There are no certainties in nature photography, but the Gigrin Farm experience comes pretty close to being one.
Located in central Wales on the outskirts of a town called Rhayader, Gigrin Farm is a Kite Feeding Station providing various hides for both observation, and photography. Indeed there are three specialist photography hides, two of which are tower hides, and one at ground level.
I have used the ground level hide before, but this time I had booked myself into the Tower Hide. (Booking is essential as Gigrin is very popular with photographers, and for most it’s a long way to go to be told it’s all booked)
On arrival, I was greeted with “sorry I can’t find your booking”, Gulp!!
However Chris the guy in charge soon sorted everything out, and I happily headed off with my kit to the Tower Hide.
Kay had come prepared with a book to read, chocolate too eat, with plenty of people to chat too , and with the shop serving tea, I knew she would be happy for a few hours .
On arrival at the hide I found it packed to the gunnels, with a maximum of four photographers allowed, and only one other person had a camera, I was somewhat mystified. Again Chris the owner was soon round, and those who couldn’t read the big sign on the gate saying ticket holders only, were politely requested to leave, mumbling as they left, what sign ? (The one on gate to the hide), and £15.00 was too expensive. (£15.00 a bargain for the elevated position, and freedom of movement to try a catch fast moving kites swooping in)
At 3.00pm the clanking of the tractor and trailer could be heard, and the Kites suddenly began to gather.
I was armed with the 300mm, and 500mm, but I knew from previous experience, it would be the 300mm, that would be the main work horse of the afternoon.
So the 300mm was mounted on the 7D (no extenders), and the 500mm on the 1D, on the tripod and Wimberley head.
The first hour proved to be as usual not the best time to grab images, light still a bit harsh , and the initial feeding frenzy, making it more difficult to pick out individual targets. But slowly the light got better, and the Kites slowed just a little, for me now is the best time to grab those keepers.
You usually find most people leave after the first hour, but as a photographer that’s just when it starts to get really interesting (I was last to leave at 6.00pm)
Gigrin is not just about Kites, Raven, and Buzzards will also be present some nice photographic opportunity’s, and if you arrive early there’s a nature trail, although as yet I have never walked it.
Arriving back at the car at 6.00pm, Kay was still reading, we found that all the gates had been shut and we had to let ourselves out.
Now came the two and half hour journey back, but we had both enjoyed a good day in Wales, so we drove back with smiles on our faces :0)