White Ibises at the Tampa Bay Spoonbill Rookery

At the right time of the year, the Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery gets invaded by White Ibises in breeding colors. The numbers observed can be quite impressive and early morning blast offs are spectacular. One of the many perks of joining me for a Florida Spoonbill Tour…

Spoonbill with Ibises blast off

White Ibises flock blast off – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 3200 | f/5.6 | 1/30 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM lens at 400mm, the Canon EOS 1DX hand held.

Where is Waldo? Early mornings can be very rewarding when you make it to the rookery on time for a White Ibis blast off. This seemingly lost Spoonbill is conveniently well placed for a dramatic composition. After having directed the group with proper settings, I was expecting something special based on the sheer number of Ibises in the mangrove trees that morning. I was not disappointed! 🙂

Note that I opted for hand holding a smaller lens: the new Canon 100-400mm. It worked out quite nicely, making panning a lot easier given the much lighter weight of the lens versus the 600mm..

White Ibis landing - Florida Spoonbill Tour

White Ibis landing to join the flock – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 1DX on tripod with gimbal head.

One afternoon, a flock of White Ibises had gathered in huge number on a sand bar. They kept coming one small group after the other. This situation gave us plenty of opportunity for beautiful landings against a dark background. I could not resist creating an incoming just above the flock on the ground. Can you see the intruder?

White Ibises in flight - Spoonbill rookery

White Ibises in flight – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 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) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 1DX on tripod with gimbal head.

And here is one of the small groups that kept coming to increase the ranks of the flock on the sand bar. It made for a very interesting photography session. In the end, I had position the group for one last blast off, but the birds decided otherwise and kept to the ground until after sunset… Another time!

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

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

Recovering the whites – part I

The photograph below is a White Ibis in a sleeping position.

White Ibis sleeping - Fort Desoto

White Ibis in sleeping position – Fort Desoto, Florida.

ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/2000 | Manual Mode w/ evaluative metering 0 EV | AI servo focus

This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, the Canon EOS 5D mark III, mounted on a Jobu Design Gimbal head, over the Manfrotto 190CX carbon fiber tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

When capturing an image, you ideally want your whites not to be above 235. Though 255 is the limit beyond which the information is lost (or your histogram is clipped to the right), it takes a lot of work to recover details between 235 and 255. Think about that when you are in the field and adjusting your exposure. The histogram is the best upgrade (by far) that digital brought over film. In the photograph above, I ran a Detail Extractor filter at 70% from Color Efex Pro 4 plug-in of Nik Softwares. Follow our link to enjoy a 15% discount! 🙂
This filter is very convenient to recover either highlights or shaded areas.

This is also another reason why you want to shoot in RAW versus JPEG. When importing the RAW picture into Photoshop, one can play a bit with the Recovery slider to recover burnt highlights.

See below an animated GIF with the original creation, versus the Color Efex Pro 4 enhanced one.

White Ibis recovered

Before and after Detail Extractor

Note that I also cleaned up the area around the eye with the patch and clone tools from Photoshop.

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