White-tailed Eagle (Oliver Smart)

British Wildlife Photography Tours with Oliver Smart

Oliver Smart
By Oliver Smart
Professional Wildlife Photographer & Tour Leader
12th December 2022

As well as leading a selection of Naturetrek’s birdwatching tours, as a wildlife photographer I have been partnered with Naturetrek for a number of years leading various photography-focused holidays, several of which are based in the UK!

I enjoy leading two tours to the Scottish Highlands, near Cairngorm – one in the winter (Scotland's Winter Wildlife) and the other in the autumn (Autumn Wildlife of the Scottish Highlands). Having explored this area with my late grandfather, I have a lifelong passion for the wildlife and landscapes of this beautiful area, so both tours are designed to make the most of each season. Winter can often be snowy or frosty, while autumn has the vegetation changing colour from summer greens to autumnal tones, which adds interest to the background of the region’s iconic species, including Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Red Grouse, Crested Tit, Mountain Hare, Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting, among others. Based near the Cairngorms National Park, each tour visits the different habitats, from coast to forest and mountains.

During the early spring, I guide Naturetrek’s tour to Mull that focuses on the eagles (both Golden and White-tailed) as well as the wonderful otter (Mull's Otters & Eagles). At this time of year, each eagle pair will be finishing building their nests and starting to lay eggs, so it is a good time to see them, when they can be showing display flights. A dedicated boat trip to see White-tailed Eagles fishing is part of the week, as well as a visit out to the large seabird colonies on the fantastic Treshnish Islands! Mornings and evenings are good times to search out otter, and I focus on teaching my guests how to get the best shots of these charismatic creatures.

Summer sees seabird breeding season in full swing, so our photography tour to the Farne Islands (Northumberland & the Farne Islands) is ideal for getting some wonderfully close views of Guillemot colonies, raucous Kittiwakes and Puffins with colourful bills full of sand eels. Coastal castles, both ruined and in use, provide opportunities for getting creative with soft light in the mornings or evenings. Historic Lindisfarne can have very atmospheric skies above the castle or priory, while the dunes may offer up some macro photography possibilities, with orchids and insect nestling in sheltered hollows.

Whatever your experience or type of camera, these photography tours are aimed at helping you get the most out of your holidays and end up with some great images.

Further afield, I also lead our Gambia in Style photography departure, which departs in January or February, Costa Rica – A Wildlife Photography Tour, departing in March, and Uganda – Mammals & Mountains Photography Special, which departs in September or October.

Read Oliver's full biography here.

Mountain Hare, Scotland (Oliver Smart)
Crested Tit, Scotland (Oliver Smart)

Black Guillemots (Oliver Smart)


Eurasian Otters (Oliver Smart)


Red Grouse, Scotland (Oliver Smart)