NEW COURSE: Wildlife Photo Editing Secrets Now On Sale

I’ve had this idea for some time now. Sort of starting a journal in to my bird and wildlife photography. While it may seem sudden to some of you that I’ve been doing this type of photography, it’s actually been about 5-6 years now – my first trip to Costa Rica in 2016 really lit the fire for me. I’m typically very quiet about something until I feel comfortable talking about it.

But, bird and wildlife photography has taken over for me. I look forward to it more than I do any landscape trip and if you gave me my choice right now of any place to go, it would probably be something wildlife related… maybe bears… I’ve never photographed bears before.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. I was thinking of writing 2-3 times each week. I got the idea from reading Arthur Morris’s blog (Link Here). Art (I call him that like I know him) has a great website that I visit almost daily. He lives about 90 minutes from me and I’ve seen him out at Ft. Desoto Beach here in the Tampa area from time to time. Anyway, he writes a little something every day and I enjoy reading it. So I thought maybe I’d do the same thing (though probably not every day).

For my first post, I thought I’d share how I got skunked last night. I went to a place called the Dunedin Causeway about 20-30 minutes from me. I launch my kayak from the beach there a lot and it’s a wonderful place for bird photography – especially during low tide.

Last evening low tide looked like it lined up nicely with sunset following about 2 hours later. And the winds were coming from the west, which is even better for bird photography (sun at my back, wind at my back). I had hoped to photograph Osprey fishing – it’s a great area for that and a ton of Osprey nearby. But they must have got the memo that I was coming because I only saw 2 of them.

I got there about 5:45 and was in the water by 6. I paddled around for about an hour shooting once in a while, and then beached the kayak on a sand bar when I saw a group of Roseate Spoonbills nearby. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed that bird, so I sat on the wet sand and snapped some photos of them looking for food, hoping they’d fly.

I did everything right. I positioned myself with the sun at my back and the wind at my back. So I was ready. And positive they’d fly right at me when the time came. Well… an hour later the time hadn’t come yet. I then looked over at my kayak and saw it bobbing just a little. I realized the tide was coming in and I didn’t have an anchor. It’s about a half mile from shore, and in an emergency I could always wade to the nearby Caladesi Island, but that wouldn’t be fun. The waters aren’t deep there, but still – with camera gear and not really wanting to spend the night on the beach, I started getting ready to leave. I waited as long as I could but it was time to get back on the kayak. Sure enough, about 10 minutes after that, I saw them fly my way – but I wasn’t in position to get anything great.

But while I was waiting earlier, I did grab a photo of one Spoony jumping over to another area, while one of his friends squawked at him when getting too close. Definitely nothing great, and as they say “I ain’t winning any awards with this one”. But not every outing is perfect. Heck, I think more outings than not go that way right? But I figured what better post to start the series than with this one. What do you think?

What do you like or not like? (a question I don’t ask often when I post a photo, but in this series it’s fair game)

f/6.3 | 1/3200 | ISO

Settings

This photo was made handheld, with my current favorite winning combination setup of the Sony Alpha 1 and the Sony 200-600mm. Focal length was 600mm. I was on Continuous Auto Focus with the AF Area set to Zone (center), with Multi Metering mode. Sony’s Bird Eye AF did pick up on this while shooting too. I don’t use back button focus, as I favor the good old shutter release way, since my fingers are busy doing other things on the back of the camera while shooting.

There were minor edits in Lightroom and I ran Topaz DeNoise AI on it as well.

Below is the original uncropped photo. I did crop off the right too much while shooting. It all happened fast and I wasn’t ready for it. But honestly there were other birds and clutter there. So even if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have included it in the final photo. I think the important part is what you see here anyway. I also included a couple of shots of the aftermath too.

Low tide is about an hour later today. I may give it a try again. Thanks for stopping by. Like I said in the title… you have to start somewhere. So here’s the start. Enjoy! 🙂

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