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on Aug 31, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Smooth as Satin

The Satin Bowerbird is one of the quirkiest birds you’re going to find on the planet! Lets start with its name. Satin is pretty obvious, their plumage color radically changes as light strikes it going from black, black to the most amazing brilliant blue. Now “Bower” might be throwing you and that refers to its crazy love shack that it creates. The male Satin Bowerbird creates this crazy stick, two wall structure and maintains it for nearly nine months of the year. Part of that structure is the “front porch” which is a collection of more sticks along with anything blue it can find. Before man showed up, it would be blue feathers from other birds. But with man came plastic so now you can find any kind of blue plastic you can imagine. Now if you want to drive a bowerbird nuts, place a piece of his blue inside the actual bower structure. He can’t get it our fast enough! Now all of this is for one purpose,...

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on Aug 24, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

It Hooked Me the 1st Day!

The very first morning I caught just a couple of frames and that was it. They were those kind of frames which give you a taste but leave you wanting more. And in this case, the frames were in mixed light of an unique individual so I couldn’t instantly key out the bird. And it wasn’t one we’d seen on our previous trip to O’Reilly’s. A day went by before we saw another individual and this time, had a long look and photographed a typical individual and I knew in the viewfinder was a Grey Shrike-thrush. It’s actually a common species, not that hard to see nor photograph if you know where it hangs out. But I was already hooked so I went into my normal mode, making the common, uncommon. The quest for the uncommon photo that told its story started with knowing the stage I wanted to set for my star. I wanted to speak to its living in a dark rainforest. With this idea, I started...

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on Aug 19, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Ghosting for Effect?

Ghosting is an old term when it comes to wildlife photography. It refers to when there are two “images” of the subject in one frame. It is caused when shooting with flash using an shutter speed too slow so it captures the ambient light exposure of the subject along with the frozen image captured by the flash. The rule of thumb is, a subject has to appear in the frame for 1/4 of the exposure time to register (100% to be captured completely). Now I’ve used ghosting creatively for wildlife for a long time. Prime example is to illustrate the drilling action of a woodpecker. Here’ in the rainforest at O’Reilly’s, I’ve been trying it to communicate the activity of some of the birds, like this Eastern Yellow Robin. They are such a delightful little bird, but all so busy. In this case, shooting with the D5 / 300PF / SB-5000, I used ghosting to show its constant activity as it flits about the forest. Is it perfect? Na,...

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on Aug 16, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Superb, Simply Superb

Our first twenty-four hours at O’Reilly’s has been simply brilliant! Now part of the giggle is the top photo is of a male Superb Fairy-Wren which is one of my all time favorite birds! And the first day we had a whole bunch of opportunities with them. Why do I like them? Just look at that head! Seriously and that’s not even using a flash, that’s just how they look. Brilliant, simply brilliant! The cool thing about the Superb Fairy-Wren is you can be out chasing some other bird and if you are getting skunked, the Wren appears to save the day. I came to Australia with a list of birds I wanted that, well, I didn’t do so well with on my last visit. The Grey Wagtail is one of those. The one thing that has become so overwhelming obvious to me is the amazing improvement of the gear since my last visit. This is a prime example of how the D5 / 800f5.6 AFS grab focus so...

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on Aug 11, 2016 in Wildlife Photography

Darn That Twig!

You’ve heard me say it many times, backgrounds are everything. In wildlife photography, we should be aware of that background for its pluses and minuses. The background is the stage we create to show off the star, our subject, and use the background to tell its story. That’s a real challenge and a lot to ask from something, show off something and not get in its way in the process. It’s one reason why wildlife photography is so challenging because we can’t control the subject to put it in front of the best background when we want it. This whole issue intensifies when we narrow our subject down to birds. This is when you start hearing, darn that twig! Just like all wildlife photographers, I run into this same issue. When I started out 40yrs ago the only option was to get it right in the camera. I still rise to that same level of perfection which is why I shoot with the D5 / 800f5.6 AFS. Optics to...

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