Nothing gives me more joy than heading out with my camera and friends to Zealandia EcoSanctuary for a day of wildlife photography, bad puns, and good coffee, so I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite photos from our recent outings. Just hover over the images for the story behind each.
I've just had a search through Lightroom and I have over 7000 photos tagged Zealandia with 295 different dates over 13 years - and those are just the ones I've kept! And I can't wait for the next outing - there is always something new to see or a different angle on a familiar scene. I firmly believe that Zealandia is just as much a sanctuary for us humans as it is for the wildlife.
Yesterday, Hayley was keen to photograph potato orchids (Gastrodia longcolumn), which had just come in to bloom. Passersby were wondering why we were all keenly photographing what looks like dead sticks. It's not until you look close-up that you see their exquisite flowers.
I finally got a pōpokotea (whitehead/Mohoua albicilla) photo worth showing. Maybe it was just good luck, or maybe it was the Leica 100-400mm lens I'd snaffled from Janice and Hayley, but this little dude sat in a brighter spot within the dappled light for just long enough.
A trip to Zealandia isn't complete without the obligatory kākā photo - and it's a wonderful time of year to photograph them as the parents are starting to bring their fledglings down to the feeders.
For us, it's an extra special moment as we see the kākā nestlings that we've monitored all season out and about in the big wide world. This little girl is insistently begging to her mum for more lunch.
Janice kindly let me use her Canon 1DX Mark II and within 30 seconds I'd snapped this photo of a tūī. A great camera, but oh so heavy! It was a good reminder why I continue to shoot with a micro four-thirds kit.
Zealandia inspires so much of my photo-art. This piece is called "Visions of Yesterday - Visions of Tomorrow." UPDATE: I ended up reworking it hugely, and it eventually turned into "Visions of Zealandia" - you can see it here.