Headshots at The Center for Birds of Prey

I always love shooting at The Center for Birds of Prey. Except that 99% of the time, I’m shooting BIRDS!!! 🙂

This week I had the distinct pleasure of photographing the dedicated staff that tirelessly works behind the scenes to treat injured birds, rehab or feathered friends back to health, and educate us humans (young and old) about the power of nature and how birds are such an important indicator species for our planet. It was so much fun working with this team of amazing humans!!!

Nikon Z6II, FTZ 2 Adapter, 70-200 f2.8 VRII, Flashpoint Group A in 24″ Softbox as main light, Flashpoint Group B with amber gel as hairlight, Manfrotto supports, Sony XQD cards, 1/200 sec, f4, ISO 160.

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!!!

Bird Songs at Center for Birds of Prey

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an intimate event called “Bird Songs” at the Center for Birds of Prey!

This special music event has become one of Charleston’s most anticipated experiences with Nashville singer songwriters performing in the round on the Center’s beautiful campus. Held in a relaxed and comfortable setting on the, surrounded by trees in the Owl Woods, this event has sold out every year. Past performers have included Grammy nominees, chart-topping performers, and some of country music’s most promising new stars. Guests enjoy an intimate and personal musical performance as well as a well-appointed open bar and a satisfying Lowcountry supper. One attendee described it this way: “Just like Austin City Limits in the woods!”

This year’s performers included:
– Phillip Lammonds, who has penned numerous tunes for and with artists like Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Edwin McCain, Blake Shelton, and Hootie and The Blowfish
– Aaron Raitiere, who is an amazing lyricist, performer, and visual artist from Danville, Kentucky.
– Singer / Songwriter Barrett Baber who gave millions of viewers an unforgettable introduction to a rising new artist when he appeared on Season 9 of The Voice.
– Emily Brooke, who is a country/pop artist who has opened for nationally- renowned artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, Ryan Hurd, Charles Kelley, Craig Campbell and Randy Houser.

It was an absolutely magical evening! I would HIGHLY recommend getting your tickets for next year as soon as they become available!!!

“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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Birds & Brunch

I absolutely LOVE the open-jawed expressions of wide-eyed-wonder when people witness the amazing raptors from the Center for Birds of Prey swooping over their heads for the very first time!

Last week I had the honor of again photographing the annual fundraiser gala for the Avian Conservation Center. This year’s theme of “Birds & Brunch” was a little different than in the past. In stead of an evening banquet, the event was configured as a fun Sunday brunch. It was hosted by the new Bennett Hotel in downtown Charleston, which is a gorgeous venue on the corner of Marion Square. The program was a huge success, raising operating funds to help keep the center improving and doing great things for these amazing birds in it’s care.

Many thanks to Jim, Kara, Daniel, Stephen, Audrey, Natalie, Jessie, Lance, and the rest of the AMAZING team at Center for Birds of Prey for all that they do to help our planet and save the beautiful creatures we share it with!!!

I’d also like to thank my friend and amazing photographer, Ferris, for capturing the images of me in action.  🙂

Wildlife Photography Workshop at Center for Birds of Prey

This past weekend, I had the honor of leading the second annual Wildlife Photography Workshop at the Center for Birds of Prey: http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/visit/special_events/instructor-led-photography-workshop/.

We had an AMAZING time photographing these amazing creatures, learning new techniques, acquiring new skills to use in the field, and simply having a BLAST!!!

Many thanks to Kara, Natalie, and the rest of the team for all their hard work and preparation in pulling this event off! And a huge shout out to all the wonderful attendees!!!

If you missed it this year, I hope you’ll join me next fall for #3. 🙂

Field Trip to Bulls Island

If you like birding, pristine hiking, beach combing, and a chance to get away from the mainland, then Bulls Island just might be for you!

On behalf of the Center for Birds of Prey, and in association with Coastal Expeditions, earlier this week I had the pleasure of photographing a fun field trip with a group of students from Cainhoy Elementary School. In spite of living in the Lowcountry, some of these kids had never seen the ocean. So, imagine the wonder and amazement in their eyes as we explored Bulls Island together, the crown jewel of the Cape Romain National Wildlife System!!!

Many thanks to Daniel at the Avian Conservation Center for getting me on this project, and Captain Nick from Coastal Expeditions who was our amazing tour guide for the day.

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!

Center for Birds of Prey Annual Gala

Last week I was thrilled to photograph a fundraising gala for an important cause! Aloft at the Cedar Room was this year’s annual celebration of the Center for Birds of Prey, the amazing team that works there, and the incredible work they do for our planet and the wonderful creatures we share it with!

Kara Bale from the Center for Birds of Prey writes: “What a wonderful night! Aloft at the Cedar Room was a fantastic event. The Cedar Room is a beautiful space which allowed guests to enjoy and celebrate the beauty, mystery, and wonder of wild birds while contributing to their conservation and our own future. The energy in the room was amazing! Here’s a quick snapshot of our evening for those of you who could not attend. We would like to extend another special thanks to our top sponsors including Coastal Expeditions, Benefitfirst, and The Boeing Company and to the many others that made this event possible. More photos to come from the very fabulous Chris Smith!!!”

It was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this great evening again. I can’t wait for next year!!!

The Trifecta

Being a full-time professional photographer often requires wearing many hats. Usually those hats don’t come into play at the same shoot!

One day might find you photographing professional head-shots for a client’s website. The next day, you might be creating product photography for a retail storefront. Then on your day off, maybe you capture some amazing wildlife encounter.

This week at the Center for Birds of Prey, I had the pleasure of photographing all three in one day!!!

Wild at Wingswood Gala

Photographing the annual Wild at Wingswood gala for the Charleston Center for Birds of Prey is one of my most anticipated events of the year!

It’s a very unique fundraiser, where live raptors, owls, and other beautiful birds soar through the air, gliding silently over guests and attendees under the big tent!
The Avian Conservation Center and the Center for Birds of Prey are doing AMAZING things for our natural world. If you’ve never been, they are open to the public on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. You’ve GOT to check this cool place out and see for yourself why nature lovers from all over the country speak so highly of this gem, located just a few miles outside of Charleston!

Check them out at http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/.