I also photograph our beautiful native birds, there will be a bias towards the Tui, because it’s my favourite New Zealand bird. Enough words, now the birds…

Robin, yes we have our own Robin, a couple of different kinds.
Kereru, or New Zealand Pigeon.
Reef Heron, quite rare.
Royal Spoonbill and Pied Stilt
Tui leaving.
Tui, leaving again.
New Zealand Falcon.
Giant Petrel.
Royal Spoonbill.
Kotuku, or White Heron.


I spent a couple of days in Queenstown, for work. Lucky me. Much of the trip was inside but I was able to get out for a wander about. Fortunately you don’t have to walk far in Queenstown and surrounds to see the awesomeness. Herewith, a couple of snaps while I had a moment to take them. This can be a travel blog thing. For people who like to travel and read about travelling. I think it qualifies as a travel blog because I took photos of a tourist destination.

The obligatory wing shot on the way into Queenstown.
The mountain range is called ‘The Remarkables’. Can’t imagine why.
Same mountains, different day. Those awesome clouds go by the name of ‘Lenticular’.
Sunset over Lake Wakatipu. Looking South if you are interested in that sort of thing
Same view, slightly different spot, different time of day.
On the hills above Arrowtown. I thought the colours and textures of the trees were cool enough to Photograph. It’s my camera, I get to choose that sort of thing.
That’s a New Zealand Falcon, not the Swamp Harrier. The Falcon is pretty rare and even harder to photograph. This was a good day.
Because who doesn’t like a photo of an old derelict cottage?
Chinese Gold Miners huts in Arrowtown. Small.
I liked the juxtaposition of Spring blossoms and snowy peaks. Arty and all that.
There’s a famous tree in Lake Wanaka which everyone with a camera feels compelled to photograph. This isn’t it. This is a small Willow tree beside Lake Wakatipu which I’ve decided can be ‘That Queenstown Tree’. It looks striking early in the morning with the sun on it. Which is superfluous explanation really.

Queenstown, probably New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. It’s nice there.

New Gear

IMG_0126I’m going to try to create at least one blog post a month. I’ve been slack, well only in writing blog posts. I’ve been out and about an awful lot and taking a lot of photos. But have been neglecting this bit.

The big news is that I finally have my dream gear. Anyone who takes photography reasonably seriously will know that the right gear is important, they also like to have a lot of gear. The ability to ‘see’ a photograph is actually more important, all important. But you need the good gear to be as awesome as possible.

So camera gear is really important to keen Photographers. I actually don’t have much though. My thing as you should know by now is ‘minimum gear, maximum impact’. I still need a tripod. As an observation, the WordPress Blog Website sucks a bit of the awesomeness out of the shots, you really do need to click on each photo to see the best quality.

Back to the gear. My needs/wants were quite specific. I needed the ultimate multi-purpose but best quality lens for the landscape and shooting on the move stuff. I also wanted a good quality telephoto lens for wildlife and sports. Finally I really wanted a Full Frame camera. I now have all three. I should still get a tripod though, I have my eye on one. The details on the Camera and lenses if you are interested are:

Camera – Canon 6D

Telephoto Lens – Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

General Purpose lens – Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS

So…What can one do with the good gear? Let’s have a look.

Kaka colour
That’s a Kaka. A New Zealand Parrot. It’s a cool characterful bird less well known than our most famous Parrot, the Kea. But look at the clarity and colour.
Saint Gerards
Saint Gerards Monastery above Oriental Bay in Wellington. I don’t think there are any monks there anymore.
Ships bow
The Blue bow of a boat. The boat is a cafe, Wellington has a lot of cafe’s.
South Island dusk
Looking across the sea to the Kaikoura Ranges in the South Island from Island Bay in Wellington. About 230 kilometres away. You’re supposed to also notice the calm reflective rock pools in the foreground.
Jetty mirror
Derelict Piers at Miramar in Wellington. Mostly used by Seagulls.
Plateau Bend
State Highway One approaching Waiouru at 8:00am on a Sunday Morning. I was just passing through. That’s frost on the ground, not snow.
Barn, Wairarapa. Needs work.
Railway Escarpment
I don’t think the Railway Escarpment Nature Reserve is out there. I could be wrong. I might have been standing on it.
Ruapehu Mirror
Mt Ruapehu, reflected in a puddle to add a little something to a hard mountain to photograph.
Saddleback foraging
That’s a Saddleback foraging, shot in quite dark woodland. fast moving bird, in the dark forest. Looks like daytime.
Titahi Bay bright Boat Sheds
I didn’t really want the pink polar fleece clad local in the shot, but it’s her shed. Boat Sheds at Titahi Bay.
Wrights Hill Awesome cloud
That’s what the classic Nor’Wester looks like. Just like that.
City ship
Handheld shot of Wellington from the Interislander Ferry. Taken in the dark, without a tripod. Tripods are useless on the ferry.
Tory Channel fishing
You should have seen what happened about 5 minutes before I took this photo. Put it this way, this was almost a news story rather than a photograph.
Box Bridge
Bridge. That’s all you need.
That building on the left is a Cafe, in Nelson. This is Tahunanui.
Early in Marlborough. There are 5 Alpaca’s just out of shot to the right. They are cute, they are not locals as a general rule so I excluded them as they made the simple photo require too much description. Alpaca’s would not have enhanced this photo.
City half light
Wellington waterfront. from the ferry. I like lights on the water.
High Tide
This is a boat called Click in Nelson. With snowy mountains over there.
Spoonbill wading
The Royal Spoonbill. You don’t see a lot of those about.
Wellington evening long exposure
This is from the top of my street at night. Well early evening to be precise. Had I mentioned I have moved to Wellington?
Heath Goal strike
Finally, I did mention sport, this is my nephew, scoring a goal for his soccer team.

I’m in love with my new camera gear. I still need a tripod though

A Walk in the ‘Woods’

There were two things that weren’t going to happen today, but both did. I wasn’t going to go for a walk in the rainforest and I wasn’t going to create this blog post. One thing pretty much lead to the other. I’m putting this post up though, because it is kind of amazing and I’m quite pleased with how some very hard photos to take turned out.

First things first. How did I end up in the rainforest? Well it’s not really a rainforest, this is simply a decent sized piece of New Zealand native forest, or ‘bush’ as we call it. The bush is a stand of coastal swamp forest not far from where I live by the sea.

The thing here is that I was simply on my way to the shops, a small supermarket in the next town on a Saturday morning and thought I’d go for short walk beforehand. This is one of the many reasons I love New Zealand. The distance from my house to the shops is just 10 minutes by car. I parked up at the Omarupapako Scenic Reserve which I hadn’t even noticed before despite driving past the signs several times a week.

Then I walked in….It was like walking into Jurassic Park. It’s very hard to take photos of the forest when you are inside it. The darkness means having to have the ISO setting up to as high as 800 at times with a shutter speed as low as 60 and the aperture down at 5.6 or lower. I spent about 2 hours walking through this extraordinary forest. Only a few hundred metres from the sea. I live by the sea remember?

The bird in the photos is a Fantail. A fast moving, small and characterful New Zealand native species which rarely sits still. Almost impossible to photograph in the deep forest on the settings required to cast any light into the camera. So I was thrilled with how these turned out. Enough words.

Path 1
There is a path through, easy to follow
Jurassic path
The way is clear, and easy to follow….
Jurassic path2
Well when I say easy to follow….
Jurassic path3
It’s a bit of a Jurassic path
Light on the floor
Light does get in, sometimes
Fantail light
Very young Fantail, about to fly off
Fantail closer
See, they do occasionally sit still, but not for long, moments only. You can also make out a strand of spider web behind the young Fantail
Baby Fantail song
Fantail, fanned and singing a little Fantail song

If you live in New Zealand, go for a walk in the ‘bush’. If you are going to visit New Zealand, make sure you do. It’s like a spiritual place, a land time forgot, like walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs which is actually what you are doing, without the dinosaurs. Except we had one and it’s still here, living in our remote forests and offshore Islands. The Tuatara, look it up. We actually have the oldest forests in the world. They look like something from Jurassic times, or older

The Tui

This is a single photo post as it’s important to me. The Tui is my personal favourite of our native birds in New Zealand. They aren’t particularly rare but they are particularly beautiful and full of character. The song of the Tui is one of the things most missed by New Zealanders abroad and is one of the defining sounds of New Zealand. Given the range of sounds the Tui makes, you can’t really call it a song as much as a vocalisation.

The challenge in photographing a Tui is capturing one in full sunlight, with the sun on the Tui’s back. Then you can see the extraordinary colours and plumage of what I believe should be our national bird rather than the Kiwi. Surprisingly, many New Zealanders and visitors to New Zealand still think the Tui is predominantly black with just a white tuft of feathers under its chin. The Tui is not black.

This is the photo I’ve been trying to get for years. The Tui in full sun with the added bonus of a beak full of nectar from the flowering flax they love so much.

The Tui