First Spoonbill Tour is over, two more to go

The February Florida Spoonbill tour is now over and there are two more to go with one open spot in March and two open spots in April. Overall, it was a success! The first morning was notably exceptional. See below the beautiful breeding colors.

Roseate Spoonbill with full breeding colors – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with a 2.0x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The breeding colors are quite amazing at this location! Judge for yourself. In the photograph above, I aimed at creating a striking bird in the forefront, with a small group in the distance to give a nice environmental feel.

The first morning was very special. We started with great pre-sunrise conditions for blurs, followed by excellent bird activity with up to thirty birds on the shore. There were lots of take offs, landings, bankings and even squabbles! To top it all, the group enjoyed a delightful bathing session, ending with a very long wing flapping moment.

Roseate Spoonbill flapping its wings - Photography tour
Roseate Spoonbill flapping its wings – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 1250 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with a 2.0x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Be sure to be ready for wings flapping after a bird bathes. Note that I increased the shutter speed to 1/4000 to freeze the wings. By now, you will have noticed that I do not see high ISO as a sin since I have developed top notch de-noising techniques.

Roseate Spoonbills banking above the mangrove trees – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

We also enjoyed a lot of landings, preceded by the birds banking above the mangrove trees. As Karma would have it, the afternoon was quite calm besides a nice Osprey encounter and the following morning had good bird activity, but quite some fog to deal with. Note that fog is very rare, but no one can guarantee weather conditions…

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,290

March 30th-31st 2019 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

April 27th-28th 2019 / limit 6 people – 2 openings

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

2 working lunches and 3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour – $1,490

March 28th-29th 2020 / limit 4 people – 3 openings

Florida Osprey Photography Tour

3 boat rides on a pristine cypress trees lake and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. $300 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

1 Last Minute open spot for the February Spoonbill tour!

Happy new year to all!!! Yes, there is one last minute open spot for the February 2-3 2019 Spoonbill tour due to a cancellation. Hurry and shoot me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to reserve your spot.

Florida Spoonbill Photography Tour

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,290

February 2nd-3rd 2019 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

March 30th-31st 2019 / limit 6 people – Full

April 27th-28th 2019 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

2 working lunches and 3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

3 open spots for the 2019 Florida Spoonbill Tours!

Happy holidays to all!!! There are now three spoonbill tours in 2019, with 1 open spot in March and 2 open spots in April (due to cancellation). This could be a very sweet Christmas present, just saying… 🙂 Shoot me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Florida Spoonbill Squawking - Photography Tour

Florida Spoonbill squawking – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III.

The squawking Spoonbill image above was created a few years back, at the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery. This location offers a nice diversity in backdrops. There will be many opportunities for a dramatic contrast against a darker background as above. This effect is created by the shade from the mangrove trees in the back and the bird being lit by the sun at the same time.

Spoonbill with breeding colors- Photography Workshop

Florida Spoonbill flapping its wings – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/6400 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III.

Every now and then, the shore gets awashed with green algea. When that happens, one may create images with exquisite green backdrops. Note that I strive to keep the whole reflection of the bird in the image when it is possible. It gives a sense of unity with the environment and adds to the story.

Spoonbill in flight - Photography Tour

Florida Spoonbill flapping its wings – Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery, Florida
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Bringing in blue backgrounds is a bit more tricky. When placed at the proper angle, this is possible during the afternoon shoot.

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,290

February 2nd-3rd 2019 / limit 6 people – Full

March 30th-31st 2019 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

April 27th-28th 2019 / limit 6 people – 2 openings

2 working lunches and 3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com
Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour

2020 Florida Ospreys Photography Tour / Workshop

The dates for the 2020 Florida Ospreys tour are March 28th-29th. Are you ready to photograph Ospreys in their natural habitat from a boat on a pristine lake? The workshop will be located East of Orlando, on a lake with the highest concentration of Osprey nests in Florida. We will shoot from a pontoon boat and will be able to get fairly close to the birds without disturbing them. Not only, there will be many accessible nests, but many of them are not located too high. Also, we will be among cypress trees, which will give a true natural feel to our images. While it is possible to see many Osprey nests across Florida, most are now located on man made poles or are very high in the trees. This is a unique location and there are only four participants! Everybody will have comfortable space to shoot from the pontoon boat.

Florida Osprey Workshop

Being able to approach fairly close to low altitude nests is the best way to capture intimate exchanges between the mating birds. This is a difficult vantage point to achieve.

Florida Osprey Tour

There will be many landings and take offs, giving great opportunities for first class action shots. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, we might even be able to create face to face landings.

Florida Osprey Tour_Catches

Ospreys exclusively eat live preys from the water. They are prime fishing birds and you will be surprised by some of the feats they may pull off. On top, three fish in the talents!

You will learn how to nail down exposure, compose and position yourself in the best way possible each time. Understanding the light and making the most of your camera tracking system will be accompanied by taking into consideration wind direction and angling for the most pleasing background.

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour – $1,490

March 28th-29th 2020 / limit 4 people – 3 openings

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour

3 boat rides on a pristine cypress trees lake and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. $300 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,290

February 2nd-3rd 2019 / limit 6 people – Full

March 30th-31st 2019 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

April 27th-28th 2019 / limit 6 people – 2 openings

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour

2 working lunches and 3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Bird Photography at Fort Desoto is bigger than ever!

Bird photography at Fort Desoto is bigger and better than ever! There is now a full sand bar that emerged from the water, West of the cove a bit further up from the North parking lot. I could not believe my eyes during my last visit this September. While there were some tracks of the long lasting red tide from this Summer, especially in the cove where many dead fish could be seen, there was a big congregation of birds of all sorts.

Bird photography at Fort Desoto - Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret with fish – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 4000 | f/4 | 1/1600 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

It was such a delight to work on white plumage birds against the pre-sunrise pink-grey background. This Snowy Egret was successfully fishing in the shade. When properly exposing a subject during an overcast day, or under the shade, you may create beautiful high key photographs such as above. Beware of the lurking blue cast though! When shooting in the shade, more often than not, you will need to de-saturate the blues in order to eliminate the blue cast. Note that you may also work with very high ISO levels and noise will barely be visible on the very light colors.

Bird Photography at Fort Desoto - Snowy Egrets

ISO 4000 | f/4 | 1/1000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The pink reflection on the water from the photograph above is the result on the pre sunrise colors. It does pay to wake up early… There were tons of fish running around and the birds were very successful in their hunting. For proof, see the two Snowy Egrets above with a fish in their beak, almost facing each other.

Sandwich Terns after a fish - Fort Desoto

Snowy Egrets with fish – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/8000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (review) with the 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

During the second half of the morning, a few Sandwich Terns were repeatedly bomb diving around the same spot. What an opportunity!! Every so often, they would throw the fish in the air and catch it again. This lead to occasional aerial confrontations as above. A good technique to capture birds bomb diving is to work vertical and position the autofocus point further up in the frame. Since we tend to be slower than our flying subject, placing the autofocus point further up allows for a higher chance to create photographs with enough space in front of the moving direction of the bird.

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,290

February 2nd-3rd 2019 / limit 6 people – Full

April 27th-28th 2019 / limit 6 people – Full

3 boat rides to the absolute best rookery to photograph spoonbills with breeding colors. $250 deposit. While the dates above are full, do not hesitate to reach out to me to be added to the contact list in case of cancellation or additional date addition. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com
Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour

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