Photography tips – the importance of your local patch

An Australasian Darter preening with little care for me being some 10m away from it.

When people think of bird photography, the thought often conjures exotic tropical destinations, incredibly rare and unusual birds, colourful plumage and other things you would not expect in your hometown. To be a consistent and skilled photographer, you should never miss an opportunity to shoot habituated birds at your local pond or local patch of forest or bushland. At least get out and use your camera as much as possible to work on your skills. Why is that you may ask? The answer is simple. The more you shoot with your equipment, the more you become familiar with its capabilities, the way you need to manage a shooting scenario and also be able to develop a set of skills to capture a scene very quickly. The most successful wildlife photographers can adapt to any situation and take home great images for their portfolio.

A well-habituated Azure Kingfisher at this reserve means, that many photographers can take home excellent images of a normally elusive bird.

Netra and I love to take participants out on our free community photo walks to Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside, located in western Sydney. This place is flooded with people on most weekends, but it means, that many birds get used to the hustle and bustle of the human intruders and can become quite “tame” in a sense. You can get fairly close to ducks, cormorants, darter and some of the more habituated bush birds. While many of the species will be common, they can still be captured in ways that are unique, aesthetically pleasing and by spending the time at the same local places you may also come across some unusual birds. Netra and I have seen a stunning male Mandarin Duck at this reserve. While it’s not a native bird, and it was most likely an aviary or wildlife park escapee, he made for some stunning photo opportunities. If we did not visit this reserve as often as we do, we would have missed the opportunity altogether.

The beatiful male Mandarin Duck mentioned in the blog post.
A tiny, and not often seen, Baillon’s Crake, seen at a very small Beaumont Hills pond in NW Sydney a few years ago.

Don’t be put off by your local patch! It’s a place to hone your skills, come face-to-face with beautiful creatures and you will greatly improve your photographic abilities. This means when you are on that trip of a lifetime, you will not be fumbling around to change settings to capture that stunning rarity you have in your bucket list!

Netra and I wanted to get good photos of Tui in New Zealand this year. Being able to adapt to the shooting situation enabled me to just focus on the action in front of us and capture this image of the berry mid-flight down the hatch.
Netra’s flight photography skills allowed her to capture this awesome shot of a Kea with the wings fully down, in flight.

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