I decided to start posting more making ofs and other hopefully helpful images, so you can see what I do and how and why I do it.

Here’s an example from Magnetic Island. I found this Grey-tailed Tattler (Heteroscelus brevipes) sitting on a nice red rock. The sun didn’t come up behind the mountain yet, so the rock was in dark shade. I stopped the car and quickly set up my camera. At first I didn’t take the flash with mel, but after I fired a few shots I saw that the image I envisioned wouldn’t work without my flash. The bird looked dull and the water had a bit of a greyish color as well. If I had exposed the bird in the first image correctly, the water would’ve been blown out completely and I wanted to avoid that at all cost, cause I loved the water color. So I quickly ran back to the car, got my flash, flash battery and better beamer and set it up on my camera.

Here’s the image without flash. It’s not bad, but looks a bit dull and the bird does not stand out from the water.


After adjusting the flash settings and my exposure I took the image below. The flash gave the bird lively and vibrant colors and also made the water “pop”. A much better image in my opinion. The flash also enabled me to exposed the water correctly and to add the needed light to the bird via the flash.

You can see how you can see much better details and the eye doesn’t look dead anymore.


At the end the making of, so you can see the whole scene. The bird was about 17m away, which is just the right distance for the 600 and the 2x TC.

1D Mark IV

600 L IS


ISO 1600



580EX II + Better Beamer @ -1


And if you like tits, you can check out the images I just added HERE



I’d thought for today I post an example how a few steps in a different direction can change an image completely.

As you have read in the Magnetic Island post below, I had an Osprey landing right above me. When I saw the bird I stood up an took a picture, because I thought it would fly away soon. At this position, I had a sky background. Which is fine, but makes for a very ordinary image.


Since there were many mountains on Magnetic Island, I tried to move around so that I could use a green mountain as my background. From the new standpoint I took the image below. A massive difference in my opinion and a much better image.

It’s important to always keep your whole image in mind and not to get overwhelmed when a great bird lands in front of you. I’d rather risk flushing a bird in order to get the best possible image.


Magnetic Island

April 17, 2013


I’ve just added 40 new images from my trip to Magnetic Island. It wasn’t a photography trip, but I got some great results.

The gallery can be found here

I have to thank my girlfriend who even encouraged me to go out in the mornings and afternoons to take some images. 🙂

To be honest I didn’t expect much when we arrived, but the island proved to be quite bird rich. There weren’t too many smaller bush birds, but a great variety of shorebirds/herons/kites and a few Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. The main attraction, however, are Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius), which are common on the Island. Usually the curlews hide in thick bushes, but if you are really lucky, you can encounter a bird in the open. I found a spot with a low hanging tree and a grass background. Because of the tree the birds thought they were covered, but I was able to get nice clean images.

I was happy to get some great images. Their calls at night are quite strange and make you think someone gets killed…


Aren’t their eyes amazing!?


Another bird I always wanted to photograph are Peaceful Doves (Geopelia placida). These tiny birds are also quite common, but I never managed to get a good image. When you have a close look at them you can see how amazing they look. I found a pair walking on a gravel road, so I slowly stopped the car, got the camera and laid down on to the gravel. I managed a few images before they flew off.


Near our hotel was a nesting pair of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus). The birds were often hanging out at the nearby harbor and sometimes allowed a “semi-close” approach, but always managed to fly away before I got “the shot”. I tried for days and only on the second last day they allowed me a closer approach. They sat on and ugly metal rail, so I had to settle for a few portrait shots.


Every day we also saw a couple of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii). Most of you know how much I love parrots/cockatoos, so it was a real teaser to always see those amazing birds. One late afternoon, I spotted a few birds feeding quite low on a tree next to the beach. They were not shy at all and let me get very close, however, they were still to high for a decent image. After a while I got really lucky. One bird decided to move down to the only possible spot for a nice image. The female had climbed to a whole in the leafs  almost like a window and low enough so that the distant mountains could be used as a background.

I was stoked to get an image like this.


The second last morning, I had a real blast. It almost felt like Florida, where birds are just ridiculously tame…

After photographing the White Morph Pacific Reef Egret (Egretta sacra) in Darwin, I really wanted to get the Dark Morph on Magnetic Island. The first couple of days I had no luck and the birds didn’t let me get close, but on that morning the high tide only allowed the birds to fish in a narrow stream. I saw a nice looking bird standing in the shallow water and tried to get close, expecting that the bird would fly away. It never did! It allowed me a to get within a few meters. I photographed it for about an hour and got a variety of great images.




While I photographed the Reef Heron an Osprey perched right above me! I though when I move it would fly away, but it never did! I sat there for about 30 minutes and wasn’t bothered by me at all. The distant mountains provided a great background.


To see the rest of the images taken on Magnetic Island go to the updates page on my website or click here


I’ve just added all images from my trip to the Northern Territory to my website.

You can find them here:

Part I

Part II



As you have already read in part one, I was quite successful getting two main targets of my trip to the Northern Territory during the first couple of days. Now after being home in Melbourne for a while the whole trip feels so much better. Most likely because I have forgotten about the heat and humidity and have the processed images to enjoy. When I checked the weather report for Katherine, NT, today, I saw that the city had more than 500mm of rain during the last few days. This makes me feel very fortunate to have traveled up there during the wet season without getting wet! With pouring rain like they have at the moment, it would have been impossible to get the images I wanted.

But back to the trip, after getting some awesome Northern Rosella images on the last morning in Katherine, we headed back towards Darwin. We stopped briefly in Adelaide River to see what was around and found a few interesting birds. Even a cloud showed up and so we tried a quick set up, but before we were finished the clouds were completely gone and the sun burned down from the sky again…bad luck…so we decided to move on. Only 5km after Adelaide River it suddenly started to pour down for a few minutes…I found it interesting how clouds and even thunderstorms appeared out of nowhere up there.

We arrived in Darwin in the early afternoon, checked into our hotel and went out again. First we visited Buffalo Creek. We saw some cool birds like Shining Flycatchers, but there were so many boats and people that we decided it was too busy. So we headed to East Point, where we found a variety of cooperative birds. Unfortunately, I missed the best pose of the White-gaped Honeyeater, but that’s how it goes sometimes…There were also many stunning Red-headed Honeyeater, but only females decided to land for us.

Here’s what I got

White-gaped Honeyeater (Lichenostomus unicolor) and Red-headed Honeyeater female (Myzomela erythrocephala). It’s a shame the male didn’t show up!




I was a bit annoyed that I had missed the best pose of the White-gaped Honeyeater, but overall it was a good afternoon session.

For the second last morning we decided to go back to Fogg Dam, to try to get more Crimson Finches. It was a Friday morning, so we didn’t think there would be too many people. However, we were very wrong. When we arrived we saw a group of Pied Herons and tried to take pictures of them, but just before we got close enough a birder pulled up and parked his car exactly where the birds were and flushed them all, grabbed his binoculars and wandered off….You can imagine how happy we were! I always wonder why people do such things…

A bit annoyed we decided to try for the Crimson Finches, but we were just not lucky, one car after another came along and one bus with a few elderly people parked right in front of our lenses! We gestured them to move on, but they decided it was time to leave the car and wander around…

This was too much for us, so we called it a day without getting much at all.

The afternoon we headed to East Point again. We saw a Mangrove Golden Whistler and a few Mangrove Gerygones, but neither were very cooperative. So we had to settle for a few Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta).


While packing up our gear on the car park, I spotted a pair of Radjah Shelducks (Tadorna radjah). They were not very cooperative either, but I managed a quick shot on the water, before they swam away.


The time had come and our last day of photography arose. Even though we had such bad experiences at Fogg Dam before, we decided to head back and try for some different birds at a spot a bit further away from all the people.

Our persistence paid off and we managed to get a few new species.

The day started off with an Intermediate Egret  (Mesophoyx intermedia) perched in a tree. Right next to it was also a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)


Next we managed to get a few images of the tiny Rufous-banded Honeyeater (Conopophila albogularis)JCW_20130315_4709II

At last we photographed the odd looking Bar-breasted Honeyeater (Ramsayornis fasciatus). It reminded me of a Song Thrush.



This was the first bird photography trip in my life where I kind of felt happy about leaving. It had been such a struggle and hard work that we both felt very exhausted. The heat of up to 41°C (105°F) and 90% humidity didn’t make it any easier.

So we decided to spend the last evening with an “easy” beach shoot.

Here’s a few images I got.

I hope you liked reading this report. I will put the full Northern Territory gallery online very soon.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)


Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)


Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)


White Morph Eastern reef Egret (Egretta sacra)


All in all an amazingly successful trip!