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!

Still space for the May 30-31 Spoonbill Tour

There are still 3 open spots for the May 30-31 Spoonbill tour! Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, I am offering a full refund up to one week prior to the workshop. Quite flexible indeed!! So, if you hesitated because of all the uncertainty, think no further and book your spot: if needed, you can cancel one week prior. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com

Roseate Spoonbill - Tampa Bay
Roseate Spoonbill with some attitude – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 800 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with 2x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

All images from this blog post were created during the last February tour. The image above is what I would call a Spoonbill with attitude! This bird kept on squawking at another rookery mate a few yards to its right. Contrarily to other big wading birds, such as Great Blue Herons or Reddish Egrets, Spoonbills usually do not mind sharing the same hunting grounds.

Roseate Spoonbill in flight above the mangrove trees
Roseate Spoonbill in flight – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/2500 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.

While I could have a slightly better sun angle on the image above, this Spoonbill in flight came out razor sharp out of the box and virtually no crop was applied. The composition with the mangrove trees slightly below was icing on the cake, beautifully anchoring the image. 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill portrait
Roseate Spoonbill portrait – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1000 | f/8 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focus
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II with 2x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Another view of a previously posted portrait. Look at this magnificent bird with full breeding colors! The Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery is the only place were this image can reliably be created.

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,390

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

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

May 30th-31st 2020 / limit 6 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Receive a full refund up to one week prior to the tour due to COVID-19! 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 to be added to the early contact list for 2021!

One-on-one online tutoring for bird photography!

With the COVID-19 pandemic having most of us staying home, I am now offering one-on-one online tutoring for all your bird photography needs: image critiquing, my digital workflow walk-through, Photoshop image optimization, and more! In fact, I invite you to send me your original image to work from and I send the optimized file back to you after you see in real-time how I work it. 🙂 Send me an email at steven@birdphotography.com for more information and book your first online tutoring session.

Willet Before and After digital cleanup

The image above is just one example among hundreds other things I can walk you through. Are you struggling with understanding layers with Photoshop? Layer mask, Quick mask mode, tricky selections, advanced background cleanups, compositing, etc… This is a one-on-one class, 100% tailored to your needs around bird photography. This class can take any format that suits you best and bring you to the next level in your digital workflow.

Florida Spoonbills Photography Tour – $1,390

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

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

May 30th-31st 2020 / limit 6 people – 3 open

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Fully refundable up to one week prior to the tour due to COVID-19! 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 to be added to the early contact list for 2021!

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