In the late winter before spring has arrived, most of the country feels dead and dreary. At this time of year Florida is teeming with abundant flora and fauna. We’ll be in Florida when most of the birds are at peak plumage and engaging in photogenic behaviors. We’ll target wildlife and landscapes of Florida’s ocean, swamps, lakes, and forest habitat.
- Day 0 – Arrive at Orlando airport. NPS will provide transportation to where we are staying.
- Day 1 – Today we’ll spend all day photographing nesting Osprey on a picturesque lake dotted by majestic Lake Cypress trees draped with Spanish Moss. We’ll be taking a boat out onto the waters of the lake both in the morning and afternoon to capture images from the best vantage points in peak lighting conditions. This is among the most dense Osprey areas in the country and the nesting birds will provide flight, birds in landscape, and courtship behavior opportunities Breakfast and lunch will be provided for participants as we’ll take a break between the photography sessions for some instruction on photographing birds in flight. Dinner following the afternoon shooting will be back in the hotel area.
- Day 2 – We’ll spend time at a unique location where Roseate Spoonbills roost and nest. Photography ethics are at the heart of our curriculum and we’ll be photographing the spoonbills at a distance that doesn’t have any impact on the nesting birds but still offers numerous opportunities for behavior, portraits, flight, and other types of photographs. We’ll have lunch followed by an educational session near where we are staying. We’ll spend the afternoon photographing the osprey from the boat again hopefully soaking in a beautiful sunset among the magnificent cypress trees.
- Day 3 – We’ll spend another morning session with the beautiful spoonbills. Depending on weather conditions and bird activity, we may use an area adjacent to the spoonbill site where Snail Kites course over wetlands to capture the Apple Snails they feed upon. After lunch and an educational session, we’ll head to a location that has some Florida specialties like the Limpkin and Crested Caracara. It also often has Sandhill Cranes, raptors, freshwater ducks, and otters as well as numerous herons and egrets. Much of the instruction today will center on creating compositions in your wildlife photography. After our photography is finished, dinner will be held in the hotel area.
- Day 4 – Our morning photography session will be at a location known for having a wide variety of species including White Pelicans, many duck species, storks and other waders, and shorebirds. Breakfast will be provided for participants. Landscapes including mangroves are also possible at our morning location. We’ll break for lunch and an educational session. We’ll spend the afternoon photographing at another wetlands habitat. There will be a breeding colony for Anhingas, Great Egrets, and other water birds. Some birds will be building nests at this time of year, but many will be rearing chicks. There also will be opportunities to photograph many water birds in the process of hunting for their food.
- Day 5 – Depending on conditions, we’ll head to a site great for burrowing owls. These adorable owls are diurnal, active and easily photographed. After our final instructional program and a lunch break, we’ll head out to a wildlife refuge that has nearly every Florida bird. It’s one of the best spots in the state for kites, caracara, other raptors as well as all the large wading birds.
- Day 6 – NPS will provide transportation to the Orlando airport.