Capture The Colour And Character Of Seabirds
Practical Photography: Lite|April 2017

THE BRITISH Isles is one of the best places in the world to shoot seabirds.

There are 25 different species that nest along our 20,000 miles of coastline, and their numbers have doubled over the past 40 years. Perhaps the most photogenic is the Atlantic puffin, but the gannet, kittiwake, guillemot, Arctic tern and razorbill also look incredible on-camera.

Seabirds live in colonies out on the water, only coming onto land to nest. The species you want to capture will dictate which stretch of British coastline you’ll need to visit, and when. Puffins, for example, are only on land between May and July, and like rocky outcrops, such as those on the Farne Islands in Northumberland and Skomer in Pembrokeshire. The vast majority of seabirds are on land sometime between March and October, so now is a great time to get out there and shoot. If you’re lucky, you might even see a chick or two!

Find the best angle

As most seabirds nest on steep cliff faces, they can be hard to photograph from the cliff top. Many photographers take boat tours so they can shoot back at the cliff from out at sea, while protruding headland can offer a good angle on the nesting area. At Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire, the RSPB has built several viewing platforms that hang out over the cliff to give a better view.

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