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Monday, May 9, 2011

Chincoteague Workshop Report

Last week I lead 4 day workshop at Chincoteague Island. We had had great weather after an overcast evening shoot the first day. Even though it was overcast the group enjoyed getting within touching distance of the Chincoteague ponies. A couple of quick passing showers later we decided to go for a group dinner. After that every field trip we made over the next 3 days was filled with good opportunities. 

Great Egret Landing

This was one of those opportunities. Generally Great Egrets use a stealthy approach to get to their prey. However, this egret really performed for us. It pranced and jumped around for almost 45 minutes. I made sure everyone photographed it for a little while. Some moved to photograph other birds. That's when I pulled out my camera for about 5 minutes and let off a few bursts to capture the action. I was quite pleased to get this image from a 5 minute shoot. Several of the participants came away with gorgeous photos that I saw in the feedback sessions.


The advantage of shooting on weekdays is that there are no crowds. This allowed us to get really close to some Gosling's. They stayed close to their parents but allowed the group to get some close up shots.

Most participants enjoyed the Assateague beach the most. They spent a lot of time working with water and including it in their landscape compositions. I found the above scene while helping a couple of participants find  photographs of different details in the sand.

One evening we had a surprise sunset. I had almost given up that there will be a sunset. We worked on water images on the beach side of the parking lot when I glanced back and saw a stunning glow on the horizon. I pointed this out to the group and everyone turned around to capture the glow. That's me off to the right helping one of the participants get her settings right.

With nice clouds one morning the group made use of their wide angle lenses.

This participant couldn't stay away from the water. Making abstracts and working with slower shutter speeds was fairly new to him. 

Oyster Catcher on nest

After the workshop was completed I went by a Oyster Catcher nest I had found. I had shown the nest to the participants but we did not work it as a group to avoid stressing the bird. Not to mention that it would have disappeared before 9 of us got close. I kept my distance and photographed it with a Nikon 600mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter. Lot of people don't realize that repeated disturbance can cause the bird to abandon the nest (some species are more sensitive than others). I was happy to come away this photograph that shows the habitat that Oyster Catchers nest in.

Thanks to Rick, Bill, Paula, Ed, Bob, Chung, SeJin and Allen for making this a successful workshop. And a special thanks to Angelique Raptakis for assisting me in the field.

I'll be leading 3 more workshops at Chincoteague this year. Please check my website for more info.

Upcoming Workshops and classes:

June 4 - Rose Garden Field Session (Brookside Gardens, MD) details will be posted this week
July 16 - Sunflowers Field Session (Poolesville, MD) 
details will be posted this week
July 23 - Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Field Session (Washington D.C.)
July 30 - Digital Nature Photography One-day Workshop (Chincoteague IslandVA)
September 24 - Digital Nature Photography One-day Workshop (Chincoteague IslandVA)
October 6-9 - West Virginia Fall Workshop (DavisWV)
October 22-23 - Autumn at Great Falls Workshop (VA/MD)
November 18-20 - Chincoteague Island Workshop (VA)

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