Wildlife Workshop with Kiawah Island Photo Club

This week I had the great pleasure of working with the Kiawah Island Photo Club as their instructor during a private Wildlife Workshop that was held at the Center for Birds of Prey!

Under the care of Stephen Schabel (Director of Education), we had a fantastic time learning about these amazing hawks, falcons, kites, storks, kestrels, vultures, and owls. It was very rewarding for me, helping everyone figure out the best settings and techniques to capture these beautiful creatures. But the most amazing part was seeing the wonder and awe on the participant’s faces as they experienced these majestic birds up close and personal!

After a fun day together, we all set our cameras down and enjoyed an insightful behind-the-scenes tour of the operating rooms and rehabilitation facility.

Many thanks to Kimberly and Gordon from the Kiawah Island Photo Club, as well as Mandy, Stephen, and Katie from the Center for Birds of Prey for organizing this fabulous program!!!

“Tack Sharp Photos of Birds-in-Flight”

I’m super honored and very excited to have been featured in the popular blog, Travel Notes & Storytelling: https://www.travelnotesandstorytelling.com/tack-sharp-photos-of-birds-in-flight/?

Marie Goff is the talent behind this informative and entertaining blog site. It was her love of adventure and learning that led Marie to join the military. After a long career with the National Guard, she continues that love of adventure and learning through her travels and her writing.

“I travel, take pictures, and write stories, to learn and inspire others. Near or far, every destination is unique, exhilarating, and fresh. I strive to capture these in every story, especially highlighting people and places, and current events that shape the experiences.”

Wanting to improve her photography techniques for photographing birds and other wildlife, Marie joined my workshop at the Center for Birds of Prey this past fall: https://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/visit/special_events/instructor-led-photography-workshop/. We all had a fantastic time learning tips and tricks to improve our capture-rate of these beautiful creatures. Marie’s blog post shares about her experience, her success, and what she learned.

I hope you’ll visit her blog and subscribe to her email list. Enjoy!

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Wildlife Workshop at Center for Birds of Prey

I had the pleasure of leading another fun workshop at The Center for Birds of Prey last weekend! 🙂 Many thanks to Mandy Feavel for all her hard work putting it together. And what a treat to work with the amazing educators, Jessie Curry and Natalie Hendrickson, again!!!

“Join expert photographer, Chris Smith of Chris & Cami Photography, for an in-depth workshop focusing on the photographic study of birds of prey, both in motion and while perching.”

A special thank you also goes to THINK TANK PHOTO and RetouchUp for their support with some generous door prizes. And a HUGE shout out to all the attendees. You guys were AWESOME!!!

I’ve included a bunch of the behind-the-scenes shots from the day. Please feel free to share, tag yourselves, and enjoy these images of you in action!

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Photography Day at the Center for Birds of Prey

Last month I had the privilege of being a part of a limited number of photographers that were granted access to photograph some beautiful birds at the Center for Birds of Prey. What an INCREDIBLE experience it was to be up close and personal with these majestic creatures!!! This was not my first time. But it’s an experience that never gets old, and always holds new and exciting challenges!

This time, I went with a light-weight and portable setup. All images were shot on either a Nikon D850 or Nikon D500, using either a Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VRII or a Nikkor 300 f4.0 PF VR lens. I didn’t use any tripods or monopods, just hand-held shots. I carried one camera on each hip using my dual Spyder Holster, which allowed me to quickly switch to the ideal focal length for the shot.

Later this fall I’ll be teaching another Wildlife Photography workshop at the center, where I’ll be sharing my tips, techniques, and settings for successfully capturing these gorgeous animals: http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/visit/special_events/instructor-led-photography-workshop/. I hope you’ll and come out to join me!

Many thanks to my good friend and fellow photographer, Ferris Kaplan, for the behind-the-scenes shots of me in action!

Edisto Island

Cami and I spent a week in a wonderful, secluded, log cabin on Edisto Island last week.

We were there for our annual business planning, affectionately called the “Chris & Cami Photography Summit”. But we also use the time to unplug, reconnect, and refocus.

As part of that process, I was able to take time to visit some favorite scenic spots like the beautiful avenue of oaks at Botany Bay Plantation, or sit on the porch and photograph the happy songbirds that came to the feeder for a snack. Here are a few of my favorites from those quiet times of reflection.

Our Fine Art images make great decorative pieces for the home or office, and are fantastic gifts for friends and family. Some of these images have been added to the gallery at: http://chrisandcami.zenfolio.com/fineart. Enjoy…

Charleston Center for Birds of Prey

Beautiful weather…beautiful birds…I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day at the Center for Birds of Prey!

I’ve been attending their Photography Day events for several years now. These events sell out fast, and never disappoint!

Most of these were shot with the new Nikkor 300mm f4 PF on either a Nikon D500 or a Nikon D4.

Kudos to the staff and volunteers at the Center for Birds of Prey for putting on such an AMAZING opportunity for us photographers to get up close and personal with these incredible creature.

Zugunruhefest at the Center for Birds of Prey

I recently had the pleasure of photographing this AMAZING event at the Center for Birds of Prey:

“Welcome to Zugunruhefest – the Southeast’s most comprehensive migration-focused birding festival. Zugunruhe (zu – gun – rue) is a German word derived from Zug (move, migration) and Unruhe (restlessness). This state of restlessness is commonly noted in migratory animals, especially birds.

As fall approaches and instincts prevail, birds are compelled by this silent call to take flight to their wintering grounds. As part of the Atlantic Flyway, the Lowcountry serves as a predictable thoroughfare for migrating raptors and shore birds during fall migration passage. Exploiting the Center’s strategic location, Zugunruhefest will afford numerous opportunities for observers, both novice and advanced, to experience fall migration from an exceptional vantage point.

In addition to onsite vendors and children’s activities, the festival will include three days filled with naturalists, ornithologists, and educators leading bird walks, flight demonstrations, informative lectures and programs, and more. The festival will culminate with a panel of avian experts in a round-table discussion and reception.
Significantly, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which provides over-arching legal protection for all migratory birds, is marking its Centennial this year, a fitting context and milestone to recognize as we celebrate the wonders of migration.”

I hope you’ll consider coming out for this incredible festival next year!!!

Center for Birds of Prey

This spring I had the pleasure of attending one of the Photography Days at the Charleston Center for Birds of Prey.

I absolutely LOVE visiting and supporting this amazing facility. The work they do to save and rehab injured birds, and the education programs they have for schools and communities, are so valuable for our society if we’re to live in harmony with the other creatures on our planet.

If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend taking a trip to the Center for Birds of Prey!!!

The Kites of Allendale

Last week I managed to find a little time to go photograph a fun personal project!

I’ve heard of the amazing Kites of Allendale for several years, but never had a chance to get up there to photograph them. So I packed up the Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-400 f4 VR…my favorite wildlife combo…and headed out on a road trip.

Allendale county is known to have huge fields of crops where tons of dragonflies and beetles congregate during the summer months. Swallow-tailed kites don’t normally come this far over. But during this time of year, they’ve discovered this bountiful feast-for-the-taking!  Here’s some info if you’re interested in seeing this majestic scene:  http://www.carolinabirdclub.org/sites/SC/allendale.html.

It’s a little late in the season. Normally July is the best time to catch them. But I managed to find a few swooping and soaring not far outside Allendale.  At first I just watched in awe as these expert flyers effortlessly circled and swirled overhead, periodically diving to grab a tasty handful, then climbing back into the wind to chow down. Eventually I grabbed the camera and enjoyed playing “target practice” with these fast-moving subjects.

It was a great challenge! I’m happy with what I got for as few kites as there were, and as short a window of time I had to work with. But my resolve to return next year during peak season has been doubled!!! 🙂

Annual Florida Birding Adventure

After completing my photographic coverage of a fantastic 3-day corporate event in Sarasota, I scheduled a few days off to visit some of my favorite avian hot spots!

Each spring, I plan an expedition through Florida to cover the incredible mating and breeding cycle of life. There are secret areas that are literally flooded with activity this time of year…making for exciting photographic oportunities!

Unfortunately, I had to be back in Charleston for another photo shoot after only a few days. I usually take a week to seek out and shoot this avian activity. But I still got a few keepers in spite of the shortened expedition. Here are some of my favorites! 🙂