May 23rd, 2016

Displaying Oystercatcher Lands Right in my Wheelhouse. And You Get to Edit the Images--Pick the keepers!

What’s Up

Sunday was a hazy lazy day. I did a bit of mopping up on my 2015 taxes, worked on a few Soduko puzzles, and watched some golf and NBA playoff basketball. And again I enjoyed a great sunny day swim. Oh, and started and finished this blog post.

I took a rare Sunday evening ice bath end enjoyed my best night’s sleep since the surgery.

IPT Similarities

The Fort DeSoto and the Nickerson Beach IPTs have a lot in common. Lots of birds, lots of sand, and lots of learning. The big difference is that there are lots more flight opportunities at Nickerson: hovering terns, birds landing at the nest, and with luck and the right morning winds, skimmers skimming. And we will surely get to photograph American Oystercatchers. With a bit of luck, they will be feeding chicks of various ages. Scroll down here for complete Nickerson details.


The Streak

Today’s blog post marks an insane 199 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


a0i9198-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

All of the images in today’s blog post were created on the last morning of my Fort DeSoto busman’s holiday with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a 64GB Card and Reader ISO 400. Evaluative metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1.

I selected on AF point above the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF as framed. AF was of course active at the moment of exposure as the bird was striding forward while calling. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

AF Micro-adjustment via LensAlign/Focus Tune: +4. Tutorial coming soon.

Group I: Image #1:

The Situation and the Set-Up

I was sitting in about six inches of saltwater at my favorite early morning spot. I had lowered my Induro tripod and taken the time to level the bubble on the tripod platform (by shoving first this leg and then that leg into the wet sand) and then leveling the camera body; this ensured that no matter where I pointed the lens the image would be pretty darned close to perfectly level. I taught this lesson several times on the IPT. It works great whenever you will be working from the same spot for more than a few minutes. Sometimes you need to lengthen or shorten a leg to get the bubble centered in the circle. This technique also works well when you are standing for flight photography, and equally well when your tripod is on a solid surface such as a dirt road or a parking lot.


a0i9199-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

Group I: Image #2:

Displaying Oystercatcher Lands Right in my Wheelhouse

While I was photographing some feeding breeding plumage Dunlins this oystercatcher flew in and landed–right down my sun angle–right in front of me and began displaying. As I swung the lens to get on the bird I clicked the index finger wheel one click clockwise for the next faster shutter speed (to avoid burning the oystercatcher’s brighter whites) and moved the AF point up one row. Then I fired off about 20 frames. The extracted JPEGs from the best six are presented here today in two groups. In Group I, the bird is parallel to the back of the camera. In Group II, the bird is angling toward me.


a0i9201-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

Group I: Image #3:

You Get to Edit the Two Groups, i.e., pick the keepers

Your Chinese Food Menu Task

Please select the best image from Group I, and the best image from Group II. Feel free to comment on one or more images from each group, and please let us know why you made your choices. For me, the choice with Group II is crystal clear. With Group I, not so clear… I will be interested to see what y’all have to say.

Please note that you are viewing full frame extracted JPEGs cropped to 1200 pixels wide and sharpened with Unsharp Mask at 110/.3/0.

The Hardest Question

Which is the single strongest image? Why?


a0i9202-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

Group I: Image #4:

AF Comments

With the first four images, the selected AF point fell just forward of the white slash at the bird’s shoulder. With lots of contrast there, the 1DX II AF acquired instantly and tracked the subject perfectly. Once the bird turned to angle toward me, I kept the same AF point and Area Selection mode and the system again worked perfectly; with the last two images, those in Group II, the selected AF point was not even on the bird; it was in front of the bird well below the bill. But one or more of the upper left Surround assist points was on the bird’s neck and the system got every image sharp.


a0i9204-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

Group II: Image #5:

My Perspective on My Perspective

I could not have (without lying down in the water) chosen a better perspective. I was very happy that the bird’s head did not merge with the base of the background grasses. Lying flat down in 4-6 inches of water would have provided a wondrous perspective, but it is not a lot of fun> It can put a lot of stress on the muscles in your lower back and shoulders and, as I learned last year, put’s your gear at risk of saltwater damage.

As age 70 draws closer, sitting is fine for me 🙂


a0i9205-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl_ijfr

Group II: Image #6:

Head Angle Comments

In Image #1-4, the bird was kind enough to turn his head a perfect two degrees toward me. And the head angles in frames 5&6 are just fine as well.


nickersoncardajuly2016layers

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmer head portrait, American Oystercatcher dining on surf clam flesh, Common Tern at sunset, Common Tern adult swallowing flatfish, Black Skimmer in flight, newborn Common Tern chick, American Oystercatcher with chick, fresh juvenile Common Tern (with fill flash), and Common Terns copulating.

Nickerson Beach Terns/Skimmers/Oystercatchers Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): July 18-22, 2016. 4 1/2 DAYS: $1899. Limit 10/Openings 8.

Meet and greet at 3pm on the afternoon of Monday, July 18. Limit 10.

The primary subject species of this IPT will be the nesting Common Terns. The trip is timed so that we will get to photograph tiny chicks as well as fledglings. There will be lots of flight photography including adults flying with baitfish. Creating great images of the chicks being fed is a huge challenge. In addition to the terns we will get to photograph lots of Black Skimmers courting, setting up their nesting territories, and in flight (both singles and large pre-dawn flocks blasting off). Midair battles are guaranteed on sunny afternoons. And with luck, we might even see a few tiny chicks toward the end of the trip. We will also get to photograph the life cycle of American Oystercatcher. This will likely include nests with eggs and tiny chicks, young being fed, and possibly a few fledglings.

Nesting Piping Plover is also possibly. There will be lots of gulls to photograph; most years I am able to find a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls of varying ages in addition to the Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed Gulls. You will learn to identify and age the various gull species. There will likely be some Willets feeding along the surf and with luck we might get to photograph a handsome juvenile or two. In addition to the locally breeding shorebirds, we will likely get to see some southbound migrant arctic-and sub-arctic breeding shorebird species such as Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, and maybe even Red Knot.


nicerksoncardjuly2016blayers-1

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmers with tiny chick, Common Tern landing with baitfish for young, fledged Common Tern chick in dunes, American Oystercatchers/display flight, adult Common Tern with pipefish for chick, Common Tern fledgling in soft light, American Oystercatcher on nest with eggs, American Oystercatcher 3-egg clutch, battling Black Skimmers.

The IPT Logistics

The tour will begin with a meet and greet on the afternoon of Monday, July 18, 2016. That will be followed by our first shooting session at the beach. From Tuesday through and including all of Friday we will have two photography sessions daily. Our morning sessions will start very early so that we are on the beach well before sunrise. We usually photograph for about four hours. Then we will enjoy a group brunch. We will always have a midday break that will include a nap for me. That followed by our daily afternoon classroom sessions that will include image review, workflow and Photoshop, and a review/critique of five of your trip images. Folks are always invited to bring their laptops to brunch for image sharing. I always have mine with me but heck, I am a big show-off. Afternoon in-the-field sessions generally run from 5pm through sunset.

Breakfasts are grab what you can. Four brunches are included. Dinners (if at all) will be on your own as we will often get back to the hotel at about 9pm. There is a fridge in every room and a supermarket within walking distance of the hotel so nobody should starve. You will learn a ton during the nine shooting sessions, the four in-classroom sessions, and even at lunch. Early morning and late afternoon parking is free. If we want to head back to the beach early we will need to arrange tight carpools and share the $30/vehicle parking fee. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $450 for the whole IPT.

Save a space by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging to leave your deposit of $599–credit cards are accepted for deposits only. Your balance will be due on April 18, 2016. I hope that you can join me for what will be an exciting and educational IPT.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Induro tripods and ballheads, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

May 22nd, 2016

A Stunning Image With One Big Problem. And the Black-bellied Plover Riddle Solved--Almost...

What’s Up

I got a ton done on my 2015 taxes. With a bit of help from daughter/accountant/BAA Executive Director Jennifer (Morris–mother of Sam and Maya) I should be done by Tuesday the latest. I did have time for another great swim.


The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 198 days in a row with a new educational blog post. I have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


bpn-copulationam-1

This image was created on the California coast by new friend Glenn Conlan, hand held no less. He used the Nikon D4, the Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter for D-AF-S & AF-I Lenses ONLY, and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens. ISO 4000″ 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6.

Nikon 11-point AF.

Peregrine Falcons copulating
Image courtesy of and copyright 2016: Glenn Conlan

A Real Stunner

Buddy Patrick Sparkman first saw this image on Glenn Conlan’s cell phone and raved about it to me. When I saw it posted in the Avian Forum on BirdPhotographer’s.Net. You can see Glenn’s BPN post here.

Many times when I critique a fantastic image, whether it be on BPN or when judging a contest, I often make suggestions. My feeling is, if you can help make a great image even greater, why keep your mouth shut. Though I was late to the party, I posted the following in Pane #2:

Hey Glenn, Patrick was telling me about this one in glowing terms. He did not do it justice. This is beyond spectacular. The wing position and pose of the male is amazing. What’s with the curled talons? Have you ever seen anything like that before? Not too mention the sweet color tones of the distant BKGR. I keep going back to look at it.

I think that a selectively applied Contrast Mask (Unsharp Mask at 15/65/0) to the top of the female’s head and face (and then pull the curve up a bit) would make an amazing image just a bit better.

a

Glenn let me know about the curled talons in Pane #3:

Nature gave these amazing raptors a great method of dealing with their needle sharp talons during copulation without impaling their mate.

In Pane #14, I posted my version of Glenn’s great image with my suggestions implemented; that image is today’s featured image.

BPN is all about learning for everyone involved.

So What’s the One Big Problem With This Image?

The one big problem with this image is that it is not mine…

Thanks a stack to Glenn for sharing his image with us both here and on BPN.

What’s Your Take?

What’s your take on Glenn’s image? What do you like about it? What is your favorite part of the photo?


sbd-sandbar-at-sunrise-_r7a6813-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

Not a Black-bellied Plover…

Not a Black-bellied Plover…

My bad: I assumed that the bird on the sandbar was a Black-bellied Plover. When I blew the image up on Saturday morning, I realized me error.

So What Is It?

Why not a Black-bellied Plover? That’s an easy one.

From the shape of the bird and the shape of the bill, there are only two possibilities (and one is not Long-billed Dowitcher–that species almost never occurs in saltwater). The other possibility is Common Snipe which is rarely seen at DeSoto. If we assume that the bird on the sandbar is not a snipe, what is it?

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

If you would like to learn more about identifying and aging North America’s regularly occurring shorebirds, get yourself a copy of my Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers. Click here to learn more.


nickersoncardajuly2016layers

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmer head portrait, American Oystercatcher dining on surf clam flesh, Common Tern at sunset, Common Tern adult swallowing flatfish, Black Skimmer in flight, newborn Common Tern chick, American Oystercatcher with chick, fresh juvenile Common Tern (with fill flash), and Common Terns copulating.

Nickerson Beach Terns/Skimmers/Oystercatchers Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): July 18-22, 2016. 4 1/2 DAYS: $1899. Limit 10/Openings 8.

Meet and greet at 3pm on the afternoon of Monday, July 18. Limit 10.

The primary subject species of this IPT will be the nesting Common Terns. The trip is timed so that we will get to photograph tiny chicks as well as fledglings. There will be lots of flight photography including adults flying with baitfish. Creating great images of the chicks being fed is a huge challenge. In addition to the terns we will get to photograph lots of Black Skimmers courting, setting up their nesting territories, and in flight (both singles and large pre-dawn flocks blasting off). Midair battles are guaranteed on sunny afternoons. And with luck, we might even see a few tiny chicks toward the end of the trip. We will also get to photograph the life cycle of American Oystercatcher. This will likely include nests with eggs and tiny chicks, young being fed, and possibly a few fledglings.

Nesting Piping Plover is also possibly. There will be lots of gulls to photograph; most years I am able to find a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls of varying ages in addition to the Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed Gulls. You will learn to identify and age the various gull species. There will likely be some Willets feeding along the surf and with luck we might get to photograph a handsome juvenile or two. In addition to the locally breeding shorebirds, we will likely get to see some southbound migrant arctic-and sub-arctic breeding shorebird species such as Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, and maybe even Red Knot.


nicerksoncardjuly2016blayers-1

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmers with tiny chick, Common Tern landing with baitfish for young, fledged Common Tern chick in dunes, American Oystercatchers/display flight, adult Common Tern with pipefish for chick, Common Tern fledgling in soft light, American Oystercatcher on nest with eggs, American Oystercatcher 3-egg clutch, battling Black Skimmers.

The IPT Logistics

The tour will begin with a meet and greet on the afternoon of Monday, July 18, 2016. That will be followed by our first shooting session at the beach. From Tuesday through and including all of Friday we will have two photography sessions daily. Our morning sessions will start very early so that we are on the beach well before sunrise. We usually photograph for about four hours. Then we will enjoy a group brunch. We will always have a midday break that will include a nap for me. That followed by our daily afternoon classroom sessions that will include image review, workflow and Photoshop, and a review/critique of five of your trip images. Folks are always invited to bring their laptops to brunch for image sharing. I always have mine with me but heck, I am a big show-off. Afternoon in-the-field sessions generally run from 5pm through sunset.

Breakfasts are grab what you can. Four brunches are included. Dinners (if at all) will be on your own as we will often get back to the hotel at about 9pm. There is a fridge in every room and a supermarket within walking distance of the hotel so nobody should starve. You will learn a ton during the nine shooting sessions, the four in-classroom sessions, and even at lunch. Early morning and late afternoon parking is free. If we want to head back to the beach early we will need to arrange tight carpools and share the $30/vehicle parking fee. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $450 for the whole IPT.

Save a space by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging to leave your deposit of $599–credit cards are accepted for deposits only. Your balance will be due on April 18, 2016. I hope that you can join me for what will be an exciting and educational IPT.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Induro tripods and ballheads, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

May 21st, 2016

A Big Loss. On Getting Up Early. And Blasting Highlights and Silhouette Tips.

What’s Up

I spent most of Friday getting lots more done on my 2015 taxes. I enjoyed another nice swim.

A Big Loss

I learned on Friday that Michael Reichmann, founder of the highly respected Luminous Landscape website, passed away at age 71 on Wednesday past. I am sending love, strength, and energy to his family and many friends. Though I knew Micheal only through a few brief e-mails, we do have a bit in common. Age. And the fact that our work, our passion, and our very beings were closely connected to our business names: Luminous Landscape for him, BIRDS AS ART for me.


The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 197 days in a row with a new educational blog post. I have dozens of new topics to cover; here should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


sandbar-at-sunrise-_r7a6813-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

This image was created on my last morning at DeSoto after the IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/11 in Tv mode. Color temperature: 8000K.

AF Micro-adjustment via LensAlign/Focus Tune: -2. Tutorial coming soon.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the sandbar and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Sandbar at dawn

Getting Up Early…

Fortunately, I am a morning person. I am usually up and working (or on my way to photograph) between four and five am. The fact is, when I am afield early on some beautiful beach, I am almost always alone at dawn (unless I am leading an IPT group). And that is a big shame for sleep-late nature photographers. Heck, there are times when being in the right place 30 minutes before the time of sunrise is 15 minutes too late. Try getting to bed early and getting out to your favorite beach in time to enjoy the often spectacular sunrise colors.

This image was created at 6:38am, about twelve minutes before the official time of sunrise. When this image was made I was hurting for birds…

Image Question

So exactly where is the alleged Black-bellied Plover in Image #1?


black-bellied-plover-ruffling-at-sunrise-_a0i8892-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

This image was also created on my last morning at DeSoto after the IPT, this one with theInduro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. Color temperature: 8100K.

AF Micro-adjustment via LensAlign/Focus Tune: +4. Tutorial coming soon.

Image #2: Black-bellied Plover ruffling in almost blasting highlights: 6:49am.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus on the plover’s legs and re-compose. (Learn why below…) Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Tips for Photographing Blasting Highlights

I first wrote about creating glaring (blasting) highlights silhouettes in Chapter Six of The Art of Bird Photograph II, Exposure and Flash Simplified & Autofocus Essays. (I’m thinking now that I might have made two or three chapters there instead of one…) With most blasting highlights situations, you need from 1 to 3 stops (or more!) of under-exposure to keep from severely over-exposing the specular highlights. But in Image #2 the sun was just touching the horizon so the highlights were simply not that blasting.

Some folks mentioned diffraction with telephoto lenses in the recent post that dealt with depth-of-field with regards to the large Great Egret chick image. I have never seen diffraction at f/11 or f/13 or f/16. But I have seen diffraction with long effective focal lengths at tiny apertures, most recently, at f/57. Lesson? When working in really bright blasting highlight situations be sure to switch to a lower ISO and a very high shutter speed while striving not to go past f/11 or so.

Blasting Highlights AF Tip

While AF needs contrast to see, too much of a good thing blinds the AF system. If you are trying to focus on a bird in the blasting highlights swath, and AF cannot lock focus, try putting the sensor on the legs; it works extremely well pretty much all the time.


black-bellied-plover-calling-at-sunrise_a0i8936-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

This image too was created on my last morning at DeSoto after the IPT, this one with theInduro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. Color temperature: 8100K.

AF Micro-adjustment via LensAlign/Focus Tune: +4. Tutorial coming soon.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus on the plover’s head and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #3: Black-bellied Plover in soft backlight: 6:51am.

Blasting Highlights Too Bright?

Within a minute of creating Image #2, the sun had gotten much stronger and I could no longer control the over-exposure of the specular highlights. I simply moved a yard or two to my right to place the cooperative plover against a background of soft and sweet yellow water. Remember: the success of each and every image that you create has everything to do with the perspective that you choose, exactly where you place your lens.

Just Think…

Today’s three featured images were created in a span of about 13 minutes; what a great way to start my day.

Your Favorite?

Which of these three sunrise images is your favorite? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice. I do have a clear favorite…

IPT Similarities

The Fort DeSoto and the Nickerson Beach IPTs have a lot in common. Lots of birds, lots of sand, and lots of learning. The big difference is that there are lots more flight opportunities at Nickerson: hovering terns, birds landing at the nest, and with luck and the right morning winds, skimmers skimming.


nickersoncardajuly2016layers

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmer head portrait, American Oystercatcher dining on surf clam flesh, Common Tern at sunset, Common Tern adult swallowing flatfish, Black Skimmer in flight, newborn Common Tern chick, American Oystercatcher with chick, fresh juvenile Common Tern (with fill flash), and Common Terns copulating.

Nickerson Beach Terns/Skimmers/Oystercatchers Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): July 18-22, 2016. 4 1/2 DAYS: $1899. Limit 10/Openings 8.

Meet and greet at 3pm on the afternoon of Monday, July 18. Limit 10.

The primary subject species of this IPT will be the nesting Common Terns. The trip is timed so that we will get to photograph tiny chicks as well as fledglings. There will be lots of flight photography including adults flying with baitfish. Creating great images of the chicks being fed is a huge challenge. In addition to the terns we will get to photograph lots of Black Skimmers courting, setting up their nesting territories, and in flight (both singles and large pre-dawn flocks blasting off). Midair battles are guaranteed on sunny afternoons. And with luck, we might even see a few tiny chicks toward the end of the trip. We will also get to photograph the life cycle of American Oystercatcher. This will likely include nests with eggs and tiny chicks, young being fed, and possibly a few fledglings.

Nesting Piping Plover is also possibly. There will be lots of gulls to photograph; most years I am able to find a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls of varying ages in addition to the Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed Gulls. You will learn to identify and age the various gull species. There will likely be some Willets feeding along the surf and with luck we might get to photograph a handsome juvenile or two. In addition to the locally breeding shorebirds, we will likely get to see some southbound migrant arctic-and sub-arctic breeding shorebird species such as Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, and maybe even Red Knot.


nicerksoncardjuly2016blayers-1

From upper left clockwise to center: Black Skimmers with tiny chick, Common Tern landing with baitfish for young, fledged Common Tern chick in dunes, American Oystercatchers/display flight, adult Common Tern with pipefish for chick, Common Tern fledgling in soft light, American Oystercatcher on nest with eggs, American Oystercatcher 3-egg clutch, battling Black Skimmers.

The IPT Logistics

The tour will begin with a meet and greet on the afternoon of Monday, July 18, 2016. That will be followed by our first shooting session at the beach. From Tuesday through and including all of Friday we will have two photography sessions daily. Our morning sessions will start very early so that we are on the beach well before sunrise. We usually photograph for about four hours. Then we will enjoy a group brunch. We will always have a midday break that will include a nap for me. That followed by our daily afternoon classroom sessions that will include image review, workflow and Photoshop, and a review/critique of five of your trip images. Folks are always invited to bring their laptops to brunch for image sharing. I always have mine with me but heck, I am a big show-off. Afternoon in-the-field sessions generally run from 5pm through sunset.

Breakfasts are grab what you can. Four brunches are included. Dinners (if at all) will be on your own as we will often get back to the hotel at about 9pm. There is a fridge in every room and a supermarket within walking distance of the hotel so nobody should starve. You will learn a ton during the nine shooting sessions, the four in-classroom sessions, and even at lunch. Early morning and late afternoon parking is free. If we want to head back to the beach early we will need to arrange tight carpools and share the $30/vehicle parking fee. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $450 for the whole IPT.

Save a space by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging to leave your deposit of $599–credit cards are accepted for deposits only. Your balance will be due on April 18, 2016. I hope that you can join me for what will be an exciting and educational IPT.

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To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Induro tripods and ballheads, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

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Typos

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