This unique workshop is held at a raptor centre where the birds are trained and actively used for hunting so are in excellent condition, very keen and very fit. Unlike many other centres and because these are working birds many are kept with the minimum of equipment making semi natural shots all the easier and much more realistic.
The centre has a wide range of different raptors including many species of owls, falcons from the small Merlin right up to the magnificent large falcons, a selection of eagles and hawks. It is part of a splendid 3,000 acre private estate providing us with excellent opportunities to photograph birds in a wide range of natural settings. Working with the centres expert and falconers I select a number of natural settings for us to use to photograph the birds. During the day we have ample opportunities to photograph a range of birds, from owls to magnificent eagles and challengingly fast falcons.
In addition to static shots we have the opportunity to practise more taxing flight shots. Starting by encouraging some species to fly the same path repeatedly enables you to practice and fine tune your tracking abilities before attempting to photograph the large falcons the true high speed masters.
Feed back received from attendees of the Specialist Birds of Prey Workshop.
Mark Sutton – July 2023
“Hi Bob and Anne.Thank you for your workshop at Holdenby, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Also, a big thank you to Jo and Emily the Falconers who made the day extra special. They are both very knowledgeable and made sure each photographer had the opportunity to get the photos they wanted. You were on hand to guide me through the best camera setting for each bird and situation I photographed. I have learnt a few things to help with my photography and I look forward to booking my next workshop soon. Best Wishes Mark “
Peter Cox – June 2022
“Hi Bob, I wanted to say a huge Thank you for Your workshop at Holdenby on Monday, I thoroughly enjoyed the day, you were very knowledgeable in photography technique’s, the birds we were photographing and Holdenby itself. The Falconers Jo and Emily were great all day, and the love of the birds were very clear to see.
I was able to learn a few things to help with my photography, and would definitely recommend you to others. I already shared a few of my pictures with my friends that bought me the experience. I will be keeping my eye on your website for other workshops you do in the future.”
Andy Kumaria – June 2022
“Hi Bob, I thoroughly enjoyed the Birds of Prey session last monday. It was well-organised and very interesting. I found the guidance and the added snippets of information most useful, as a result of which I managed to take some really good images of the birds. It was impressive to see how quickly you and the team were able to respond and change the plan when the need arose.
Please thank Ann for her help throughout the day. It was well worth the money and I hope to come to another of your day sessions before long. I hope to upload some of my images to your website when I have sorted the 2000+ photos I took on the day ! Best regards Andy Kumaria “
Jim Gear – October 2021
“Thank you Bob. The workshop was excellent and as usual I always learn new things will see you again. Kind regards Jim Gear .”
Robert Pask – September 2021
“Thank you for the amazing coaching day. I learned so much. Having trawled through 4500 odd RAW files, I realized I had taken a lot more successful shots than I thought you just need the right teacher to give you the correct technique! Thank you.”
David Able – June 2021
“You never fail to meet my expectations, Bob. You exceed them! “
Julie Whitcombe – September 2020
“This was my fourth workshop with Bob and I always look forward to learning something new, which he delivers in spades! Another cracking day. I like the fact that Bob never makes you feel daft for asking a question or getting him to re-explain something.”
Chrys Tremththanmor – September 2020
“Exceeded my expectations – a very enjoyable day. So pleased to have help coming to grips with my Canon R6. It’s just different enough to my previous Canons that I’m still wrestling with it a bit. Plus wildlife photography is still new to me.”
Kelven Spratling – October 2019
“Bob and Ann – wanted to thank you for a tremendous day – again I have walked away with more tips and techniques and some wonderful images. Well done also for managing the rain and the schedule to suit the birds and light.”
Robert Deamer – October 2019
“Many thanks for a fabulous day on Saturday at the Raptor Workshop. We had a tremendous time photographing the birds and as always I come away from your workshops with some great images and feeling that I have learned something to improve my knowledge of photography. Looking forward to meeting up again soon..”
Samantha Addis – May 2019
“Our xpectations were to learn techniques for taking good photos of raptors and to put those techniques into practice. These were ceartinly met ! Thank you for such a wonderful day, both myself and my Dad really enjoyed ourselves. We learnt a lot and came away with some photos we’re happy with. Considering our photography skills are at the lower end of the spectrum, I thought you were great teachers with lots of patience!
Allen Dale – May 2019
“I had been on the course a few years ago so knew what to expect. But with new equipment my expectations for better pictures was greater. From a personal point of view with only 6 people you were able to spend more time with each. My thanks for your assistance in sorting out my focussing problems, and giving us the opp ortunity to try out “manual” settings, which I’ve always avoided, and the technique for taking pictures against bright backgrounds. It is so much easier having someone there rather than trying to read from manuals, books, magazine articles.”
Scott Bunker – May 2019
“Just wanted to say thank you again for a great workshop today. I attended the raptor workshop and already looking to arrange my next outing!
Thank you again to both of you it was a great day, paced well with plenty of variation and changes however familiar enough to put into practice what was kindly taught and discussed.
I am having a great evening now going through all my photos and happy to report I am over the moon as to what I captured with your help.
Look forward to meeting you both again at what I am sure will be another great experience. Thank you. ”
Penny Yates – April 2018
“An excellent workshop that definitely lived up to my expectations. With only six of us attending, Bob and Ann were both able to give careful individual help an d guidance, often showing much patience as we were quite a ‘mixed ability’ group, and I surprised myself with the quality of some of the photos that I took! I certainly learned a lot which I hope I will remember. The venue is perfect for such an activity: a wonderful selection of birds of prey, beautiful countryside and the most knowledgeable and friendly falconers.”
Andrew Allsop – May 2018
“I had a thoroughly enjoyable day with great company, an excellent teacher in Bob who made the learning both very helpful and fun. Tom the falconer was a great guy who taught me a lot about raptors, an added bonus! The small group was a definite advantage as there was plenty of time for Bob to give individual attention . I loved the location and the birds where in tip top condition. All in all an excellent workshop and I will certainly consider going on another one run by Bob.”
Garry Chisholm – April 2018
“My 2nd visit to this location and it more than met my expectations yet again. Good selection of birds, very logical in the order they were displayed as it helped the photographer through the stage from ‘easy’ to difficult”
John Tilly – April 2018
“Learn’t more about my camera in a day than I would have done otherwise. (Canon manuals not particularly helpful in my view) Struggled with some aspects due to underlying eyesight issues, difficult to track the birds, however pleasantly surprised to have good selection of in flight photos. You, Ann and the two falconers were great. .”
Peter Ward – October 2017
“This is the third time I’ve been on your Birds of Prey workshop and find them very informative. I am getting better each time I go with fewer soft shots. The venue and the birds are first class and Bob’s tutition on the day is very helpful.”
Garry Chisholm – October 2017
“Previously I had shied away somewhat from bird in flight under certain lighting conditions however, with absolute clear instruction and direction from Bob I now feel far more competent to be able to achieve quality images no matter what the lighting conditions are.”
Sharon Worrall – September 2017
“This course fully met my expectations providing a supportive environment where we could ask for advice along with some great settings for photography. It was a great day, well planned, well organised, great venue and brilliant tour leaders and guides throughout. Could not ask for any more. Bob was a brilliant leader – no pressure on the day and very supportive throughout. A great leader and we will definitely be booking more days/ holidays with Bob. This is definitely the first of many. “
Kevin Hatfield – September 2017
“As usual Bob it is a pleasure to spend a day with you photographing wonderful animals in a superb location, I am looking forward to our next workshop with the Fungi which will be a lot slower than the Peregrine. Thanks for a great day.”
Dave Kidd – July 2017
“My expectations were exceeded in every department, the day was superb and your knowledge, support, friendliness, and direction couldn’t ave been better. Thank you for a fantastic day.
The support from Rory and Tom was also first class, and their skills and knowledge undoubtedly helped towards the success of this event. “
Francois Roux – May 2017
“I wanted to just send you a note of appreciation. I attended the raptor workshop last weekend with you at Holdenby and it was an eye opener for me. Having only picked up my first proper camera 6 months ago I have been fascinated by trying to learn as much as I can & get the right shot. Reading as much as I can and learning as I go along your workshop was amazing and somehow something clicked having listened to your advise and guidance. I am deligted and had the confidence to shoot in manual mode throughout and even my friends have commented the my photos seems to all of a sudden have a new feel of elevation and quality to them. I have tons more to learn but I am smiling. I am loading a few up on flickr so will send you a link at some point.”
Tim Iannetta – May 2017
“The day exceeded my expectations. The venue is incredible. The quality of the birds is excellent. They all looked very well cared for and healthy, hence they made perfect subjects. The size of the group was very good, the individual engagement was good and the tuition provided was spot on.”
Steve Mason – May 2017
“I was really looking forward to photographing the birds of prey in flight. I was very pleased with the expert tuition , which helped me to get some great flight shots.”
Jo Angell – May 2017
“My aim was to learn more about the settings on my camera (7d mk 2) to achieve better results. So much relevant info re camera settings and for different situations ie lighting/shadows – things I would have never even thought about. The amount of knowledge and help along with explanation on the day really is brilliant and exceeded expectations. I came home and made lots of notes while it was fresh in my mind!”
Andrew Downer – May 2017
“I booked a place on this workshop to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ of successfully photograph birds in flight. I think that armed with the the tuition and advice gained during the day (and more practice), my success to failure ratio will have improved. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding day.
Many thanks to you Bob and our Falconers.”
Phil Barnett – March 2017
“The workshop gave me the excellent opportunity to build on the knowledge that I gained during the last BOP workshop and get some additional great photos. Test my new camera with these birds and see if the new lens / camera combo helps and especially the information re ISO settings.”
Many thanks to you Bob and our Falconers.”
Pauline Kerr – April 2017
“I had a wonderful day at Icarus Falconry. Being so close to the birds was amazing. You explained things in plain English and made it easy to understand although there was a lot of information to take in. I was glad of your help during the day which enabled me to get the shots in focus and sharp! All I need now is your explanation about the scenarios written down so I can u se it again for reference. Thank you for a brilliant day.”
Steve Varga – March 2017
” My expectations – An opportunity to photograph a variety of birds on location with professional advice.
This was fully met. The variety of birds exceeded expectations as did the thought that went in to providing situations to get the best photographs. Tom was excellent, working to get the birds into position and giving us as long as possible with each bird.
Tuition was at the right level with lots of useful tips which will improve my technique and understanding of photographing birds in the wild. The group was a good size and could have handled two or three more people.The locations were well thought out and although I expected more walking, it did mean we didn’t waste time between shoots.”
Suzanne Bowen – March 2017
“I knew there would be far more advanced photographers than myself on the day. However, the individual teaching during the day was tailored to my ability and equipment capabilities. I achieved more than expected on the day and would love to do the day again in the future. “
Helen Christie – July 2016
“We had a great day, many opportunities to take photos of the birds in natural settings. Loved the fact we did the static birds in the morning and had the opportunity to photography others flying. Loved the venue and the Falconers were great. Many thanks for your assistance. Helen & Charles”
Rebecca Fulcher – April 2016
“The settings and the day far exceeded my expectations – being able to take photos in natural environments was awesome and Holdenby is such a great location. The tuition was perfect and has given me lots to practise with. Couldnt fault the day in anyway – it was perfect!”
Graham Austin – March 2016
“Bob,this was my 4th visit to your workshop and once again I have come away with a little more knowledge on how to photograph these fantastic birds. You and your team put together a fantastic day,both yourself and the falconers gave us a great deal of knowledge in not only photography but the birds themselves.
I will be returning again. Thanks to you and your team. “
Don and Marie Cuddon – September 2015
“Both my wife and I were looking for guidance on camera handling for birds in flight. Settings; focusing; how to track flight path etc.
We were hoping for and found a small group so that there would be sufficient time for the tutor to spend with each member.
Ultimately we found the day very useful providing numerous opportunities for both improving our camera skills and those photo opportunities that may be difficult to find in the wild. Instruction was informative throughout the day as much from Bob as also Mark the handler/Falconer.
Being a small group we found it easy to get along with other members and it allowed Bob to spend adequate time with each of us providing guidance/suggestions etc. The balance between discussing and/or instructions and actual “doing” was just about right.”
Jason Wickham – October 2015
“Hi Bob, Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for Sunday. You were a great host and obviously someone who cares deeply about the birds and has extensive knowledge, and this added to the day. Your insights into photography , how cameras work and how to use them creatively were very valuable and I learnt a lot, both at the beginning of the session over a cuppa and throughout the day as you helped us all with our technique. What a great opportunity to explore the lovely grounds of a historic house and have access to the beautiful birds that most people will not get. I had a great time and appreciated your insights, and I learnt a lot. Thanks again! Jason. “
Graham Austin – September 2015
“Well Bob, this was my third time with you at your wild bird workshop and again I came away with a lot of knowledge and some remarkable images and that is thanks to you and Mike the head falconer. As for my expectations of the day, well it just gets better, the more of these workshops I attend the more I get addicted to wild life photography. Bob, without a doubt you and your team know what you are doing every time I come away with more knowledge than the previous. I have also attended your harvest mice workshop which I found, as well as educational it gave me a great insight into macro photography.”
Graham Austin – May 2015
“The tuition we received was of a high standard and the variation of location and birds was excellent,both Bob and the falconers provided a clear knowledge of the birds and how to capture them.
This is the second Raptor work shop I have attended and like the first I found it very informative.The first workshop back in September 2014 gave me the enthusiasm for wild life photography and the tuition you gave us was not only informative but easy to understand in what is a very technical subject. I feel I have moved forward in my photography in an area I knew very little about. Thanks to you and your team I am looking forward to my next workshop in the not so distant future.”
Jo Angell – May 2015
“Photographing birds in flight was something I wanted to gain better knowledge of so wanted plenty of practice on the workshop. This was fully met by learning Manual mode and understanding it. I wouldn’t have ‘got it’ if I read about it but being physically shown on my camera and being clearly explained was brilliant! Plenty of practise with different birds especially the kestrel hovering was great. Also like to add I loved the venue. “
Wendy Collens – July 2015
“This was my second visit to Holdenby so I obviously knew what to expect from the day. Photographing these birds is always a pleasure. Thanks Bob for your advice particularly on how to capture birds in flight. This venue is just superb. “
Greg Mayers – May 2015
“Thanks for a good day – I liked the variety of birds shown and the size of the group was ideal – you imparted a lot of info which was useful”
Paul Measor – May 2015
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day. The birds were obviously well looked after. The setting spectacular and so varied within such a small area – perfect. Your help and advice were pitched perfectly.”
Jim Slade – May 2015
“I have been on other raptor photo days where the flying of birds was secondary to static portrait shots. I found the balance between static and flying of this workshop just about right. The progression from slower flying birds to the gyr/peregrine was managed well with clear directions given on how to set up and take (or attempt to take the gyr/peregrine in my case!!) useable images. Icarus’s staff were exceptionally helpful too. All in all, an extremely enjoyable day….heartily recommended.”
Steve Allen – May 2015
“I had a brilliant day Bob thanks for you help with camera setting to got the best shots of the birds in flight, also wot a lovely location and great back drop with some of the birds. You chose a very good variety of birds for us to make the day exciting and the photo opportunities was endless “
Liz Weeks – May 2015
“Thank you Bob for a great day at the Icarus Falconry Centre for the Specialist Raptor Workshop. Your teaching was very good including how to get the best images from a very grey cloudy day. I came wanting to lean how to start taking photographs of birds and this workshop fulfilled this. Now I just need hours of practice under my belt. A pity I cannot download this but then the challenge and reward from success would disappear! :)”
Nigel Farmer – May 2015
“An excellent day. Just the right level of tuition, passing on experience and knowledge whilst letting us get on and take photos. Always on hand as usual to help if needed. Just the right number of people attending too. Great location, and fantastic birds. “
Debra Simms – October 2014
“I was a bit hesitant to book as I felt that the other participants would be far more experienced and although they were, I was helped with all aspects by Bob and the others. As we were only a small group it worked very well. I loved hearing all the info from Bob and the falconers and watching the birds up close was as brilliant.”
Graham Austin – September 2014
“This turned out to be far better than I had expected Bob, you came over as a very patient teacher who put things over very clearly in what can be a very technical subject. This is the very first workshop I have been on and because I enjoyed it so much it have given me the enthusiasm to continue in this field of photography. Thanks again for a truly brilliant day.”
Phil Kemp – October 2014
“Having been on Natures Photos workshops before I knew a high standard was to be expected and as usual Bob did not let us down. As usual it was brilliant, good value for money. Suitable for novices and the more experienced. “
Wendy Collens – October 2014
“A super day in a lovely location with an opportunity to photograph hawks, falcons and owls both in flight and in suitable ‘wild’ settings. As always Bob’s attention to detail and help shown to everyone is welcomed and appreciated – most certainly by me. Thanks, Bob, for another great day. Thanks also to Tom at the Centre who was very knowledgeable and helpful – a delightful young man.”
George Cox – September 2014
“My aim for the day was to end up with an improvement in my technique and understanding of the techniques required to take superb shots of birds of prey. This was all achieved with the help of first rate advice from Bob who has the ability to explain everything in such simple terms you are left wondering why it all seemed so difficult before! Fantastic day and I hope to attend more of these days. Have now got some amazing images (even a Peregrine in flight!) that I never thought myself capable of taking.Thanks especially for the help with birds in flight and metering – simple technique that works so well! Also for making me wait till the camera has acquired AF before shooting like mad! “
Steve Childs – May 2014
“If a single day could have ironed out flaws in my technique then it would be a not be a skill worth pursuing. For me the most significant plus of this workshop was that it afforded the best possible environment in which to concentrate on the technicalities of the process. The certainty of the opportunity which is not present under everyday conditions meant that I could learn under controlled conditions the routines that once engrained would hopefully serve me well when and if I encounter opportunities in the wild. This was precisely why I wanted to come on the course and precisely what I took away. Thank you for the day.”
Alvin Webb – April 2014
“I wanted to take photographs like you see in magazines and what settings produced the desired result. I had an absolutely brilliant day. I have just spent 2 hours reviewing images and my success rate exceeded my expectations. For the first time I have captured birds in flight consistently. My confidence in the manual control has taken a huge step boost. Thank you Bob for sharing your knowledge at a level I can understand.
A big thank you for Tom (the falconer), brilliant control of the birds and his appreciation the photographer’s needs. “
Sylvia Adams – Nov 2013
“I was looking forward to a relaxing day with like-minded folk. Keen to try out new camera with some wonderful birds in great surroundings and get help with preferential camera settings etc. These were all superseded by the rapport between Tom – the main bird handler- and Bob. Felt that everyone got on really well and the day passed very quickly. It was such a friendly and relaxing day when the weather was not terribly brilliant. The adaptability to change the programme at a few minutes’ notice without any problems kept the day flowing seamlessly. Great variety of birds that all looked in tip top condition. Got loads of help ref camera settings and it really helped me. Thanks. “
Danny Kirby-Hunter – July 2013
“My aim for the day was to learn more about my camera and how best to utilize it to its capabilities as well as learning more about birds of prey and how best to capture them in flight. It had been quite a while since I had participated on a photographic workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had attended a few photography workshops with other organisations before but often came away feeling disappointed at the lack of technical/photographic assistance and input from the event organiser. This one was quite different, Bob was always on hand to offer advice and make suggestions whenever needed.
Tom, the falconer at the centre, was knowledgeable and friendly, and clearly had a passion for his work and the animals in his care which is always great to see. He was always eager to answer questions about the birds we were photographing.
All in all an excellent day which I would encourage anyone else to go on. “
Chris Barrington – July 2013
“Hi Bob. I just wanted to say thank you for a really brilliant day yesterday. Your advice (not to mention patience) enabled me to learn so much and I managed to get some great pictures too (sadly not many of the flight ones were good, so I’ll be booking that workshop when you advertise!). I will definitely be signing up for more courses with you soon.”
David Eaves – April 2013
“My expectations were very much to improve my ability to photograph birds in flight. That I certainly achieved ! Thank you very much for your help.”
Hugh Tottle – March 2013
“Lovely location, nice to be in a facility where the birds were obviously well looked after and the staff were very keen.”
Janice Jones – February 2013
“My expectations were to photograph a variety of birds in ‘natural settings’ and acquire some tips on camera settings to achieve some good images. These were all more than fully met, thank you. I was very impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the falconers. Nothing was too much trouble for them but the welfare of their birds was properly always their priority.”
Alan Bultitude – February 2013
“I achieved some great shots that I would be unlikely to get in a “real life” situation, not many Barbary falcons or black eagles in Kettering you know. I learnt more about digital photography as, to be fair, I have usually used my camera on auto mode. With help from yourself and the other people on the course, I now know how to achieve different effects and I now have a better chance of getting some really worthwhile shots. I was delighted to get a few, really crisp pictures amongst the dross and I even managed to catch the falcon in flight. Gorgeous day, beautiful venue, lovely friendly people, and healthy, well-kept birds, what more could you ask. Really pleased, thank you. “
Julian Dowse – February 2013
“My expectations were to take great record shots of native British (& other) birds, learn something new and take some flight shots. These were all fully met. I loved the course. I liked the way you explained what was going to happen as well as the advice you gave with the camera settings. Also, great birds.”
Dick Smart – November 2012
“Bob I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. You could not have done more to make sure everyone was happy and getting the images they wanted. Thank you.”
Vin Scothern – November 2012
“Hi Bob, Never having been on a workshop of this type I didn’t really know what to expect, before the course I had hoped to get some images of the birds in as natural surroundings as possible. I came away from the course knowing an awful lot more about the birds and with some fantastic images.
Gill and I thoroughly enjoyed the Raptor course on the 17th. We can’t thank you enough for a brilliant day, the location was fantastic and the birds were awesome. Big thanks to yourself for the teaching on the day and all the communications before hand.
Also thank you to Tom and Josh for their patient help and answering questions that they must get asked all the time, nothing was to much trouble for them. All in all a wonderful day was had by us both and we shall return for another of your workshops in the very near future. I would recommend them to photographers of all levels.”
“The day was excellent from start to finish. From the warm welcome from yourself and everyone at the centre, especially Tom and Mike. The relationship you have with Icarus really enhances the experience as you were able to achieve fantastic photo opportunities in a range of “natural” situations.
I can’t think of anyway you could improve the workshop. The relatively small numbers of people you maintain at them enables you to give individual attention where needed. Your knowledge of the Canon product is certainly an advantage for those of us with them too. I came away having learned at least 4 new things with my camera – exceeding my expectations. But I think anymore and I probably wouldn’t remember them all either!! It’s now about getting out there and continually using it. Thank you Bob and I look forward to coming along to another workshop with you in the not too distant future. “
“I was very impressed with the way Bob went the extra mile to put on this workshop for myself and two friends despite a lack of other delegates. I was also pleased with the way Bob managed to come up with some different locations for the static shots. Despite lighting problems caused by the weather/time of year we did as well as we might have done so overall it was a very pleasing day.”
“Hi Bob. I just wanted to say thank you very much for a great day yesterday, you even managed to control the weather! I certainly learned a lot about bird photography, and will certainly appreciate good bird photos even more now! Alan.”
“As an enthusiastic amateur I was looking forward to my first chance to take photos of owls and birds in flight. The day didn’t disappoint. A superb venue and staff generous with their time made the whole day a wonderful experience. The tutor was informative without being overly in-depth about the birds being used but his obvious enthusiasm was evident. From a technical point of view all questions and queries were answered in a plain English way making instruction easy to understand. The only problem with the day – the hundreds of photos now stored on my computer, the majority of which are just too good not to keep!”
“I wanted to say thanks again for an excellent day. It actually surpassed some of my expectations. The weather was kind, indeed glorious and your tuition and guidance most helpful. Tom and Mike were really good to be with, and of course the birds were just too marvellous for words. I’ll probably do it again next year! Ian”