Prize-winning photographers of the future …

In all honesty, I didn’t think that the last day of term was the wisest choice for a photography workshop. I thought I would arrive at the school to find the children demob happy and unable/unwilling to concentrate. How wrong I was!

The school in question was St Nicholas Primary School in Beverley, and the children were two Year 5 classes, 5F and 5C. I was there as part of the outreach work surrounding this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which is currently on tour from the Natural History Museum in London at the Treasure House in Beverley.

The children had visited the exhibition before my visit. I was there to teach them how to take nature photos, so they might enter the competition in years to come!

Each class had just over two hours to go from zero to fully fledged nature photographers, proficient at using the Canon cameras I took along for the workshop. And they well and truly rose to the challenge – and took some fabulous photos! Here is a small selection, all taken in a modest-sized flower bed at the front of the school.

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Thank you to all the staff and parent-helpers for their assistance during these workshops – especially to Mrs Fox, for all her behind-the-scenes work in advance of my visit. Thank you, too, to Sarah Hammond at the Treasure House in Beverley, whose idea it was to invite me to put on some photography workshops linked to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Next up, I’m putting on two family photography workshops at the Treasure House itself, on 22 April – but they’re already fully booked, so it’s too late to join in with them, I’m afraid. Then there’s another school workshop too.

If you’d like a photography workshop where you are, just get in contact. You can find out more about my school photography workshops here, and my photography workshops in general here.

Meanwhile, you’ve got until 22 April to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Treasure House in Beverley. Enjoy! I’m looking forward to seeing photos by local Beverley children in future years’ competitions!

Anneliese Emmans Dean

Terrific Technologies at St Anthony’s Primary School

It was Terrific Technologies week at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds last week, and I went along one afternoon to teach Year 4 how to take photos using my BigBuzz Photography Technique and my digital cameras. The children caught on fast. Very fast! Take a look at some of the terrific photos they took in their school grounds:

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It’s amazing what you can find on a cold, grey afternoon in February when you’re being observant, isn’t it?

What did the children think of the workshop? Well, more than one came up to me and said they now wanted to be a photographer when they grew up!

And what did form teacher Miss McGuire think about it all?

‘Thanks so much for the fabulous workshop. The children really loved it and I was so impressed by the quality of the photos they took!’

I was really impressed too! Congratulations to Year 4 for learning to use the terrific technology that is the digital camera so fast and so well. It’s a skill for life. Who knows where it will lead them?

If you’d like a BigBuzz photography workshop in your school, and you’re within an hour of York, then just get in touch.

And you can find out more about my photography workshops here and here .

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz

Photographing the darling buds of May

The theme chosen by Half Acres Primary School in Castleford for my photography workshops with them on Monday was ‘Signs of Summer’. However, this message clearly hadn’t percolated through to the relevant meteorological authorities, because the weather as I travelled down to them was appalling: driving, torrential rain and thunderous grey skies.

Fortunately, by the time Year 6 were ready to go on the photography missions I assigned them late morning, the rain had eased enough for us to be outside collecting material to photograph – albeit taking the actual photos under cover.

Taking photos undercover

Taking outdoor photos under cover

And when Year 5 went out in the afternoon, the sun decided to make a (brief) appearance, which meant that the children were able to find – and photograph – some fantastic minibeasts, amongst other things.

Young Half Acres photographers

Taking outdoor photos outdoors proper

I was very impressed by all the children I worked with at Half Acres. They got the hang of my Top Secret photography technique very quickly and put it into action in their school grounds enthusiastically.

The results? Well, here are a few of the – many – great photos they took:

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Well done to you all! I think Half Acres will be able to create their ‘Signs of Summer’ photography display after all!

Thank you to everyone at Half Acres who made my visit possible. Here’s to a sunny summer for us all …

If you’d like a photography workshop for your primary school, do get in touch. I’m afraid I won’t be able to guarantee good weather for my visit to you, but your pupils will learn a skill for life in a workshop that enhances their observational, motor, teamwork, art and IT skills, increases their confidence and their curiousity and knowledge about their surroundings, and leaves you with a bank of great photos – and great budding photographers.

‘I’m going to go out tomorrow lunchtime and look for more minibeasts on the playing field.’ Year 5 pupil

‘I’m going to go to my grandma’s house tonight and take pictures of her garden. She’s got lots of flowers.’ Year 5 pupil

Anneliese Emmans Dean –

Spring at Ackton Pastures

Spring is here! And Years 5 and 6 at Ackton Pastures Primary School in Castleford have been out taking photos to prove it.

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with them this week, teaching them my Top Secret photography technique. Which they put into practice with great gusto!

As you can see, they were taking photos high:

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

and low:

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

and came up with some fabulous pictures:

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Most of these children had never picked up a camera before. I was very impressed by how quickly they learned, how well they worked together as teams outdoors and, of course, by the photos they took.

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Miss Coggill, their Head Teacher, wanted them to come up with photos for a display in school. I think it’s going to be a wonderful display!

Congratulations to all the children who took part in the workshops. I hope they will enjoy putting their new-found skills into practice more and more.

Thank you to the staff at Ackton Pastures who welcomed me so warmly and were so helpful during my time with them. (See staff feedback here.) Thank you too to the good folk at Fulford Framing in York for the viewfinders they generously provided for the children. The biggest thanks of all goes to the sun, for deciding to come out *just* when we needed it – two days running!

If you’d like your pupils to learn my Top Secret photography technique, then please get in touch.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to a return visit to Ackton Pastures next year!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


A new year, a new photo …

This time last year my photo of a beautiful snowdrop was adorning walls as far afield as Australia (so I was told) as the January photo of a 2012 Marks and Spencer calendar sold in aid of the Woodland Trust:

Snowdrop, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Snowdrop, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

This week I had a request to use another of my photos in a publication. This time it was a photo of something slightly less appealing. (If you’re not keen on slugs, turn away now!)

Slugs speeding towards our beer trap. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Slugs speeding towards our beer trap. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Little did these slugs know as they sped towards this dish of beer in our Yorkshire garden that they were going to become internationally famous! For the request to use the photo came from the Oregon Food Bank, all the way across the pond in the US, to be used in their Seed to Supper course booklet.

Oregon Food Bank’s Learning Gardens Program sounds like a great initiative, and I was only too happy to give permission for my photo to be used.  Ali, their Learning Gardens Program Coordinator, told me a bit about it:

‘Seed to Supper is a comprehensive, 5-week beginning gardening course that gives novice, adult gardeners the tools they need to successfully grow a portion of their own food on a limited budget. Oregon Food Bank and the Oregon State University Extension Service Master Gardener Program offer Seed to Supper classes for free to the public and to host agencies serving low-income clients throughout Oregon.’

Thank you to Ali and the Oregon Food Bank for asking permission to use my photo. I wish their Seed to Supper course every success.

As it happens, I use both my snowdrop photo and this slug photo in my hands-on photography workshops, where I show children, adults and families how to take great nature photos using point-and-shoot cameras.

Learning to take great nature photos on one of my photography workshops

Learning to take great nature photos on one of my photography workshops

If you fancy coming along to one of my photography workshops, or would like me to put one on for you, email me!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – Bringing poetry to life

The Press reviews Buzzing!

I don’t often appear on the same web page as Sir Tom Jones. OK, so I’ve never (knowingly) appeared on the same web page as Tom Jones. But today I did just that –  on the home page of  The Press’s website!

Sir Tom Jones and me - on the same web page! (The Press,, 29 September 2012)

Sir Tom Jones and me – on the same web page! (The Press,, 29 September 2012)

Granted, reproduced at this size it’s difficult to spot that I do actually appear on that page. (No, I’m not the blond in the pink sky-heels.) How’s about the screen grab below instead (which was from further up The Press’s home page)?

The Press home page is Buzzing!, 29  September 2012

The Press home page is Buzzing!, 29 September 2012

The reason for my appearing there is that The Press has reviewed my Buzzing! book today. In fact, the centrefold of their printed edition is a fabulous spread devoted to the book, how I came to create it, and the photos, poems and information it includes.

This was the first print review I’d seen of Buzzing!, so I was not a little nervous. But Stephen Lewis of The Press has done me and the book proud. ‘It’s a beauty’, he writes.

You can read the whole of his article, with accompanying photos, here.

Many thanks to Stephen Lewis for his kind – and amusing – words about Buzzing!  And to Nigel Holland for his photo of me.

As the article mentions, I’ll be signing copies of Buzzing!, and performing poems from it, at Rowntree Park Reading Café next Saturday 6 October. Find out more here.

Meanwhile, the Reading Café has a copy of Buzzing! you can peruse over your coffee.

Or, of course, you can buy a copy here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean –
Bringing poetry to life

The very last Buzzing! photo

Time has been running out! My Buzzing! book – to be published in Spring 2012 – will include over 170 close-up photos of garden minibeasts. It’s taken me 8 years to take all the photos in the book, most of them in my small garden in York. But I’ve been two photos short!

Since I handed the manuscript to the publisher (Brambleby Books), I’ve been on a hunt for the last two photos for the book: a honeybee hive, and a wasps’ nest.

In October, friends of mine let me take photos of their hive – as you can see here. So that just left me with a wasps’ nest to locate and photograph.

I put out an SOS on Twitter and Facebook and was thrilled to get replies from two local organisations that each had a wasps’ nest I could photograph.

First of all I went off to York Environment Centre/St Nicholas Fields, where I often put on shows and workshops (like this one and this one), to take a photo of their wasps’ nest:

Anneliese holding the St Nicholas Fields' wasps' nest, Winter 2011

Anneliese holding the St Nicholas Fields’ wasps’ nest, Winter 2011

A few days later I went  round the corner to the University of York, where the good people of OPAL had another wasps’ nest for me to photograph:

Anneliese with OPAL's wasps' nest, Winter 2011

Anneliese with OPAL’s wasps’ nest, Winter 2011

I took lots and lots of photos of each of these nests. Then – after much agonising – I chose one photo to send to the publishers. Just in time!

Which nest did I choose to include in the book? Well, you’ll have to have a look and see!

Anneliese's Buzzing! book

Anneliese’s Buzzing! book

Many thanks to Ivana at St Nick’s, to Sarah at OPAL and to Andreas at the University of York for their assistance in this important photographic mission!

Anneliese Emmans Dean –

Bringing poetry to life