NZPhotographer Issue 27, January 2020


Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun e-magazine for all Kiwi camera owners.



I was born in Auckland, but now live and work

in Wellington. I work in logistics in the courier

industry. Work is all about attention to detail,

being on time, and ensuring what we need to

do every day, happens. Email and spreadsheets

are my friends. Outside of work I spend my time

with camera in hand or travelling. I can usually be

found at Zealandia where I volunteer as part of

their Storytellers Group, run by Judi Lapsley Miller,

where we are tasked with capturing the story of

the valley in words and pictures. Being outside with

my camera, sometimes sitting for hours waiting for

one picture, is what I love to do and is very much

my happy place - It helps me unwind and de-stress

from my working week.



I have always had a camera around, but had

never really taken photography seriously. Then in

2010, I had the opportunity to travel to India twice.

So I decided to go out and get a good camera

as I was going to do a trip around Delhi and also

go to see the Taj Mahal. I purchased a Canon 7D,

the camera then sat in the corner of the room

until I visited Zealandia for the first time in late 2011

but after taking my first pictures of New Zealand’s

native birds, I was hooked. When I first started, I was

shooting mainly in P mode and gradually grew

confident enough to venture to A and M. When

shooting wildlife, I prefer Aperture Priority mode

but venture into Manual mode when doing most

other forms of photography. Bird photography and

photography in general is, I find, a journey on which

you will always be learning and continuing to grow

and improve. It’s a never-ending journey, but an

enjoyable one!



I’m still a Canon user, I have a 1DX Mark II and

an eosR. The 1DX is my go-to for wildlife and bird

photography, my favourite set-up is this camera

coupled with a 300mm f2.8L II lens. I also have a

500mm f4L II lens which I travel with when going

overseas on trips to shoot wildlife. I use teleconverters

with both lenses when needed. I’ve used both lenses

on the R and it works well with the supplied adapter.

But I tend to use the R more as my (non-wildlife)

travel camera, coupled with the 24–105mm f4 kit

lens. When shooting with the 500mm I will generally

use a tripod and gimbal head. I can hand hold it for

about 15–20mins before needing to take a break,

but having it on the tripod is much more stable.



I have a bucket list of wildlife and birds I would love

to photograph and each year I try and do a trip

overseas or around New Zealand to tick something

off that list. In September 2019, I did a tour with

David Hemmings to photograph grizzly bears in

British Columbia, Canada.

After a pre bear trip of 3 days based at Eagle Bear

Lodge on Eagle Lake to photograph landscapes,

we made the 2 hour journey by road to Chilko Lake

where we would stay to photograph the bears.

There were long days out on Chilko Lake looking for

bears and anything else we could find, including

bald eagles, mergansers, and salmon – lots and lots

of salmon. We started our days around 6:30am with

breakfast and were out on the lake from around

7:30am through till 11:30am when we would break

for lunch and image downloading time. Then we’d

go back out on the lake again around 1:30pm

through till 5:30pm then a short break before dinner

which was around 6:30pm.

On the morning I took this salmon photo, we were

drifting on the calm lake, waiting and watching for

bears. To pass the time I decided to set the camera

up and watched as the salmon leapt, trying to

get a feel for where they were leaping and how

many leaps they would do. We were about 50

metres away from where I was focused (500mm +

1.4 TC), and I just kept scanning the water looking

for movement, then taking shots in anticipation of

a leap happening. I normally shoot single frame

but for this, I switched to high speed continuous.

I played this game for about 30mins or so getting

lots of shots of calm water and not much else with

lots of mumbling about missing shots but also a

lot of laughter! Each time a salmon jumped I was

hopeful, but I ended up with just one shot, this

one. The salmon was caught in the far edge of the

frame, so the image has been cropped along with

some basic post-processing to adjust the exposure,

whites and blacks, a bit of sharpening, and lens

correction. There is definitely some luck in wildlife

photography, but if you prepare and are ready,

you never know what you may capture.



We were out on a small flat-bottomed boat that

had room for 3 photographers, one tour leader

(David), and one boat guide (Nick). The boat was

powered by a small outboard motor, as well as an

electric motor for stealth mode, when wanting to

go into places the bears hung out at unobtrusively.

There was plenty of room to use tripods and to

swing from side to side so no problems in changing



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