BirdAsArt Photography Tampa Seminar

Double Crested CormorantDouble Crested Cormorant

My friend, Tony Galic, and I headed up to Tampa on Friday afternoon to attend a weekend bird photography seminar put on by Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito.  The seminar ran all day Saturday and Sunday in the classroom and then we also had a field session at Fort Desoto on Monday morning.  We both learned a lot about composition and lighting for bird photography and Denise gave some great presentations on creating pleasing blurs for both birds and flowers, so we are both packed full of very useful information and eager to put our new skills to use immediately.  Tony and I decided to stop at Fort Desoto for some bird photography on Friday afternoon before heading for the hotel.  Oddly enough or perhaps purely by coincidence, we were back at exactly the same spot on Monday morning with seminar participants.

Birding at Fort DesotoMark Enjoying Fort Desoto Beaches (Tony Galic photo)

The two day seminar also offered many photoshop tips which should prove very handy.  Tony was a lucky door prize winner and walked away with a free copy of Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 photoshop and lightroom plugin which I am sure he will put to good use.  We also met many great people at the seminar and it was great discussing bird photography with like minded people.  We were both tired after the weekend but it was a good kind of tired.

Brown Pelican Before Impact

Brown Pelican Diving for Fish at Fort Desoto

Perhaps the most important things we learned were about sun angle and head angle of the subject to the camera.  Ideally in bird photography, the best light occurs with the sun behind the photographer.  Artie and Denise both preached to the choir and constantly reminded us to point our shadows at the bird.  With the sun behind the camera, most shadows on the bird are reduced or even eliminated.  A few degrees of head angle also makes a more pleasing image.  Of course on cloudy days, the sun angle rule is not nearly as important as the clouds act like a giant softbox reducing shadows.

Today’s first photo was taken at a small rookery about 5 minutes from our hotel in Brandon on Saturday evening after classes and before supper.  I’ve been trying out a demo version of onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 7 and the background effect in the photo is called Dark Rice Paper.  It was a simple matter of adding the effect on a separate layer in Photoshop with the onOne plugin and then simply brushing away the effect over the double crested cormorant.  The effect gives kind of a painterly effect to the image and I quite like it. It may not be for everyone’s taste though.   Tony grabbed a shot of me in my element on Friday afternoon as I patrolled north beach at Fort Desoto looking for photo candidates.  The pelican photo was another shot from Friday afternoon with the sun angle all wrong.  The sun is coming from the behind the bird, basically in the 10 o’clock position which made it almost impossible to get any detail in the top of the bird.  I dialed in +3 exposure compensation and took the shot anyway but I still had to play with the exposure in Lightroom in an effort to boost the details on the pelican’s head, back and wings.

Bottom line, the weekend seminar was well run and everyone learned a lot.  Now we just need to put theory into practice.  I’ll be posting more images from the workshop in the coming days.  Thanks Artie and Denise for a great weekend.

Chris had a busy weekend in Sebring and tackled some chores around Phaeton Place.  The carpet shampoo turned out very well.  She also got a huge amount done on her nutrition course and has the neighbors lining up to be part of her case studies.  Teddy was very excited to see me back home yesterday afternoon.  Chris enjoyed her manicure and pedicure this morning and is getting her hair done now.  Looks like a bit of rain and wind in the forecast for Sebring today.  Everyone has their awning down and outside furniture tucked away for what could be a wet afternoon.