A wander around Sumner and the Estuary

Recently I had a wander around the Sumner area and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary with my friend to try and photograph some birds. We arrived just before sunrise and did some solid shooting for a few hours (with a much needed break at Joes Garage to get some breakfast). Lots of kingfishers were seen, a large flock of Spotted Shags was a bonus, and spending time with Pied Stilts was a delight.

Morning Kingfisher - Sometimes when there’s a beautiful bird in front you in low light you have to push your settings. These were pretty extreme settings (Well for my camera at least) at 1/50 sec (handheld) and ISO 3200. Although grainy, I love the purple tinge on the image and I think its really unique.

Dawn Spotted Shags - After spending time with the kingfisher we started wandering around some more and by chance stumbled upon a large Spotted Shag roost. The light was absolutely beautiful and I adjusted my settings to start shooting silhouettes. I love how its minimalistic but interesting at the same time. It was a great time with these Spotted Shags and quite a spectacle when they all took off to go feed.


Spotted Shag Silhouette - It was so cool to watch these shags fly back and forth from their roosting area. I made it my personal goal while I was there to capture one in flight and as you can see I was successful (After multiple failed attempts). 

High Key Variable Oystercatcher - On the way back from the Spotted Shag roost we spotted this oystercatcher foraging among the rocks and started taking photos of it. After a while I realized that I was just taking standard portraits so I started being a little more creative. This is the result of slowing down and being more creative. You should try it some time!

Vibrant New Zealand Kingfisher - This is by far my favourite photo of the trip! I love the clean background, sharp bird, out of focus rock, and the small in the frame feel. I took this at McCormack’s Bay Reserve where I saw at least 12 kingfishers, including 5 kingfishers on the same perch! Luckily when I saw this bird I got a very short period of cloud cover, so there aren’t any nasty shadows.

Young Pied Stilt Reflection - Our last spot of the day turned out to be quite nice, with 3 Pied Stilts being relatively confiding. The water was glassy blue and offered some beautiful reflections. This young stilt strayed away from the other 2 and came into good range for a photo.

Thanks for Reading :)


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