This is a common question from the Spoonbill connoisseurs! In truth, I cannot recall a time that I witnessed a Spoonbill bathing outside of the proximity of an actual rookery. During the photography tours at the Tampa Bay Spoonbills rookery, there are usually a couple of sightings of bathing Spoonbills per season 🙂
Experience has shown to me that the maximum impact happens with a dark background when it comes to bathing action. The water splashes and drops become very visible and make for a beautiful chaotic scenery. The key is to capture the outward movement of the water drops while having a good head angle on the bird. This is not always the case, so you want to keep a good eye for the special moment.
Sometimes, the birds get very enthusiastic and start bathing in big splashes. The image above is a good illustration with two columns of water on each side of the bird. This Spoonbill had to open its wings somewhat wide to reach that far on each side. Again, the dark backdrop really cranks up the drama.
And after all that bathing, what happens? The wing flaps to dry the wings! This is often my favorite time after all. The wings open wide and you still get a decent amount of water drops flying in the air. If you like those images, sign up for any of the Tampa Bay rookery tours to try your chance 🙂
January 13th-14th 2024 / limit 5 people – 2 open
February 10th-11th 2024 / limit 5 people – Full
March 23rd-24th 2024 / limit 5 people – 5 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 3 shoots at the Tampa Bay Spoonbills rookery. We typically shoot while wading in the water in the mornings and from the boat in the afternoon. $250 deposit. Send me an email at email@example.com .
April 20th-21st 2024 / limit 5 people – 3 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 2 boat-based Osprey shoots at the Vero Beach Cypress Lake + 1 land-based Spoonbills shoot at a local rookery. $250 deposit. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
June 8th-9th 2024 / limit 6 people – 3 open
3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring => 3 shoots at the Sarasota Bay Black Skimmers colony. We shoot along the beach, where the nesting colony is easily accessible. $250 deposit. Send me an email at email@example.com .