Helgoland: A wildlife's haven

Shoot sunbathing seals and breeding birds from up close.

At 70 kilometres from Germany's mainland, tiny and cosy Helgoland (Heligoland) is its most unique island. Thousands of visitors flock to the island to do their tax-free shopping, sunbathing, or just relaxing; cars and bicycles are not allowed. And that's no problem since the island is so tiny: with less than 2 square kilometres, all travel can be done on foot.

However, the sun, shops and quiet are not what attracts photographers – and us – here. It is the magnificent photo opportunities the island offers. Helgoland rises up dramatically as a rocky outcrop from the sea, with its direct neighbour Düne acting as a lovely beach counterpart. This offers a myriad of animals an ideal breeding ground.

Each day, we will take you to the Helgoland cliffs and/or the Düne beaches. At the beach you will be able to photograph seals from up close, with guaranteed sightings and great shots. At the cliffs you will be able to shoot the birds building their nests or tending to their young. Here you will be able to take great shots of razorbills, gulls, and especially the beautiful gannets, which nest here by the thousands. With all these birds coming and going, and landing just a few metres from where you will be standing, you are sure to return from this trip with some spectacular photos!

Reaching Helgoland

You reach Helgoland by boat (or aeroplane). Though there are multiple ways to get to the island, the fast ferry of FRS Helgoline from Cuxhaven is probably your best option. This ferry departs on Thursday at 11:15 from Cuxhaven to Helgoland, the return is on Sunday at 16:30. The boat trip will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Accommodation

Accommodation is not included with the tour, but on the island there are numerous hotels and pensions available to spend the night. These can be easily booked via the Helgoland website or a booking site of your choosing. If you want, we can advise you here too of course.

Program summary

First day

Depending on your boat/flight, we will reach Helgoland around noon. This will give us ample time to check in our accommodations and have lunch. In the afternoon we will then have our first photography session with the birds or seals.

In the evening we will dine together in one of Helgoland's many restaurants. There will also be time for for a short presentation and/or image review session.

Day 2 and day 3

We start photographing early (sunrise). We'll photograph until it is time for lunch after which we will continue shooting until sunset.

We end the day with dinner and again a short presentation and/or image review session.

Last day

The last day we also start photographing early. After lunch we make the most of our time on the island and have some last shooting moments before we travel back home near the end of the afternoon.

Participant images and feedback

Read what our participants thought about this tour and view some of their images on our Helgoland workshop forum.

Subjects

  • Taking beautiful wildlife images of:
    • Northern Gannets
    • Guillemots
    • Seagulls
    • Grey Seals
    • Common Seals
    • etc.
  • How to best set-up your camera for shooting wildlife
  • Tips on composition
  • Tips on how to improve your images at time of shooting
  • Tips on how to improve your images during post processing

What to Bring

Required

  • Camera
  • Tele and/or super tele (zoom) lens
    (300mm or more is recommended,
    400mm for full frame cameras)
  • Fully charged battery + spares
  • Memory cards
  • Chargers

Optional

  • Beach-Rolly or other cart to carry your gear (see my blog for a review of the Beach-Rolly)
  • External storage
  • Laptop
  • Additional lenses (e.g., a macro or wide angle lens)
  • Tele converters
  • Flash

Booking Information

Dates

  • Thursday 4 – Sunday 5 May 2017  New
  • Fee: €300
  • Deposit: €100
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Group Size: Maximum of 8 participants
  • Fitness: Average, quite long walks with some steep climbs

Included

  • Guaranteed opportunities to photograph beautiful wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Direct learning from a professional photographer and instructor in an intensive hands-on environment
  • Reduced size class for personal attention, regardless of skill level

Excluded

  • Transport (though carpooling may be possible)
  • Boat-fare
  • Accommodation
  • Food and Drinks
  • Fees for optional activities

Inform about this Workshop

General Terms & Conditions / Additional Terms & Conditions for Workshops & Tours