Florida's Birding & Photo Fest, 2012 - RECAP!
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The 10th year anniversary of the Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest in St. Augustine, FL was extremely successful. We had several exhibitors including Canon, Sigma, Tamron to mention few. This is the perfect time to take for a test drive whatever equipment you have in mind before making a purchase. I was granted the new Canon 1D X body by Canon. I also used few lenses from Sigma including their new 150mm Macro and the much improved 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. It was great to test drive these products before making a final decision.

I had the privilege to lead several field workshops including Horses at the Beach, St. Augustine Rocks, St. Johns Pier, How to Create Panoramas and few classroom seminars. The festival is the perfect opportunity to learn from the Pro’s at a very affordable cost. Classroom seminars were $40 per person and field workshop as low as $100 per person.

My week started with a field workshop photographing horses at the beach during the early morning hours. The workshop was sold out months ahead of the festival. We gathered at 5:45am and talked about equipment, exposure what to expect and safety before heading out to the beach. We were treated with amazing weather every day!

Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved

Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/22, 1/500 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, Hand-held

Day #2 was all about landscapes applying a totally different approach and techniques. It was time to think creative applying few filters in the field and on the computer. For the image below, I kept my exposure under by one f/stop. This allowed me to keep the colors warm and vivid! After editing the RAW file on CS5, I decided to apply a bit of Quick Mask to bring the highlights stronger in the frame.

I finished my photograph using NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 adding a little more drama!

St. Johns Pier, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
St. Johns Pier, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/11, 1/30 sec, ISO 50, Manual exposure, Tripod
, NIK

After a successful morning workshop photographing the Pier, it was time to move to a different location in town for the afternoon. How to Create Panoramas workshop was sold out months ahead proving once again that this type of photography can be very rewarding. We were able to create 3 panoramas from 3 different locations in the Downtown area. I talked to everyone about key factors to keep in mind before creating each panorama. It was fun!

Here is the group and few Panoramas. Make sure to view large versions of each Panorama.

Panorama Workshop Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Panorama Workshop Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Camera Phone

Panorama Workshop Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
CLICK HERE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION

Panorama Workshop Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
CLICK HERE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION

Day #3 we photograph the horses at the beach once again. This time Tim Grey was Co-leading the workshop with me. We had a full house! I invited Laurie Shupp (Education Project Manager) for NIK Software to photograph the horses with us. She loved the opportunity!

Photographing during low light can be extremely challenging especially panning for fast moving subjects. Keeping the horizon line straight and getting a good exposure is critical! I talked all about that during the workshop.

Horses At the Beach Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Horses At the Beach Participants, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon S100 mounted on a tripod in Manual Mode

Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/8, 1/30 sec, ISO 50, Manual exposure, Hand-held
, NIK

Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/22, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure, Hand-held, NIK

Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Horses At the Beach, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/22, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure, Hand-held, NIK

After the fun with the horses at the beach was over, it was time to move to the classroom and get ready for my Tips & Techniques for the Bird Photographer. During this classroom seminar, participants were able to see what I do in the field to create the bird images I share with you folks. As a participant said to me…..
“It was an eye opener”


Maxis Gamez, Classroom Seminar, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 17-40mm @ f/8, 1/160 sec, ISO 1600, Manual exposure, Tripod

Day #4 was also a mixture of field workshop with a classroom seminar. We had the best time photographing the rocks of St. Augustine during the early morning hours. The tide was perfect for the workshop and the weather was outstanding!

For this image I used a 2stop Singh Ray Reversed Neutral Density filter help darken the horizon line. I tried to keep my composition strong by adding the rock in the forward ground. I always try to keep an “anchor” and enhance it with a nice background.

I was very excited to present my Birds in Flight classroom seminar as I shared lots and lots of information regarding everything I do in the field including camera settings, lens settings, composition, natural elements, Auto Focus (AF) techniques and much more before I photograph birds in flight. This was very informative!


St. Augustine Rocks Workshop, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 24-70mm @ f/11, 1/10 sec, ISO 50, GND Filter,
Manual exposure, NIK, Tripod

Day #5 was very similar to Day# 4 but with the Quick Mask demonstration. It’s amazing what you can do to your images when you use Quick Mask. There are no limits!

By the end of the week, I was sad to see the event come to an end. I was also very exhausted but happy to be part of such wonderful event. I was recently invited to participate for the 4th year in a row for 2013 and I can’t wait!!!

I would like to thank you all for participating in my field and classroom seminars. It was my pleasure sharing everything I know with you all.

Remember you can always send me an email at maxisgamez@gmail.com or simply pick up the phone and give me a call at 941.623.5155

Thank you!


Florida's Birding & Photo Fest, 2012 Video Recap - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon S100, Premier CS5

WATCH VIDEO


Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon S100 in Manual Mode

Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO 1600, 600EX @ 200mm
Manual exposure, Tripod

Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D X Test Drive, Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/1500 sec, ISO 400, 600EX @ 200mm
Manual exposure, Tripod

One of the reasons I really enjoy a photography festival. In this case the folks from Canon allowed me to take a 1D X overnight and try it out. I must say that this is a pre-production camera and doesn't represent the final version.

Having been using the Canon 5D MKIII for few weeks now, using the 1D X was a piece of cake. I used the same AF settings of my 5D MKIII and copy them to the 1D X. So what's the difference?? Here are some of the things I noticed using the camera.

  • Extremely fast and accurate AF System. Noticeably faster then the 5D MKIII.
  • Solid body as expected from a Pro body.
  • Second joystick extremely useful. Especially with 61 AF Points available (47 only with Canon 800mm lens)
  • Extremely fast shutter
  • Buffer

I enjoyed using the camera. I still believe a full frame body is not ideal for bird photography unless you have a rookery in your backyard. Sure, the camera worked just fine at Alligator Farm. However, out in the field is a different story as every millimeter counts even using a 800mm lens.

I would like to thank Canon for allowing me to try a pre-production body. It was awesome!



Spoonbill Landing, S.W. Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D MKIV, Canon 400mm L @ f/8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400 in Manual mode, Hand-held

If you have time and want to photograph these beautiful birds from a boat this weekend, I have one opening available. What a great opportunity at a affordable price to enjoy a two days in the field with me.

CALL ME (941) 623-5155 OR CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

Everglades National Park with Deborah Sandidge, Jan 21-22, 2012 San Diego Birds & More - Feb 27-30, 2012 Bird Photography Tour with Tim Grey - Feb 22-26, 2012 Spoonbills & More Boat Trip - March, 2012 Burrowing Owls - March 31-April 1, 2012 St. Augustine Bids & Landscapes - April, 2012 Florida Coastline - May, 2012 Florida Shorebirds - May, 2012