A Morning Shoot at Muriwai Beach

Bristolero

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Joined
May 15, 2017
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786
Location
Alaska/New Zealand
My wife and I recently spent six weeks in New Zealand. Almost all of it was spent in Northland, basically from Auckland up to Russell, an area of about 140 miles. This semi-tropical region is our favorite location on the North Island, with it's many beaches, splendid Pohutukawa trees, abundant birdlife--and you're never too far from a good coffee!
We packed our inflatable SUP boards and swim trunks and made good use of both.
On a brilliant mid-February day we headed over to the West Coast, near the small surfing spot at Muriwai beach. We figured the morning sun would be perfect for a shooting session at the nearby gannet colony.
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I've been to the colony twice before, in fact several years ago this was my first attempt at BIF shooting with my then E-PL5 and 75-300. The CAF capabilities of the PL5 are non-existent so all my shots were in SAF mode, but gannets are fairly predictable flyers and so I did get enough good ones to start me on the never-ending quest (addiction?) for the perfect shot of a flying fowl. Today I was armed with my E-M1 ii and 300 Pro, a much better combo for the purpose.
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A stiff wind slowed the soaring birds, and shooting was almost child's play, compared to the swerving rockets we are usually blessed with when tracking other species through the skies. In my hard drives roost many a flying gannet, this time I was after interesting interactions, positions, or backgrounds.
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Here's one of my favorites. It's a substantial crop, but I love the position:
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I find this shot notable since it is the gannet in the background in focus. For some reason I always seem to equate the one in focus as being closer. Must be some sort of quirk...
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I couldn't resist a couple "normal" side-on flyers:
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At least this one is flying over its nesting compadres.
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An aggravating problem occurred when transitioning from shooting birds flying across the hills or cliffs with a dark background and into the lighter sky or ocean. I shoot in CAFs in Manual mode, with auto ISO and occasionally the ISO seemed too slow to keep up with the light/dark transitions. This mostly resulted in a white gannet with blown highlights or a photo that was entirely under-exposed. I eventually resorted to planning my shots better and just exposure comped for where I wanted the best framing location. Didn't always work but sometime it did.
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At the end of my shoot I swapped out my 300 Pro for the 12-40 and fired off a few scenics. Here's Muriwai, looking northward up the beach. The access to the colony is in two parts--I'm on one and the other is pictured.
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The 12-40, while far from a BIF champion, can capture well enough if something flies close by.
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Thats about it from Muriwai. I plan a post from a couple deep forest shoots, and a shore bird one in the near future.
BTW: sorry for the first abbreviated post. In the past when I click to insert an image, the image itself inserts into my post, but today only the attachment test showed, making it more difficult to figure which file I had just inserted. Anyhow hopefully all good now.
E
 
Last edited:

Panolyman

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
2,111
Location
Wild West Wales
Real Name
Brian
My wife and I recently spent six weeks in New Zealand. Almost all of it was spent in Northland, basically from Auckland up to Russell, an area of about 140 miles. This semi-tropical region is our favorite location on the North Island, with it's many beaches, splendid Pohutukawa trees, abundant birdlife--and your never too far from a good coffee!
We packed our inflatable SUP boards and swim trunks and made good use of both.
On a brilliant mid-Februaryday we headed over to the West Coast, near the small surfing spot at Muriwai beach. We figured the morning sun would be perfect for a shooting session at the nearby gannet colony.
View attachment 807877
No Oops about it Eric, simply superb!
 

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