Beyond the BackyardOrlando Wetlands Park

Exploring Orlando Wetlands Park

Yesterday I went to a photography workshop led by Robert Amoruso at Orlando Wetlands Park.  It was only my second time to visit the park, and I figured the Audubon fundraiser would be a fun opportunity to meet a good photographer and learn some of the good spots in the park.  Robert was awesome.  He did a great job of balancing the various skill levels of the workshop participants.  He knew how to put us in the right places for good photographs, even though it was a relatively slow bird day.  Then he finished with a nice slide program.  I met some nice people and had a chance to make some good images.  It’s too bad that the park closes for hunting in a few days.  I’m looking forward to February when I can go back.

We started out the morning with a landscape photography session.  It was a still morning, and the cabbage palms made beautiful reflections in the calm water.  The sky was pink, and Robert explained that the blue band was Earth shadow, caused by the shadow of the Earth on the atmosphere.  It was very pretty.  The Double-Crested Cormorants posed in the treetops, and a Roseate Spoonbill was also there when we first arrived.  Occasionally a Snowy Egret would fly by and pull a fish from the water.

Cabbage Palms and Earth Shadow

Cabbage Palms and Earth Shadow

After the sunrise, we moved down the trail, where a couple of Wood Storks stood posing in the warm morning light.  Robert gave us a lesson on “shooting into your shadow” and gave us tips on exposure compensation for white birds.  Then this Limpkin moved out into a patch of open water and posed for me. He kept moving, and I had to be patient and wait for him to look up and give me a nice head angle.  He finally cooperated!

Wading in the Morning Light

Wading in the Morning Light

As we made our way around the park, we came across a pair of Sandhill Cranes who were sauntering down the trail in front of the group.  They refused to let us go by!  The light angle on them wasn’t great, so I moved on the left shoulder of the trail to get a better angle.  The birds then heard another pair of cranes vocalizing, so they threw their heads back and hollered too.  They repeated this a couple of times and I tried to photograph them with their heads back and their mouths open.  This was my favorite.

The Call of the Crane

The Call of the Crane

Thanks to Robert for hosting this workshop as a fundraiser for Orange Audubon. It was my first photography class, and I quite enjoyed it! :)