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"White-bellied Sea Eagle"

Wildlife photography has really become a dominant part of my photography in recent months. Prior to this I focused on landscape shots mostly. Over the last few months I have been lucky enough to spend some time in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. This place has an abundance of wildlife from water buffalo, to the famous salt water crocodile, right through to some of the most beautiful birds I have seen.

The White Bellied Sea Eagle is no exception to this!

These birds are found living in huge nests of tall trees close to wetlands, billabongs and river systems of Kakadu. Some of these raptors have wing spans of up to 220cm!

This months SNAP of the month was shot from the stunning Yellow Waters Billabong in the heart of Kakadu. It is here where the national parks most famous boat cruise departs. A promise of birdlife, buffalos, wild pigs and of course the salt water crocodile makes this a tourists dream.

What also really attracted to me to this boat cruise was the golden hour cruises at sunrise and sunset.

From a photographers point of view these times promote perfect light conditions for shooting both the landscape and the wildlife.

I was really excited as we boarded the boat in the dark. This region was so peaceful and quiet with only the sound of the boat leaving the boat ramp. As the first glimpse of of light began to show on the horizon the sky was transformed into one of the best sunrises I have ever seen!

Candy Floss Sky!

The sound of birdsong began to echo across the billabong like natures orchestra!

This cruise is an absolute MUST if anyone is looking to visit Kakadu. The white bellied sea eagle was definitely a bird I was hoping to get a glimpse of on this cruise. Around half way into this experience we were so lucky to see a male and female perched on a dead tree surrounded by the water.

Their eyes were fixed on the surface of the water waiting for an opportunity to catch their breakfast. The boat stopped close by with the sun behind us making it an ideal photo opportunity. Ensuring I was using a high shutter speed to 1. capture the bird in flight and 2. counteract the moving boat I focused on the pair.

As the largest of the two (presumably the female in this case) pushed off from the branch I managed to capture a series of shots with this amazing bird in flight. I have also attached below a composite snap demonstrating the change in shape of those huge wings as they fly through the air.

How special is this animal!

The morning sun lit up my subject creating this stunning shot! I hope you all enjoyed hearing a bit more about how this snap of the month was taken, and also seeing how incredible the sunrise sky was that morning.

If anyone has any questions about wildlife photography specifically, any questions about the Yellow Water Billabong or any other general questions please do message me and I would be happy to reply ASAP.

Tips & Tricks:
  • Golden Hour is extremely popular for all photographers and for good reason. The light at this time of the day promotes the perfect conditions for both landscape and wildlife photography. Allowing for a carefully exposed shot with minimal noise from unwanted glare. I would definitely recommend shooting at these times when looking to photograph the likes of birds in flight.

  • Back Button Focus. At first this method may seem a bit confusing but once used to this you will never go back. Back Button Focus is a technique that separates the focusing and the shutter release button. The benefit of this is that the cameras autofocus no longer is able to continuously being engaged when the shutter is released. Holding the back button continually focuses while pressing the button once focuses and locks the focus. What an advantage this is for shooting anything with a moving subject! A further benefit is that you can quickly switch to manual focus without adjusting any settings or adjusting any buttons on your lens.

  • GET OUT THERE! The biggest thing I can take from my experience to date is that you just have to get out there and take shots. Practise makes perfect for everything and wildlife photography is no different.


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