Skomer Island and Puffins

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C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 1,974
Skomer Island and Puffins
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As the title suggests, I was in Pembrokeshire, Wales for a few days and I went to Skomer Island to photograph the Puffins.

Anyone interested in visiting Skomer island, my advice is to do some research first because they only allow approx 250 visitors a day and it's first come first serve when it comes to tickets. It's advisable to arrive before 0730am to guarantee a ticket. However, this may change in the future because you could end up with people arriving six in the morning. I stayed forty minutes away and I arrived around 0640 and able to get one of the final seats on the first boat.

When it comes to camera gear I took the following, the 100-400, 50-200 and the 12-35mm 2.8. The days started off with thick clouds and a lot of rain, making the 100-400 almost unusable. However, as the day progress the clouds thickness decreased, letting more light through but still acting like a defuser giving me a soft light. So while the day started off bad for the 100-400 but within a few hours I had the perfect conditions for the lens eg. no shadows or harsh light.

While on Skomer, there were several routes to take and I did opt to walk around the island which takes approx 3 hours depending how long your are spending with the subjects. While the country side was nice, there were areas that just had a few gulls and a few rabbits. This wasted a lot of my time since I was only on the island for five hours and I could of focus on the puffins instead. However, I did see a bird of prey in the distance and got a few bad shots of a short ear owl with the elusive vole in it mouth. If I do go to Skomer Island again and I'm staying on the island's hotel for a two days, I would spend one day with the puffins and spend another looking for island's other inhabitants.

Two other bits, capturing Puffins with eels in their mouths is difficult. Since the gulls are stealing the eels off the Puffins, the Puffins will try to land and go straight into their borrow which make it near impossible to get the shot. I was lucky I encountered two or three times when the Puffin forget which borrow is his/hers. The final bit I did see a few mirrorless cameras including M43 and a Canon R? Also there a few people with either the 400mm 2.8 or the 500mm F4.

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