Vote for my Spoonbill image in the BBC People Choice’s category! Part 2

We are getting close to the end as voting will stop on February 5th! Thank you to all who have voted so far ๐Ÿ™‚ For the others, I invite you to vote for my Spoonbill image, “Reach For The Sky”, in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of The Year People Choice’s category => http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/community/peoples-choice/2017/16/reach-for-the-sky.html

Since we are in the Spoonbill against high key background theme, I am going to share with you three more images of the same style. Note that the London Natural History Museum, historical partner with BBC on the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, is publishing an article with more tit bits on the action sequence from where the selected image originated from: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/splash-of-pink.html

Roseate Spoonbill landing in the Tampa Bay, Florida

Roseate Spoonbill landing – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/4.0 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D mark II, while wading in the shallow water with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

The image above was created the very same day as “Reach For The Sky”, though not from the same action sequence. I have to say it was quite a blessed day with so many beautiful landings for anybody who knew where to get in position. The wing stance is beautiful and one can very well see the spoon shape of the bill as the bird is nearly touching the water. When choosing well your background during an overcast day, you may create a very clean high key backdrop. Also note the striking rusty colors on the shoulders as a sign of the breeding season.

Roseate Spoonbill landing - Tampa Bay, Florida

Roseate Spoonbill landing – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 1600 | f/7.1 | 1/2000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III, while wading in the shallow water with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

This landing shot was created in May, which is when breeding colors start to fade a bit, but when young fledglings can be seen. In order to position yourself best for square landing shots, make sure the wind is blowing in your back. Birds tend to take off and land against the wind…

Roseate Spoonbill taking off - Sarasota Bay, Florida

Roseate Spoonbill taking off – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 2500 | f/5.6 | 1/1600 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens with 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III, while wading in the shallow water with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

For once, this Spoonbill image was not created in the Tampa Bay, but in the Sarasota Bay! The principles remain the same though. Being at the right place, at the right time and anticipate the moment. Only after understanding bird behavior, one can anticipate and be ready for the action. ๐Ÿ™‚

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1290

February 10th-11th 2018 / limit 6 people – FULL

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. Email me at steven.blandin@gmail.com to be added to the waiting list for next tours. I communicate to the waiting list in received order and before publicly announcing new tours.
Florida Spoonbill Photography Tour

Support the Best Bird Photography Tours 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

Vote for my Spoonbill image in the BBC People Choice’s category!

Happy new year to all!! I strongly invite you to vote for my Spoonbill image, “Reach For The Sky”, in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of The Year People Choice’s category => http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/community/peoples-choice/2017/16/reach-for-the-sky.html
24 images are lined up for a final vote from the public.

For this post, I am going to give you some context around this BBC finalist photograph. See below a set of five images that will give you an idea of how the scene unfolded.

Once upon a time, during an overcast early morning…

The scene takes place three years ago, during an early overcast day, while leading one of the Spoonbill photography tours in the Tampa Bay. While it was a very overcast morning, I was excited for the group as the wind was blowing in the right direction and the tide was very low. When the latter occurs, the birds are more likely to forage further from the shore, creating better chances for unobstructed backdrops. Plus, the overcast weather helps creating high key images with a beautifully lit up background.

After properly positioning our group at a good distance from a small cluster of Spoonbills foraging in the low tide waters, I cautioned everybody to look out for potential new incomers. This is one of the very best ways to capture dramatic landings. Also, please make sure that leave plenty of space between yourself and foraging birds, so that not to disturb the natural behavior of your subjects. In addition, staying at a good distance is a way to ensure you do not clip the wings in case of unexpected landing or take off.

Roseate Spoonbill Landing 1 of 5 - Tampa Bay

Roseate Spoonbill Landing 2 of 5 - Tampa Bay

Roseate Spoonbill Landing 3 of 5 - Tampa Bay

“Reach For The Sky” RAW (uncropped) – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/4.0 | 1/2500 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D mark II, while wading in the shallow water with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

Roseate Spoonbill Landing 4 of 5 - Tampa Bay

Roseate Spoonbill Landing 5 of 5 - Tampa Bay

It is not every day that all the conditions are right! So, when it happens you want to be ready for any opportunity. As it turned out, I called out a few Spoonbills flying from afar. Not to disappoint, we had a few landings with most of the birds facing us square thanks to a good wind. While the other images from this set are all impressive, the perfect symmetry of the middle one immediately stood out to me as the strongest photograph. I titled the image โ€œReach For The Skyโ€, to reflect the upward motion of the wings. We have a rare view at the underwings and body structure of the bird. After some further consideration, one may also have titled this photograph โ€œSymmetry In Colorโ€ to emphasize on the strong U-shape stance combined with the beautiful pink color of this emblematic bird often admired along the coast of Florida.

I hope you may all appreciate the beauty of this landing action sequence. Capturing the exact moment when both wings are stretching to the sky in a stunning U-shape is of the greatest satisfaction to me. May this inspire us to work diligently at preserving the beauty of mother nature.

Support the Best Bird Photography Tours 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

Competition results from BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year, Nature’s Best and PPA

I am very pleased and honored to report that 2017 has been a very rewarding year from an international bird photography competitions standpoint!

BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

By far, the most prestigious one! Four of my images were qualified for the final round this year: three in the Birds category and one in the Black & White Category. See below the latter:

BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year - Final Round Bird Category

Reddish Egret hunting – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5.0 | 1/1250 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III, while wading in the shallow water with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

While the color version got qualified for the final round in a previous year, it was a delight to see the Black & White version being distinguished as well. This image was created during an overcast day. When properly exposing your subject during overcast days, one typically needs to overexpose which results in having an almost white background. The result may give the impression that the image was simply drawn on an empty canvas.

While three of the images did not receive an actual award from the final round, one of them (one of my favorite Spoonbill ones) is selected to be displayed in London during the coming January 2018 reward ceremony. A new “Public’s Choice” category was created and five images will be awarded from a group of twenty five thanks to a vote from the public. Wish me luck!!!!!

Nature’s Best – Windland Smith Rice International Awards Competition

For the first time, three of my images were qualified for the final round of the second most prestigious international competition! All three images are Spoonbills ๐Ÿ™‚ See below “Pink Symphony”:

Pink Symphony - Spoonbills Orchestra

Adult Spoonbills – Tampa Bay Rookery, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 1D X, with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

The image above was created after the two adult Spoonbills above were done bathing in the shallow mangrove waters. The subsequent wing flapping on both sides makes this image very unique. Also, I had placed my group against the light during an overcast day. This is how you see the light through the wings plumage and how the background came out very dark. I named this piece “Pink Symphony” as the two birds make me think of an orchestra in action.

Professional Photographers of America International Competition

My portfolio of four images granted me a Gold medal this year, thanks to two images with a Merit and two images making it to the Loan collection. See below “Morning Reflections”:

Morning Reflections - PPA Competition

Tricolored Heron hunting – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 3200 | f/5.6 | 1/400 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens coupled with a 1.4x extender and the Canon EOS 5D mark III, with tripod and a Jobu Design Gimbal Head (use promo code “steven” for a 10% discount).

This competition is designed to appeal more to the image artistry of semi-pro and pro photographers. After winning twenty five Merits during the yearly international competition, one receives a Master degree from the renown association. I am getting close ๐Ÿ™‚ The image above was also created during an overcast day!! Next time you stay home because it is not sunny, think twice ๐Ÿ˜‰

Support the Best Bird Photography Tours 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

2016 BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year: 3 images in the birds final round

First off, congratulations to Tim Laman for his remarkable Orangutan image creation!! Quite stunning, with a very tough vantage point… I improved my performance at the yearly BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year in 2016 by having 3 images qualified for the final round instead of 2 in 2015 ๐Ÿ™‚ Not too shabby!! See below the images. Note that all three images were created the exact same overcast day at the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery during the March 2015 tour. The images are available as high end metal prints in the Fine Art Bird Collections

BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year final round - Hands Up

“Hands Up” – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/4 | 1/2500 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 with gimbal head.

The day was overcast and while some participants were disappointed not to have beautiful warm lighting, I had reminded them that overcast days can be quite magical when properly exposing to the right of the histogram. As it also was a very low tide morning, many Spoonbills were landing further away from the mangrove trees, giving a splendid opportunity for striking high key creations.

BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year final round - Wings Up

“Wings Up” – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/4 | 1/2500 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 with gimbal head.

That day, I also spent quite some time trying to have multiple subjects in one frame and I was quite happy when the two birds above aligned themselves nicely in the 600mm lens narrow depth of field zone.

BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year final round - Wings Up Style

“Wings Up Style” – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/4 | 1/2500 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 with gimbal head.

The black and white conversion of the latter image got noticed as well!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Alaska Bald Eagle photography tour – now $3600

February 13th-17th 2017 / limit 5 people – 2 open

Note that there is a $300 price reduction here (from $3900 to $3600), making this tour quite competitive given the location and the service! The very best Bald Eagle tour hands down! 10 boat rides across 5 full days. Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com for questions and reservations. $1,000 refundable deposit to book your spot.

Alaska Bald Eagle Photography Tour

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1150

March 25th-26th 2017 / limit 6 people – FULL

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. The tour is now full but contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com to be put on the waiting list in case of cancellation or for 2018.

Florida Spoonbill Photography Tour

Support the Best Bird Photography Tours 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