Sunday, January 27, 2013

AUSTRALIA 2012/2013 

The diversity and colours of Australia's wildlife makes Australia an exciting place to photograph. I had the opportunity to spend some time over Christmas in Australia visiting family and enjoying some rest and relaxation - which involved some photography of course!!!

My grandparents live approximately 1 hr south of Sydney, close to some wonderful birding opportunities! One great birding spot is Lake Illawarra, I was amazed at the amount of bird-life on the lake and enjoyed photographing many species for the first time. I always enjoy flicking through the Australian bird book and identifying birds for the first time...

The first species I photographed were great egrets or white herons as they are known in NZ. I love photographing these elegant birds, as they stalk their prey with grace and finesse and strike with pin point accuracy.

One particular species I wanted to photograph was the red-capped plover/dotterel, a beautiful little shorebird endemic to Australia. I found a small number roosting at the entrance to the lake thanks to some information from Charles Dove a local birder/bird photographer and member of the Illawarra bird observers club. I loved how the dried kelp mirrored the lovely auburn colours on the bird's cap so I tried to incorporate this in the photograph below.

I made a point to carry my camera wherever I went in case a photographic opportunity showed itself. I was pleasantly surprised when I found an eastern yellow breasted robin's nest on a family trip to the beautiful Hyams Beach, an area which seemed to have a huge abundance of wildlife. I had a great time watching and photographing the robin family for the afternoon as the adults fed their three hungry chicks. Carrying the camera really paid off!!

This beautiful little nest is made from bark shreds and spiders web, lined with grass and leaves, adorned with bark, lichen and moss. The eastern yellow robin is such a stunning little bird with a wonderful bright yellow breast, and it's soft squealing whistles are a welcome sound in the bush.


WOW, a new year! I'm still left wondering where 2012 got to, it seems like the year has flown by so fast. I don't know about you, but I find this time of year a good time to reflect on a year past and plan for the year ahead. What are my goals and aspirations for 2013? There may be many goals involving your employment, fitness, family, house, holidays... but have you set yourselves any plans for your photography? Have you set any photography goals or aspirations?

"Think first about the photo you want to capture, if you shoot first and think later that's a snapshot not a photo" (Frans Lanting). I really like this quote and think it rings  particularly true for wildlife photography! I'm sure that many, if not all of you have envisaged elaborate photographs in your head that you would love to capture... I have one had one in my head of a New Zealand kingfisher diving into the water after it's prey for some time now.

I think it is extremely beneficial for us as photographers to set ourselves achievable goals or projects... perhaps capturing a particular species, behaviour or location. I think it helps to be pro-active photographers, creating that special moment, not just hoping that it will come along! I know that wildlife in particular can be often unpredictable, and sometimes its very much about being in the right place at the right time, although there are steps that can greatly increase your chances of being there to capture that special moment when it happens. Things like researching your subject, asking yourself questions like, when is my subject most active?, how do the tides affect my subject or it's location?, what does my subject feed on?, what are my subjects favorite feeding, roosting or bathing spots?...etc

How do you tackle your photography? Do you have a shot in mind before you get behind your camera? Whether you are a professional photographer or a weekend snapper a little pre-thought can dramatically improve your photography! Whether or not you capture that elaborate envisaged photograph or not, you'll learn a lot and have a heap of fun!!!




  1. As always, a superb presentation Jonathan! You are an inspiration. I love the wee plover and you were lucky to find the robin nest uncluttered by foliage.
    Thankyou for the advice re achievable goals - something I struggle with, living in "the birdless capital of New Zealand". Because I have to go further afield for my subjects I find I suffer from the "shoot first, think later" scenario as I become so obsessed with trying to make the most of any time I get away from work that I omit the time to plan. Thankyou.

  2. Jono, these are fabulous. Hope you had a great break, and are ready to wow us with more of your beautiful images.