Sylvan Heights and Mary Louise Ravese

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Alison Powell
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Sylvan Heights and Mary Louise Ravese

I'm taking the artistic bird photography course with Mary Louise Ravese and Alan Clark and just wanted to share what a great experience it's been. Hopefully they will continue to offer it every year. It's a great class for someone who has started with bird photography but wants to refine their skills. Mary Louise also offers other classes and printing services.

Part of the course was a trip to Sylvan Heights Bird Park (2 days). If you have never been (I hadn't), it is worth the trip. There are SO many photo opportunities. The birds are close (sometimes too close) and there's a great variation. There's also a lot of practice shooting in different settings- sun on white feathers, birds in shade, indoor aviaries- I learned a lot just having to move from place to place and make appropriate (and sometimes not appropriate) settings.

Go during the week if possible and go early (the park opens at 9) to avoid crowds. It's very tripod friendly and I found I was rarely in someone's way. You can purchase a key for some openings in the fencing if you want to be able to put your lens through but I didn't find that absolutely necessary. Getting close to the fencing worked fine and there are many areas where you are actually in the enclosure so it's only a matter of keeping fencing out of your shot background (there's a fair amount of vegetation which helps).

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.