Florida offers a stunning array of birdlife, especially waders, and is arguably one of the best places to view and photograph birds in the wild! April is the dry season in South Florida and Everglades National Park is the place to be to photograph all of these beautiful birds up close. In addition, alligators and turtles are also readily available for their close-ups and we may even encounter the endangered American crocodile. The area, known as the “River of Grass” offers a strikingly subtle landscape of mangrove swamps, dwarf cypress prairies, pine forests, and palm hammocks that produce images of quiet beauty, especially at sunrise and sunset.
April in Florida also means lots and lots of baby birds, with nesting season in full swing. Venice Rookery is world-renowned for excellent views of wading birds nesting and rearing their boisterous chicks. On our most recent trip we saw Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored, Little Blue and Green Herons, Wood Storks, Anhingas, Cormorants, White and Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Purple Gallinules, and Ospreys among others, with regularity and in very close proximity. Join us as we explore all the unique wonders that Florida has to offer and that in some cases are found nowhere else on earth!
Day 1: Everglades National Park (April 9, 2014) – After all participants arrive in the Florida City area where we will be based over the next couple of days, we will meet up and head out for our first late afternoon photo shoot in Everglades National Park. We will head to the famous Anhinga Trail where we will have our first encounter with South Florida’s famous waders and alligators. This trail is unique in that the wildlife has become so accustom to human presence that they will allow people the rare chance to view them in very close proximity. After we lose the light, we will head to dinner where we can discuss photography and talk more about what to expect in the upcoming days.
Day 2: Everglades National Park (April 10, 2014) – We start out early, getting to Everglades National Park before the sun comes up to be in the perfect spot for a sunrise landscape shoot. This is one of the best times of the day to capture stirring landscape images of this unique habitat, especially if there is any fog in the air. After sunrise we will again head over to the Anhinga Trail to get more fabulous shots of the birds as they wake up and begin their morning routines and we will look for the colorful Purple Gallinule which is commonly spotted in this area. We will break for lunch and spend the afternoon exploring the park’s great diversity of ecosystems, ending with another sunset shoot before heading to dinner for more open photography discussions.
Day 3: Everglades National Park (April 11, 2014) – We start the morning with another sunrise landscape shoot and early morning photo session in Everglades National Park before heading north-west to our next photography location. After leaving the Everglades we will stop along the way for lunch and then head to a little known spot of extreme diversity where we will immerse ourselves in a bald cypress forest full of various orchid and bromeliad plants. Birds and reptiles abound, but there is also the possibility of spotting large fauna in this area. On our last visit we saw deer and even a black bear. We will then head to our new base in Ft. Myers and get settled in and head to dinner before retiring for the night.
Day 4: Venice Rookery (April 12, 2014) – Today we will get an early start and drive an hour north to the Venice Rookery for an early morning shoot. We will spend the entire day photographing nesting Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Anhingas, all in striking breeding plumage and at very close range in a concentrated area. The nesting season will be in full swing and we should observe mating rituals, nest building, and chicks being tended to and fed. We will also observe other birds in the area, including Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, Snowy and Cattle Egrets, White and Glossy Ibis, and Common Gallinules. We will break for lunch and then go back to the rookery to witness a nightly spectacle. Hundreds of birds use this small island as a roosting spot and they descend on the rookery in great numbers as the sun begins to set. It is quite a sight and if we are lucky, we may have a fiery red sunset to silhouette the birds against as they land on the treetops. Once the show is over we will head to dinner and back to our hotel.
Day 5: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (April 13, 2014) – This morning we will head out to the nearby Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge for one last sunrise photo shoot. This refuge offers great views of many waders and shorebirds including Brown and White Pelicans and the striking Roseate Spoonbill. The mudflats in the area produce shallow areas of water and if the conditions are right the birds will be reflected in a beautiful mirror image of themselves. We finish our shoot in time for breakfast and check out.
The workshop includes personalized one-on-one instruction in the field in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. It also includes all park entrance fees.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
Price does not include airfare, lodging, meals, or ground transportation. We will carpool as much as possible during the workshop and we will recommend the hotels we will be staying in.
This workshop is open to all photography skill levels, beginner to pro.
Light with no strenuous activities or hiking involved.
This workshop is limited to 6 participants. With two instructors and a 3:1 ratio, this allows us to give each participant the individual time and instruction we feel they deserve.
Early Bird Special of $700 per person if booked by March 9, 2014. $800 per person if booked after March 9, 2014.
Full workshop payment is due at the time of booking.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORKSHOP:
*Learn new skills to help you create the images you envision and leave with photos you will be proud to show off to friends, display in your home, or even market!
*Meet new friends in a relaxed and fun environment who share the same passion for photography as you do and enjoy the wonders of nature alongside them!
*View awe-inspiring landscapes and witness a truly magical spectacle of wildlife and take home with you memories and photographs that will last a lifetime!