Category Archives: Boney Whitefoot’s Nature Photography

Christmas trip for long tails 2020 Part 1:The Plans of Mice and Men

As I look back at 2020 it all seems so surreal to me now.
I honestly never thought the pandemic would last this long and rather naively thought the whole world would unite and synchronise against a common enemy and the virus would be defeated relatively quickly.
But here we are heading towards the end of January 2021 and there are more daily deaths being recorded now than when the pandemic first broke out.
However, the various vaccines developed in different countries give us hope that this year we will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Regardless, I hope this post finds my readers alive, kicking and full of wonderment towards our natural world and I pray that 2021 will be much better for us all.


The Plans of Mice and Men

As my longstanding readers will know, each year a friend and fellow fanatical bird photographer Steve Richards and I take off for a few weeks each Christmas. I sleep in my tent and he in his customised 4WD Toyota.
We hit the road hard out, get up early each day and go to bed late. We do our best to come back to our respective homes totally worn out. It is not a holiday for us, its an opportunity to photograph birds we don’t see closer to home. Food, comfort and sleep become secondary issues. Continue reading

How to photograph New Zealand tūī

How to photograph New Zealand tui

In this post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to photograph New Zealand tui.
Most of the images used in this post are for sale so you can click on the image to see the full size and additional information.


New Zealand tūī (correct Maori spelling) were once a relative rarity for those who seldom step foot in our forests and isolated coastlines.
However, in the last few decades, in many urban areas and even city centres, the tui has staged an amazing comeback.
The combination of pest control and the planting of native trees and shrubs by forward-thinking councils has provided food and safety for the tui.
Tui have taken full advantage and invaded to the point that now nearly everyone who has nectar-bearing trees in their back yard also has resident tui. Our city streets and parks are also alive with tui. Continue reading

The tale of four Little Owls part1

First of all, before we get to our story, both Rosie and I want to say happy New Year and may it be a physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy one for all of us.
This past year has been huge and it seems like an age since I last sat down in front of the computer screen and shared a photo adventure with my readers.
But here we go.


A loud Ping from my computer notified me of a new message through FaceBook from a friend Anne Lamb in my bird photography group.

When I opened the message there staring back at me was simply the most beautiful image of a Little Owl I had ever seen.
Little Owls do not inhabit the North Island of New Zealand which is where I live and I stared at the image longingly and the cogs in my brain box began to grind out a plan.

Steve and I were already planning a very short trip to the South Island over Christmas.  I saw the possibilities of obtaining images of the Little Owl and I asked Anne if she could show us the bird. Anne replied in her typical enthusiastic style and along with the yes, came a promise of Christmas cake if we behaved ourselves (which we always do) lol
Little Owls have always been on our wanted list but the time necessary to locate one was a luxury we had not enjoyed and now we were being handed one on a plate along with Christmas cake.

Dates were arranged and the excitement grew. Continue reading

Don’t get in a flap, photograph it instead

This is the second post in a series I’m doing called, How to Improve your bird photos.
This series will provide basic tips on how to improve your bird images.


In this post, we are going to look at how to create images that impact your audience.
There are many ways of adding drama or making dynamic images when it comes to bird photography this short essay is but one of many things you can consider. Continue reading

Watch your Background

This is the first post in a series I’m doing called, How to Improve your bird photos.
This series will provide basic tips on how to improve your bird images.


You’re telling the story

When you drop the shutter you have just started to write the first paragraph of a story.
This story is about what got your attention and what motivated you to take the shot in the first place.
In almost every case when it comes to photographing birds, the bird is the star of the show.
As such your bird should be on show in all it’s glory and nothing else in your photo should overwhelm or compete with your star.


Painting with Light

Photography basically means painting with light and there are a few rules of how the human eye reacts to light.
Firstly when looking at someone’s image the human eye is automatically attracted to the brightest part of the image overriding or bypassing all objects or lesser light values in the race to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Below is an example of how if your main subject is close to a much brighter patch of light, that light overwhelms and makes it hard to see detail in your subject.

In this case, the entire background is overwhelming my bird making it much harder for our eyes to comfortably rest on it and see the fine detail.


First appearances count, make it easy

That first and instantaneous appearance is important and if the attention of the viewer is immediately drawn away from your bird, they may not be bothered putting in the extra effort of shifting their focus back on to your main subject.
You must not muddy your story, you must make it as easy as possible for your viewer, guiding them immediately to the star of the show.


Watch your background

In this second image, I have looked closely at my background and choosen an area on the pond with a more suitable background.
I choose a background that not only won’t compete with my bird but has colours that actually enhance and complement my handsome bird. I simply positioned my self in the right spot and waited for my bird to drift past.

Being thoughtful and the patient, choosing your background can do better justice to your subject and increase the admiration in your viewers as your star stands out in all their glory.

I run workshops on the Kapiti Coast specialising in bird photography and if you’re interested in a workshop to help you improve your bird photography  I  do 4-hour workshops 1 on 1 or a small group up to 4 people.

Contact me HERE  or pm me on facebook