Is the Canon 600mm IS II + 2x extender viable for birds in flight photography?

Is the combination of the Canon 600 IS II and the 2x extender viable for birds in flight photography? For the longest time I stirred away from the combination as it was only possible to keep the auto-focus on the central point on past body generations. In addition to the fact that I found the focus acquisition speed to be sharply less than with the 600mm + 1.4x extender. With the new Canon 1dx Mark II allowing for auto-focus on all focus points at f/8, I recently re-discovered the possibility during the February Florida Spoonbill tour.

Florida Spoonbill in flight - Fine Art

Roseate Spoonbill in flight – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 400 | f/8 | 1/2000 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 2x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The Spoonbill above is on its downward trajectory from the top of the mangrove trees to land on the beach. I really like the “C” shape of the wings with a nice overview over the wing tops. It reminds me of many of the Bald Eagle images I created last year in Alaska… For some reason, I went back to try the 600mm+2x extender combo during the last Spoonbill tour and the results took my breath away! First off, the focus acquisition is very fast thanks to the superior 1DX mark II pro body. Second, it is quite enjoyable to being able to move the focus points around. Note that I typically have the focus point surround selected and placed one spot up from the center when I am photographing landing birds. This is a good way to ensure you keep enough space in front of the flight direction of the bird. And third, the image quality remains very good with sufficient light.

Florida Spoonbill in flight - Fine Art

Roseate Spoonbill in flight – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 2000 | f/8 | 1/1600 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 2x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

Note how I do not hesitate to push the ISO pretty high in order to completely freeze the action. This is possible, thanks to shooting with a high end full frame, but not only. You will additionally minimize the high ISO noise with proper post processing technique. Shooting at an effective range of 1,200mm brings lots of reach, but it is true that it becomes harder to have the bird in the frame from such a long distance. Unfortunately, only practice makes perfect when it comes to quickly framing the bird from a long distance.

Florida Spoonbill landing - Fine Art

Roseate Spoonbill in flight – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 500 | f/8 | 1/2500 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 2x extender and the Canon EOS 1DX mark II.

The image above was created towards the end of the morning shoot. The last key point when it comes to create bird in flight images with the 600mm + 2x extender combo is to use a sturdy tripod with a very fluid gimbal head. Jobu Design has done an excellent job for me across the years!

Also, I would like to thank everybody who voted for “Reach For The Sky”, one of the People’s Choice Award nominees at the recent BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I regret to announce that the image did not make it to the top three. It was quite a nice run nonetheless!! 🙂

2018 Florida Spoonbills photography tour testimonials

“Thank you, Steven, for a wonderful experience. Your talent for teaching is almost as good as your spectacular photography. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and the birds. You made our first experience in shooting birds fun, exciting, and even successful! We’ll be back at our first opportunity.” — Nancylee M.

“Wanted to let you know how glad I am that I took your Spoonbill Workshop! Everything was so well organized. It was so nice that you spent time with everyone on the tour. The lunchtime editing was an eye opener. Can’t say enough about you and your first rate boat captain. I look forward to my next trip with you!” — Lynn L.

“I attended the spoonbill workshop and it was an incredible experience. You have multiple opportunities to photography this gorgeous bird. If you are thinking about taking this workshop, don’t hesitate you will not be sorry.” — Debra L.

Florida Spoonbills photography tour

February 2019? / limit 6 people – 6 openings

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. I am not sure when I will be running the next Florida Spoonbill tour, but I recommend you send me your contact information to be added to the waiting list. I typically communicate first to the waiting list, before reaching our to online promotion. Send me an email at steven.blandin@gmail.com
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! 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 🙂 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. 🙂

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

Last Minute February 10th-11th 2018 Florida Spoonbill photography tour: 2 open spots

Great news, I am able to put together a last minute Florida Spoonbill tour for February 10th-11th and there are two open spots. Would you like to join? The tour consists of three boat rides and two Photoshop tutorial / image critique lunches. 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill landing - Florida Photography Tour

Roseate Spoonbill in breeding colors – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 2000 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 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.

Roseate Spoonbill banking in flight - Florida Photography Tour

Roseate Spoonbill with breeding colors banking in flight – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 500 | f/4.0 | 1/5000 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.

Roseate Spoonbill with breeding colors - Florida Photography Tour

Roseate Spoonbill ruffling its feathers – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/6000 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.

All three images above put forth the beautiful breeding colors you will be able to capture during this tour! If you like pink feathers and rusty / reddish highlights, you will be served. Hurry!! This is a last minute announcement and there are only two spots left 🙂 Email me at steven.blandin@gmail.com to register.

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1290

February 10th-11th 2018 / limit 6 people – 2 openings

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included.
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

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 🙂 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 🙂 The image above was also created during an overcast day!! Next time you stay home because it is not sunny, think twice 😉

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

Front Cover with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation

I am very pleased to report that one my Black Skimmer images made the front cover of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation annual report on conservation investments. While the initial talk was around some of my better known Spoonbill images, the final choice came to this unexpected photograph 🙂

Black Skimmer - Indian Shores, Florida

Black Skimmer in flight – Indian Shores, Florida
ISO 640 | f/8 | 1/4000 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 5D mark III.

While publishing in magazines, even very well known ones, does not pay much anymore, it is always a pleasure to get the front cover. This photograph was created in the early morning after having noticed a consistent pattern of Black Skimmers flying along the shore. The trick here was to wait for the waves to be flat in order to avoid a distracting background. See below the actual cover:

Black Skimmer - National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Cover

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

Steven

Spoonbill Photography Workshop: 1 open spot!

Yes, that is right, there is still one open spot for the April 22-23 Florida Spoonbill photography Tour! Are you in?

Florida Spoonbill Workshop

Roseate Spoonbills in breeding colors – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 2000 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 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.

If you have been following the Best Bird Photography Tours blog for a while, you now know that the Tampa Bay is home to the absolute best place to photograph Spoonbills with breeding colors. The photograph above depicts two adults running in the shallow eater after a quick landing. The secret to capture images with multiple birds in action is to back up from you usual shooting point. It is difficult to do as we instinctively want to be closer and closer to our subjects. However, this is key in order not to crop wings and have a chance at including more than one subject. 🙂

Spoonbill Photography Tour - Florida

Roseate Spoonbills in breeding colors – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 2000 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 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.

Towards the end of April, one will start seeing the newly fledged Spoonbills as they venture out of the nests. See how the two above are testing their metal in the open. Note that is is difficult to see them in their nests, since the nests are behind mangrove trees and on the island where the rookery is located. Since we shoot at a distance from the water, we get to photograph them only when they start discovering the outside World.

Florida Spoonbill Photography Tour

Two newly fledged Spoonbills in action – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 2000 | f/5.6 | 1/2000 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.

Note the beautiful red and rusty colors in the plumage of this adult running in the very shallow mangrove waters. Hurry up as there is only on spot left!!

Alaska Bald Eagle photography tour

TBD / Email For Info

This is the best Alaska Bald Eagle tour out there!! Next run’s dates are not set yet, contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com for questions and reservations. $1,000 deposit to book your spot.

Alaska Bald Eagle Photography Tour - 2019

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1150

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

April 22nd-23rd 2017 / limit 6 people – 1 opening

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included.

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

The Art Of Close Up Portrait In Bird Photography

Happy new year to all!! Many, many, many fantastic bird photography opportunities to you this coming year 🙂 While I tend to focus on creating action photographs, the art of close up portrait is not lost on me. Or so I wishfully think…

Snowy Egret with breeding colors - Orlando, Florida

Snowy Egret portrait – Orlando, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/1250 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

I absolutely love the fine elegant feather of this Snowy Egret with breeding colors. During mating season, many egrets grow longer feathers to be used during their seduction displays. Plus, Snowy Egrets do not keep their breeding colors for very long and it can be quite challenging to capture the orange around the eyes. Catch the bird while displaying and frame everything for a tight close up while having the beautiful green backdrop and voila!

Waved Albatross portrait - Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands.

Waved Albatross – Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands
ISO 640 | f/5.6 | 1/8000 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III while seating on the ground with the lens on my bent knee.

I remember landing on Espanola Island as being a very exciting shooting day to come! And it did not disappoint: this portrait with the head coming out of the grass was a dream come true. Try to be at eye level with the subject, with the background as far back as possible while using your longest lens to maximize the very pleasing blur.

Young Juvenile Roseate Spoonbill - Tampa Bay, Florida

Young Roseate Spoonbill – Tampa Bay, Florida
ISO 1600 | f/16 | 1/400 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

The Roseate Spoonbill above is a newly fledged juvenile which adventured closer to the outer ring of mangrove trees at the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery than its recently born companions. This gave me the rare chance for a real close up. Note that I still stood at more than 50 feet away as I used the 600mm coupled with an extender. Also, I typically try to have the point of focus as far from the center as possible for close portraits.

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

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 🙂 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!!! 🙂

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

Silver medal at the PPA International Photographic Competition!

I am proud to announce that my 4 photograph portfolio earned me a Silver medal at the Professional Photographers of America 2016 International Photographic Competition!! PPA is the largest association of photographers in the World, with some of the very top professional photographers from all specialties (landscape, wildlife, architecture, portraits, etc…). See below the portfolio I presented this year. Also, please sign the petition to protect our rights to freely access Florida bird rookeries!!

Vampire Wings - Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 640 | f/5 | 1/1250 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 with gimbal head while kneeling in the shallow water.

The Reddish Egret photograph above was created during an overcast day at Fort Desoto Park. Lately, I have worked at creating more black and white pieces. So, stay tuned to see more! Note that the color version went into the final round of the bird category at the prestigious 2015 BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition.

Roseate Spoonbill banking in flight

Roseate Spoonbills – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 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) with 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 1D X on tripod with gimbal head while wading in the shallow water.

The Roseate Spoonbills photograph above depicts a full breeding color adult in perfect banking position seemingly joining a recently fledged youngster perched on a mangrove tree branch. This image was created during the 2016 Spoonbill tours. Join me quickly for the 2017 tour as it remains only 1 spot available!!!

On The Hunt - Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 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) with the 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

Again, a beautiful Reddish Egret in full hunting mode with wings up against the blue Florida water.

Brown Pelican taking off

Brown Pelican – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 800 | f/7.1 | 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) with the 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

Last, but no least, a stunning Brown Pelican taking off from the water. 🙂

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 Eagles photography tour

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1150

March 25th-26th 2017 / limit 6 people – 1 open

A new date for April is now open, but hurry as there is a high demand!! 3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com

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

Secrets for beautiful headshots in Bird Photography

What do you think is a good recipe for beautiful headshots in Bird Photography? I can think of a few good tips to share with you of course!

Double crested Cormorant - Portrait Bird Photography

Double-crested Cormorant – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 800 | f/8 | 1/1250 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

First off, try to look for close ups on interesting action, such as bill clapping, neck stretches or “predator to prey” dialogue. As always, I tend to prefer action over the rest, so that would be the particular point of interest to me. The difficulty here is that you are likely to frame tight around the head already, so any action might be clipped. Step back a few steps. I much prefer having less pixels on my subject versus clipping unexpected action. Also, try to visualize the likely movement in order to be just at the right spot. The latter comes with experience…

Long-billed Curlew - Fort Desoto, Florida

Female Long-billed Curlew – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 640 | 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 (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

My second secret is to look for a dramatic composition with the head, or eye very off centered. The top right position of the female Long-billed Curlew above is made to emphasize on the bill length of this beautiful shorebird.

American Oystercatcher - Headshot Bird Photography

American Oystercatcher – Fort Desoto, Florida
ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/1250 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on tripod with gimbal head.

My third tip for today is to make sure you have a very clean background. You can achieve this by adjusting your shooting angle and making sure the background is as far as possible behind your subject. Shooting with a long lens really helps as well, but the key is truly the shooting angle 🙂

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 Eagles photography tour

Florida Spoonbills photography tour – $1150

March 25th-26th 2017 / limit 6 people – 1 open

3 boat rides to the Spoonbill rookery and 2 working lunch sessions with lunch included. Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com

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