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

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Steven

Action Bird Photography with the Canon 7d Mark ii in the Sarasota Bay

This post could have been titled three squawks for three poses!! I always enjoy photographing in the Sarasota Bay, and that 2 hour shoot in the Bay last month did not disappoint. Yet another demonstration of action Bird Photography with the Canon 7d mark ii for sure.

First, as this is likely to be my last post before the holidays, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!!!!!

Snowy Egret landing - Sarasota Bay

Snowy Egret landing – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 320 | f/4 | 1/6400 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 Snowy Egret image above is quite striking with the diagonal side way landing. The situation was that this particular Snowy Egret is known to me as quite feisty. So, I usually pay close attention to possible new comings in the vicinity to see what kind of chase is going to follow. The key is to not have your eye stuck to the view finder and look around every so often. Surely enough, my favorite feisty Egret spotted a new comer and propelled itself sideways in the air to land close in a furious squawking demonstration. 🙂

Roseate Spoonbill squawking - Sarasota Bay

Roseate Spoonbill squawking – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 320 | f/4 | 1/6400 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.

While the image above was not taken in the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, I find it extremely pleasing with a bright blue grey blurry background. In this case, the bird had approached too close to me for proper horizontal framing, so I switched to vertical to still make it fit! Then, the pleasing background is a result of careful shooting angle, sun angle, background angle and head angle. Once you understand the four angles of success, you will re-think your photography in a very different light.

Great White Egret banking in flight - Sarasota Bay

Great White Egret banking in flight – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 320 | f/4 | 1/6400 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.

This spot in the Sarasota Bay can be a bit challenging for banking shots. There is in fact a narrow window of opportunity when some birds turn around with decent sun angle. The way I see it, instead of following and shooting the bird in flight wherever there is a flying movement, I look for a shooting zone and wait for a bird to have a flight course that is likely to cross it. I much rather take less shots and wait for the right moment…

Florida Spoonbills and Shorebirds photography workshop – $990

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

Mar 19th-20th 2016 / limit 6 people – FULL

Apr 16th-17th 2016 / limit 6 people – FULL

Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com to be put on the waiting list for possible cancellations or for 2017. Cancellations do happen, so it is not excluded you might still get to join me in 2016.

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

Bird photography with the Canon 7d mark II in the Sarasota Bay

Visiting family close to the Sarasota Bay has its perks. The other day, I slipped in about an hour of delightful photography before everybody woke up for breakfast. While starting my short bird photography adventure with the Canon 5d mark III to work on blurs, I quickly switched to the Canon 7d mark II for the rest of the hour. With low tide conditions, some parts of the Sarasota Bay attract many wading birds, including Spoonbills. Every now and then I witness flocks of 20 to 30 individuals of the stunning pink feather colored bird. Ideally, you want the tide low enough to attract the birds to come feed, but not so low that the grass type algea shows. When the algea shows, it makes for less pleasant backgrounds with brown patches here and there.

Little Blue Heron with prey - Sarasota Bay, Florida

Little blue Heron with breeding colors – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 250 | f/4 | 1/6400 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 while wading in the water. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

The photograph above depicts a Little blue Heron with bright breeding colors keeping a snake like invertebrate snared in its beak. When I spotted that the bird seemed close to strike at the water, I positioned myself a bit closer and decided to go vertical for potential head shots with prey. Bingo! The wading bird snatched a snake like prey and fussed with it for a couple of minutes to put it in a proper position for a big gulp. The other advantage of going for a tight shot here was to avoid some brownish green patches of algea in the background. I am very pleased with the excellent head angles of both predator and prey. Plus, it is not often one may create an interesting photograph with a little blue Heron with breeding colors.

Great White Egret landing - Sarasota Bay

Great White Egret landing – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | 1/6400 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. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

When the wind is blowing in the right direction, from your back and straight towards your subject, the chances of creating a squarely frontal landing are dramatically increased. The Great white Egret photograph above is a nice landing over the blue water. I would have created a lot more of those during my short outing, but few would have come out with a clean background since the tide was a bit too low and there were not that many spots that offered a non clustered blue backdrop. I preferred not to go for the obvious and focus for a situation where the conditions would be good, meaning the 4 angles of success would be met!

Snowy Egret - Sarasota Bay

Snowy Egret – Sarasota Bay, Florida
ISO 250 | f/4 | 1/6400 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.

This is a very fun situation if you know how to recognize it. A white subject brightly lit up with a background in the shade will turn into an almost completely black background once you have set your camera settings for proper exposure on the subject. As you will have to under expose in order not too blow up the highlights, the backdrop will turn even darker. Play with the curves in post production by giving it a bit of a S shape and here you are!

Florida Spoonbills and Shorebirds photography tour – $990

Feb 20th-21st 2016 / limit 6 people – 4 open

Apr 16th-17th 2016 / limit 6 people – 4 open

Contact me at steven.blandin@gmail.com and $250 non refundable deposit to book your spot. Note that we will be wading in the water, about 50 feet from the point of highest tide in order to follow the Audubon society guidelines and help protect those beautiful birds during the nesting season.
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

Wildlife photography during rainy days

Should you be out there taking wildlife photographs when it is raining? My answer is absolutely YES, providing there is not lightning! When I take students on workshops, I typically do not pack up the gear at the first sign of rain. Well, you kind of need to have weather sealed pro lenses and you might want to put a garbage bag on your expensive 600mm (just poke a whole in one of the corners, then slide the lens through it).

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) - Dit Dot Dash, Florida

Wood Stork in flight under the rain. This photograph was created at Dit Dot Dash, Florida.

ISO 1250 | f/5.6 | 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. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

I really like the added effect of the water drops to this Wood Stork in flight. It looks almost surreal to me. As often as I can, I adventure out there during rainy days. And think about it, you can achieve a creation that is quite different from the usual stuff. 🙂

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) Long Bar Pointe, Sarasota Bay, Florida

Young American White Ibis portrait along the mangrove trees. This photograph was created at Long Bar Pointe, Sarasota Bay, Florida.

ISO 1250 | f/5.6 | 1/1250 | 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 handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

This immature American White Ibis is striking a nice pose looking to its right. Remember that for head shot portraits, it is better to frame so that the head is in one of the upper corners.

Would you like to have a chance to be in the African savannah while learning priceless in-the-field wildlife photography tips? Join me to the BOTSWANA & VICTORIA FALLS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR next September 2014! I will teach you step by step how to create the best African safari photos. From beginners to professionals. THE FIRST THREE REGISTRANTS WILL BENEFIT FROM A $500 DISCOUNT!

Botswana Victoria Falls 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