I spent a few moments before sunrise last Thursday morning at Scobie Park (just south of Veterans Memorial Park in Titusville), watching the pre-dawn clouds reflecting in the calm Indian River water. Oh, and I had a camera with me too – I made 6 frames to stitch together into this image:
After that I wandered over to Black Point Wildlife Drive and one of the first things I saw was this:
These “feeding frenzies” don’t happen all the time, but when they do they can be great photo fun.
At first glance, they look like a photographer’s dream – all those birds in a confined area – taking off, landing, chasing minnows and each other, just waiting for you to snap the shutter.
It turns out it’s not so easy. They’re crowded together against a cluttered background. They move quickly, change directions unexpectedly, and in general make it hard to pick a subject and compose deliberately – especially if you’re looking through your viewfinder with a long lens on your camera. I often keep the camera away from my eyes so I can see what’s going on. Then I can sometimes anticipate the action and make a photo when they all decide to move at once:
I also like to study the scene for a while and try different vantage points and lenses. I chose a spot where the wind was at my back and most of the birds were taking off and landing toward me. It helps to keep looking around so you can spot them as they’re coming in. I noticed this spoonbill a long way out. Since I knew where it was headed I could track it as it approached and make several frames when it landed. This side lit one is my favorite:
There were lots of Roseate Spoonbills around. The header image at the top of the post on the web is another one I like from the trip. That pair was wading in a less busy part of the drive.
I also had some good luck with this female Belted Kingfisher. She ignored me and kept gazing out over the water as I crept closer. I stayed in the car, moved slowly and tried to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn’t bother her. Most of the time, they leave as soon as you point a camera at them, but she wasn’t concerned at all. This is one of the closest photos I’ve made of one (the EXIF data says I was about 19 meters away). She’s very pretty and quite regal, I think.
It was a short visit, but a wonderful one. This is an excellent time of year to visit the refuge, get out in the midst of nature, and enjoy some of the things you can see there.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope all of you are doing well and that you have a joyful holiday season with your family and friends. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can, make a few photos!
©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved