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Old Wednesday 17th March 2010, 19:02   #1
steve.hinchliffe
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trip to bass rock

hi
i have booked a trip to bass rock in june part of the itinery
on this trip is something called chumming,this is where fish
is thrown to the gannets from the boat to get the great diving
shots .
my question is has anyone out there been on one of these trips
and if so what focal length lens would you recomend to improve my chances
of getting some half decent shots
cheers steve
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Old Saturday 20th March 2010, 21:58   #2
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Hi,

To answer your question. Yes, chumming is throwing fish into the sea to attract seabirds. Its a fairly large case of chopped up mackerel bits and although there are usually lots of seagulls around to steal the fish it doesn't take long before the Gannets arrive. Awesome birds !!!

I'm also doing this trip in June. I also did it in 2008 as well and its a fantastic experience. I left the experience in 2008 totally blown away and obtained some fantastic shots from the day. Apart from the photography its still a great day. Dunbar harbour is lovely and Bass Rock has to be seen to be believed.

Top tips though. I'd take waterproofs as its easy to get all four seasons in one day. Plus the amount of bird poo falling from the sky is not to be underestimated. I went in a black coat and came back in a grey one. I kid you not. I'd also wear a hat too as I was dive bombed by an angry gull and had my head pecked. Apart from that a nose peg is advised. Okay, I'm joking about this. Its a tad smelly though. Prepare for all your senses to be overwhelmed when you land. You'll remember the day for the rest of your life. I can't recommend it enough.

Hope this helps.

Jon

PS If you've got anything to protect your camera gear I'd take it. There is lots of salt water spray on the journey out and back and there is also a lot of bird guano falling from the sky. I wrapped my long lens and body in a plastic bag and held it with elastic bands. This year I hope to have something a little better though.

I took these in 2008 with some old Canon gear. I've got a D300 for this years trip.

http://www.biometrica.co.uk/Photos/Webpics/index.html
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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 10:09   #3
clydeboy
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JonC
Had a look at your pics- brilliant and was very pleased to see that your old canon gear is the kit that I use now which shows that great pics can be taken without the need for s worth of kit, (and some ability obviously) and has made me want to go to the bass rock for definite.
We holidayed at Dunbar many, many times when I was a child and sat at the harbour for hours with my dad just watching the world, and birds go by, and yes, we always wore hats. lol. I was always fascinated by the Bass Rock in the distance and it still brings a smile to my face when I see it on tv (usually during some golf event or another).
The thing I remember most of all is the noise, closely followed by the seriously fishy smell.
This was all of course in my pre-birding days (30 odd years ago)which wouldn't be difficult as I only started in november 2008
Roll on the school holidays, as I can use my son as an excuse as he has become a "puffin fan" after last summers visit to Bempton

Off now to research how to go about it.
thank you, thank you, thank you.

Ian
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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 18:04   #4
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Hi Ian,

Glad you liked the photos. If you are serious about a trip to Bass Rock this is the link you will need.

http://www.seabird.org/bassrockganne...ndingtrips.asp

The Canon 350D I had was great and I was pleased with 90% of my shots with it. It was not up to the job of fast focusing BIF when I was on the Farne Islands though and trying to photograph Puffins in flight was a mare. I changed to a D300. I have to say that the lens was excellent though. The Canon 100-400mm L lens that is. Absolute gem.

I'm back again this June for 3-4 days of birds and photos and I can't wait !!
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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 19:01   #5
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonC View Post
Hi Ian,

Glad you liked the photos. If you are serious about a trip to Bass Rock this is the link you will need.

http://www.seabird.org/bassrockganne...ndingtrips.asp

The Canon 350D I had was great and I was pleased with 90% of my shots with it. It was not up to the job of fast focusing BIF when I was on the Farne Islands though and trying to photograph Puffins in flight was a mare. I changed to a D300. I have to say that the lens was excellent though. The Canon 100-400mm L lens that is. Absolute gem.

I'm back again this June for 3-4 days of birds and photos and I can't wait !!
Thanks Jon
I googled bass rock trips and got the link you put on, just need to convince the wife that it will be 200 well spent and won't include her...lol
Generally when I'm doing birds in flight I go manual and if I'm struggling I use the spray and pray approach
I had a shot of my brothers 100-400 is L a while back and it is a hefty piece of kit to throw around if you are moving quickly to track bif, but with patience threw up some stunning results, and I agree it's a fabulous lens.(my next crissy pressie to myself)
Sadly I had to give it back as he was selling it, and I am back to my trusty 75-300 with which I have had pleasurable results.
I am currently rattling some savings together to get myself a new body (camera that is) and if finances allow I'll be onto a 50d, failing that i'll get a 500d as trying to justify spending major paper on a new camera when I already have a brilliant camera (according to she who must be obeyed) could be quite difficult
Then again, I could run with what I have and spend the money on new flooring, tins of emulsion, and some suede lampshades.....aye right.

cheers
Ian
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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 19:47   #6
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Originally Posted by clydeboy View Post
Thanks Jon
I googled bass rock trips and got the link you put on, just need to convince the wife that it will be 200 well spent and won't include her...lol
Generally when I'm doing birds in flight I go manual and if I'm struggling I use the spray and pray approach
I had a shot of my brothers 100-400 is L a while back and it is a hefty piece of kit to throw around if you are moving quickly to track bif, but with patience threw up some stunning results, and I agree it's a fabulous lens.(my next crissy pressie to myself)
Sadly I had to give it back as he was selling it, and I am back to my trusty 75-300 with which I have had pleasurable results.
I am currently rattling some savings together to get myself a new body (camera that is) and if finances allow I'll be onto a 50d, failing that i'll get a 500d as trying to justify spending major paper on a new camera when I already have a brilliant camera (according to she who must be obeyed) could be quite difficult
Then again, I could run with what I have and spend the money on new flooring, tins of emulsion, and some suede lampshades.....aye right.

cheers
Ian
Why not go on a trip from North Berwick. The boat is slower so better for photography. You don't land on the rock but last year only cost around 12. I last went a few years ago and had superb views of gannets diving around the boat.
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Old Wednesday 24th March 2010, 10:05   #7
clydeboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markgrubb View Post
Why not go on a trip from North Berwick. The boat is slower so better for photography. You don't land on the rock but last year only cost around 12. I last went a few years ago and had superb views of gannets diving around the boat.
That appears a far more viable option 24 v 196, bit of a no contest there.
I was quite stunned when I saw how much it cost to land on the Bass rock, and actually thought to myself "they're ripping the a**e right out of the birding fraternity here" but then again you do get a guide and get to go "chumming", still seems helluva dear though.

Ian

Just checked Markgrubbs' link
It won't even be 24 as kids under 15 are half price, I we could take trips to The Bass rock, Craigleith, and Fidra and still only be around 40 for all 3 islands.
Thanks Markgrubb, we appear to have "happened" upon a plan.
she who must me obeyed and daughter shopping in North Berwick, self, son and daughters boyfriend out on the boat looking at the jurdies......excellent.

cheers Mark
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Last edited by clydeboy : Wednesday 24th March 2010 at 10:18. Reason: checked Markgrubbs link after posting.
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Old Wednesday 24th March 2010, 13:39   #8
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Hi,

Having already done this trip I can say that the 95 to land is well worth it. I would happily pay more it is so good. When you are on Bass you are alone with 125,000 Gannets and about 10 other people. It really is quite amazing.

I know it is a lot of money, but few days in your life will be as memorable. I suppose it all depends on how much you like gannets really. They are one of my favourite birds so its an easy decision for me.

I can't recommend it enough. The only thing that could spoil the day is the weather where its not much fun if its pissing it down.

If the weather is good its noisy, smelly and the sheer beauty of the birds is overwhelming.

Hope this helps..

Jon
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Old Friday 26th March 2010, 09:41   #9
clydeboy
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Thanks folks, for all your info.

I think the full landing job is one for another day as it seems to be a bit of a once in your life gig, which I'll keep up my sleeve.
I will however "do" the boat trips this summer at some point before we head for Yorkshire in july.
And of course we will be heading for Bempton again when we are there.

Thanks again
Ian
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