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The Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka with bird photography workshops


Return to Apopka and

the Avian Reconditioning Center

and bird photography workshop



Today, we'll visit the Avian Reconditioning Center, home to dozens of Birds of Prey.  FCCP has arranged for three hours of exclusive photo ops, featuring at least 10 birds on natural perches and also on Falconer gloves.  This photo opportunity is limited to just 30 members.  This limitation insures that each photographer will have ample opportunity to photograph all the birds and not be rushed or cramped.  It is also necessary to limit photographers for the safety of the birds.  We've reserved three (3) hours photograph the birds and it's starting in early light (8 AM), so that even the last birds will still be able to be photographed in good morning light.

Also included is a two hour workshop on how to photograph birds and birds in flight.  The indoor workshop is February 27, from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Education Building at Moccasin Lake Park in Clearwater.  Topics covered included metering, exposure, focusing, and related camera functions and menus.  We'll also discuss how to best photograph the birds at ARC including choice of lens, angles, poses and more.  Many examples will be shown and discussed with regard to light, background, Bokeh, DoF and pose.

Participants are also treated to an exclusive bird in flight practice session on Thursday, March 6 from 5 PM to about 7 PM at Safety Harbor Marina.  That evening we'll have the opportunity to practice Bird in Flight techniques with many of the slower flying birds in preparation for our visit to ARC.  Various settings and techniques will be explained and demonstrated as Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, White Ibis and maybe even a few Roseate Spoonbills fly over.  Afterwards there will be an optional dinner in downtown Safety Harbor (probably Brady's Backyard BBQ).

The directors of the Center and I are working closely together to make sure that some of the more unusual and rare raptors can be photographed.  Species available include Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Red Shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, and several owl species.  The initial plans are to fly a Harris Hawk and probably a Peregrine  Falcon.  I'll update the bird list as we get closer to the  date.  There will be many different birds that were not present on our last trip.

Car pooling will be arranged for those want to car pool.  Pinellas car poolers will be at the Target parking lot at Clearwater Mall.  Tampa car poolers will meet at the Home Depot on Dale Mabry.  Details on carpooling will be sent to registered photographers several days before the PhotoWalk.  I know some members are planning to spend Friday night in Apopka. This is a good option and avoids early morning wake ups and drive.  Please consider traveling to Apopka the night before.  After the ARC visit there will be an optional lunch as we return to Tampa.

Here is a link to more examples of the birds at ARC.  The none flight shots were all taken at ARC.

The total cost for the 2 hour indoor workshop, 1 ½ hour flight lesson and 3 hour ARC visit is just $45 per person.




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  • Frank D.

    Looks like a lot of you got some great photos! This is one I would have attended bit for out of town guest. At least I got them to go to Honeymoon Island!

    1 · March 9, 2014

  • Rita

    Fantastic Event! The birds were magnificent! The staff were all great with the birds and to us. Great group! Had a wonderful time. Way to go, Jeff!!!! Thanks for this event.

    3 · March 9, 2014

    • Nancy H.

      A great event on a perfect day!!!

      1 · March 9, 2014

  • Sharon Y.

    Great!!! Loved It! Would go back

    March 8, 2014

  • Jeff D.

    The car pool from Tampa is meeting at the Home Depot at the intersection of Dale Mabry and I-275 / I-4. The address is:

    1712 North Dale Mabry

    The pickup time will be around 6:30 AM, but try to be there by 6:15 AM in case we're a little early. Return time should be around 2 PM at the Home Depot.

    My phone number is[masked]

    March 6, 2014

  • Beth L.

    Can anyone tell me if the indoor workshop that was cancelled for Moccasin Lake Park been rescheduled??? For some reason I didn't get the e-mail cancelling that evening, so I'm not sure if the e-mail gave an alternate date. I presume this Thursday evening at Safety Harbor is still a go, unless someone can tell me otherwise.. And how about Saturday at Apopka?!? Thanks.

    March 4, 2014

    • Barbara H.

      I'm wondering the same thing.

      March 4, 2014

    • Gail

      Saturday is still on; the Workshop came off the calendar by the Meetup screwup. Thats why there was no cancellation notification.

      March 5, 2014

  • Gail

    Beth, please dont misunderstand. He may or may not be able to do it. Check first. Thanks.

    March 5, 2014

  • Beth L.

    Thanks, Gail. I'll plan to be at Safety Harbor on Thursday.

    March 5, 2014

  • Gail

    Beth and Barbara;
    That workshop was taken off the calendar by Meetup. I spoke with Jeff briefly about it; there were also problems with the classroom location. I sent him a note about building that workshop into the regular Thursday night Safety Harbor Birds in Flight walk. I wont be at Okeefe's tomorrow; I'll email him though. If someone else can bring it up, that too, will be helpful.

    March 4, 2014

  • Sharon Y.

    We are going from the Brooksville area close to 589 and 50 if anyone wants to carpool with us.

    March 4, 2014

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