This year for Platinum Dance Nationals, we stayed with several other dance families at the Sheraton Panama City Golf & Beach Resort. This place has an amazing boardwalk/dock and a private beach, which offered some great photographic opportunities!
My gear and a map for the trip:
- Camera: Sony a7R IVA
- Lens: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
- Lens: Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS
- Software: Sony Imaging Edge Mobile and ON1
I was on the fence about lugging the 4.5 lb Sony FE 200-600mm to the beach, but I’m glad I did! Walking along the dock we saw Great Egret everywhere. This one was spearing fish for lunch.
Now it was time to settle in and enjoy the view…however, it didn’t take me long to spot birds in flight. The next few photographs were taken handheld, while laying on a beach chair. ????️
This Snowy Egret was gliding low to the water as it passed by.
Below is a Great Egret and according to the EXIF data, the focus distance was 314 feet! Which showcases the mind-boggling reach and cropping capability of the Sony a7R IVA and Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS.
There were no shortages of Osprey circling above either…
Aa pair of mallards way off in the distance… 1,771 feet away to be exact!
Out of nowhere the elusive Orange Bird made an appearance! He was kind enough to let me hold him. ????
This person slowly paddled on by. Truth be told, this looks like a lot of fun!
There were so many people enjoying water sports. Big boats, small boats, and of hundreds of folks out on jet skis.
The kids doing what kids do at the beach: play in the sand…
While shooting from a beach chair sure is relaxing, it was time to stand up and walk around. I swapped lens to the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS and took a dozen photos of this old, dead tree. Using ON1, I applied the Vintage Matte –> Simple LUT.
After a while, it was time to head back to the hotel. I snapped this very candid shot of the crew walking on the dock.
A couple days later
The hot Florida sun was no match for my SPF 50, so after taking a day and a half off to recover from a sunburn… I wanted to grab an HDR sunset shot from the dock, so we met up with some friends before dinner and took a sunset walk.
The kiddos were enjoying each other’s company and the sunset.
This was supposed to be a practice shot before peak golden hour. I really just wanted to make sure my camera was set correctly for a 3-shot exposure bracket. It ended up turning out great!
8 minutes later, I knew this was going to be special because the colors and reflection from golden hour were at their peak and completely mind blowing.
Just then, a Great Egret landed front and center! What luck! I put my camera on the dock to get a lower angle (and for stability) then pressed the shutter release button. This 3-shot exposure bracket is now one of my all-time favorites!
As the sun continued to set, we all hung out and watched that Great Egret spear its dinner. It was a nice family moment that I’ll remember forever.