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Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 for seabird photography

Let me start by saying I loved using this lens. Loved it. One of my main aims on a subantarctic trip is pelagic bird photography, which can often be a challenging task. While birds will follow the ship and get quite close, I often find myself needing a bit of extra reach to get the shots I’m after. Pairing this beast of a lens with […]

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Gear update – Nikon D500

So a while back I lost a lot of camera gear to a freak wave.  While that kinda sucked at the time, on the flip side it’s given me the opportunity to get some new camera gear! This is supremely exciting for me, because I’ve never had a camera that is brand-spanking-new. And after using (and loving) the D500 for three weeks, it was the obvious choice to […]

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The Pyramid – Chatham Islands

The Pyramid (Tarakoikoia) is a mighty rise of rock at the southern end of the Chatham Islands. It’s classified as an Important Bird Area because it’s the only place in the world that the Chatham albatross currently breeds. Having just a single colony makes the species extremely vulnerable to weather events. The Taiko Trust is currently translocating chicks to a predator-free fenced site on the […]

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The Booby Saga

I’ve always been a birdwatcher. From a young age I’ve sat quietly in hides with a pair of binoculars, wandered rainforests staring up into the canopy, and awoken at frankly criminal hours to catch the dawn chorus. I’m not usually one for chasing after rare sightings. But on Thursday night (19th Jan), the Birds Auckland page on Facebook lit up with the news that there […]

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The big and the small

This photograph of a Southern Royal albatross and a Black-bellied Storm petrel is one of my favourite images. Not because it’s a particularly stunning image, it’s quite ordinary in every aspect except, perhaps, for the subjects. While not the largest or smallest seabirds, these two are pretty close to either end of the Procellariiforme spectrum – the group of birds that includes albatross, petrels, shearwaters, storm […]

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Bounty Islands

I have never seen so many seabirds in my life. The air above the Bounty Islands is dark – a mist that resolves through binoculars into a flurry of whirling albatross. Salvin’s albatross breed here with a population of some 80,000 birds, interspersed with thousands of Erect-crested penguins, Fulmar prions, and Snares Cape petrels. It’s not long before we spot the bird of the day – […]

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The Gift

On my 23rd birthday, I woke to the ship rocking in a way that indicated one thing to me. It wasn’t looking good for us to be able to land on Macquarie Island. Looking out through the porthole, I could see the golden island dusted with snow, shades of grey in the gloom, and the sea tossed in foamy spray.   I was up and […]

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An Introduction to Subantarctic New Zealand

If you read the blog I posted before I left, you’ll recognise this map: When I mention the subantarctic to people, they often comment on how much ice I’m going to see – which would be true if I was heading down to South Georgia. But New Zealand’s subantarctic islands are actually much closer to New Zealand than Antarctica, and sit between the Subtropical and […]

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In 2016 I…

…took the first two landscape photos that I’m actually proud of:  Landscape photography is something of a struggle for me, and I usually end up frustrated in lacklustre images. These two are the first images that I am really happy with, but it’s definitely something I need to keep working on.   …started teaching photography workshops – which is so much fun!     …graduated […]

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Antipodes Island

Merry Christmas everyone! This time, I’m not going to write trip logs, nor will my blog be in chronological order. We’re starting with one of the places I was absolutely dying to visit, especially after the Million Dollar Mouse project earlier this year – Antipodes Island. The main Antipodes island and its small surrounding archipelago are most remote of our subantarctic islands, over 800km from the […]