I hope you’re not tired of reading about the Black Skimmers yet, because today’s post brings you more from Indian Rocks Beach!
One of my goals for this summer was to capture the interaction between skimmers in mid-air during the nesting season. I like to call these interactions “skimmer skirmishes,” when two adults take to the skies to fly at each other to resolve what I’m guessing is a territorial dispute. I see these skirmishes most often when there are small chicks in the colony. Photographing the skimmer skirmishes is harder than it sounds, since the background to the colony during the sweet afternoon light is a bright pink condo building. Not the best background! So you have to wait for a pair of birds to fly high enough that you can frame them against the sky. This summer I managed to get several decent shots, and the image above is my favorite.
This skimmer flight shot was taken around 4:30pm, when the light was still very harsh. I took the image into Nik Color Efex Pro and experimented with it a bit, to see if I could reduce the harshness of the shadows. I think it was the Paper Tone filter that gave the image a bit of a sepia tone to it, which suited me. It makes me feel as if the bird is about to fly off into the sunset.
This is the same image that I posted in my last post, but it’s processed with the Topaz Simplify filter. I think it was one of the pencil drawing presets. I liked what it did with the fluffy downy feathers on the bird’s back.
After the gorgeous golden light fades from the skimmer colony, you can turn around and photograph the sun as it slips behind the horizon. There were some nice clouds on the horizon on this particular evening, and a small group of White Ibis birds were feeding in the waves in the foreground. A great end to a great evening!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Black Skimmer Colonies?
Check out my Black Skimmer Colonies 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!