Southern Boobook Owl

I bought a Canon 5D MarkIII when they came out in 2012. I produce videos, I had worked with the 5D MarkII and admired it, the fact that the camera shoots very good video was the main reason for purchasing it. But, I am astounded and overjoyed by the photographs it takes.

Southern Boobook Owl perched in a Liquid AmberThis Southern Boobook Owl, Ninox novaeseelandiae, momentarily appeared in a tree outside my window, a stunning sight that had me rushing for the camera, but as soon as it saw me it flew off. Minutes later I heard Noisy Minors Manorina melanocephala harassing something in a nearby exotic tree, Liquid Amber Liquidambar styraciflua.

Noisy Minors are the local bully birds in my neighbourhood. They aggressively chase off any other birds or animals they can. I lament the absence of small birds at my place due to the Noisy Minors, but they also provide a beacon when circumstances change that alerts me to something unusual going on. I knew that they had found the Boobook that I wanted to photograph.

So, it is was wet, it was a work day and I was rushed. I managed to spot the Boobook and fire enough shots to think I had one frame that was (hopefully) reasonably sharp, a record of this owl sighting but little more.

But, the joys of digital photography awaited. I was shooting a 300mm lens at f4, but in Adobe Lightroom I managed to get an image that surpasses my expectations. I am still learning, both the camera and the software. I have slowly but surely been working my way through’s courses on Lightroom and in the past couple of days have started using the brushes within Lightroom’s Develop module. They are used in this photograph, not particularly subtly, it all takes a lot of time, but the possibilities of ighlighting parts of the picture excite me.

The picture below, a Noisy Minor also, was one of my first using RAW files rather than jpeg, and the first that blew me away. I knew the scene had potential with the light from sunset creating a highlight, but the ‘undeveloped’ RAW file was nothing, in fact it was forgettable until I started utilising Lightroom to enhance  and bring out what I had seen. Nothing too special but for me it was a turning point.



Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko

This gorgeous creature is nocturnal and a native of the Sydney Basin. It had fallen into an empty china pot  it couldn’t climb up out of, but it seemed to be fine.

A beautiful Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko