Tell us a bit about you and your passion for bird photography.
When I first joined a camera club back in 2004 I was inspired by the other photographers in the club. I have always had a connection with birds having had several large aviaries in the past, so putting the two together made perfect sense to me.
From there I met a couple of other bird photographers who shared with me some of their tips and tricks and I have never looked back. They did warn my husband that it would fast become an expensive hobby – which it did, but the joy of being out in Nature and the accomplishment of achieving a good bird image make it all worthwhile.
These days I am inspired by the conservation efforts going on around New Zealand to protect our precious birds from extinction. I spend a lot of time in bird sanctuaries like Zealandia and Pukaha where I have seen and photographed birds that I had only dreamed of 20 years ago. The work that conservationists are doing, is bringing back our native birds to areas that haven’t seen them for many years, making the birds much more accessible to photographers like myself.
Bird Photography has given me the opportunity to make a lot of new friends. Bird photographers are easily spotted when they are out in Nature, and we often will talk to others we meet up with and share experiences. The friendships that I have made in this way have helped me grow as a photographer and inspired me to help others with their bird photography as well
How would you define your photographic style?
My photographic style has changed a lot over the years, and I like to think I have a style that can be recognized as mine. I enjoy getting in close to the birds, but I do it from a distance using a long lens. I like that I can tell the bird’s stories without disturbing them in their natural habitat.
Do you have any tips you could share with other members on how you achieve your shots?
Bird photography requires a huge amount of patience. If you don’t have any, then try another genre of photography! It also requires you to have an intimate knowledge of your camera so you can switch settings without having to look first. Birds have no respect for the time it takes to find the right setting to change - If you can’t do it fast then the bird will be gone before you are even ready to click the shutter. Lastly, practice! Lots of practice. Seagulls, sparrows, any bird that you have easy access to can be your practice subjects. I practice with silvereyes in my back yard.
What is the hardest part of bird photography?
Being in the right place at the right time. It has taken me many years to work out a timetable of where to look for birds and when. When I find an opportunity or a bird that doesn’t show itself to me often, I will tend to obsess over that bird until it has moved on. Each year I seem to focus on a particular bird, 2021 was the titipounamu / rifleman. I have no idea what 2022 will bring but I am ready for the challenge.
Tell us about some of your favourite photos...
I have literally hundreds of favorite images. The three I have chosen to share with you are from the last two years.
I have been visiting the gannet colonies at Cape Kidnappers for many years now and have several thousand gannet images but the one I have chosen here I like because it is so soft and delicate. It shows all the colors of the bird without showing the entire bird and it engages me as a viewer.
The second image is of a white-capped mollymawk that I photographed in the Patterson’s Inlet during a visit to Stewart Island. It is the same preening pose but this time it is the still water, the feather detail, and the piercing eyes of the bird that I like. The still water is very deceiving as the boat was rocking quite a bit.
The third image is one of a series of favorites. My most recent obsession has been with a family of titipounamu / riflemen while they were nesting at Pukaha. I felt privileged to be able to photograph this tiny family weekly for over a month. I like this image because the bird is so tiny that the bokeh behind it looks giant in comparison and allows the bird to stand out from the background.
What else should we know about you and your photography?
I am a member of the Porirua Camera Club having recently joined after the Hutt Camera Club ceased operating at the end of last year.
I am also Vice-President of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and am also a PSNZ accredited judge in both Open and Nature categories.
I am a firm believer that to fully enjoy the benefits of clubs and organizations, one must give back as well. The running of clubs and non-profit organizations is done by volunteers, and I am more than happy to volunteer my time to support my passion for photography.