Florida Spoonbills flapping - Photography Tours

Spoonbill Fine Art Gallery Revamped

I recently completed a revamping (higher definition, etc…) of the Fine Art Spoonbill gallery. I invite you to take a look! All images are available as high end signed metal pieces. Also, there are still a few spots open for the 2021 Spoonbill tours 🙂

Florida Spoonbills flapping - Photography Tours
Spoonbills flapping at each other – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

I always keep a keen eye open for bathing Spoonbills. Not only the bathing itself is impressive, but the wing flapping that follows can be marvelous. Add to this multiple birds and you get the above image! It also really helped that the birds were far out in the water with the beach and the mangrove trees in the backdrop.

Roseate Spoonbill landing
Adult Spoonbill bout to land on the beach – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 3200 | f/5.6 | 1/1600 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

When positioning the group just right, we have the best chances for square landing at us. It requires to have the wind blowing in the proper direction, which is often the case during January and February mornings. Come join me if want a shot at creating this type of images.

Roseate Spoonbills - Florida Photography Tour
Adult Spoonbills with breeding colors – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 1000 | f/4.0 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II and the Canon EOS 7D mark II.

The image above is one of my favorite one! The overcast weather helped creating this nearly white backdrop. All weather situations have their advantage and you have to make the best of what comes.

Skimmers Colony Photography Tour – $1,090

June 26th-27th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Black Skimmers colony photography tour teaser

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring to a unique Florida Black Skimmers colony along the beach. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour – $1,490

April 24th-25th 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 boat rides and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring on a pristine cypress trees lake. Many nests are at eye level, allowing shooting from up close in a natural habitat. No big lens needed! An ideal setup for beginners… 1 working lunch sessions with lunch included. $300 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book the last available spot!

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,490

January 30th-31st 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

February 27th-28th 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

June 5th-6th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Roseate Spoonbill Preening - Photography Tour

Best Time For The Spoonbill Rookery?

I often get asked when is the best time of the year to plan your Spoonbill rookery trip with me! The short answer is, every month of the season (January to June) has something special to offer. 🙂 Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot!

Roseate Spoonbill Preening - Photography Tour
Adult Spoonbill with breeding colors preening – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 800 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 2.0x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The peak of the season for breeding colors on adults is from January to March. However, the earlier it is during the year and the more likely you are to enjoy super low tides at prime hours. When the tides are low, the birds venture further out from the island, which leads to many possibilities for images with blue background as above. The absolute lowest tides will be in January for the year to come.

Spoonbill banking in flight
Adult Spoonbill with breeding colors banking – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 800 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Banking shots as above occur all season round for one with a good eye and the skills to anticipate the flight maneuver. I always take a decent amount of time explaining how to create those images and even call out the shots ahead of time when possible.

Adult Spoonbill in flight - Florida Tour
Adult Spoonbill in flight above the ocean – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery
ISO 640 | f/8 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 2.0x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

April and May tend to have a lot of activity as they adults come back and forth to feed the young. Finally, from mid-May you will enjoy seeing the newly fledged young-lings in the open. Besides being quite cute, they often offer stunning flight displays.

Used Gear For Sale: Canon 100mm-400mm f/4-5.6 IS II

Lightly used Canon 100mm-400mm f/4-5.6 IS II for sale at $1,250 (negotiable). This lens is fairly light weight, while having lightning fast focus and top of the line sharpness. It does very well with a 1.4x extender on as well, making it a light 560mm option. Payable by Paypal. Send me an email!

Skimmers Colony Photography Tour – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Black Skimmers colony photography tour teaser

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring to a unique Florida Black Skimmers colony along the beach. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour – $1,490

April 24th-25th 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 boat rides and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring on a pristine cypress trees lake. Many nests are at eye level, allowing shooting from up close in a natural habitat. No big lens needed! An ideal setup for beginners… 1 working lunch sessions with lunch included. $300 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book the last available spot!

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,490

January 30th-31st 2021 / limit 4 people – 2 open

February 27th-28th 2021 / limit 4 people – Full

June 5th-6th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 over-the-shoulder Photoshop tutoring to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

2021 Skimmers Colony Tour date

The 2021 Florida Black Skimmers colony will be held on June 26-27. The recent Skimmers tour was a blast and offered quite a diversity of shorebird subjects. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot!

Black Skimmers Photography Tour
Black Skimmers skimming on a sand bar – Sarasota Bay Skimmers Colony
ISO 160 | f/4 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

First off, we had spectacular skimming action this season. The image above was created with a Black Skimmer skimming along a sand bar. There are three very strong points in this image: the bird is flying low and straight at me, the wings are flared up a bit which helps reveal the entire under-wing plumage, and we have waves on both sides resulting from the unique situation of being on a sand bar. Quite the jewel!!

Black Skimmer Young Chick
Black Skimmer chick with mom – Sarasota Bay Skimmers Colony
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

In the deadly cute image above, you will see a very young chick coming out of the comfy tucked position underneath mom. Often, one will see an adult laying on the ground with seemingly nothing else happening. The reality is there is a slight depression in the sand below the adult, where up to three chicks might be tucked in and sheltered against the summer sun.

Least Terns in flight
Least Terns in flight – Sarasota Bay Skimmers Colony
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/6400 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

There is a decent size Least Tern colony about 1/2 mile from the Skimmer colony. This offers an excellent opportunity to diversify your shorebird portfolio when you come for the Skimmers colony tour! 🙂

Used Gear For Sale: Canon 100mm-400mm f/4-5.6 IS II

Lightly used Canon 100mm-400mm f/4-5.6 IS II for sale at $1,350 (negotiable). This lens is fairly light weight, while having lightning fast focus and top of the line sharpness. It does very well with a 1.4x extender on as well, making it a light 560mm option. Payable by Paypal. Send me an email!

Skimmers Colony Photography Tour – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Black Skimmers colony photography tour teaser

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 working lunch to a unique Florida Black Skimmers colony along the beach. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,490

January 30th-31st 2021 / limit 4 people – 2 open

February 27th-28th 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

June 5th-6th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 working lunch to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

Florida Spoonbill Tour dates for 2021!

The dates for Spoonbill tours are January 30-31, February 27-28 and June 5-6. The recent May 30-31 tour was a great success with very high bird activity and many newly fledged youngs in the open. This is the only time and place where you might get to photograph them at that stage of their life. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot!

Young Spoonbill in flight - Florida Tour
Young Florida Spoonbill in flight – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Young Spoonbills have a full set of feathers on their head! Their colors are paler, with black accents on some of their wing tips. Sometimes, their lore (around the eyes) is of a blue tint. The image above was created while shooting from the boat. I am really happy the clouds definition, which gives a strong sense of perspective.

Young Spoonbills playing in flight - Photography Tour
Young Spoonbills playing in flight – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

There were many young birds in the open in the last May 30-31 tour. One of my favorite part was how playful they were. If not playing while feeding, they were playing while in flight, delivering some impressive stunts. That was quite the treat for action shots! The image above displays two youngs goofing together in flight.

Spoonbills blur - Photo Tour
Spoonbills in flight blur – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/30 sec. | Tv mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Did I mention the very high bird activity? Early in the morning, we had a great number of birds flying in and out. As a result, pre-sunrise blurs were spectacular! See two adult Spoonbills in the image above, flying in tandem.

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,490

January 30th-31st 2021 / limit 4 people – 2 open

February 27th-28th 2021 / limit 4 people – 1 open

June 5th-6th 2021 / limit 4 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour in case of COVID-19 issues! 3 shoots and 1 working lunch to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Limited to 4 participants until social distancing guidelines loosen. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com .

New Florida Black Skimmers colony photography tour!

After multiple years of consistent Summer gathering of the Black Skimmers on the Florida West coast, I can now confidently offer this amazing photography tour for June 20th-21st 2020. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book. You will receive a full refund up to one week prior in case of COVID-19 issues.

Black Skimmer chicks - Florida photography tour
Black Skimmer chicks – Sarasota Bay Black Skimmers colony
ISO 2000 | f/4 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II and the Canon EOS 7D mark II.

Within a one month span there is a fairly constant rotation on new chicks hatching, offering some cute image opportunities of our fluffy friends. It is not often one gets to photograph young shorebird chicks!

Black Skimmer banking in flight
Black Skimmer banking in flight – Sarasota Bay Black Skimmers colony
ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Since the parents stay close by to fish and bring back food to the young, there is action galore happening a few feet from the shore. With a little bit of insight from me, you will be able to recognize the moment when birds are about to bank and create your own banking shots, often a few inches above the water.

Black Skimmer skimming - Florida photography tour
Black Skimmer skimming – Sarasota Bay Black Skimmers colony
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

I had long tried to create images of Black Skimmers skimming with little success. Since I discovered this colony, I was able to create quite the portfolio of skimming Skimmers. Would you like to do the same?

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,390

February 22nd-23rd 2020 / limit 6 people – Full

May 3rd-4th 2020 / limit 6 people – 4 open

May 30th-31st 2020 / limit 6 people – 2 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour due to COVID-19! 2 working lunches to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to be added to the early contact list for 2021!

Florida Black Skimmers colony photo workshop – $1,090

July 11th-12th 2020 / limit 6 people – 5 open

Black Skimmers colony photography tour teaser

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour due to COVID-19! 2 morning shoots, 1 afternoon shoot and 2 working lunches to this unique Black Skimmers colony nesting site on a Florida West coast beach. Tons of flying, skimming and fishing action in addition to cuddly chicks and possible Reddish Egret dancing in the surf 🙂 $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to be added to the early contact list for 2021!

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