Another year has flown past or at least some of it has flown past.
The winter months of this year saw me locked away in my man cave, hunched over a keyboard, processing some 2,000 + images and uploading them to my new image gallery.
This year has been a huge success for me photographically.
I got first class images, of a number of birds that I have wanted for more than a few years.
I want to thank all the people who have made my Facebook Group New Zealand bird image share so successful. We have a wonderful group of people and a membership of over 1500 people now and still growing strongly. But numbers mean nothing compared to the quality of the members that contribute, not only with their images but with their sense of humour and community spirit.
After trying to get out onto the Cook Straight twice earlier on in the year, I finally guessed the weather right this November.
Windy Wellington lives up to its name and I had previously booked trips in early winter that had to be cancelled due to high winds. However, I got the weather right this time and November the 17th was fine and it was a happy and excited group of 12 hopefuls that put their trust in captain Jonno and out into the choppy sea we went.
Every trip is different and on this trip saw heaps and heaps of taiko or Western Black Petrels along with the other usual suspects.
The main culprits were
- Salvin’s Mollymawk
- White-capped Mollymawk
- Black-browed Mollymawk
- Giant Northern Petrel
- Western Black Petrel
- Flesh-footed Shearwater
At times there were so many birds circling the boat it was impossible to single one out, without so many others photobombing my subject.
Too many birds in the frame is not really a reason for complaint but rather a challenge.
This trip sea was lumpy due to a stiff breeze. These are ideal conditions, as the breeze assists the birds to skim across the rises and troughs making for more dramatic images.
The scene is set. At last the bird you have waited for, for so long is right there in front of you. You have waited an eternity for this opportunity and clickerty click, click goes the hard working camera.
Zoned out and seeing long
When that opportunity comes and that bird is right in front of us, our focus tends to be locked on to that bird and our world is reduced to that distance between us and our prize. Our attention to detail is trapped in the zone between us and our subject and we don’t notice things outside of that zone and beyond. Sometimes we are guilty of missing some small out of focus object between us and our subject as we tend to see past/through things, but equally important is what is beyond our subject.
Seeing long, seeing beyond our subject is a skill that needs to be developed as a failure to do so can cause us to miss elements that rob the image of its potential emotional impact.
Firstly the most important person you need to impress with your image is YOU. All the others that ooh & ahh over your image are meaningless if all you can see is a great big blooper staring back at you and if only you could go back in time and reposition your self so that the background of your image did not detract from your image.
The Sacred Kingfisher or kōtare in Māori inhabits much of our coastal areas here in New Zealand during the winter and invades the interior during the summer to nest and raise young.
Closely related genetically to the Australian Kookaburra, both are classified as Kingfishers and both wield a disproportionately hefty bill to body size.
All the images in this essay are available for sale as prints, to learn more about an image click on the image itself.
Meet some of the characters.
In my last post, we had just passed through the Danseys Pass, the weather was cold, wet and the Pass itself seemed a very desolate place. However the further nor-west we headed towards the Mackenzie country, the brighter the sky became.
The Mackenzie marks the southernmost boundary between the South Canterbury Region and Otago and has to be my most favourite part of the South Island.
There is a very good reason for this, the Mackenzie has something special going for it no matter which season or weather conditions.
Summer in the Mackenzie has a hot dry heat that does not seem to soak up your energy, unlike more humid places. This lady is enjoying her biking across the Mackenzie basin on a beautiful and very hot summers day.