How many ways can you photograph the same subject? I’ve been out to Muriwai so many times over the past few months, and while it’s always different, the main subjects are usually the same – Australasian Gannets. So how many ways can you photograph a gannet before you run out of ideas? That’s been my challenge.
Flying gannets are a good starting point – but getting more than one in the frame in a composition that looks good is more of a challenge. I have so many photos of flying gannets from my years of visiting Muriwai, tack sharp, nice pose, catchlight in the eye. I have a handful of images that I’ve used a slow shutter and panned to get a motion-blurred background (and sometimes bird). But there’s always the potential to take a better photo.
Interactions are always good to photograph. With low evening light giving a warm ambience, it’s easy to be pleased with a lot of images. When the light is a bit flatter and overcast, it’s harder to get an interesting image.
Sunsets and seabirds are arguably my favourite combination. Sometimes the west coast sunsets are truly spectacular – usually for about a minute just as the sun slips below the horizon. Maximising this time requires good eyes and reflexes to catch the birds as they soar past and line up with a good background. And sometimes you can keep going after sunset and still get an interesting image.
I haven’t run out of ideas to try at Muriwai – and I hope I don’t any time soon! I’m also always looking for better images and pushing myself to come up with new angles. It can be difficult sometimes, but the possibilities are endless – we just have to push through complacency to find them.