Florida's Birding and Photo Fest

June 26, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Roseate_spoonbill_AlligatorFarm_2019_2Roseate_spoonbill_AlligatorFarm_2019_2A roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) poses in the afternoon sunlight at the Alligator Farm in Saint Augustine, Florida. It has been almost two months since returning from Florida's Birding and Photo Fest in Saint Augustine, Florida. I will be going through photos for several months but the first batch of edited images give me smiles remembering the beautiful birds of the southeast, including one of my favorites, the roseate spoonbill.

I live in Colorado where our warm season only lasts about four, maybe five months. It was nice to get to Florida even if just for a few days to enjoy the warm sun, beach, sandals and the opportunity to photograph the birds of the area.

Many of the birds common in Florida wouldn't even think of visiting Colorado so the abundance of new photo subjects was a nice change of pace. And attending Florida's Birding and Photo Fest was a wonderful boost of inspiration for my creativity and technical skills.  Great_egreat_StAugustine_2019_2Great_egreat_StAugustine_2019_2A great egret (Ardea alba) stands over her chicks in the nest as they beg for food at the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

The quick three-day trip started a little rough as my flight was canceled. I sat in the Charlotte, North Carolina airport for more than six hours trying to get on the next flight...and the next flight...and the next flight. Finally, on the third try, I was given the last available seat. Although I missed most of the programs I was registered for during the day, I did manage to make it to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm with just minutes to spare for an evening program thanks to a friend grabbing my ticket. There was a gorgeous sunset and lots of bird activity to photograph at the rookery.

The next morning started bright and early at sunrise with a captive bird shoot with Jack Rogers. The light was perfect and he had set up ideal perches with great backgrounds to photograph the American kestrel, barred owl, caracara and great-horned owl. American_Kestrel_StAugustine_2019_1American_Kestrel_StAugustine_2019_1A captive American kestrel (Falco sparverius) sits perched on a branch on a sunny morning at the Florida Birding and Photo Fest in St. Augustine, Florida.

Next it was off to a few sessions indoors, lunch, more sessions and then another evening shoot at the Alligator Farm. This time, the program was led by Charles Glatzer. His energy, insight and simple but effective techniques really got me to think about how I teach my own students. Again, we had fantastic light and lots of bird activity at the rookery.  White_ibis_AlligatorFarm_2019_3White_ibis_AlligatorFarm_2019_3A white ibis (Eudocimus albus) stands at the top of a snag in a beam of afternoon light at the Alligator Farm in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Sunday morning was dedicated to photographing birds on the beach. As a native of New Jersey, I love digging my toes into the sand and watching the sunrise come up over the horizon. This time, however, I was ready with my camera and clothes that would dry quickly as I was prepared to practice my low-angle shots of the small shore birds fluttering around on the beach. I also spent quite a bit of time photographing the terns, who had recently arrived for the summer nesting season. By now, those same birds that were courting each other while I was there should be feeding their growing babies. Least_Tern_ Matanzas_2019_4Least_Tern_ Matanzas_2019_4A male least tern (Sternula antillarum) carries a small fish to a potential mate on the beach on a sunny day at Matanzas Inlet near St. Augustine, Florida.

Stay tuned to my Photo Workshops and Classes and Presentations pages for the latest places I am teaching so you too can join me in the field or classroom to learn more about how to photograph our natural world. And to stay up-to-date on my latest programs, adventures, specials and photos, .


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