Farne Islands photo trip - any tips?


Link Posted 11/06/2016 - 08:34
I'm off on a trip to the Farne Islands next week and would appreciate tips from any folk who have been on a similar trip regarding camera settings or anything else that you wished you had done in hindsight.

Thanks in anticipation.


Link Posted 11/06/2016 - 10:43
Book an all day trip which covers two islands. The single island trips don't give you long enough. Take a telephoto (300mm is fine), but also something shorter. Have your camera ready on the boat. Not so much for the birds, unless you get close to gannets (who are on fishing trips from Bass Rock), but more for mammals. You'll almost certainly get the opportunity to photograph seals and if you're really luck dolphins.

Wear a hat on Inner Farne. You will be attacked by Arctic Terns. They can draw blood, but are just a novelty when you have headwear. Take a flash for some HSS fill in. The terns have a black head and a black eye. so, frustrating when you get a great shot and the eye isn't visible.

For puffins in flight you want to be using nothing slower than 1/1600 sec, unless you want blur. The exception being if you can get them flying into the wind, which slows them down. There are so many puffins it can get a bit confusing. But if you watch one you'll see it come in with a mouthful, head towards its burrow, see the gulls waiting to steal its catch, and it will often circle again. so, when it does come back around you know where its heading. This makes it easier. You can pre focus on a point in its track, and then try to follow it from there.

There are limited facilities on the islands. There is a toilet on Inner Farne, which is the island that's visited in the afternoon. So, if you get to Seahouses early enough (and you want to be there early for the convenience of parking close to the harbour), pay the public toilet a visit, then head to the co-op, grab a sandwich and plenty to drink to take with you for later on.



Link Posted 11/06/2016 - 19:36
Thanks for the info Alan and others going myself on the 25th. So finding all this very helpful.. I cant decide on longer slow lens Sigma 150-500 or the lighter 55-300.

Looking forward to seeing the images and hearing about your experience Stephen..
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses



Link Posted 11/06/2016 - 20:50
Haven't had the 55-300 for a long time. When I say 300mm is long enough, I think the Sigma would be sharpest at that focal length, probably as fast too. The 55-300 will probably be a bit soft at its very long end. Depends how comfortable you are with the weight. First time I did the Farnes it was with the 150-500



Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 00:22
Possibly up that way myself in the next few weeks and if so wouldn't mind taking in the Farne islands. Can I just turn up on a day and pay for the all day trip or does it need to be pre booked. Would a Pentax 18-135 and 150-450 be overkill or would it cover most situations for the Farne islands, other option be travelling lightly which would mean me taking a Sigma 18 -250 macro HSM as a sole lens, although I do have a Sigma 8-16 I could take as well, but presume there would be no use for it out there. perhaps Stephen could add some comments on return from his trip. Any suggestions would be helpful as well



Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 09:27
18-135 and 150-450 would be just about perfect.

I've turned up before on the day, but usually ring up one of the operators at least the day before to make sure I'll be able to get a place. Couple of operators below.




Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 10:59
Also ring up to check on the weather as the boat trips can even be cancelled on the day
Too Old To Die Young

Last Edited by bforbes on 12/06/2016 - 11:00


Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 11:55
Another great opportunity to see and photograph a variety of birds (also seals and if you lucky Minke Whale); the Isle of May http://www.isleofmaybirdobs.org

And to get there with the ferry; http://www.isleofmayferry.com

Much more fun to get there is with the Osprey RHIB, it carries up to 12 persons and the skipper really tries his best to get up and close with wildlife and is happy to manoeuvre or stop the boat into positions for the benefits of us photographers. http://www.isleofmayboattrips.co.uk


Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 18:40
Many thanks for the replies ... sorry to hijack your thread Stephen, was just an opportunity to ask whilst on the subject. Look forward to your pictures and comments about the experience after your visit



Link Posted 12/06/2016 - 21:32
No problem Martin and thanks to all who have offered advice. Some useful tips.


Link Posted 13/06/2016 - 13:33
Longest lens you have, camera set on Tv at 1/1500 or faster, filter on front lens to protect from salt spray.
Flash is useful

Dial in some overexposure as the lens will be mostly skywards. Not too much otherwise land shots will be overexposed.

Take standard or wideangle zoom just in case the boat trips are cancelled on the day - the coastline up there is amazing, plus you have Bamburgh and Dunstanborough castles, plus a few nice small harbours.
AKA Welshwizard/PWynneJ
Assorted Pentax/Nikon/Mamiya stuff


Link Posted 13/06/2016 - 16:22
Good advice from the guys my bit would be take two hats in case you lose the first one I have kayaked the Farnes on numerous ocassions and I know what i am talking about


Link Posted 14/06/2016 - 07:48
K30pete wrote:
Much more fun to get there is with the Osprey RHIB, it carries up to 12 persons and the skipper really tries his best to get up and close with wildlife and is happy to manoeuvre or stop the boat into positions for the benefits of us photographers. http://www.isleofmayboattrips.co.uk

I can second this. We took the RHIB to the Isle of May at the end of June last year - great experience, just be careful of birds going for your head when you walk too close to their nests, which are often on the designed paths. Watching the puffins fly back & forth to go fishing was amazing, as depending on where you stand they only fly a few feet above your head.


Link Posted 18/06/2016 - 13:59
Booked on the All Day trip with Billy Shiels tomorrow for Father's Day



Link Posted 18/06/2016 - 14:13
Thanks to all for the tips. Unfortunately, having traveled a long way and booked B&B etc, there were no sailings throughout the period I was there due to the poor weather.

One for next year I think.
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.