I’ve been spending a lot of time recently at the nearby Nature Reserve St. Aidans near Castleford in West Yorkshire. Run by the RSPB, St. Aidans is proving to be a wonderful place for wildlife photography – and the ideal location for a Wildlife Photography Course The open nature of the site (formerly an open cast mine) lends itself to some cracking light at both ends of the day. With reed beds and intersecting water channels the reserve is perfect for landscape photography, with stunning reflections and evocative sunsets.
All year round there are good numbers of wildfowl – with ideal access to the water’s edge allowing for low level images with the camera literally a few inches about the water surface. This gives some wonderful reflections, particularly with the obliging swans that regularly dabble close to the edge.
What’s exciting me the most about this location, is the opportunities at twilight. At dawn and dusk, ducks, geese and swans can be seen flying over the lakes, and lapwings rising up in large groups. In addition, a starling flock continues to grow in number, wheeling around at dusk before dropping into the reed beds. This mini-murmuration is one of the spectacles of St Aidans and an amazing thing to photograph. But the star species has to be the elusive bittern, which can be heard ‘booming’ from the reed beds in early spring.
To share the wildlife of St. Aidans with others, I’m running Wildlife Photography Workshops at the reserve in 2014. These are half day courses aimed at beginners, but more experienced wildlife photographers can benefit from my knowledge of the reserve and capture evocative twilight photos including the starling murmuration. For any more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org