The best Brown Pelican Photography in Florida

Where is the best Brown Pelican with breeding colors photography location in Florida? In my opinion, the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery is just the place! Besides being a unique location for Roseate Spoonbills, it is plain and simple one of the biggest rookeries in the state, and Brown Pelicans are very well represented.

Brown Pelican head throw - Florida Photography

Brown Pelican head throwing – Tampa Bay rookery, Florida
ISO 3200 | f/4 | 1/5000 sec. | 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 7D mark II on tripod while wading in the water. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

Creating photographs of Pelican head throws can be very challenging. Head throws do not happen often and do not last long either. However, it is usually repeated a couple of times. So, if you know what you are looking for and you are quick about it, it is a very possible shot. Note that the above is not a vertical crop from an horizontal capture, but a vertical from the get go with the head throw in mind. In this case, you need to remember to compose with the bird low in the frame as the head throw can reach a lot higher up. Icing on the cake, the bird kept its eye open with a parallel stance to my camera. Plus, this individual has some pretty nice breeding colors with a white/yellow head and shiny brown neck.

Brown Pelican in flight - Florida Photo Tour

Brown Pelican in flight – Tampa Bay 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 (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod while wading in the water. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

The Brown Pelican with breeding colors above is flying with a big branch to bring back to its nest. For bird in flight photography, I am usually in quest for creations with the wings down or up and extended, rarely in the mid-section or folded. Note that Pelicans are great subjects to train in the difficult art of bird in flight photography, as they move rather slow in the air and are amongst the biggest flying birds you may find. I am also glad the band of sand in the background is not crossing the bird through its head.

Brown Pelican diving at sunset

Brown Pelican diving at sunset – Tampa Bay rookery, Florida
ISO 125 | f/4 | 1/2000 sec. | 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 on tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

I guarantee you are not going to see a creation like the one above often. It was created an early morning a few minutes after sunrise. To me, the big difficulty in that type of scenario is to follow the bird and try not to get blinded when the bird crosses the sun. What I do is to follow the bird before it crosses, then close my eyes when I think the crossing is very near and reopen later. That leaves a bit much to chance, but preserves my retina from getting burned šŸ™‚

Florida Spoonbills and Shorebirds photography workshop – $990

Feb 20th-21st 2016 / limit 6 people – 6 open

mid April 2016 / limit 6 people – 3 open

Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com and $250 non refundable deposit to book your spot.
Florida Spoonbill photography tour

Alaska Bald Eagle photography tour – $3900

January 16th-20th 2017 / limit 5 people – 3 open

The very best Bald Eagle tour hands down! Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com for questions and reservations. $1,950 non refundable deposit to book your spot.

Alaska Bald Eagles photography tour

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

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. I love the image of the Brown Pelican crossing the sun. It doesn’t get much better than that Steven!

    Reply
  2. vsantello@gmail.com

     /  April 21, 2015

    Stellar captures – all of them with the sun shot being exceptional. Congratulations.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: