species may include Chilean Blue Eagle, Barn Owl, Red Kite, Great Grey Owl, African Fish Eagle, Tawny Owl, European Eagle Owl, Common Kestrel, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Harris Hawk, Bald Eagle, Harris Hawk and Bataleur Eagle.