Albany

•August 31, 2010 • 3 Comments
Southern Right Whale

Southern Right Whale

I was going to start this blog by saying, well long time no blog. But I just realised that is how I started my last one some 5 months ago! Oh dear. Well as the blog said we have a new house, which is awesome, but has taken up a lot of time. I never want to pick up a paint brush ever again. Ever. Time to photograph was certainly limited but is not so bad now.

The highlight over the last little while was certainly a trip to Albany, to go on a boat to see pelagic sea birds. What is pelagic? I knew it had something to do with the ocean, but I wasn’t sure what, so I looked it up. It means anywhere in the ocean that is not close to shore or to the bottom of the ocean, so just about anywhere in the ocean really.

Yellow-nosed Albatross

Yellow-nosed Albatross

I was really really hoping to see a Wandering Albatross, and some whales. The Wandering Albatross was a no show, but the whales were spectacular. Before we had been moving an hour we saw 3 Southern Right Whales in King George Sound. The skipper turned off the engines and let the boat drift, and the whales would come up to the surface and blow might gusts of spray out their blowholes, and raise their fins like in the photo above. It was like nothing I have ever experienced. Because it was still early the light was great and there was fog still on the water, it is something I will never forget.

The birds however were disappointing with both low numbers of species and birds seen. I did manage to get a shot of a Yellow-nosed Albatross that I am really happy with (above). The highlight of the afternoon was a shark (possibly a Mako) that came up to the boat and attacked the burley. It harassed the birds on the water a little, but did not have a serious crack at them. My camera was ready in case it did, but alas it did not. I also managed to get out to the Stirling Range, which is one of my all time favourite places.

The Stirling Range

The Stirling Range

I promise it won’t be 5 months til the next blog!

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Wild Planet

•March 30, 2010 • 2 Comments
Wild Planet book

Wild Planet book

Well, long time no blog! I am very sorry for all you avid readers who wait with bated breath for every new instalment of this gripping series! As you all know life has a habit of getting really busy on you, but it is all good. Better than good actually. My wife and I have been building a house (not literally, the builders have been building it. If I built it, it would have fallen down already.) Well we get our keys tomorrow morning. So it is a very exciting time. However it means lots of packing and moving and painting, and not much shooting… But it is totally worth it.

You are probably wondering why there is a picture of a book with someone elses incredible elephant photo on the cover. Well I have an image in this book. This book is called Wild Planet (duh), and it is a celebration of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. It is a selection of favourite images from the last 15 years or so. I was incredibly privileged to have an image published in the 2007 edition of the competition, and even more privileged to have my image chosen for this collection as well. Not only is it a book, it is an outdoor exhibition that is going to tour for the next 5 years. Currently it is in Brighton UK, so if you are in or plan to visit that area go check it out. And if you are really kind you could send me a picture of my picture, if that makes sense! Check out Wild Planet online here.

Below is the image in the book. It is still probably my favourite image I have taken. It is a close up of the beak of an Australian Pelican. It is titled simply, The Bill.

The Bill

The Bill

Red-capped Plover

•January 10, 2010 • 2 Comments
Red-capped Plover

Red-capped Plover

 

I think Red-capped Plovers have ADD (Attention deficit disorder). They just cannot keep still. Their miniature legs pump up and down like tiny pistons as they scurry over the sand searching for a tasty morsel. The funny thing is how they power walk for a metre or two then stop, then go, then stop again. The sudden flurries of attention certainly make them more noticeable, maybe they have to move like that catch their meals?

Either this bird is a female or is still maturing, as it lacks the distinct reddish collar of an adult male. If anyone out there can inform me it would be most appreciated. This particular bird was at Two Rocks beach, I went up there with some friends to try and get some landscape shots around sunset. We walked onto the beach and I was pleasantly shocked by a large number of birds on the beach. Obviously there was Red-capped Plovers, as well as Sanderlings, Silver Gulls, a Pacific Gull, terns and plenty of Pied Cormorants on one of the two rocks.

I tried to walk up to these little guys and they would just scamper off leaving me with terrible pictures of their backsides! So I thought a new approach was in order, I laid down on the beach near one of their feeding areas and gradually crawled closer. I must have been lying on the beach looking very strange for about 15 min or so when this plover must have felt sorry for me. It came and posed right in front of me, even to the point of not running around like a lunatic and acting like a normal bird. I get so excited in these situations that my heart starts thumping and I can’t hold the camera still! Image stabilisation sure is a lifesaver at times like these.

Til next time,

Love Wes

Parrot on a Grass Tree

•December 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Parrot on a grass tree

28 on a grass tree stalk

 

In keeping with this time of the year; instead of a partridge in a pear tree, we have a parrot on a grass tree. I hope you all had a great Christmas and were able to spend quality time with your family and friends. I had an excellent Christmas relaxing with family, I got a bird feeder for my new house so hopefully sometime next year I’ll be able to get some shots of birds on it and show you. Apart from spending time with family, the best thing about Christmas for me is finding that perfect gift for someone, that you know they just love.

This photo of a 28, or Australian Ringneck Parrot, I took last week out in the Darling Range. I was mainly hoping to see Rainbow Bee-eaters and also some Western Rosellas, I saw some Rosellas but no Bee-eaters. When I pulled up to my spot I saw a bird on top of a grass-tree stalk feeding, the angle was perfect with the sun behind providing some nice backlighting. I managed to get much closer than I thought I would and took quite a few shots with different perspectives. This one definitely turned out the best with the composition and the posture of the bird.

28’s are one of the most common birds in Perth, but strangely I have never got a really good photo of them before. For a few years I have wanted to get a shot of them taking off showing their amazing blue tail feathers, it hasn’t happened, but the thing I like most about this picture is the single blue tail feather that is visible. Funny how these things work out.

Hopefully I will be going out photographing a few times this week and will have some interesting shots to show you. Stay safe over the break, and enjoy your holidays.

Til next time,

Love Wes

The Wren

•November 18, 2009 • 3 Comments
Splendid Fairy-wren

Splendid Fairy-wren

 

Well I hope you like the picture, it is certainly one of my favourites. I have wanted to get a good shot of a Splendid Fairy-wren for years. I got this shot at Araluen, in the Perth hills, and just after I took the shot a family walked past that had also seen the wren. I told them I had been waiting 15 minutes for that shot, really I should have told them I have been waiting 3 years!

 

Sorry about the absence of any new blogs lately, it has been a hectic time with uni assignments and exams and all that fun stuff. I’m back now, don’t worry! I have recently learnt about a couple of exhibitions I am going to be a part of next year, which is really exciting. I will keep you posted in due course.

 

This image is part of a collection I am releasing as limited edition prints. Once again I will keep you up to date with all the details, and once again I am really excited! Also coming soon is a brand new web page.

 

Hope you are all well and not too stressed heading into the crazy time that is Christmas.

 

Til next time,

Love Wes

The Last Light Kite

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment
The Last Light Kite

The Last Light Kite

 

This is a case of so close, yet so so far. A strikingly handsome bird, captured in the stunning light of the last few minutes of the sun. I dare not call the Black-shouldered Kite a beautiful bird, for it is a raptor, and I’m sure it would appreciate being called beautiful about as much as teenage boy being called gorgeous. Call it what you will, the Black-shouldered Kite is one of Australia’s best looking raptors; there is never a feather out of place. In my field guide there is a Black-shouldered Kite perched resplendently on a branch, scanning the page with lethal intent. Beneath it sits a bedraggled Osprey complete with a scrap of fish left dangling messily from its beak, do I need to say more? The kite has a stunning white chest and neck, black wings and grey back, but the real attraction is the fiery orange eyes. I feel for any small creature caught in the kite’s seeming x-ray vision, for surely it will soon become dinner.

 

However I digress, for this image is not as good as I would like. The bird, as most birds are, was too far away, so it is too small in the frame and the final image has been cropped heavily. It is also not as sharp as I would have liked, as such it is a great picture for the web but not really for print. I’ll just have to keep trying. Thankfully this image was taken not too far from my home; in fact I must have driven past this location at least 100 times in search of birds in other places. Yet another lesson for me to learn. Also in the last week or so I was riding my mountain bike near home and happened to find a Tawny Frogmouth sitting on its nest! I don’t have any pictures yet, as I am hesitant to get too close and disturb the parent, this can result in chicks being left by the parents. There is also the slight matter of the nest being up a tree.

 

Here in Perth the weather is attempting to turn towards summer, and all of you who love summer may rejoice. I am consoling myself with the fact that summer means there are birds everywhere, (except in front of my lens it seems) and that there is a lot more daylight to photograph them in.

 

Til next time,

Love Wes

Photographs as Memories

•September 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Mukinbudin Cow

Mukinbudin Cow

 

This image is not the kind I normally take or upload, but when I look at it I don’t see a cow behind a fence, in front of a white building. I see a weekend away with close friends, I see a clear night sky with every galaxy seemingly visible, I taste fresh cow’s milk, I feel the sunburn, I hear my wife out of control on a dirt bike, I remember being charged by an emu! To me the sum of the image is so much greater than its parts.

 

Sometimes the photographer needs to not think about the photograph as art, but as a tool to record special people and times in our lives. Some might say it is a more humble use of the photograph, but what can be nobler than recording the cherished people in our lives to share with future generations? I have taken many “artistic” photos in my life, but on reflection I have to say the photographs that mean the most to me are the “snapshots” of life. It is amazing the feeling you get when you look at an image of a lost loved one, or a family holiday, it all comes flooding back. That, my friends, is the joy of photography.

 

Just a reminder that my first Photoshop course is running very soon, it is specifically tailored to photographers, not graphic designers etc. It is a two night course running on Tuesday 6th October and Tuesday 13th October, classes are strictly limited in size to 6 people. Cost is $225 for the two nights, if you’re interested please email me at wes.cooper@gmail.com and I’ll send you a flyer with more information.

 

I hope you’re all enjoying the last of this wintery weather and the AFL finals, hopefully we get a ripper grand final on Saturday. Of course, it can’t be that good if the Eagles aren’t playing in it!

 

Til next time,

Love Wes