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31 May, 2024 ( 08:30 - 16:30 UK time) - Bempton

Experience Day: Wildlife - Diving Gannets

Photograph and edit seabird images under the expert guidance of Nikon School and Rachel Bigsby


On this wildlife experience day, we will be covering all aspects of photographing seabirds and will show you how to capture great images of diving gannets. There will also be time for an image editing session as well the opportunity to photograph many other seabirds from the cliffs at the RSPB reserve.

We will meet at Bridlington Harbor and sail around Flamborough headland to arrive at Bempton with it's vast seabird colonies. From our exclusively chartered boat, we will be photographing the gannets as hundred's of birds flock together to feed, diving into the water over 50mph. We will then return to land for refreshments at the RSPB reserve in our private room. After lunch and depending on the the light & weather, we will continue the workshop either with a session on image editing or we may head out onto the cliffs to photograph the many seabirds that roost and visit Bempton. We will return to the RSPB cafe for late afternoon refreshments for a final Q&A and wrap up before saying our farewells.

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Experience Day: Wildlife - Diving Gannets - Bempton
31 May, 2024
( 08:30 - 16:30 UK time)

Course Contents

During this workshop we will take you through all the camera settings and considerations needed to produce outstanding seabird images. We will give you the chance to photograph both from land and sea and there will be many chances to shoot images of the gannets diving, surfacing with fish and squabbling over catch as well as the vast seabird colonies on the cliffs.

Subject to the weather and sea conditions we expect to spend around 4 hours underneath the seabird colonies at Bempton and Flamborough. We will then return to land for refreshments at the RSPB reserve in our private room (subject to avaialbility). After lunch we will continue the workshop with a session on image editing, before heading out again onto the cliffs to photograph the many seabirds that roost and visit Bempton. We will sail with the tides which means an approxiamate 6-7am or earlier start and finish on the cliffs at Bempton around 3pm - 4pm depending on the activity levels of the birds.

Bempton Cliffs offers a unique experience as the seabirds will often be flying below or parallel with you given the height of the sea cliffs. Bird species might include Gannets, Puffins, Guillemots, Fulmars and Razorbills to name a few, but this is entirely dependent on the time of year and weather. We will be exploring the reserve for the best light to work with, so be prepared for a little bit of walking to ensure you can get good images.

This workshop is aimed at photographers of all abilities from beginners to advanced photographers. You will get the most out of the workshop if you already have an understanding of the main controls on your camera such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO and the focusing system.

We will have a maximum of 9 attendees on this workshop with Neil on Rachel on hand to provide expert advice and help you achieve great images.

For the workshop, please bring:

A DSLR or Mirrorless camera plus second camera body if you have one

Batteries (and spares)

Memory cards (and spares)

Waterproof cover for camera and lenses


From the boat, lenses such as 70-200mm, 180-600mm or 100-400mm would be ideal. Sometimes the Gannets can get really close, so 24-120mm or 24-70mm or similar can also work. At the RSPB reserve on the cliffs, Focal lengths of 400, 500 and 600mm are recommended as well as binoculars for spotting the birds. In some instances a 70-200mm can be used. In the wild meadows, there are also sometimes opportunities for macro photography of flowers and butterflies.


Please bring appropriate clothing with you such as a windproof and waterproof jacket and trousers. A layered approach to clothing i.e base layer, mid layer / fleece then over jacket is the best approach as it can often get chilly out at sea even on a bright sunny day. Appropriate walking boots or wellies are also recommended.


We suggest you have lunch at the cafe at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. However, feel free to bring your snacks and refreshments to have on the boat or while out on the cliffs. Food / refreshments are not included in the price of the workshop.


There are toilet facilities on the boat and at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Adverse Weather:

The boat sailing aspect of the workshop is dependent on favorable weather conditions. You will be notified by e-mail the evening before the workshop to confirm if we will be sailing. The skippers decision is final on this. If the trip is cancelled due to rough seas or other unforeseen circumstances then you will be offered an alternate workshop date or given a full refund.


Parking and entrance to Bempton Cliffs for RSPB members is free, for non members it is currently £6.

You will also need to pay for parking at the Harbour car park and any food or refreshments at the RSPB cafe.

If you would like to borrow any cameras and lenses for this course please get in contact with us at [email protected] with your request and we will do our best to bring it along. We usually need around 2 weeks notice to arrange any loan requests if the stock is available.

Further information confirming the exact sailing times will be sent out 1-2 days before the workshop takes place.

Latest course reviews...

RSPB Bempton Cliffs Experience Day

Another successful Nikon Experience Day! RSPB Bempton Cliffs is a fantastic place to visit, and with the expertise of Neil, Ricci, and Rachel, it was truly impressive. Observing the birds navigate the high winds was fascinating and offered countless photographic opportunities. Looking forward to the Red Squirrel Experience Day in September!

Colin S.


Course Requirements


  • DSLR/Mirrorless camera
  • Lenses
  • Spare battery
  • Tripod
  • Memory card
  • ND & grad filters

Other Essential

  • Warm/wet weather clothing
  • Appropriate walking shoes


Knowledge of:

  • ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture

Activity / fitness
level involved

Medium level activity


Course Location

RSPB Bempton Cliffs,
Cliff Lane,
YO15 1JF


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