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 .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Tour Dates for 2023

The second Spoonbills tour is now concluded and the dates for 2023 will be January 21-22 and February 18-19. Send me an email at steven@stevenbirdphotography.com to book your spot! 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill Banking In Flight – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 2x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

The second tour of the season was a great success! The image above is a spoonbill in full breeding colors soaring up after taking off. The green backdrop are the mangrove trees of the area. Spoonbills suddenly taking off from behind the trees on the beach can be a bit of a challenge to capture in flight as there is little time to notice the bird and actually framing it before it is out of the “shooting zone”. Knowing what trajectory to expect is key and I make sure I lay this down for the participants so they may maximize their chances to create images as above.

Spoonbill landing on the beach
Roseate Spoonbill preening – Tampa Bay Rookery
ISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AF-C Zone Focus Area
Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS coupled with a 2x extender and the Sony Alpha 1

By paying attention to the birds coming in from the sides and from behind, it is possible to frame the bird early on in your camera view finder. This greatly helps being perfectly set up for landing shots as above. The bird is about to touch land while having its beak open. Again, it is a beautiful Roseate Spoonbill with full breeding colors. The only way to guarantee having those colors is to shoot near a rookery during breeding season.

Roseate Spoonbill taking off - Bird Photography
Roseate Spoonbill preening – Tampa Bay 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

I love the out of focus green and blue background here! Take off shots can be more difficult to create as they often require that you anticipate on the actual take off. Anticipation is really what is going to make you get those images. I do my very best to call out to the group when I notice a change of behavior and a bird likely to take off in the next seconds. If you like what you see, consider joining the 2023 tours! 🙂

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 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 .

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 .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

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

February 18th-19th 2023 / limit 5 people – 2 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 .

First Spoonbills Tour In The Box

And the first Tampa Bay Spoonbills tour of the season is now over! See below a few images from the January session 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill Banking In Flight
Roseate Spoonbill Banking In Flight – Tampa Bay Rookery
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

It always a pleasure to kick start the new bird photography season! I am pleased with the banking shot above and especially with the flicked feathers at the end of the right wing. When the positioning is right, the mangrove trees can provide a really nice green background.

Roseate Spoonbill with breeding colors
Roseate Spoonbill preening – Tampa Bay 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

At some point, we were working with a group of Spoonbills that were very close to the mangrove tree roots, which was not the best situation for pleasing backgrounds. Advising the participants close to me to look for headshots while having the other birds right behind the front one, I did just that in the image above. The result is a stunning pink on pink effect. I will definitely try to do more of this in the future!!

Roseate Spoonbill in flight
Roseate Spoonbill preening – Tampa Bay 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

Another classic image I am always on the lookout for is the flight just above the blue water. Note that with flight images I do my very best to keep the reflection on the water as part of the image.

Black Skimmers Colony Photography Workshop – $1,090

June 25th-26th 2022 / limit 5 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 .

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 .

Tampa Bay Spoonbills Rookery Photography Tour – $1,490

January 29th-30th 2022 / limit 5 people – Full

February 26th-27th 2022 / 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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