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Florida Bird Photography Workshop - Rookeries by Boat

Sarasota, Florida, USA

Florida bird photography workshop © Nikhil Bahl

Enjoy 3 full days on a Florida bird photography workshop, touring the best rookery sites and bird colonies in southwest Florida by boat.

With many birds displaying their full breeding plumage, the month of April is a perfect time for bird photographers to be in Sarasota, Florida. You will spend 3 solid days (6 full sessions) visiting the best rookery sites and most populated wading bird colonies on the west coast of Florida. Custom photography boats (with captain chairs and all) will give you unparalleled access to the bird colonies with minimal disturbance to the birds.

Roseate spoonbill in sky © Nikhil Bahl

The Best Value for a Florida Bird Photography Workshop

Variety of Birds to Photograph

The rookery island locations you will visit present a unique opportunity to photograph an assortment of bird colonies during peak activity with many chicks on the nest. Some of the birds that you’ll get to see on this Florida bird photography workshop include:

  • Nesting roseate spoonbills
  • Great blue herons
  • Great egrets
  • Anhingas
  • Snowy egrets
  • Cattle egrets
  • Cormorants
  • White ibis
  • Brown pelicans
  • Nesting wood storks

What You’ll Learn on the Boat

This Florida bird photography workshop is strictly limited to a maximum of 6 participants. This means that Nikhil will give you plenty of personalized instruction on the boat and will spend equal time with all workshop participants. Whether you are photographing active or static birds, it is important to know the best way to make consistently sharp images. Nikhil will improve your bird photography by teaching you techniques you can begin using immediately. Special subjects to be reviewed include:

  • How to best use your autofocus settings
  • Tips for photographing birds in flight
  • Special secrets for photographing birds in action
  • How to track birds in flight
  • How to capture static portraits of birds in the nest
  • How to handhold short and long lenses
  • Plus several other photographic techniques

You will receive plenty of help in the field to fine-tune your photographic technique and implement what you have learned in the classroom.

“Nikhil was a great instructor. He has a very easy going personality and was always helpful in answering your questions and also providing tips for improving your techniques and skills as a photographer.” –Hank S.

Nesting wood stork with twig © Nikhil Bahl

What You’ll Learn in Class

During your midday classroom sessions, we will have friendly image critiques so you can get feedback on your photos. Helpful image feedback will give you ideas to immediately put into practice so you can make adjustments during your next shoot.

Nikhil will also cover the finer points of image composition so you can take your imagery to the next level. Whether it is a tight portrait or bird in its natural environment, the bird’s posture and placement of elements make the difference between a good photograph and an excellent one.

There will also be a full session dedicated to post-processing your images. Nikhil will share several tips and techniques to get the most out of your RAW capture, including processing techniques specific to avian photography.

Equipment You Should Bring

Workshop participants should have a minimum focal length of 400mm. A longer telephoto lens and tripod is also recommended for any land locations we might visit in case of rain. Well before the start of the workshop, a full gear and packing list will be provided so you can prepare for your trip to Florida.

Florida Sarasota rookery © Nikhil Bahl

Itinerary

Enjoy 3 solid days with 6 boat sessions visiting the best rookery sites and wading bird colonies in southwest Florida.

This itinerary is subject to minor changes based on weather conditions. The plan is to have 6 boat sessions perfectly coordinated around favorable weather and lighting conditions. If we miss a boat session due to weather we will come up with an alternate plan and opt for a land based shoot or additional classroom time.

Day 1, April 17, 2018

During our first evening together we will have an orientation meeting at the hotel from 6:00–8:00 PM. Nikhil will also give an introductory presentation on birds in flight and we will discuss preparations for our 6 boat sessions during the upcoming days.

Day 2, April 18, 2018

On the second day you will spend all day shooting rookeries from boats with a classroom session in between.

Schedule

  • 6:30 AM: Meet in the lobby for sunrise rookeries boat tour
  • 10:00 AM: Return to hotel
  • 10:00 AM–2:00 PM: Break
  • 2:00 PM–4:00 PM: Classroom session
  • 4:30 PM–8:00 PM: Sunset boat tour

Morning Photo Shoot

In the morning you will have a sunrise session to Roberts Bay Islands to take advantage of morning light and peak bird activity. These rookery islands are an important colony for 800–1,000 pairs of brown pelicans, great blue herons, and great egrets.

Afternoon/Sunset Photo Shoot

The afternoon/sunset photo shoot will be at the Dot-Dash-Dit Colony at the mouth of the Braden River. These three small mangrove islands (Dot, Dash, and Dit) are home to the only coastal colony of wood storks in the Tampa Bay area.

Great egret pair in action © Nikhil Bahl

Day 3, April 19, 2018

On the third day you will spend all day shooting rookeries from boats with a classroom session in between.

Schedule

  • 6:30 AM: Meet in the lobby for sunrise rookeries boat tour
  • 10:00 AM: Return to hotel
  • 10:00 AM–2:00 PM: Break
  • 2:00 PM–4:00 PM: Classroom session
  • 4:30 PM–8:00 PM: Sunset boat tour

Morning Photo Shoot

Your morning shoot will be focused on similar photography opportunities as the previous day, but with a twist as we will interpret our subject in a different way. You will continue to hone your skills with a sunrise session to Roberts Bay Islands taking advantage of morning light and peak bird activity. Depending on group preference, we will have an alternate morning shoot at the Dot-Dash-Dit Colony at the mouth of the Braden River.

Afternoon/Sunset Photo Shoot

This afternoon/evening’s shoot will take place at the Dot-Dash-Dit colony at the mouth of the Braden River. These three small mangrove islands (Dot, Dash, and Dit) are not just home to the only coastal colony of wood storks in the Tampa Bay area, but also to spoonbills, three species of egret, and a myriad of herons. The bird activity is astounding around sunset when many more birds come in to roost.

Day 4, April 20, 2018

On our final day together, you will spend all day shooting rookeries from boats with one last classroom session in the middle of the day.

Schedule

  • 6:30 AM: Meet in the lobby for sunrise rookeries boat tour
  • 10:00 AM: Return to hotel
  • 10:00 AM–2:00 PM: Break
  • 2:00 PM–4:00 PM: Classroom session
  • 4:30 PM–8:00 PM: Sunset boat tour

Morning Photo Shoot

Your last morning shoot will give you the flexibility to choose to return to either Robert’s Bay or the mangrove islands of Dot, Dash and Dit, depending on bird activity and your preference. We will continue to refine our skills and get those great early morning shots again during peak bird activity.

Afternoon/Sunset Photo Shoot

Our final afternoon/sunset photo shoot will be at the Dot-Dash-Dit Colony at the mouth of the Braden River. Today we will approach our shooting in a different way. Now that we have all of the flight images we need of each species we can start to think out of the box. By now you’ll be familiar with the layout of the islands and will have a better understanding of how to get those great flight shots. This is the perfect opportunity to continue improving your newly learned skills or work with Nikhil on artistic imagery and photo inspiration.

Extend Your Experience! Save $100 when you also attend Nikhil’s Osprey Photography Workshop in Vero Beach, Florida.

Includes

  • Evening program on the first night
  • 6 boat shooting sessions (3 morning + 3 afternoon), depending on the weather
  • Resident and licensed guide/boat drivers
  • Personalized field instruction with Nikhil
  • Midday image reviews, teaching programs, and photo critiques throughout
  • Discounted lodging has been arranged; confirmations will be provided upon registration and receipt of deposit
  • Hotel breakfast if staying at Hampton Inn & Suites™

Does Not Include

  • Lodging
  • Meals; hotel breakfast is included if staying at Hampton Inn & Suites™
  • Transportation throughout; we’ll encourage carpooling

Brown pelican splashing in water © Nikhil Bahl

Traveling to Florida

Arrival

Workshop participants should plan to arrive in Sarasota, Florida on or before the afternoon of April 17, 2018. Check-in time at the hotel is 3:00 PM.

Departure

This Florida bird photography workshop concludes after the sunset photo shoot on April 20, 2018. You may depart anytime after this on the last day or stay the evening and leave the following morning. Check-out time at the Hampton Inn & Suites™ is 11:00 AM.

Local Airport

Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SQR)
6000 Airport Cir
Sarasota, Florida 34243
United States

Website: www.srq-airport.com
Telephone: 941-359-2770

Where We’re Staying

Hampton Inn & Suites™ Sarasota/Bradenton Airport
975 University Parkway
Sarasota, Florida 34243
United States

Website: hamptoninn3.hilton.com
Telephone: 941-355-8140

Extend Your Experience! Save $100 when you also attend Nikhil’s Osprey Photography Workshop in Vero Beach, Florida.

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out the registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: April 17-20, 2018 (4 openings)
  • Cost: $1,795
  • Deposit: $750
  • Participants: 6

Extend your experience! Save $100 when you also attend Nikhil’s Osprey Photography Workshop in Vero Beach, Florida.

Leader

Nikhil Bahl

Nikhil Bahl

Nikhil Bahl is a full time professional photographer, author, educator, workshop instructor and environmentalist residing in the Washington D.C. area. Drawing inspiration from nature, Nikhil adopts novel approaches and seeks meaningful interpretations: to create photographs that transcend the commonplace, reflect deeper insights, and convey an enchantment of the subject's beauty.

An offshoot of Nikhil’s fine art photography and love of nature is his documentation of wildlife behaviors and habitats. Continue reading »

Testimonials
Nikhil was a great instructor. He has a very easy going personality and was always helpful in answering your questions and also providing tips for improving your techniques and skills as a photographer.
Hank S.
Rookeries by Boat and Fort Desoto Park - Florida
I've been on several workshops with Nikhil and he is technically and artistically superior as a leader and teacher.
Dick P.
Southwest Florida Rookeries by Boat - Sarasota, Florida
Nikhil was an informative and gracious leader.
Donald M.
Rookeries by Boat and Fort Desoto Park - Florida