: : wildlife photography through the lens of an animator : :

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cockies


Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Tasmania
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Be sure not to miss...


I don't know whether you've paid attention to the most recent addition to my nature blog list – Birds from behind, but if you've missed it, now is the time to correct this mistake! Dave Lewis has just posted a great series of Hummingbird photos.
[update 26 Feb 09] And one more link to a newer post. Absolutely fantastic!

Be sure not to miss this post!

Cheers, Dave!

Silver Gull from behind
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Kelp and Pacific, young and grown up

Mick at Sandy Straits and Beyond wrote earlier today about spotting a Kelp Gull. As Kelp and Pacific Gulls are very rare visitors up North, but are quite common here, on Tasmania, I decided to do a comparative post with some images taken over the last year and a half and illustrating the differences between the two types of big gulls and also the different 'clothes' they wear during different stages of their lives. The pattern of this post is Kelp, Pacific, Kelp, Pacific...

Pacific Gulls are slightly bigger than Kelp. According to the Slater Field Guide Pacific are 63cm, while Kelp are 57cm. Visually Pacific look a bit more massive and heavy, but not longer. Another very obvious difference is the bill. In Pacific it is more massive and both mandibles have red tips, while in Kelp only the tip of the lower mandible is tinted red. The tail of Pacific Gull ends with a black crescent, visible in flight, while the tail in Kelp is purely white.
above: juv. Kelp Gull
above: juv. Pacific Gull
above: young Kelp Gull
above: immature Pacific Gull
above: Kelp Gull
above: Pacific Gull
above: Kelp Gull
above: Pacific Gull
One last thing to add is that I think that Kelp Gull have the most beautiful Gull call that I have ever heard.
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More Brushes :D

The wildlife photographer should be always ready to use unexpected opportunities. I was looking at a group of White Cockatoos, having the camera set for ultra bright high-contrast targets, when this curious Little Wattlebird came close to inspect me. It was very unexpected, but apparently my reaction has been quite adequate as I got some nice crisp correctly-exposed images. As you know with Wattlebirds, they never stay long in one place, so it was all very quick. The nicest surprise was the second photo, illustrating the end of the inspection. The focus is just right and the moment is beautifully frozen.
Little Wattlebird, Tasmania
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Venomous bulkmail (how annoying!)


I hate bulkmail! I hate paper being wasted and trees being killed to print useless commercial booklets.
But much more than this I hate propaganda - political or religious, it doesn't matter. During my childhood in Bulgaria I was exposed to communist propaganda and brainwashed since the first day in kidergarten. It required a lot of tact, delicate conversations and years of ongoing efforts from my family to neutralize the venom and make me a sane and responsible person with normal value system who questions everything and gradually builds his own opinion on important topics.

Coming home yesterday I found this dirty little A4 xerox copy in my mailbox. Not the usual K-mart, Coles, Dick Smith junk. It's idiotic religious propaganda written by brainless, greedy fanatics for other brainless idiots, or sluggish people with no opinion of their own. I hate such stuff! I hate being given such things. And I feel offended by the aggressive stupidity of this text, its false, misleading logic and the tickboxes at the end of it. I don't mind the Bible or it's existence, but I very much doubt that it has answers for everything. Fanaticism is so dangerous.
you can click on the image to view a hi-res version
The good 'ultra-intelligent designer' who created me from dust! Thank you so much, o, white bearded, white robe wearing great thing!
When I was younger I did a course in Ancient Philosophy. It was then when I first came across the paradox of the Evil or Powerless god. The paradox says: There is so much pain, misfortune, death and suffering in the world. A god who sees this and lets it happen can be either evil, totally powerless, doesn't care at all or be nonexistent.
I wouldn't argue more. People can believe in whatever they like. They can limit their mind potential with dogmatism of any kind, if they like. But dropping this kind of crap in my own mailbox is an intrusion. It made me angry for a while and spoiled a part of my evening.

Evolution is not a theory. Evolution is History!

ps. I will feel really sorry if my post is offensive to some of my readers. I would have never raised the issue or argue about this if I wasn't provoked.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grey Fantail

Three photos of different Fantails – beautiful and fast moving birds the size of a Welcome Swallow. I'm not sure whether the yellow color on the second picture indicates a 'baby' or this is how their beaks normally look on the inside.
Grey Fantails, Tasmania
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Where's the Wallaby?

Red-necked Wallaby, Tasmania
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Brush Wattlebirds

According to my field guide there is difference between Brush and Little Wattlebirds. Little have red eyes. I have never seen Little and, I guess, some Tasmanian bloggers call the Brush Wattlebird a Little Wattlebird by mistake.
Brush Wattlebird, Tasmania
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[edit - 19 Feb 2009] My curiosity was triggered by Gouldiae's comment below, so I decided to do some research online about the name of this and the other Wattlebird. Here is what Wikipedia says on the matter: "The Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera), also known as the Brush Wattlebird, is a honeyeater, a passerine bird in the family Meliphagidae. It is found in coastal and sub-coastal south-eastern Australia. It was formerly lumped with the Western Wattlebird (Anthochaera lunulata), which is restricted to Western Australia."
In my field guide (Slater Field Guide) the Anthochaera chrysoptera is called Brush Wattlebird, while the Anthochaera lunulata is called Little Wattlebird. I think my field guide is wrong in this case, so my argument at the beginning of the post is wrong too.
Little and Brush are the same, while there is a separate species called Western Wattlebird which has the red eye. I found a good photo illustrating this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Water sprinkler

This is one of those shots that I find appealing in a different way from the typical action, frozen, well-composed poses. There is something very nice in the brurriness, the streams of droplets and the grey silky looking water.
Little Pied Cormorant, Tasmania
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Low tide

Today the tide was very low and there was a lot of activity on the beach. Unfortunately, it was drizzling most of the time and I had to keep the camera safe under the jacket.
above: Silver Gull, Tasmania
above: Pied Oystercatcher, Masked Lapwing, Tasmania
above: This is the first time I see a Silver Gull catch a fish.
above: Masked Lapwing, Tasmania
above: Little Pied Cormorant, Tasmania
above: A patrolling parent. Kelp Gull, Tasmania
above: a cute baby Kelp Gull, Tasmania
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Amber and Crystal

Dead Sea Jellies on the beach, Tasmania
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I needed a macro lens!

I was hiding under a shelter from the drizzle while trying to photograph a Magpie. My bag was on a bench next to me when suddenly I realized a sticky beak was around :D LOL, it was too close for my telephoto lens to get a good focus. And I didn't have time to step back.
Noisy (I should say nosy!) Miner, Tasmania
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Silvereye

There were Silvereyes too!
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Yellow-throated Honeyeater

There were some beautiful small birds among the Wallabies yesterday. This Yellow-throated Honeyeater was curious to investigate what the cameras were and came quite close to have a look.
Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Tasmania
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wallabies

The morning was grey and drizzly. With a friend of mine we did a walk that has been planned some time ago, hoping that it wouldn't pour on us and damage the cameras. It didn't. We were lucky to spot seven Red-necked Wallabies in a period of less than two hours. There was even a mum with a joey, but they decided to dash into bushes a second before I could take a photo. And as the light was insufficient I had to shoot at ISO 800 all morning. The camera did quite well, having in mind the hard conditions, low shutter speed and drizzle. There are also some nice bird pics, but I'll go through those files later.
Two different Red-necked Wallabies (also known as Bennett's Wallaby), Tasmania
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gulls

above: Kelp Gull, Tasmania
above: Kelp Gull attacked by much smaller Silver Gull, Tasmania
above: Silver Gull, Tasmania
above: Kelp and Silver Gulls, Tasmania
above: Pacific Gull, Tasmania
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Corella

Long-billed Corella, Tasmania
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An impossible game

I know that it is an impossible game, but every now and then I keep playing it. I have a good camera, but a sharp detailed image of a Swallow in flight is above its capabilities. It must be my character - I just don't like to give up - that makes me hope for a chance, pure luck, just a coincidence. How exciting it would be to get such a photo! Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be very likely to happen. Below are some of my most successful results so far. Good intentions are one thing, but reality is usually bitter :(
"Go shoot egrets", I often tell to myself, "and leave the small creatures alone."
Welcome Swallow, Tasmania
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