More Rookery

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Rookery, Great Egret, Nesting, Mating, Natural Light

“The Couple”

My last post memorialized a wonderful experience I had making photographs at a small rookery on San Antonio Bay near Rockport, TX. This is an outing I try to do yearly as multiple species of birds come to this rookery to mate and nest. Kevin Sims of Aransas Bay Birding Charters has a specialized boat perfect for getting photographers on these birds. You REALLY need to make this trip with Captain Sims if you do avian photography or just enjoy birdwatching.

We were at the rookery before sunrise and stayed until mid-morning when the light started to get somewhat harsh. But…that sweet early morning light was perfect! In less than 4 hours I made about 4800 clicks with a Canon 1Dx and a Canon 400mm f/2.8L rig. I had a Canon 1.4 Teleconverter off and on during the shoot. It’s not that I’m a “spray and pray” shooter, but the action was fast and furious most of the morning.

Shooting at the rookery can be challenging. There are SO many birds there, it’s hard to isolate a single bird or a nesting pair. Finding a clean background is probably the hardest task. Sticks and other distracting elements are everywhere. But…If you’re patient!

I made this image of a nesting pair of great Egrets early. The ambient light was perfect. Fortunately I was able to isolate this pair and get this intimate image of them building their nest. I shot it at 1/6400 of a second at f/3.2 with an ISO of 1000. It was primarily processed in Adobe Lightroom and ON1. i did take this file to Adobe Photoshop to clean up a few distracting elements.

This year’s trip to the rookery was exceptional. I’ve culled the 4800 clicks down to about 100 files. I feel I can get 50+ keepers out of the shoot. I’m pretty proud of this file…”The Couple”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

 

 

 

 

The Rookery

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rookery, Great Blue Heron, San Antonio Bay, Rockport TX, Sunrise, WaterYesterday was an important day for me. For years I had been primarily an avian photographer. Several years ago I started to move more toward ‘scapes…landscapes and seascapes. I validated that decision yesterday in the middle of San Antonio Bay.

At 0545 yesterday morning, I jumped aboard the “Jack Flash” , a Louisiana work boat that Aransas Bay Birding Charters has converted into a unique photography platform. We cruised out of the marina in the pre-dawn darkness. A beautiful crescent moon welcomed us. I’ve made this trip probably three or four other times, but this one felt different. I was as excited as I’ve ever been heading out to this small rookery, but I wasn’t only thinking about making bird portraits.

It might take 30-45 minutes to get out to where these birds have coming coming for years to nest. The time isn’t really a factor because the trip out is consumed with conversation and awe at the beauty of a new day. We meet a couple of tow boats pushing huge barges down the Intercostal Waterway that we shared. And then all of a sudden, we see the small rookery on the horizon. Captain Kevin Sims slows the “Jack Flash” and we glide up to the rookery. The birds don’t even seem to acknowledge our arrival.

I’m going to say there were hundreds of nesting birds on this tiny piece of land out in the middle of the bay. Maybe thousands? Memories of previous trips here returned as I heard…and smelled…the birds struggling to continue the cycle of life. The rookery is a violent place. These birds fight to build nests…breed…and then raise their young. It’s fascinating to watch.

This is the very first click I made yesterday…and it might be my favorite. I found myself wanting to put my 400mm super telephoto glass down and grab a wide-angle. But I didn’t. I made some pretty good flight shots and portraits yesterday. Images I’ve made here in the past continue to be some of my best sellers. But…

I’ve changed. And honestly…I’m thankful for finding my professional compass. I love coming to the rookery, and I’ll come back again. I get to see things most never do. It’s a remarkable ecosystem. But I’m not moved by this type of photography any longer. I’ll continue to enjoy seeing the efforts of other photographers with this genre. And there are a LOT of talented avian photographers around here.

I know exactly where I want to my art to take me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Was Waiting

Stephen  Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Shell Ridge Road, Aransas Bay, Clouds, Beach, Reeds, SunriseSo what was I waiting for? The proverbial “shoe to drop”? A marked lack of enthusiasm and creativity? My not wanting to get out of bed and go to work? Becoming complacent with my art…

No. None of those things are going to happen any time soon. As a matter of fact…I feel like I’m just NOW finding my way. And this is a path I NEVER thought I’d be taking. Until I took the chance, I didn’t even know that this was a possibility for me…

I’ve never been more satisfied with “my work” than I am right now. In my past life, work was a way to make money. Sure…I liked what I did and was rewarded financially for doing it. I was good back then. But I don’t think I was ever REALLY happy doing it. But I had to make a living…

I never felt I had a drop of artistic aptitude. I can’t play any instruments or sing. Drawing? Not really. The best I could do was outline the images in a coloring book in black…and fill in the sections with color. I’ve never tried pottery or sculpture. Nope…I can’t remember any successful artistic endeavor in my entire life…

And then photography came into my life. It was like being reborn…having a second chance to define myself! I can pick up a camera body now and use it to see things that I used to overlook. Not even notice. I was oblivious to them…

My waiting for “the next thrill” is over. Having the opportunity to make simple, honest images in and around Rockport, Texas is such a blessing. I don’t report to anyone…and I don’t have anyone reporting to me. It’s just ME! This is ME. I put everything I have into my art. Some like it…some don’t.

I’m just happy that I listened to that little voice way down inside of me…

 

 

 

The Pavilion

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Beach, Piers, Water, ShellsI keep returning to this scene…over and over again!

It really is one of my favorite locations. It has so many different moods, feelings, and textures, It’s all about the light and the weather here. Well maybe it isn’t really just that…

It takes me about 5 minutes to drive here. I try to think about the shot I want as soon as I get in the jeep. Do I want to go wide angle like I did for The Pavilion? Maybe I’ll go for a mid range zoom lens and and find something unique to highlight. I’ve decided before I get there…

As the photographer, I get to decide on what I want to show you. Unlike a painter who starts with a blank canvas, I start with a magnificent scene. My task is to make this scene ALL mine. Put MY spin on it! I want you to see what I’m experiencing. I try to give you a whiff of the salty air. I want you to feel the wind moving the clouds and the water. I want you to see the very first hint of a new day on the horizon…

Maybe I get to become part of the scene by sharing this with you.

 

 

 

Not Miami Beach

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Beach, Sand, Houses, Fishing Piers, Palm Trees, Waves, Aransas BayYes…We have miles and miles of beaches here in Rockport, TX.

No…They’re NOT anything like Miami Beach.

Yes…We have houses on a lot of our beaches.

No…We don’t have any 30 story condominiums here on our beaches.

Yes…We have a perfectly groomed beach at the Rockport Beach Park. World class…

No..You can’t drive your car on the Rockport Beach Park sand.

Yes…Most of our beaches are left as natural as they can be.

No…We don’t want it to be like Miami Beach. Not now…not ever…

 

 

 

 

 

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