Magic of Mayakoba, Encore!

MagicOfMayakoba_Bis_300pxOur previous post was a full report of a delightful photo trip by electric boat on the waters of the Mayakoba hotel complex. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

In that report I expressed hopes for a second visit. I did not anticipate the opportunity  would arise so soon, so I was thrilled to learn that our enthusiastic friend and host, James Batt, had quickly made arrangements for an encore. “Bring your tripod”, he said, “we’ll be using a different boat, with a platform on the bow”.

And so it happened: minutes after 3:00 p.m. on a sunny Thursday afternoon we were back in Mayakoba. As James had announced, I was able to set my tripod on the platform and adjust it to shoot from either a seating or standing position. However, tracking birds in flight from a moving platform using the conventional three-axis head on my tripod is far from the ideal solution (a Wimberley-type head is mandatory). I soon put the tripod aside and continued shooting hand-held, at times lying on the platform face down in order to achieve shooting angles closer to the water’s surface.

Un Cormorán Bicrestado (Phalacrocorax auritus) ofrece un espectáculo de agua frente a mi cámara en Mayakoba. (Foto © Iván Gabaldón).

A Bicrested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) puts on a show for the camera in Mayakoba. (Photo © Iván Gabaldón).

Having learned from my previous visit, this time I used two cameras bodies, one with the 300mm/f4 (minus the TC-1.4, which has been causing me grief by failing to connect reliably with the D90 bodies), the other one with the 80-200mm/f2.8 zoom lens, granting me flexibility in composition when coming closer to the birds (as is often the case in Mayakoba).

Today I present a few images from that second visit. I have also asked James for permission to share the link to his own collection of images on Flicker, where he showcases some of the  amazing shots he has achieved during his frequents outings in this privileged location.

So here it is: the magic of Mayakoba, revisited! Hope you enjoy it.

Close-up portrait of an adult male Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga). (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

A rare and brief sight: Anhinga chicks in their nest!. (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

An Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) watches attentively as our boat quietly slips by… (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

… then dives! (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

Look up!, said Rose, and we spotted a bright patch of red: a Summer Tanager! (Piranga rubra). (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

Two adult Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

Adult Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) stand guard on their nest. (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

A trio of White Ibises (Eudocimus albus), in their first spring plumage. (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

A living sculpture, this breeding adult Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor). (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

Quite a character: Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in adult breeding plumage (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).

Again the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), now in flight, a proper farewell for our visit to Mayakoba. (Photo © Ivan Gabaldon).


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7 Responses to Magic of Mayakoba, Encore!

  1. Fernando Delaye says:

    Gorgeous place to take pictures and enjoy birds.
    I want to be there!

  2. Cherie Pittillo says:

    More magical moments at Mayakoba! Many extraordinary images, especially the first one of wings in water, the Anhinga flight and a different perspective of an Osprey in flight. And those cormorant eyes! They look as if they wear designer contacts. Happy that Rose joined you and James, and that she spotted the Summer Tanager.

    By the way, your Osprey image looks identical to an Osprey that flew over our Merida backyard two weeks ago. I didn’t have my camera with me like you did.

    Thanks for sharing Mayakoba’s birds with all of us.

    • Thank you Cherie for keeping up with us here at RIDE INTO BIRDLAND, your comments always fill me with positive energy and stimulus to keep working.
      An Osprey in your garden! You truly have privileged front-row seats to the amazing birds of the Yucatan Peninsula, right in your own home. 🙂

  3. Ignacio Crespo says:

    The Anhinga anhinga portrait is fantastic… looks beyond belief to get all this incredible images in just one visit. Mayakoba what a paradise, amazing work Iván.

  4. Juan Hernandez says:

    Fotos espectaculares, para publicarlas¡ felicitaciones mi pana, la del Gavilan en picada es perfecta¡

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