I got some good news a few days ago…one of my pictures was selected as a winner in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm annual photo contest! I received a letter about a week ago, but they didn’t tell me at that time which was my winning photo (I submitted several). So I had to wait until they updated their webpage to see which picture won.
I was a little surprised it wasn’t my Roseate Spoonbill in flight, one of my favorite shots ever. But the winning one was a different spoonie, a headshot that I worked really hard to get. I had envisioned this shot for several months, and each time I visited the rookery, I tried to find a juvenile spoonbill out in the open to get a nice head shot with a pretty green background. However, most of the nests were buried in trees, and the juvenile birds didn’t come out into the open very often. This shot was taken on my last visit to the rookery this spring, when Michael Libbe and I stopped by after a visit to the Fort Matanzas tern colony. I finally found a juvenile spoonie out in the open, but unfortunately, my 7D battery chose that time to die. Luckily I had my backup camera with me, and I took many exposures of this patient bird. It was a very overcast day, and I was shooting against the little bit of light that we had, so I experimented with varying levels of flash and exposure compensation. I picked the best head angle, and I liked the little bit of feather sticking to his beak. My favorite part of this picture was the detail in the face, the blue tones in the beak that I’ve never noticed in my other images. I guess the judge agreed! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Alligator Farm?
Check out my Alligator Farm page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!