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Flamingos on the beach – Aruba

· And how to get great photographs of them ·

Flamingo Beach on the Renaissance Aruba private island is a magical place. A flamboyance of flamingos (you can also call it a flock of flamingos but isn’t flamboyance much better?) call the beach home. They cluster together and wander among the tourists and beach chairs. I'm usually hesitant to take my DLSR camera to the beach but in this case it's definitely worth risking the exposure to sand and water. You can purchase food to feed the flamingos but otherwise they tend to ignore the humans. Because they are so used to people you can usually get very close without disturbing them.

I spent several hours observing and photographing the flamingos (thank goodness for SPF 50 sunscreen). The hardest part of getting a good image was making sure that I had a clean background. I also tried to get as many different variations as I could. Here are some of my suggestions to get some great flamingo photos:

Watch your backgrounds:

Here is what the beach area looks like. I love how the flamingos are lined up in this shot but I find the blue beach chairs and tourists in the background to be very distracting.

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A flamboyance of flamingos in Aruba

Use different heights

Don’t just stand at normal height and look down at the birds, crouch down and vary the angles (which can also help change up your background)
preen, preening, flamingo, pink, Aruba, beak, feathers, eye Getting eye level with a preening flamingo

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A flamingo in the sand

Wait for clouds to pass over and soften the light

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Flamingo stare down

Make shadows part of your image

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A preening flamingo

Use a long lens to zoom in on details like beaks and feathers

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A flamingo in profile

In this case the background helped me out, with the help of a long lens I used the blue of the beach chair to contrast with the color of this flamingo:

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The flamingo blues

Watch the birds for a while

There is usually a pattern to their seemingly choreographed dance:

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Dancing flamingos

Look for interaction between the birds

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A flamboyance of flamingos on the beach


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Flamboyant flamboyance of flamingos

And I hate that I have to add these reminders, but I think we’ve all seen the horrific posts that have circulated the internet where tourists have injured or killed wildlife in the pursuit of the “perfect selfie”. So please:

*Do not touch the birds, hold the food out in your open hand if you want to feed them
*Do not pick the birds up
*Do not pluck the feathers
*Do not chase the birds if they move away from you

As you can see, by making a few tweaks you can get a huge variety of flamingo photos from a short amount of time with these fantastic birds, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy a frozen drink!

Jennifer McCallum

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Birthe (from Wandering the World)

    January 12, 2017

    This is soooo awesome! Meeting flamingos up close (and seeing them in the wild) is definitely on my bucket list! They’re such beautiful and fascinating birds. I looove your photos, they’re stunning! And yep, flamboyance is way better than flock. 😉

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