Spoonbills & shorebirds photography workshop at Alafia Banks & Fort Desoto

I will be leading an instructional photography workshop for Roseate Spoonbills and shorebirds at Alafia Banks and Fort Desoto, in the Tampa Bay area, Florida. From February 28th to March 2nd of 2014, this tour will include three boat rides to rookeries, three half days at Fort Desoto and three photo critiques and Photoshop tutorial sessions during lunch time. We will go twice to Alafia Banks and once to Dit Dot Dash rookeries. Both of those rookeries are only accessible by boat. The price is $980 for the three days or $500 for one day. Maximum 5 people. It is possible to add an extension before or after the workshop. Contact me directly for a quote please.

Roseate Spoonbills in flight at Alafia Banks

Alafia Banks is the prime spot in the state of Florida to photograph Roseate Spoonbills in flight. Comprised of two islands, Sunken Island and Bird Island, the rookery sees about 20,000 nesting pairs of birds across 20 species every year. The concentration of Roseate Spoonbills is quite noticeable, and somewhat predictable flight patterns offer fantastic opportunities for photographing Spoonbills with breeding feathers.

Roseate Spoonbill landing - Alafia Banks

Roseate Spoonbill landing on the shallow water. This photograph was created at Alafia Banks, Florida.

ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/1600 | Manual Mode | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review) coupled with the 1.4x Extender III, the Canon EOS 5D mark III, on a gimbal head over a tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

What a landing for this Roseate Spoonbill! I am amazed at the pose with wings completely upward. Creating those kind of photographs requires accurate tracking of the subject: a technique I will gladly teach you during any of my workshops.

Roseate Spoonbill banking - Alafia Banks

Roseate Spoonbill banking before landing. This photograph was created at Alafia Banks, Florida.

ISO 500 | f/7.1 | 1/3200 | Manual Mode | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review) coupled with the 1.4x Extender III, the Canon EOS 5D mark III, on a gimbal head over a tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

I consider banking images as amongst the hardest ones in flight photography. You need to track patiently your subject and wait for that exact moment when it is going to turn towards, flipping its wings vertically. The best angles are often when the bird is flying slightly away, then turning towards the camera. There is a specific spot in Alafia banks where those shots are more likely to happen. Of course, we will spend more time in that area.

Many shorebirds at Fort Desoto

You will often hear me saying this: Fort Desoto is the Yellowstone of West Florida! There are lots of shorebirds and many migrating birds rest in the area for a while. If you want a chance to photograph Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlews, Skimmers, Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, Sanderlings, Rudy Turnstones and many more, this is the place. I do not know any nature reserve anywhere close that sees that diversity of shorebird species. The usual suspects will be present: Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets, Spoonbills, White Ibises, Pelicans, etc… More importantly, Fort Desoto is one of the rare spots where I very often come across Reddish Egrets. If you get lucky, you might even have a chance to photograph a white morph Reddish Egret: quite the sight!

White morph Reddish Egret - Fort Desoto

White morph Reddish Egret portrait with breeding colors. This photograph was created at Fort Desoto, Florida.

ISO 400 | f/6.3 | 1/4000 | Manual Mode | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III, handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

Waw!! I was amazed when I spotted that White morph Reddish Egret with such stunning breeding colors. I went for a headshot to capture the beautiful colors.

Willet - Fort Desoto

Willet landing portrait. This photograph was created at Fort Desoto, Florida.

ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/2000 | Manual Mode | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III, handheld.

There is a great technique to take pictures of shorebirds in flight, or about to land. First, spot a flock on the ground, then wait for new comers and then … come along with me to know more!

Overall, the Spoonbill & shorebird instructional photography workshop is a fantastic opportunity for beginners and professionals to capture unique photographs of some of Florida iconic birds.

Support our blog by following our links for your purchases. It comes at no extra cost to you and it helps keeping this photography blog lively!

Steven

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