mountain hare workshop
18th february - 3rd march 2019
MOUNTAIN HARE WORKSHOPS
This is a fantastic opportunity to photograph mountain hares in their white winter coats at the best location within Scotland under Kevin's tutelage he will guide you to the best spots where you'll be able to capture a wide range of amazing images.
The hares are distributed over a wide range in an upland environment and you can expect to see betwen 10-25 animals over the course of the day, and photograph five or more different individuals, although this does vary from day to day depending on the weather conditions. There are also times when it is advantageous to remain with an individual hare for long periods, waiting for some specific behaviour to unfold or to capture the perfect shot.
The approach to the site is on foot and it is possible to locate hares on the lower ground after a 20 minute walk. Depending on conditions and fitness levels the aim will be to move uphill looking for hares before reaching the higher plateau where hares are most numerous. This involves a walk of around 1 mile and an elevation gain of around 250-300m. The ground is moderately steep in places, uneven and can be slippery in snowy or icy conditions. Snow cover is very variable during the winter and they may be none at all or there could be more than 0.5m.
Walking in snow in this kind of terrain is tiring and requires a good level of fitness and stamina especially considering that you will be carrying heavy photographic equipment, although the pace will be slow and breaks can be taken!
Mountain hares are mostly white in winter and are perfectly camouflaged in the snowy terrain making them difficult to spot but they have favoured areas where they rest up during the day. Once a hare has been spotted a slow and careful approach will be made to hopefully get within photographic range. Although some hares flee at the first sign of a human many others rely on their camouflage and stay partially hidden allowing for a much closer approach.
The approach can take some time and it’s important that the hare remains relaxed and comfortable. Hares will often sit in the same position for hours if undisturbed and so it may be a waiting game hoping the hare will become more active, start to groom or stretch. If pushed, then most hares will eventually flee running off away from the camera so we want to avoid this by being patient and waiting for things to happen naturally.
Kevin will be on hand to offer advice on how to best approach the hares, as well as helping with camera settings, exposure etc.
Note that you may well be sitting, kneeling or even lying on wet cold ground for long periods of time so you should wear adequate clothing and be prepared for this.
You will be away from your vehicle all day and the session will begin at 0930 and usually end at around 1600. There are no facilities on site.
Access to the meeting point is on a narrow tarmac road that is ploughed in snowy weather but there is the potential for ice and slippery conditions
- Meet at the designated meeting point at 9.30am
- Brief introduction to find out what you would like from the day.
- We head out to locate the hares they can be found on the lower ground. But depending on conditions and fitness levels the aim will be to move uphill looking for hares before reaching the higher plateau.
- Once we have located the hares Kevin will teach you the best field-craft to approach the hares and will be on hand with any photographic tuition during the session
- Roughly around 3.30pm we will begin the walk back down the hillside to the cars and the end of the workshop
- Full one-to-one guidance throughout the day
- Field-craft training
- Full technical camera tuition
- Expert knowledge of mountain hares and the surrounding area
- A friendly, relaxed approach
- Food and drink
- Transport to/from the meeting place (transport can be arranged if needed)
- Personal insurance
- Track and photograph one of the UK's hardiest creatures in the stunning Cairngorms National Park
- Learn and put into practise important Field Craft skills.
- Chance to see some of Scotland's other highland species including golden eagles, red deer & red grouse.