The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

Left to right and top to bottom: Brown Pelican at sea level, Little Estero Lagoon. Red Knot flock in flight at sunset: film!, Little Estero Lagoon. American Oystercatcher in condo reflections, Little Estero Lagoon. Brown Pelican silhouette–I was up to my neck in the Gulf!, Little Estero Lagoon. Great Egret with pinfish, Sanibel Causeway. Snowy Egret landing in early morning light, Little Estero Lagoon. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron with fiddler crab, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Snowy Egret swallowing baitfish, Sanibel fishing pier. White morph Reddish Egret in mega breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon, Turkey Vulture, flash flight, Sanibel Causeway.

The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

The SW FLA IPT: FEB 8-13, 2012. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7pm on 2/7/12. Six Full Days: $2899. Limit: 10. Mention the BAA Blog and we will gladly apply a $200 discount to your balance.

Most folks from the north and those visiting from overseas are often stunned by the tameness of the birds that we encounter on the Southwest Florida IPTs. Great Blue Herons land at our feet in search of nesting material. Both Brown and White Pelicans enticed by fish fly to and fro and pose for head portraits even with short telephoto lenses. And the same goes for Great and Snowy Egret and White Ibis among others. Burrowing Owls, tiny and too- cute, stand at their nest entrances posing for us. In recent years we have even found a dependable location for Black-bellied Whistling Duck. We have great chances with a variety of birds capturing and holding fish or other prey items; subjects with prey might include Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, several shorebird species, and all the regular heron, egret, and other wading bird species. On the 2010 IPT we had great chances at Ding Darling NWR with both Pied-billed Grebe and Double-crested Cormorant holding pretty big fish. Though the glory days of Ding Darling are long gone there is always a chance of getting to photograph Roseate Spoonbill on our visits.

Barring unforeseen circumstances we should get to photograph Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret (both white and dark morphs), Tricolored Heron, Little-blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Brown Pelican, White Pelican, Mottled Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Royal Tern, Forster’s Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull, Osprey, and Burrowing Owl. Likely shorebird subjects include Black-bellied Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Snowy Plover, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Red Knot, and Western Sandpiper.

The following species range from probable to how-lucky-can-you–get?: Roseate Spoonbill, Great White Heron (the white form of Great Blue Heron), Black-Crowned Night-heron, Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Lesser-black-backed Gull, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Palm Warbler, Fish Crow, and American Alligator.

Though there is never a formal itinerary on this IPT (or most others for that matter) we usually visit the following spots: Venice Rookery, Placida/Boca Grande, Little Estero Lagoon—which has been great in recent years, Cape Coral, and several locations on Sanibel including Ding Darling NWR, Blind Pass, the East Gulf beaches, and the fishing pier. If the forecast is for fog and drizzle forecast we will likely head to Corkscrew Swamp & Sanctuary.

Our tentative plan from the prior evening is always subject to change as are the afternoon plans that we make in the am; the weatherman in not always right. Ensuring that the group is in a location that will maximize the photographic opportunities is much more important to me than sticking to a plan…. Having visited each of these sites many times over the past two decades I know where to be when and in what weather. I know the light and the winds and the affect that each will have on our chances. On all IPTs we think out loud. When we choose a location or opt to make a move we will let you know why. That way when you get back to your home patch you will be able to apply the lessons learned on the IPT so that you too wind up in the right place at the right time.

That said it is nature photography and sometimes the birds do not read the book. I often tell my groups, “Don’t praise me too highly when the birds are great or trash me on the rare day when they do not cooperate. All that I can do is put you in the right place every morning and every afternoon; if the birds do not show up look forward to the next day. And the same goes for the weather. Over the decades I have enjoyed the best weather karma of anyone I know of . We do love Happy Campers and all are required to pass the Happy Camper test before we cash their deposit check.

Yikes. Did I mention the great leader and co-leaders? Folk are usually amazed at the effort that we put in to ensure the success of a given IPT and that goes double for SW FLA. And it goes without saying that I can teach….. This year I will be joined for part of the trip by skilled photographer, BBC-honored, digital imaging expert and all around technical whiz-kid, Robert O’Toole for the first few days.. For the third year running he will be joined skilled photographer and crack-BPN Avian Moderator Randy Stout. And Peter Kes, BPN gear forum Moderator will be with us for the whole trip–all the way from Switzerland!

I hope that you can join me on the upcoming SW Florida IPT. It is for good reason my bread and butter/can’t miss trip: folks just starting out can learn the basics from the best while advanced folks will pick up the fine points that you just will not find in any book; escape winter’s icy grip and come on down to photograph lots and lots of tame birds!

Left to right and top to bottom: Great Blue Heron, Venice Rookery. Roseate Spoonbill, Little Estero Lagoon. Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral. Great Egret with baby blowfish, Little Estero Lagoon. Wood Stork and Great Egret, pleasing blur, Little Estero Lagoon. Back of American Alligator, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Brown Pelican–in the water up to my neck again!, Placida. Gulf sunrise feeding spree silhouette, Little Estero Lagoon. White Pelican face portrait, Placida.

I do hope that you can join us for this great Instructional Photo-Tour.

For additional details or for more information, please e-mail. If you are good to go send your $500 non-refundable deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris”) along with the completed paperwork that you find here to us as follows: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call us at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. (Note: we prefer a check for deposits; IPT balances must be paid by check.)

Left to right and top to bottom: Great Blue Heron squawking, Little Estero Lagoon. Black-bellied Whistling Duck, South Venice. Mark Hardymon and Great Egret, Little Estero Lagoon. Great Egret in mega-breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon. Tricolored Heron, high key, Little Estero Lagoon. Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral. Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage, Venice Rookery. Brown Pelican swallowing fish, Placida. Pied-billed Grebe with fish, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

Click here for the current BAA IPT Schedule.

4 comments to The Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

  • Jean Pierre ANTOINE

    vraiment superbes photos , avec toujours des explications.Quelle chance de pouvoir photographier si prèt ,je vous suis depuis quelques années et toujours des réponses aux questions ,je vous remercie pour cela et continué a nous faire réver car je suis vos conseils pour me perfectionné dans cette catégorie , MERCI A VOUS.

    From Google translate:

    “Really great pictures, always with explications. Quelle chance to shoot when ready, I’m a few years and always answers to questions, thank you for that and continued to make us dream for I am your advice to me in advanced this category, THANK YOU.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Jean Pierre, Many thanks for your kind words! From Google translate: Merci beaucoup pour vos aimables paroles! artie

  • Maggi Fuller

    Likewise. Sounds wonderful but too expensive for me, a recent retiree, especially from the UK!

  • Bill Clausen

    I am sure this is a wounderful trip! I just can not afford it, I wish SS would allow us older folks the chance to do this but they do not!!