Photography is a lot like fishing. Both activities are favorite hobbies of mine, which keep me extremely busy. Wether I take my camera or fishing rod, it’s almost every time a passionate and exciting adventure. Both can be extremely satisfying when your results exceeds your expectations, but can be just as frustrating, when you missed that golden opportunity. A lot of the time, a portion of good luck is involved.
To be at the right spot at the right time, with the right equipment to capture the moment. Sure, everyone can take a photo of a sunset or drop a prawn on a hook at the jetty. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to land a nice catch or take a great photo. But if you are really passionate about either hobby, it pays to do some research. I explained my fishing homework in a previous post, these are my thoughts on photography.
The most important factor for photography is light. This influences the shutter speed of the camera. The more light, the faster the shutter speed is the general rule.
The faster the shutter speed, the clearer is the image of a moving object. That’s the theory, which is often very hard to transfer to practice.
The main draw card that got me interested to visit Cape Hillsborough was the fact, that wallabies and kangaroos gather each morning on the beach. Knowing that the sun rises over Wedge Island at the same time, taking a photo of one or more kangaroos with sunrise colours was my ultimate goal.
Getting there wasn’t easy and I am still not overly happy with the results.
When in full hopping motion, wallabies are incredibly fast and hard to focus on.
There are other factors which add to a great photo. Silhouettes, shadows and reflections add depth and structure to a photo.
Putting all these factors together in a split moment is quiet difficult. Knowing that I will spend a few days at Cape Hillsborough gave me some time to do my homework.
Perceiving light conditions early mornings, surrounding nature as well as the animals’ movements before and after the feeding procedure was my focus point. Being out early morning fishing way before sunrise, these marsupials actually forage the beach for nutritious food.
The moon light was bright and reflected over tidal flats. Being all alone on the beach and seeing these cute animals hopping along was an incredible experience.
As first light shines over the horizon, they congregate closer together at a speculated area. This appears to be where first tourists arrive and watch these wallabies mingle.
Disagreements between some males are seen every morning, which results in a tail boxing matchup.
These are testosterone driven dominance issue with rivals. They are quickly solved and appear fairly harmless.
However, I did notice one male moving in ‘feeding motion’ from the beach one morning, he wasn’t able to skip away.
The Rangers leaves a few heaps of leaf pallets, which are enough for each wallaby and kangaroo to munch on without causing aggression.
Once, all food has been eaten, the marsupials disburse mostly in northern direction along the beach. This is the area I am speculating for sun reflecting photos. If the tourists circle cuts this direction off, they hop south towards the headland.
Adult males move on their own, whilst females and younger males hop in small groups. A social and secure matter it seems. Ideally, for the perfect photo, I came to following conclusion.
It should be an outgoing tide at half way, leaving enough moisture on the beach for a reflective bonus and not too much space for the wallabies to bypass you.
Some low clouds over the far horizon add structure and depth in colours. They also delay the intense direct sunlight for half an hour, which enriches early morning colours within the clouds.
This didn’t happen the first few days. Rainy and windy conditions greeted me and the wallabies those days. That was good in the way, as I could concentrate on the wallabies themselves.
The young, hand raised eastern grey kangaroo was the tallest of the mob. She was incredibly curious about a lot of things around her. She was scanning the ocean like I do before I go out fishing. Quiet amusing.
All other marsupials are Agile Wallabies. By the time the sun did peak through the clouds, all wallabies had already left.
I took some photos in the painting setting and I am happy with the outcome. This filter gives a completely different perspective on shapes and colours.
Being out on Maniyak again early mornings, the setting almost full moon shone even brighter.
The stars were shining brightly over the horizon, it’s going to be a fabulous morning for a photo shoot. As I was thinking that, I noticed fog coming in from the bay. Covering the headlands first, before eventually engulfing the beach and forest.
It was spooky and even the mammals weren’t sure on what’s going on. I was hoping for the sun to burn through the clouds whilst the kangaroo and wallabies were still on the beach, but the fog was as thick as pea soup. This however, gave a completely different spectrum to the whole photo scenario.
The beach kept wet and opted for clear wallaby reflections on the sand.
As the full moon was setting over yet another reflective beach, first light was appearing over Wedge Island.
I turned my head and camera frequently to capture either event. Just breathtaking.
Some wallabies had gathered already at the feeding grounds, whilst others were still foraging in the distance.
Some males had their usual stand off disagreements, which look quite dramatic.
The wallabies left the feeding frenzy northwards as I hoped for. The sun was fairly high already and the tide a fair way out. It was hard to predict the wallabies movement.
I captured a single male hopping along.
He even paused for me on the reflecting beach. Really cute.
A surprisingly large group set off right along the waters edge.
A tidal channel gave awesome reflections, but I was to far away. Ha ha, it’s always like that isn’t it?
A few lead the group and waited for the rest to catch up.
Once they were all together again, some hopped off again and waited further on. I hadn’t noticed this behavior before, but I sure wish that I had been in a more favorable spot to capture this. This is all part off photography and life in general; observe and learn.
One photo is a favourite of mine as it shows three wallabies in three different stages of hopping. Classic.