The Urban Birder Phonescoping Day Course

All you need is your smartphone!

In association with Viking Optical Ltd

We are now resuming our courses acknowledging strict Covid-19 prevention measures with full adherence to the current social distancing measures.

Please note: the courses may be cancelled at short notice if the government enforces new restrictions. Of course, you will be entitled to a refund or to have your course date deferred.

If you have booked a previous course that had to be postponed due to the lockdown measures your existing booking can be transferred onto any of the newly confirmed dates.

Please refer to the course guidelines and information for more details.

Be careful, be mindful of others and keep looking up!


Woodberry Wetlands

  • Saturday 21 March, 2020
  • Saturday 25 April, 2020
  • Saturday 30 May, 2020

Meet at

The New River Studio located at 1 Newnton Close, London N4 2RH and accessed via Woodberry Wetlands’ East entrance at Newnton Close & Bethune Road.


Photography has now become a big part of nature observation. Just take a stroll around any nature reserve and you will see people hauling heavy DSLR cameras with humongously long lenses. Just to own such equipment would cost an arm and a leg – or two! The next step down from owning one of those expensive beasts is to possess one of the array of bridge cameras now currently available. Much more compact and lightweight than their mighty DSLR cousins they still pack a good punch in the photographic stakes.

But what if your photographic equipment only spans to a smartphone – is it possible to take amazing wildlife images?

The answer that question is a resounding YES! By putting your smart phone on the end of a telescope – phonescoping – you will effectively be able to take pictures using a long lens. The results will astound you.

To learn how to master this skill join Paul Hackett, one of the UK’s (and indeed, the world’s) leading bird phonescopers on our Urban Birder Phonography Day Course. He has pioneered many of the techniques that are used in the field today and will gladly teach you how to take stunning images.

Urban Birder Phonography Day Course will be a great introduction to capturing the images birds that you have always dreamt about. Aimed at beginners, the course will give you the know how for taking great urban bird images.

Set at the London Wildlife Trust’s picturesque Woodberry Wetlands, you will have a brilliant setting for some amazing photography. Easily accessible by public transport, this superb 11 hectare urban reserve is home to a large number of species including Great Crested Grebe, Pochard and Cetti’s Warbler plus many more.

The courses will be held on Saturdays (and occasionally Sundays) starting at 10am finishing at 2pm and there is a sumptuous café on site for lunch too.

The topics that will be covered include

A general look at kit

Setting up your smart phone for photography

Framing and focusing tricks

How to find subjects to photograph

Videoing birds using your smartphone

Processing your images

Above all it will be fun, irreverent, factual and educational

Equipment needed

Please bring your smart phones fully charged to avoid disappointment

Most of the components for this course will be held outdoors so please wear clothes appropriate to the season. Always dress warmer than what the day appears to be because hours in the field can be surprisingly chilly. Also, try to wear adequate footwear as it could get muddy or slippery.

If you have a telescope please bring it along as we only have a few loan telescopes. Any telescope used for birding will be adequate as we will have a number of universal attachment fittings for smartphones.

Please inform us if will be bringing your own telescope at the time of booking.

TUBW in association with Viking Optical Ltd

About your guide

Paul Hackett

Is a keen birder with a passion for photography and fabulous people skills. He is the digiscoping consultant for Kowa UK, an Ambassador for Panasonic/Lumix and a RSPB photography volunteer.

In this course Paul will use his amazing birding images and video to discuss how to create great bird and wildlife photography with outdoor practical workshops (weather permitting).

He uses telescopes to achieve his images and will share his techniques, the best way to set up the smartphone and great accessories to help achieve the shot.

Book now

  • Price: £40 per person
  • Group size: up to 15 participants
  • Time: 10am – 2pm
  • Lunch plus coffees and teas available
  • Locations are subject to change if factors like adverse weather conditions or traffic problems dictate
  • Please contact us if you have any other queries


Group size: up to 15 participants

Price: £40 per person


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