I recently read an lens review by a photographer, who basically called the Canon 2x Extender useless. People who know me, know that I personally see the 2x Extender as an invaluable piece of my camera set up. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I enjoy using it, but it gives me flexibility and reach in certain situations, where it would be impossible to get an image otherwise. I also don’t share the view that the quality gets really bad with the extender. Sure it drops a little, but I never had a complaint when I sold and image or made a large print.

As a bird photographer you often come into situations, where you just cannot get any closer to your subject: You might have to do a  small crop after already using 1200mm. In these situations it would be impossible to use the 1.4x extender and the do a crop as some might suggest, because the subject would only have the size of a pea in your viewfinder…Hence it’s 1200mm or no image.

On my Mark IV, the 2x Extender gives me a reach of whopping 1560mm.

Yesterday I had a look on my girlfriend’s camera and found a making-of image she took of me on Magnetic Island where you can see the perfect example as to why I needed a 2x Extender in this situation. The Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) would just not let me get closer than maybe 25-30m. Using the 2x extender, I could achieve a pretty decent image, though 🙂 Now I am not saying that this an outstanding image, but it’s certainly good enough for a few sales. So I absolutely rather have that image than no image at all!

The red arrows mark the pair of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus)

Some might wonder why my tripod was not flat on the ground. Welll, usually that would be my choice, but the birds were sitting higher than I was. I also struggled to find a decent background, so this height was the best compromise. Any lower and I would have had a house in the background and a rock in front of the bird.




Back to the Bush

May 15, 2013

It looks like the Gang Gang Coakctaoos (Callocephalon fimbriatum) have eaten all the berries and have moved on, so my focus went back to the little bush birds Melbourne has to offer. I found a new great spot and could create some nice images.

Here are a few of them:

White-naped Honeyheater (Melithreptus lunatus)


New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)




This spot has a very high number of Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis) and they seem to enjoy sitting together…





Today the Gang Gang Cockatoos allowed a really close approach. They didn’t even notice  when I was standing right in front of them, maybe 50cm away.

They are such awesome birds, but I wonder if these Hawthorn berries have some kind of narcotic effect on them, cause this super tame behavior of birds that usually live in tree tops, is quite odd. When they feed on those berries they don’t care about anything else!

Here are a few more images taken the last two days.

You can see the full gallery HERE.




Below you can see the birds right in front of me, maybe 1m away and my camera with a wide angle attached.


Here’s the result with the wide angle. I quite like it…


I don’t even know why, but Gang Gang Cockatoos (Callocephalon fimbriatum) have been my favorite birds for years. When i moved to Australia, I hoped to be able to photograph these striking little cockatoos, but it took almost three years until it finally happened yesterday!

Gang Gang Cockatoos are similar in size to Galahs and have a bit more of a compact build. Their call is very distinctive an unmistakable. They usually live in higher altitudes and can mostly be seen in tree tops. Every autumn small flocks of Gang Gang Cockatoos (Callocephalon fimbriatum) migrate to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. They are looking for Hawthorn berries, which are very abundant in some local parks.

Until yesterday I never had any luck finding Gang Gang Cockatoos feeding in bushes that were low enough for taking pictures. That changed when I got a message from my friend Chris, who told me about a new spot. Since the weather was nice and since I had some spare time, I jumped in my car and drove there. At first I didn’t hear or see any Gang Gangs, but just before I was about to leave I heard a bird calling. I followed the call and found four birds feeding in a quite low bush! I went back to the car as fast as I could to get my camera. When I returned the birds were still there and allowed a very close approach. In fact they didn’t really care about me at all. They were completely focused on the berries.

While photographing it got quite dark and during the initial excitement, I forgot to take my flash. So I decided to chuck my whole rig into the bushes and ran 400m back to the car to get the flash. Luckily when I came back the birds and the camera were still there!

Below are a few images I took and the making of. You can see how I used the near by hill to gain a better angle, which enabled me to use the nice green grass as my background.

Notice that I was basically shooting right into the sun?

Wondering why?

The answer is simple, since my background and subject were in shade, the sun angle almost didn’t matter and I am happy to ignore it in favor of a better perspective and background.