Another adventure under my belt. Another flight across country to a new destination. This time my travels led me to St. Petersburg, Florida and a Jennifer King Photography workshop. The workshop led by Jennifer King and Chris Beasley a photographer in Florida. I will admit going into this I am way overdue for a vacation. I save my time and my money for my adventures, they are what make a well rounded life for me.
I land at the airport and experience temperatures that I haven’t seen for over a year. The sun shines like it is normal for it to be out this time of the year. Only a northerner would understand this, which I am, the frozen tundra I like to call it. I can feel myself trying to adjust to being jolted out of the day to day routine of office life and responsibilities to the freedom of vacation. A nice lunch on a sunny veranda and I am ready.
This is my third Jennifer King Photography workshop and she never disappoints me. Chris Beasley, the scout for these locations, knows what he is looking for and where to find it. Which is huge for someone like me who has 4 days in one location. I would have never been able to walk up to a sight and expect to see birds, not knowing the locations. The birds were there every time, to the point, of overwhelming me in some cases. It was tough to deal with but it had to be done. It was that good.
What I really am glad they did is take us to the beach to get used to the equipment and test it on the birds. I purchased a Gimball Sidekick by Wimberely for my Canon 7d Mark II and Tamron 160-600mm lens. I meant to practice before I left and I had issues with the set up the first day and into the next. My plates were wrong and the weight of the camera would make it slide. I switched things around and it didn’t work but I am with a group of photographers so I got some good advice. I switched it again and I am in business. I use a Feisol tripod and regretted taking it into the water. However, the legs are easier to take a part and clean the sand out of. I did notice that if I tried to focus on a bird in a clear blue sky the Canon 7d would struggle. A learning curved had to be trudged through to get my system down. However once I did get the camera set up I rarely changed it. I used the Aperture preferred setting and one stop of from wide open on my lens, a 6.3 on the lens. I did have to adjust my focus point to get the sharp eye.
We also had a class room session about taking the photos. This helped me keep in mind the kind of shots I am looking for. What would bring interest to a photo and to keep a sharp eye on the bird. The advice rolls through the mind once the equipment starts to work as it should and the opportunities fly in view. I will admit the names of the birds are not going to be memorized in 4 days. I am out of my zone and am seeing birds that I are new to me. I do know the above is a White Egret. Just don’t test me later on some of there others.
Light. Side light, front light, back light. Some of the best I have seen in awhile. I am a landscape photographer and I like a good sunset. (Which we had.) In nature I think the like just brings me closer into the bird I am looking at. I am taking a peak into their world while they hunt for their breakfast. They don’t care whether their eye is in focus or is the light good enough to display all their beautiful color. But you do. Those of you that will follow my adventure and happily trudge through my photos. I want to bring you into that moment of peace and quiet. When it was just me, a cool breeze, morning sunshine, with the smell of the ocean in the air and a bird going about its morning.
And Jennifer, who walked by as this bird a Cormorant drying itself in the sun, said the wings make a nice abstract. Or Chris who kept his eyes out for birds flying in so we wouldn’t miss an opportunity. Both, always ready to help with a camera malfuntion or advice about a photo. I really enjoyed myself and I have a few thousand pictures to prove it. However, the editing will have to come in phases with that many photos to look through.
I think an adventure is remembered best by the people you meet and the experience you have while you are on it. I am glad I got to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones too. A group of photographers together can either be competitive or a smooth fun experience. This was fun. Thank you.