Wednesday, 10 February 2021

National Trust Photography Course Summer 2009

One of the popular photography courses run at the National Trust Ashridge Estate for DSLR photographers on the 14th August 2009. Aimed at photographers looking to improve their photography skills and learn a few new techniques.



As one of series of course at Ashridge, this was the summer version, the others were Spring bluebells and autumn colours. This was filmed by Matt Kay and edited by MelenFilms. As well as tuition at the base we took a leisurely walk photographing around the woodland estate. For courses, workshops and 1:1 sessions
https://www.melentraining.co.uk/​ The Ashridge Estate is near Berkhamsted in the Chilterns and is great location for photography and a walk.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

MelenTraining First Photography Courses 2006

MelenTraining First Photography Courses 2006

This was my first ever photography course for compact cameras on the 22nd April 2006. It was for beginners and trial session, a fun day and they picked up a few tips.

I learned a lot from this day and the second day in June to set up MelenCourses as it was then, now MelenTraining www.melentraining.co.uk for courses, workshops and 1:1 sessions. This beginners course was based in the lovely village of Aldbury, near Tring in the Chilterns and i've used it quite a few times since.


MelenTraining first photography course in 2006


This was my second attempt at teaching photography to beginners on another compact camera course on the 24th June 2006.  Lucky with the weather again!

From these early courses I learned about what they needed and what should include, sometimes less is more.  It was as MelenCourses then but now MelenTraining https://www.melentraining.co.uk/ for courses, workshops and 1:1 sessions.

This beginners course was based in the lovely village of Little Gaddesden, near Berkhamsted in the Chilterns and i've used it a few times since.

MelenTraining second photography course in 2006

A training video for beginner photographers use an Olympus Camedia C70.  This was one of the first ideas i had to help photographers back in 2006.  Because digital photography was new quite a few of the inexperienced photographers weren't confident enough to insert either the battery or card into the camera, so waited until they came on one of photography courses to do it.  So this was to help them, they still waited until the day of the course.

Cameras were different 15 years ago, similar shape but much cheaper and with fewer pixels.  This C70 was quite a good little camera, great for holidays and days out with it's 7.1mp image a fairly decent size. The 5x optical zoom was pretty handy, 38-190mm in 35mm format and the camera was easy to use.

The 1GB card made me laugh, i had forgotten how small XD cards used to be, although it seemed adequate and far larger than the 1 and 2mb cards that came with the Casio QV-10 a decade earlier.

Olympus Camedia C70 - MelenTraining 2006


Friday, 29 January 2021

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Photographing Birds

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Photographing Garden Birds

Observe and photograph garden birds, Blue Tits, Robins, Sparrows and many more in your garden this weekend Fri 29 Jan to Sun 31 Jan 2021.

To play your part in the world’s largest bird survey this January, just follow the 

Blue Tit on a support, about to jump on to the feeder in winter,

instructions on this link https://www.rspb.org.uk.

To photograph birds in your garden make sure you have a fairly fast shutter speed at least 1/200th of a second.  Faster is better, especially for Blue Tits as they twitch a lot and move around very fast.

Blue Tit on the feeder eating, in winter.

Blue Tit on a feeder, upside down, in winter.

Unless you're going to set up a hide in the garden indoors is best.  You'll need open the window as the glass can soften the picture and to make sure the birds can't see you block the open window. 

Blue Tit on a feeder waiting to eat, in winter.

Robin on a feeder waiting to eat, in winter.

Indoor bird hide made of cardboard       

If you look at these two pictures you can see a simple indoor cardboard hide that i constructed. 

Open the window, block with cardboard, pull the curtain across and poke the lens through.

The birds won't see you and you can photograph them much easier.


For photography training and further tips visit my site for course and 1:1 training at 



Close up of indoor cardboard bird hide with Robin in view

Cardboard Bird photography indoor hide