While we’re on the subject of Kookaburras, (see previous post), I thought to share my not-so-good shots of the Blue-Winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii).
The bird is clear enough, but I didn’t make a good job of erasing the cage wire in the foreground.
After hundreds of hours of practice over about 3 years, I became quite good at photographing birds through fine cage wire at the Zoo – so that the wire disappears completely – but not so with the images in this post. And this bird’s cage wire had large gaps between each strand, so I have no excuse.
But I’m still going to share so you can see the difference between the 2 Kookaburras.
The Blue-Winged Kookaburra is only found in the far north, or north-west, of Australia so I can’t bring you any images made in the wild, only at the Zoo.
This bird is slightly smaller than the Laughing Kookaburra and has lots of blue on the wings. The rump and tail are a lovely azure blue in the male and the tail is chestnut barred black in the female.
This one is noisy, and has a poorly formed cacophony of harsh cackles and screeches.
Here’s the photo of the Laughing Kookaburra in the previous post which was located in the same size cage next door for comparison.
By the way, if you’re new to bird photography, there’s nothing I can recommend more that practicing photographing birds at your local zoo (if you live in a city like I do).
You learn very quickly how to hold a camera very, very still in order to get one DSLR focal point through tiny 1/4″ (yes, quarter of an inch) cage wire AND you learn exactly how far the subject must be from the cage wall in order to make the wire lines disappear.
Here’s a good example……a Crimson Rosella, well maybe its got slightly different feather pattern and no blue cheeks, but we’ll call it a Crimson Rosella, photographed behind very fine cage wire.
- THE BIRD IS CLINGING TO THE WIRE AND TOO CLOSE.
2. THE BIRD IS FURTHER BACK BUT STILL A BIT TOO CLOSE TO THE WIRE AND I PROBABLY DIDN’T HOLD THE DSLR STILL ENOUGH.
3. THE BIRD IS JUST THE RIGHT DISTANCE AWAY FROM THE CAGE WALL and I MANAGED TO HOLD THE DSLR (with its 9 focal points changed to 1 focal point) VERY STILL. Sometimes you get a haze of funny lines in the background, but it is possible to make the cage wire disappear.
Or better still……..
4. PHOTOGRAPH IT IN THE WILD, LIKE I DID (for the first time ever in my western suburb), BEHIND MY APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE THERE IS A LARGE TREE ON THE EDGE OF FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE. Image made on the 24th October, this year. I’ve cropped the image and lightened the shadows to make the bird more visible. I was so surprised and excited to see this colourful Rosella near my home I admit I had trouble keeping the camera still and I didn’t have a long telephoto lens at the time.
NOTE: I started going to the zoo in 2012 and over about 3 years of annual membership, I went there about 100 times (going by the dates in my photo library). You only have to visit a minimum of 3 times per year to make Annual Membership worth paying for.
Sometimes I’d go 3 times a week in Melbourne’s hot summers as the temperate rainforest landscaping was so shady and exceptionally cool.
Melbourne’s main Zoo, located in North Melbourne (and easily accessible by tram from the city centre), is open 365 days per year, although from time to time, they do close certain exhibits for maintenance. Sometimes I’d go specifically to do nothing else but practice bird photography in The Great Aviary (where you can walk around on the long boardwalk which criss-crosses the enormous space and get quite close to some of the birds, especially at feeding times).
I might add, on overcast cool days, many of the birds were roosting on branches at the top of the enormous Aviary where it was warmer and quite hard to see, so I’d choose a sunny day if I was visiting in Winter if you’re a Tourist. Secondly, if you specifically want to see the Great Aviary, phone the zoo beforehand and ensure its not closed (on your chosen day) for maintenance.