Western Springs is very close to where I live in Auckland. It’s a big park with a (kinda nasty in places…although not too nasty because there’s eels in there) lake and it’s home to a lot of birdlife. Including a flock of Royal Spoonbills, which are not very common, and self-introduced from Australia in the early 1900’s. For the amount of photographic opportunities that Western Springs presents, I should really visit it more often…but so far this year I’ve only managed to go there twice. Both times have been pretty productive though!
There’s a lot cute happening at this time of year, with wee cygnets and all manner of other young birds popping up. I spent a lot of time with a young family of Black Swans, and an Australian Coot family with three bizarre looking chicks. I can’t remember seeing such young coot chicks before – they’re odd little black pom-poms with vibrant orange tufts around a red face and bright blue eyeshadow.
I usually have a goal in mind when I’m wandering around taking photos. It was a dull day and difficult to get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze action, so I went in the opposite direction and tried to get some interesting wing-blurs while keeping the rest of the bird sharp. It’s pretty hit and miss because birds like moving the rest of their body as well as their wings, but occasionally it works! The first two images of a Black Swan and a Little Shag were shot at about 1/20th of a second, and the coot at about 1/500th – much faster flapping during preening needed a faster shutter speed – I didn’t notice that his eye was peeking out until I got the photos back on the computer.
Below is one of the last images of the day, when the flock of Spoonbills took off and circled overhead after a massive rain deluge. It reminds me a little of a photo I took quite a long time ago now. Or at least it feels that way, a lot has happened in the past four years. I’d like to think that my photography, or my technique has improved a lot since then, but more and more at the moment I find myself frustrated. I don’t have a lot of time for photography at the moment and I feel a little out-of-practice when I do pick up my camera. But I do enjoy the time I get to spend taking photos. And for now, that’s enough. I’ve got plenty of other work to do, and it’s work that I love.