Penguin Island Adventure Tour!

I love penguins and I haven't been to Penguin Island since I was in primary school!! So I had to rectify that before the season closed and I figured if I was going to go on a boat, I might as well do the whole adventure tour too! (Visit http://www.penguinisland.com.au to book your own adventure!)

As is tradition, I started the day by having a good breakfast! Luckily one of my favourite restaurants (www.threewishesrestaurant.com.au) is nearby! Nom Nom Nom, breakfasting right is very important!

With breakfast sorted I headed to the jetty to hop onto the boat. Whilst waiting I noticed a Pied Cormorant drying its wings on the beach so I whipped the camera out and the camera was being difficult. I then realised I forgot to change the settings back after messing with it the night before, I'm so bad at that :(. By the time I got it back to my usual settings the Cormorant took off and I only got one shot of it whilst it was flying away. Let that be a lesson for everyone, make sure to reset your camera after you mess with it and also, Willie Wagtails are very cute with their cranky face!

Since I was booked onto the adventure tour we don't head straight to Penguin Island but instead we do a tour of Shoalwater Bay and try to find some dolphins! There was a super playful pod of dolphins with a couple of babies playing!!! They were freaking awesome just jumping around and nudging each other then surfing on the boats wake! My DSLR and telephoto lens was a little bit hard to hold whilst motoring along so I didn't take many photos of them (and I wasn't so sure about my sea legs hahaha) I will just have to go again!!

Once we saw the dolphins we headed to the smaller islands north of Penguin Island (Shag Rock, Seal Island and Bird Island)

FYI, baby pelicans are freaking cute!!

Soooo many animals on the islands, it is amazing how they all get along so well! People...take note!! (Also, This Pied Cormorant family is the funniest!!!)

Then we started to head towards Penguin Island, the captain opened the throttles up a bit and hooooned towards Penguin Island. We came across more Pied Cormorants and I saw a couple of Whistling Kites. There were also heaps of Crested Terns on the beach at Penguin Island, they apparently nest on the beach there! Ohh and a Australasian Darter drying it's wings on the beach, whilst looking at me funny hahah.

OK, now time for Penguins!!!! <3 <3 <3

These are now called Little Penguins but I much prefer their original name Fairy Penguins!! (They are also known as Blue Penguins, for obvious reasons!) I just really want one!

I realise that it makes sense now, but I didn't know how vocal they were! Check out the lungs on this guy! (His name is Kevin)

I went on a bit of a walk around the island to see if there was anything else birdwise to photograph but I only found a heaaaapppp of seagulls sitting on their eggs, which made them excessively screechy...so I went back to the picnic area and had some lunch whilst waiting for the next ferry. On the boardwalk as I was walking to the jetty I saw a funny looking bird scratching around in the sand, it hadn't notice me yet so I took a heap of shots! Turns out it was a Buff Banded Rail, a usually very shy bird!! So lucky to see it!

For something a little different to end this blog, here's a picture of some pelicans that were just floating back and forth. Certainly living the life!

Small Print *No penguins were stolen in the making of this blog*

Augusta Road Trip - Part 2!

7th May 2017

I woke up a little early and noticed the sun was just coming up so went to the window and was pleasantly surprised by the view!

It's nice when you don't need to even leave the room to get a nice sunrise!!

I took a heap of pictures and since I was already wide awake I thought I would have a shower and find some coffee and breakfast before heading out to the waterwheel again.

The cafe I walked to was not open as per the advertised time! There was much sadness :( so I walked back to my car and headed to the waterwheel to find the elusive rock parrot and take some long exposure seascape shots.

As you can tell, I did not find a rock parrot. It is elusive after all!! After that disappointment I thought I would drive to Canal rocks but took the scenic route along the coast!

I can't remember the name of this place but it is here. It's at the end of a gravel road, I find these are the best roads to explore because hardly anyone goes on them!

It was quite an uneventful drive to Canal Rocks and luckily it was pretty quiet when I got there so it was easy to find a spot without any people being in the frame!

The rest of my Sunday was pretty boring, it was spent driving back to Augusta, although I did drive through Boranup State Forest and saw heaps of birds, but they were too quick for me and the road was too narrow to stop on :(. There was quite an awesome lookout located about here

8th May 2017

I had a bit of a late-ish start this day so I could have breakfast/coffee at the bakery. (Yes, it was damn good!!)

I took the slightly more scenic route down Brockman Hwy and stopped at Alexandra Bridge because it was nice and foggy! As soon as I got to the waters edge there was a super friendly zorro duck that walked right up to me and hung around for ages, suffice to say there are going to be many zorro duck pics coming!

Yes, I do love zorro ducks!!!

Eventually zorro ducks friend came along and then they disappeared down the river

It was a most awesome weekend and definitely looking forward to more photography holidays!

To See New Things You Need To Go To New Places!

I saw a Pelagic boat tour advertised on a FaceBook Birding Group and got on board right away! (hehe pun intended)

The hugemongous boat ("Alison Maree") was leaving Augusta at 0700 and then it's basically a three hour trip to the continental shelf. (Only 80kms off the coast, boats seem rather slow compared to motorbikes, seriously needs more engine or something hehe).

Then the plan was to spend about four hours drifting around and seeing what happens to fly by.

Before this trip, I didn't actually know what pelagic or continental shelf really meant...hahaha...(I heard about pelagic fish...just never knew it related to its habitat haha)

So google to the rescue, "Pelagic" just means "relating to the open sea" and the continental shelf "is the area of seabed around a large land mass where the sea is relatively shallow compared with the open ocean."

So this tour was specifically aimed at observing pelagic birds, which necessitated a trip out into the open ocean. I imagine the continental shelf was chosen because big drop offs are where fish are and would be where the pelagic birds would be hunting.

Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, let's get onto the pictures!

I came down to Augusta the day before so did a bit of sightseeing after checking in. Found an old waterwheel which I thought might look at night with the milky way...Of course I didn't check the moon phase or whether the milky way would be visible in the sky beforehand...Alas, it was almost a full moon (thus obscuring the milky way) as well the milky way not being in the right position anyway! I should perhaps plan these a bit better...LOL

It was ridiculously cold so I didn't stay outside too long but I did get the following pics, the picture on the left shows the actual waterwheel itself. It's actually made from wood but is now calcified by lime and looks like rock! The pic on the right is from a slightly different angle and looks up to the Orion Constellation (aka the saucepan). I had an early start the next day and was freezing so went back to the room and into bed!

Saturday 6th May 2017

Was treated to a pretty nice sunrise at the harbour, which made the early start a little bit more bearable haha. The Allison Marie was a freaking amazing boat! I didn't realise how big it was until I was up along side it...it's like hugemongous!!! Once everyone was loaded we had a quick safety talk and then headed out to the shelf! It was awesome seeing the sun rise up above the ocean just out the harbour.

Now onto the birds!! I will spare the details of my sea sickness hahaha. I missed seeing some whale spouting and a shark (fin) due to feeling ill! :(

OK OK, here are the pics!

Aside from the seasickness I had a most epic time seeing birds I had never seen before! Big thanks to Plaxy and Dan from the Western Australian Birds Facebook Group for organising the trip and also big thanks to Naturaliste Charters for the most excellent boat and crew!

Couldn't resist a sunset shot as we headed back to the harbour at the end of the day!

I have way more pictures from this trip as I stayed in Augusta for a few more days afterwards but they will have to wait for the next blog post as this one is getting a little big already!

Seek expert advice!

I love wildlife photography (obviously lol) and recently it's mainly been of birds but I am hopeless at spotting them! As soon as I get into the bush I forget what I'm doing and end up just walking until a bird flies away from my footsteps hahaha

So I joined a bird watching group (Birdlife.org) and went on a few birding excursions with them. It amazes me how they are able to identify birds just by the call and how they can spot teeny birds amongst a hugemongous bush!

My number of bird shots has increased dramatically since going on the excursions! (Certainly helps having a gazillion spotters who know what they're doing!!)

What's even better is now I actually know what each species is because they are always called out and a tally is done at the end of the excursion. I do like adding metatags into my pics...mainly for my benefit down the track haha

Here are a sample of the pics taken from these excursions.

Light is everything!

A few weeks ago I went to Sugarloaf Rocks at sunset but the lighting wasn't quite right, so I went back this morning at sunrise to see if it is any better! 

Photography Therapy - Bunbury/Dunsborough

So, I had some spare time and decided to head away for the weekend down south.

I need to go back to Sugarloaf Rocks at sunrise I think!

Colour can be distracting

Recently I've been hooked on black and white photography.

In B&W you can ignore colours and just concentrate on the shapes and lines of an image. It can be a bit harder to shoot because a number of colours can become the same shade of grey, but the challenge is half the fun!

Research your subjects!

I've always wanted to take pictures of a Sacred Kingfisher and I was lucky enough to stumble across one the other day! After that I did a little research on them and found out that they move around a bit, in winter they go north and in spring they come back south to breed. They are also a solitary bird and only pair up for breeding. That would explain why they are hard to find!!

Photography Challenge - Dragonflies

"We choose to take photos of dragonflies in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard".

Bwahaha, well ok, maybe it isn't that hard :p

I do like just sitting and watching them though, they have such random movements.  They are capable of hovering though and that makes it a little easier. Still a lot of luck required to get a good pic though!

Even when they're hovering it's a case of spray and pray!

It wasn't until I looked at the pictures above on a computer did I see it was eating something...That would explain why it sat on the rock for a while!

One of the reasons I love wildlife photography is you just never know what you'll see!

It is super exciting to head out into the bush and then see a bird you've never seen in the wild before or get a better picture of a bird you have seen before. 

This weekend I went to one of my favourite cafes (Cafe on the Dam) and had pancakes. That's not photography related but I just really like pancakes :D

There are soooo many friendly birds at the dam (including a non friendly Kookaburra that will steal food right off your plate!!) Most of them are pretty good around people and will let you get close enough to take heaps of pics. Some of them will look cranky though, like the guy below hehe.

Wren not looking very happy about being photographed :p

After breakfast I went for a drive to Roley Pools to practice some dragonfly shots. As I was walking towards the small pool where they gather I saw a bird land on a branch. Due to its position I could only see its silhouette and my first thought was that it was a Kookaburra, since I could hear heaps of them in the area. Once I walked around further and the bird stepped into the sun I saw that it was actually a Sacred Kingfisher!!! (They essentially look like a small colourful Kookaburra). This is the first one I've ever seen in the wild!!!

Sacred Kingfisher looking rather beautiful

Motorbike Road Trip To Esperance!

So after realising Australia Day was on a Thursday, I put a leave form in for the Friday so I could have an extraaaa long weekend. Then the week before I thought I should probably go away somewhere and have a mini holiday!

I had previously wanted to go to Esperance but I wasn't feeling too great and only made it to Hyden and stayed there instead hahah (Did get some good astro shots against Wave Rock though)

This time I booked accommodation and an eco tour in advance, so I couldn't wuss out! To make it harder I also decided to ride my motorbike down instead of driving...because it seemed like a good idea at the time...

Thursday 26th January

My day started with breakfast at Souljah Cafe and Wellness Centre in Roleystone. Awesome coffee and a delicious roast vege toastie...nom nom nom!

Next stop Brookton, Pingelly, Wickepin, Lake Grace, Newdegate, Lake King, Ravensthorpe, Esperance. (722km ~8 hours). The journey was quite uneventful, albeit sooooo hot. I stopped at every opportunity so I could throw water over myself and have a drink.

Quite knackered after that long ass ride I basically got to the room, had a shower and crashed for a bit. I started feeling a little peckish but was too lazy to go out for dinner...sadly there was no menulog ahah...all the restaurants I called weren't opened...the chocolates in the minibar were looking very tempting at this point...Subway was open though, woot!

After dinner I had planned on going down to the jetty for some sunset photos...but I fell asleep instead and didn't get up until the next morning lol

Friday 27th January

I booked an eco tour to Woody Island to see what the wildlife and landscape photography was like on the island. The boat was due to leave at 0830 so I found a place near the jetty to have breakfast. Ollies had rave reviews on Google and I wasn't disappointed! 

We all filed into the boat pretty early so we had some time to look for some seals on the surrounding islands! This seal pup was just too cute!!

Few minutes later we arrived on Woody Island and there was chocolate cake! Perfect thing just before a long walk around one of the hiking trails! There was heaps to see around the island, some highlights below.

Unfortunately it wasn't the clearest day for landscape photos :(

They say all good things must come to an end, so we all trundled back onto the boat and sat down. Apparently because the wind had picked up it was going to be a bumpy ride...they weren't wrong LOL. That's why the boat needed 900hp! 

Had a pretty chill night, grabbed some dinner and then went to the beach for some sunset pics. Not the best day for it though, I will need to go back :D

Saturday 28th January 2017

The beaches around Esperance are amazing!!!! I can't believe how many there are and so close to town!!! (Also FYI, Pink Lake...IS NOT PINK...such disappoint)

Sunday 29th January 2017

Pretty boring day this one, just had to make my way home...did not count on there being a cyclone off the coast however...see the vid below for a peak at what most of my ride home looked like...Luckily though, the rain stopped and I was dry by the time I reached home.

Esperance trip all done and dusted but I've planned a trip to Geraldton in a couple months and hope to get around to all the sights up there and do it all again! (Except maybe for the rain/cyclone)

Been rather slack lately...

I haven't taken any photos for a while so I thought I would spend an extra long weekend in Esperance, here's a sample pic from that trip.

Simple tip: Hold your camera vertically when taking landscape panoramas for extra detail and a more pleasing aspect ratio.

Stay tuned for more from this set, there'll be more wildlife and landscape shots! (I guess that's not surprising lol)

Star surfing

Wave Rock against a starry night

Wave Rock against a starry night

I love driving out into the country just so I can see the stars!

It's also nice to have a hugemongous rock in the shape of a wave to ogle.

Huge camera gear sale!!

I'm rationalising my photography equipment to reduce the weight I need to carry around!

So all the below gear is for sale, with some sample pics!

EF 70-200 F2.8L USM $1000

*SOLD* EF 28mm F1.8 USM *SOLD

*SOLD* EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM *SOLD*

EF 400mm F5.6L USM $1300

*SOLD* EF 24-105 F4L IS USM *SOLD*

*SOLD* EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM *SOLD*


Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art. OMG so good!

Just picked up a Sigma 18-35mm Art lens and am blown away by it's sharpness, it's just ridiculously good even compared to the prime lenses I have.

Can't wait to get out with it more. Still waiting for an adaptor ring so I can put my ND filter on.

Dragonflies

I found a new bush walking trail and there were dragonflies everywhere, so I decided to try taking pics of them. That was easier said than done! They are so tiny and so fast but managed to get the pics below. 

 

Loook at that happy smily face!!!

Loook at that happy smily face!!!

Since it wasn't challenging enough, I tried to get them flying too! Wayyy more luck required for that!

Since it wasn't challenging enough, I tried to get them flying too! Wayyy more luck required for that!

Bin Chickens

aka the Australian White Ibis.

Earns its nickname because it is commonly found rummaging through bins for food.

Landscapes

This is why I love landscape photography! There's nothing better than being out in the country side, with the sun shining and the wind in your hair!

Supermoon...

Phwoar...soooo much hype...but unless you could do a side by side comparison you would never know it was a supermoon! Couple of sample pics below.

 

I do like taking moon pics, but I find the moon looks more interesting when it isn't full. The picture below was taken the night after the supermoon (waning gibbous phase).