I had a great time out on Lake Istokpoga with Stan Hope in his bass boat this morning photographing birds. We saw lots of ospreys, anhingas and cormorants. A few alligators too! Stan picked me up at 6:30 AM and we headed for the south end of the lake and the boat launch at Windy Point. Bass boats are state of the art and offer a great platform for fishing and photography. It was a bit foggy when we arrived but the fog slowly lifted as the sun got higher in the sky. We hugged the shoreline, passing next to lots of huge cypress trees many with osprey nests in them. We used the boats 225 HP outboard motor to get to our furthest point from the boat launch and then basically relied on the electric motor at the bow of the boat to maneuver amongst the cypress trees on our return trip. Stan’s been fishing and birding these waters for years and certainly knew where to go to get great shots.
The ospreys were nest building for the most part and we saw a variety of man made nesting platforms but we also saw many nests constructed completely by the ospreys without any help from people. Several of the nests measured about 4 feet across and must have weighed well over 100 pounds. It is my experience that bird photography is usually best done when the sun is fairly low in the sky, so either early morning or about 2 hours before sunset. We shot until almost noon but the light was getting pretty harsh by the time we were wrapped things up and headed back to Tanglewood.
I had a great day on the water. I shot the entire morning with my Canon 300 mm lens. In retrospect, I think I’ll add my 1.4 tele extender to bring the birds in a little closer, not that the birds weren’t close enough, but it is always easier when the bird or any subject matter fills the frame. Thanks for a great day shooting Stan!