Spoonbill Landings in 3 ways

The Vero Beach Spoonbill rookery is the shooting location mixed in with the nesting Ospreys for the Ospreys/Spoonbills mix photography tour. While it is a fantastic location to shoot from the banks on solid ground, it is also a prime environment to capture astounding landings! Which landing do you prefer?

Spoonbill landing on the grass
Spoonbill landing – Vero Beach Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 320 | f/4 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS and the Sony Alpha 1

Having the opportunity to photograph Spoonbills while they are landing straight in front of you is quite the treat. The image above is an example of this situation, with a dramatic landing wings wide open. The extra bonus is the blue background and the diffused grass in the bottom.

Spoonbill landing - Bird Photography
Spoonbill landing – Vero Beach Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 6400 | f/4 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS and the Sony Alpha 1

The image above is very reminiscent of “Reached For The Sky”, the photograph that received an award at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year a few years back: the bird is looking straight at me with wings up in a symmetrical U shape.

Spoonbill landing – Vero Beach Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 2000 | f/4 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS and the Sony Alpha 1

As the birds come to the banks to pick up sticks to build and maintain their nests, there can be an mesmerizing volume of back to back landings. I have seen more than one participant cry with joy with the opportunity. All three pictures were created during the April 2022 Ospreys/Spoonbills mix bird photography tour. Hurry to book your spot if you like what you see 🙂

Ospreys / Spoonbills mix Photography Tour – $1,390

March 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

April 15th-16th 2023 / limit 5 people – 2 open

Florida Ospreys/Spoonbills Mix Photography Tour

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 3rd-4th 2023 / limit 6 people – 2 open

Black Skimmers Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 21st-22nd 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Spoonbills Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

2022 Black Skimmers Colony Images

The 2022 Black Skimmers Colony tour is now concluded! Read this post for a glimpse at a few images from yet another great bird photography workshop.

Black Skimmer Chick In The Grass
Black Skimmer Chick walking in the sandy grass – Sarasota Bay Skimmers Colony
ISO 4000 | f/8 | 1/1000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 2x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

One of the prime attractions of the Black Skimmers colony is the ability to photograph those cute fluffy balls. In the image above, you can see a chick venturing around in the sand, close to a patch of grass. Note that I took care of not cropping out the extremity of the top right corner piece of grass, which gives more harmonious lines in the flow of the image.

Black Skimmer in flight - Photography Tour
Black Skimmer flying low – Sarasota Bay Skimmers colony
ISO 800 | f/5.6 | 1/5000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The other prime lure for this bird photography tour is photographing Black Skimmer adults either skimming on the water surface or flying low. The creation above is a good illustration of a low flight coming straight at me! This image gives the impression I am shooting from the water, but the reality is I placed the group along the shoreline and we created images of the birds flying along the shore. Thanks to a good wind direction, we had many opportunities for low flights coming straight at us.

Juvenile Black Skimmer banking in flight – Sarasota Bay Skimmers Colony
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

Some of the chicks were already a few weeks old and I was amazed to even catch a couple of them starting to fly. While their initial flight is typically chaotic and no very controlled, I managed to catch the one above in a pretty good banking maneuver above the water surface.

Ospreys / Spoonbills mix Photography Tour – $1,390

March 25th-26th 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

April 22nd-23rd 2023 / limit 5 people – 3 open

Florida Ospreys/Spoonbills Mix Photography Tour

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 3rd-4th 2023 / limit 6 people – 4 open

Black Skimmers Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 21st-22nd 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Spoonbills Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Ospreys In Their Natural Habitat

The Ospreys / Spoonbills mix tours were especially memorable this year. See more Osprey images from the March session. 2023 dates for this tour are March 25-26 and April 22-23 and there are openings for April. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot.

Ospreys In The Cypress Trees
Ospreys in the trees – Vero Beach Cypress Trees Lake
ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The Vero Beach Cypress Trees Lake is a beautiful habitat for nesting Ospreys! While the birds fly back and forth to the nests there will be many opportunities for flight shots among the Cypress trees. For the discerning eye, there are good chances to create stunning images with greens all round. In the image above, I took care of having a crop of green branches in the foreground to compose for a full immersion in the greeneries.

Osprey calling – Vero Beach Cypress Trees Lake
ISO 800 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

In the vertical cropped image above, I am particularly pleased with the main line drawn by the branch. It nicely leads from the lower left corner to the subject on top. The squawking is a definite plus here! While this is not an flight shot, I took care of having the shutter speed set at 1/4000 sec to assure a good freezing capture of the flight sequences.

Osprey landing on a branch – Vero Beach Cypress Trees Lake
ISO 800 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The birds are very active and move around the branches quite frequently. As a result, many landing captures are possible. I often prefer the moments before the bird touches the branch with wings flared up over creating pictures with the feet already on the branch.

Ospreys / Spoonbills mix Photography Tour – $1,390

March 25th-26th 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

April 23rd-24th 2023 / limit 5 people – 4 open

Florida Ospreys/Spoonbills Mix Photography Tour

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Black Skimmers Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 21st-22nd 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Spoonbills Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Spoonbills from the March Ospreys/Spoonbills mix tour

The Spoonbill Rookery from the Ospreys / Spoonbills mix tour is arguably the best land based rookery to photograph Spoonbills. See for yourself! 2023 dates for this tour are March 25-26 and April 22-23. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot.

Spoonbill in flight – Vero Beach Rookery
ISO 1250 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The Vero Beach Spoonbills rookery offers many easy flight opportunities for the discerning photographer. The birds regularly fly from their nest to the shore and vice versa. It is hence possible to create many flight photographs of the birds in full breeding colors, as above. In addition, backgrounds tend to be pleasing and some judicious placement can help having the best of both worlds: a nice flight stance with an outstanding blue and green backdrop.

Roseate Spoonbill banking in flight - Photography Tour
Spoonbill banking in flight – Vero Beach Rookery
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

As the birds come back and forth to their nests, some of them will seemingly change their mind on their way out and operate a sharp turn to come back to the nest. The sharp turn is the opportunity to create banking shots. Those images tend to be more difficult to create as one needs to anticipate on a possible flight turn.

Roseate Spoonbill bringing nesting material to the nest – Vero Beach Spoonbills Rookery
ISO 1250 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

Best of all, most birds will have stunning breeding colors on display. The view above of two Spoonbills in pursuit gives us a magnificent glimpse of their upper wings, back and tail colors. It is difficult not to in awe in front of those gorgeous birds. 🙂

Ospreys / Spoonbills mix Photography Tour – $1,390

March 25th-26th 2023 / limit 5 people – 3 open

April 23rd-24th 2023 / limit 5 people – 4 open

Florida Ospreys/Spoonbills Mix Photography Tour

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Black Skimmers Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 21st-22nd 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Spoonbills Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Images from the 1st Ospreys/Spoonbills mix tour

A few images from the first Ospreys / Spoonbills mix tour of the season. We are off to a great start!!! Also, I just received a cancellation for the April 23-24 edition. Any takers? send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Osprey in flight - Cypress Lake Photography Tour
Osprey in flight – Vero Beach Cypress Lake
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The first Ospreys/Spoonbills tour of the season was a delight! We had a wonderful weather and very sweet lighting on both days. The image above is an Osprey flying back to its nest among the cypress trees. A major advantage of shooting Ospreys in that area is the natural habitat environment one can have on most backgrounds. There are more than 250 nests on low height Cypress Trees across this lake, which makes it the absolute best place to photograph this bird of prey.

Vero Beach Cypress Lake Sunrise

Just to give you a better sense for the location, see above a nice sunrise on the lake. Many of the Cypress Trees are not bigger than the ones above, which is fantastic to capture images of Ospreys at eye level.

Roseate Spoonbill bringing nesting material
Roseate Spoonbill bringing nesting material to the nest – Vero Beach Spoonbills Rookery
ISO 1250 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

On Sunday morning, we had an amazing time creating images of nesting Spoonbills in flight. The image above depicts a Roseate Spoonbill bringing nesting material to its nest. Note the beautiful diffused backdrop thanks to a judicious placement of our shooting point. There were many excellent opportunities for flight photography! I will be sharing more images on a different post. 🙂

Ospreys / Spoonbills mix Photography Tour – $1,390

March 26th-27th 2022 / limit 5 people – Full

April 23rd-24th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Ospreys Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Black Skimmers Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 21st-22nd 2023 / limit 5 people – Full

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 1 open

Florida Spoonbills Tour - Bird Photography

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 steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

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