Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bird photography on long paddle trips through the glades

It's that time of year when we head into the Everglades for several days of paddling and camping. This year, we will be out there nine days. The long range forecast is looking favorable for our first choice route which will include the Cape, the Nightmare, and some hidden routes between Watsons River and Lane Bay. Very little of my photography during these trips is for birds as most of my bird images are "on the fly" and unplanned. Instead, I focus my attention of the wide range waterscapes and bring a tripod for campsite photography.

Bird photography for me is a study in behavior, light and environment. Consequently, I spend hours in one place, learning and observing while photographing my bird subjects. I can count on one hand the locations where I get 99% of my bird images. Why keep going back to the same place? The reason is with every image I take, there is one better that I strive for.

My canoe trips through the Everglades are quite different and mostly do not allow me to spend much time in one place. Because of this, I have to approach bird photography on these trips quite differently. While it might be frustrating to not have the luxury of sitting in one spot, waiting for the right moment to capture, it is amazing how many pleasant and unexpected surprises there are on the journey. This is why I always have my telephoto lens accessible while paddling, you never know what you will find. 

Because the Everglades never disappoints, I manage to capture birds on these long distance paddle trips and have accumulated a variety of bird images. In fact, I've captured images of species I rarely, if ever, have a chance to photograph on my day trips.

I got to thinking about all that and decided to pull out some of those images of birds that help illustrate the variety and beauty of the Everglades. Although I will use my tripod often on this trip, I know from the past that I will get the telephoto lens out and capture my favorite subjects along the way. Here are a few from past trips, enjoy.

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