This is a three day residential workshop for 1-2 people.  You will stay in my new self-catering cabin "The Drey Inchberry" and spend 3 mornings photographing red squirrels. There will be the opportunity to photograph other species in the afternoons or to receive help editing your images.

The workshop is available at any time during the year and is dependent on availability of the accommodation and hides.  Drey availability information is on the website, but please also drop me a email with your preferred dates so I can confirm.

Red squirrels are the most wonderful of creatures.  In the winter they sport magnificent ear tufts and thick coats and are very active as they search for food.  Watching them can't fail to bring a smile to your face!

On this three day residential workshop you will join me, photographer and guide Karen Miller, as I introduce you to my local red squirrel family and take you to another hide in the Cairngorm National Park.  

I believe that the best way to capture strong images of an animal such as the red squirrel is to spend quality time with them, learning their behaviours so that you can anticipate when to take photographs.  I know my local squirrels and their habits intimately having spent many many days in their company since I moved to the Scottish Highlands and I can share some of this knowledge with you.  It's been fascinating learning their behaviours and quirks.  My hide is very natural and there are lots of opportunities to photograph the squirrels not only eating nuts but also sitting in the trees and interacting with each other.

There is no permanent hide at this site, but a pop-up hide can be provided if the weather is very poor.  No hide does mean you can take more intimate and engaging images as the squirrels are aware of your presence.  It's also possible to get eye-level images, something difficult to do at most hides.  It is a 10 minute walk from the accommodation through woodland. The path is a little uneven in places but relatively easy to walk.

Here are a selection of images taken at my local feeding station and in my garden.

Here's a video of my red squirrel site.  This was filmed in late July/early August 2021 when the squirrels are in their summer pelages with no ear tufts.  Still gorgeous though!  The film shows how natural the site is and some of the photographic opportunities.

We'll also spend a day (or two depending on the weather) at a great hide in the Cairngorm National Park.

This hide is situated in a clearing in a pine forest and has a large number of squirrels visiting, the light is good and there's a fair chance of snow over the winter months. 

The hide is dug into the ground allowing for eye-level images - my favourite!   

There's also the opportunity to photograph the squirrels jumping and over the summer there's a reflection pool.


Afternoons

Red squirrels are only active in the mornings over the winter, preferring to spend their afternoons snuggled up in their dreys.  Therefore we can spend a couple of hours photographing other species - for example snow bunting, crested tits, red kites, red deer* or reindeer*.  Alternatively we can head back to base and I can help you choose and edit your images.  I can also give you pointers as to what can be done to achieve different photographs during the remainder of the workshop.

* extra cost involved


Accommodation & Location

You will be staying in my new (June 2021) cabin "The Drey Inchberry".  It's an open-plan space 6x4m with shower room and mini kitchen (combi microwave/oven, fridge, freezer and sink).

The beds are 2 European singles which can be combined to form a super king.

It's very well insulated so will be nice and snug over the winter months.

There is no wifi (it's horrible here!) but there is 4G.

The accommodation is self-catering although milk, tea and coffee are provided.

For more information have a look at the website and Facebook pages.

The Drey is situated 5 miles West of Inverness on the road to Beauly.  It's surrounded by fields and woodland and overlooks the Beauly Firth and Ben Wyvis.  

Equipment

Warm  and waterproof clothing is essential.  We'll be sitting outside or in a pop-up hide at my squirrel site so you'll need extra layers (I can provide hot water bottles or blankets).  Good walking boots or wellies and gloves.

Lenses: For the squirrels anything from 200mm upwards. 300-500 is ideal.  The squirrels come close at my site but you will also want to photograph them in the trees.  A fast lens is recommended (f2.8-f4 ideally), but not essential.

Tripod can be used at my site and for photographing other species. For the Cairngorm hide you need a beanbag.  (I have both a spare tripod and spare beanbag if required)

Cable release is useful for jumping squirrels.

Price

This workshop is suitable for 1-2 people.  Ideally if 2 people you should be friends/partners as you'll be sharing The Drey.

It includes 4 nights self-catering accommodation, transport to/from the sites we visit. The cost of the squirrel hides.   

Not included is food and drink although hot drinks and snacks are available when at the local squirrel site. 

Also not included is any cost involved in pay-to-visit locations we might go to in the afternoons of days 1 & 2, should those be of interest (free alternatives are available). When booking we can discuss what, if anything, you'd like to do in the remaining hours of daylight.


1 Person: £600

2 People: £800 (£400 per person)


Depending on availability, if you'd like to stay extra nights in the cabin the cost is £60 per night for 1 person, £80 per night for 2.

If you'd prefer to do a 2 day "red squirrel therapy" workshop instead with 3 nights accommodation please contact me for prices.


To book, or to find out more, please email Karen