Have you ever watched a wildlife documentary and marvelled at the amazing video footage? Ever wondered how photographers learn to take those stunning pictures? The answer may lie with the students on the BA (Hons) Wildlife Media course at the University of Cumbria.
The university takes pride in offering practical, hands-on experience for their students and that certainly was the case last week, when a falconer spent time flying birds of prey at the university’s Brampton Road campus, to allow them to hone their skills.
Gary Swainson from the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre at Thurstonfield brought along a number of birds including a Harris hawk, a bateleur eagle, a turkey vulture, an African spotted eagle owl, a barn owl and a gyrfalcon, the largest falcon in the world.
“I wanted to give the students a taste of the different speed and styles of flight of the various types of bird,” he says. “Falcons prey on other large birds so are incredibly fast, while the bateleur eagle and barn owl fly at a more leisurely pace.”
Wildlife media course leader, Fiona Stoddart explains:
“We feel it’s crucial to give our students every chance to gain practical skills in film making and photography. We’ve provided this opportunity with the birds of prey, so that students can develop their film and photography skill and experiment with different techniques”
“The university has industry standard media equipment for students to use in the production of their wildlife documentary films and wildlife photography, so it’s important for them to have the chance to practice and become proficient with them.”
Wildlife media students from across all three years of the course turned out to take advantage of this amazing photo-shoot. Becky Melton (21) from Cornwall is a second-year student and comments:
“Capturing an image of a bird in flight is technically very difficult, so it’s really helpful to be able to practice in these more controlled conditions. Having said that, the birds were still a little unpredictable, so it was a challenge to catch them at just the right moment.”
Full information about the BA (Hons) Wildlife Media course can be found on our website: www.cumbria.ac.uk/wildlifemedia