Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete’s work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the naturalscapes of Australia. Follow his blog for beautiful Australian and International Landscape Photographs by one of Australia's Leading Landscape Photographers.
This blog will be added to when I can and its not so much a travel blog but rather the experience of doing Africa with myself and Rosepetal. It will be completed when I’m back home in Oz. When you are running a photo tour to Africa there are so many moments that live with you forever. There are moments that will change you if you are open to that. There are moments when you can see the amazing beauty of the animal kingdom and you see how the circle of life works.
There are magic moments that happen to you that are simply awe inspiring with no explanation and then there is the magic that takes place in Africa. There was one such moment that will be made know a little later.
I never take it for granted when I’m able to take people to Africa. I see it as an honor and a privilege and it is so humbling that these people have confidence in you as a person.
Running a photo tour is no easy matter as you have all different personalities an they all come for the common cause, to see and photograph Africa.As time goes, you are learning all the time and with each trip you make the fine adjustments to improve things. There are times when you do get it wrong and I wouldn’t be a lone in that.
On this tour we have Doug,Roger, Pam,Helen, Phil, Kylie and my Rosepetal and myself. It was so nice to have Rosepetal there( Vicki ) as she like others was saving for a long time to go to Africa and when we met, and she knew what I did, it was logical that she would come along one day to Africa to experience it for herself.
The other two guys in this picture are legends and more about Rod and President Clinton later whom I use each time I go to Botswana as they both are not only the nicest guys,but legends in tracking and knowledge. More about these chaps later.
Africa is a moving time and in my Tours to Africa, you don’t have to be a photographer to join. On this present tour there are two non photographers that joined the tour and the big advantage of doing a photo tour when you are not into taking pictures on the same level as a photographer, is that you get to see the animals in the right light and this will be so much more rewarding and enriching to you as opposed to doing a non photo tour to Africa.
Photography is all about the light and my role on any of my tours is not only show the importance of the light but where ever possible to have the guest in the best position when it comes to the light. It is not always possible but wherever I can, we achieve that for 95% of the time. In this picture the light plays an important part of the picture.Waiting the the sun to light up the leopards face was the key in making this a wonderful shot. What the picture doesn’t show is the tracking and hard work by our guide to get us there for this outstanding moment and in this case, it was President Clinton who we rolled with and whose skills got us where we needed to be.
This particular tour started off at Victoria Falls and I used this as a good training ground to see where the guests are at and to start guiding them in the right direction with there picture taking and to get them a little up to date when it comes to leaving the falls and going on the the animals.
What better way to start the falls to have these awesome kids in the background .
The falls is a wonderful place and an awesome act of Creation and immense beauty and it is a place where depending on what direction that the wind is blowing from, will determine how wet you get. You will get wet at times and this can be from a light drizzle to a tropical downpour and anything in between.My Rosepetal here loves the water, doesn’t mind getting wet as you will see later, she is like a big kid playing in the water.
With the rain or falls spray it can make it a real challenge to photograph it at times but the troops did so well .
Vic falls is such an imposing waterfall and there are 16 viewing areas but not all are possible to photograph effectively as when the spray is blowing towards you, as i mentioned before it is a challenge but it was a perfect introduction to the world of photography and it shows that it not always easy to get that shot that you are hoping for.
What I love about Rosepetal is that she is a woman who loves having a ball, loves adventure and this picture sums that up well. When there are puddles at the waterfalls, then she is in there splashing with her boots on. It’s smalls things like this that take you back to your own childhood.
Inspiration comes from many places. If I was to ask you, where do you get your inspiration from, there would be many different answers and all would be valid.
The older we get, we can allow things to stop us from doing what we love. We can put it in the too hard basket and instead of actually getting out and doing our passion, we can easily sit back and do nothing or allow things to convince us that we are better of staying home. It’s too cold. It’s too hot, I’m feeling tired and the excuses keep on going.
Now I do understand we are all at different levels of fitness and I do understand where some people’s situations will be more serve than others.
Think of the people that generally inspire us. How often have we been inspired by someone who is not as mobile as ourselves and yet they are determined still to enjoy the things in life that have always brought them joy.
My inspiration comes all sorts of quarters. It comes from people, God, photographs, people stories and simply being out on my own photographing in the middle of no where I get so inspired.
When people do my workshops I never take it for granted as this is a very competitive field and people have many choices to choose from and so when someone does choose one of my workshops, I am truly honored and never take this for granted.
Earlier I said my inspiration can come from people and Belinda who I am featuring in this blog is one such person.
Over the years she has had some nasty falls, which has resulted in concussion. That’s not a good thing. She loves photography and loves joy that brings to her. The more falls that she was having got her thinking that she was going to think outside the square to be able to still get out there and to enjoy her photography. She decided that if she was going to protect herself from falling she had to invest in a walker come chair whom she calls Rudolph.
Now Belinda and Rudolf go everywhere together and Belinda has done many of my tours and day workshops and I’m inspired each time I see Belinda set out to do her thing at her pace. I love seeing the immense joy that sweeps over her when she is out shooting. It is priceless and it is a lesson to us all.
My hat goes off to her as she could have allowed her falls to keep her at home, never to venture far. What inspires Belinda is her photography, what takes her mind set to another place, a place that is positive, a place that does her soul wonders, is actually being out in the field taking pictures.
I know for myself when I’m having a tough trot and this year with an on going cyber bullying attack, I have found refuge out taking pictures. Whether it be at the beach, walking through the hills or being in the middle of nowhere. Each of these areas does do my soul wonders with the evil cyber bullying that my awesome partner Vicki ( Rosepetal) and I have received over the last 9 months. That will be exposed later on.
To be able to fulfill your passion and in this case for Belinda it is photography. I know the enormous smile that comes across her face and her whole persona lifts because she is out fulfilling her passion through taking pictures.
Rudolf could easily be a 4WD walker as the places where Belinda has taken her Rudolf on my tours has been amazing at times.
The good thing about this is that Belinda decided that she wasn’t going to be trapped at home and that she was going to blossom through her photography. I know in the tours that she has done with myself, her photographic experience has excelled and not only has she grown as a photographer, blossomed in areas that she thought not possible, she has also made some wonderful new friends.
All of this has come about because Belinda wasn’t going to allow her situation to keep her bound at home. She was going to explore and explore that she does at her own pace. That’s the key to explore at your own pace, if you are not in a hurry you will see so much more whereas those in a hurry would walk right past.
Life is short in the context of time and so it is so important to be out there enjoying the things that move you and inspire you. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you are out there doing what brings you the most joy in your life.
Belinda dressed Rudolf up in the red flannel shirt, that was such an awesome thing to do as I ask no one to wear what they do and Rudolf wasn’t going to be left out.
Love seeing that big smile on Belinda’s face.
Belinda you are an inspiration buddy and keep taking pictures with Rudolf. Never forget what brings you joy and it is so moving to see you there exploring the joy of photography. You have a good heart and so glad that you put your new camera to the test on our last Mystery Tour.
Keep clicking away Belinda and keep enjoying that new camera. Pete:)
Wildlife photography is one of the most rewarding themes to photograph and it can also be one of the most challenging at the same time. When we shoot wildlife, we tend to do the obvious and there is nothing wrong with that at all, as I also do that.What I mean by the obvious is the classic portraits and poses.
If you want your wildlife photography to go up another level, then it is good to see beyond the standard picture.
In my workshops I encourage people to look beyond the standard shot and to look for something different about the animal to photograph. People will always remember something different about the animal if it and usually it will leave a smile on their faces.
Thank back to all of the wildlife shots that you remember. The shots that leave a lasting impact on us are the shots that have the animal doing something from the different to the quirky.
So what are the things that you can look for to be different.It could be animals scratching themselves, sticking their tongues out at you, cleaning each other and so on.. The following images are just a sample of shooting wildlife that is a little different. I love the shot below as the shot tells a lot about Rosepetal and myself.
I just love my back being scratched. Seriously I can’t get enough of it and I’m very blessed to have a wonderful partner who actually does scratch my back. I’m very spoilt in this way and this pic just reminds me of the blessings that I receive from my awesome partner. Rosepetal ( Vicki) is one very special person who has the best heart and soul of anyone I have been with or have known..
Over 30 years of taking pictures I could post thousands of pics but these are a smiles of what I’m taking about.
Now in order to capture something different, you need to have patience with the wildlife. It won’t happen if you are in a hurry.
Good wildlife shots will not come if you don’t have the time or patience. Recently I ran a day workshop for a couple who wanted to improve their animal photography. One of the things that I stressed to them was the two things that you need to be able to capture stunning and different pictures of wildlife- That is is time and patience. It is not rocket science, it is that simple. How many have patience and time? If you do then you are off and running and it is only time when you will be rewarded.
It is when you are prepared to wait and spend time with the wildlife that you will see that “ different shot” It is that simple. the next steps that you need to take is know the best camera settings that you need to be able to capture that moment.
With the Blue Monkey , there were so many shots that I could have added for this blog as their facial expressions were gold and one can imagine the captions that you could add to this series of pics. In total I had 10 pics which all had facial expressions that set the shot as being ” the different.”
The other thing that you need to keep in mind when shooting is to every now and again , take the camera away from your head and look beyond where you had the camera focused on. Look to see if there are other animals to look at, to see if they are doing the wired and crazy things. That seems obvious I know but you will be surprised how many people don’t. They look through their camera and that is where the eyes stay, pressed up against the eye piece.
Allow your eyes to scout around and see. Time, patience will deliver you rewards.
When you discipline yourself to observe for a while, you will soon pick up the animals behavior patterns and in time, there will be some things where you’ll be able to predict when the animals will turn, run, get up and fly and so on.
Did you know that the adult elephant penis is 27 kilograms. Even a shot like this is telling a story and it reflects life.
There is a monkey called the Vervet Monkey and its special feature are the bright blue testicles. The challenge is always to capture these bright blue balls. They are so different and if you are patient enough, you will get it.This is not an outstanding picture but it does tell part of the story. These monkeys don’t stand still for very long so you have to be very quick to capture them on your memory card.
Zebras will always give you action to capture. When I take guests to Africa, I’m always stressing to my guests keep a look out for the Zebra as they are so aggressive towards each other. They are always picking fights with each other and you can always be certain at some stage they will have a go at each other.
If you are wanting to freeze action shots, then you will need to make sure that your camera has the capabilities to do that. You will need to do your home work.It also comes down to know what your camera can or can’t do and your own knowledge about your camera.
That’s another story .
I can’t stress enough that once you have the patience and the time, make sure you know your gear and what it can do. I can’t stress that enough. This will also help you in your ability to capture that ” different shot” Know the relationship between aperture, ISO and shutter speed and they all control light. Light is the key in any picture that we take.
The modern cameras are getting so much better on the higher ISO’s which means it allows for scope for taking pics when the light is low.
This is a simple shot of the baby elephant and what is appealing with this shot is the cuteness of the baby elephant and that the shot shows movement. This also shows the coordination or lack of coordination of the animal , depending the stage of the animal.
The key is always never to give up. The more you put yourself in the position with the animals, as I mentioned before, you will learn the animals behavior and that will be large step forward in getting that different shot. There are shots that you can just be there at the right time and not a lot of thought needs to be put into it apart from being ready and knowing your camera settings.
Kangaroos are a wonderful subject to wait for ” the different” as they have so many wonderful facial expressions.Once again, if you wait and observe, you will be rewarded. I can’t stress that enough.
Getting low to give you a point of difference in the shot that is ” the different” will always be a effective as most people take their shots standing up.
Observe and observe and observe and be patient and it will happen for you. Pete:)
” Remember , the shot doesn’t come to you, you go to it” Pete Dobré
I wouldn’t normally write about my birthday as a blog, but I do so as this is dedicated to one beautiful lady whom I call Rosepetal. Vicki is an exceptional lady and it was because of her commitment that I was able to fulfill a dream on my birthday.
For those who know me, know that I love FJ Holden’s which for my overseas friends, is Australia’s frist ever built car and any opportunity that I can get to photography one, I’ll take it.
Well Rosepetal went beyond the call of duty as she researched and researched to find someone who was be willing for me to photograph Australia’s first car.
She contacted all of the car clubs including the FJ Holden car clubs and they all said no. She eventually found one person and bless his soul, Colin was a lone voice in the wilderness who was more than happy for me to spend a few hours photographing his car.
What makes this car even more special is that it is not a restored car but rather a car that has been so well maintained as this was he dads car and Colin drives his dad car with so much pride. I was such a hoot to recall and listen to stories related to this car.
In the context of time, life is short so it is so important to enjoy whatever time that we have left.
It is also awesome to see a son love his dad the way Colin did.As Colin drives his dads car , it will always be that connection with his dad, will always be those flood of memories as he sits in the car and starts it up.
Rosepetals unconditional love is moving and wonderful.This is one special woman who has decided to stay with me where others in the past have said “yes” and then have left.She has the best heart of anyone that I have met along with my amazing and awesome daughter.
It was a special day to spend with Vicki and my Tess.Tess Flew in from Sydney to spend it with her dad. Tess’s words in her card to me, reduced me to tears as she knows how to put pen to paper so well. It was awesome to skpe Jed and Rosie on my birthday as well and it is so hard to believe that he has been in the USA and Canada for almost 3 years living his dream. Go Jed, never stop living ya dream mate.
It was the best birthday spent with these two remarkable women. Time is moving fast and turning 60 is a shock , hence the reason it is so important to spend your time with the love of your life, spend time doing what brings you joy and to leave all of the nonsense behind. Two many people won’t let go of the past and only like being nasty and wanting to cause others harm.There is a lot I could say here as I reflect back on the past, but that can before another blog down the track.
It is so nice to have finally someone who has accepted me for who I am, who knows all of my past and still want to be with me until its my time to go to heaven.
The card featured here is also dear to me as a good friend of 30 plus years spent a lot of time on this card and both of the pictures reflect aspects of me. It was take too long to go into the reasons as to explain the pics but to my awesome friend Barry, I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement and support over such a long time.
When you embark your journey of life,little do you know who you will meet and over the course of time, people will come and go out of your life and there will be some who will last forever until it is your turn to go to heaven.Barry and his awesome wife have been friends of mine for such a long time and he always stays in contact and that amazing given I went through a divorce almost 10 years ago.Others fall away from the side but not this man.
Many moons ago I stated a basketball team called ‘The Mob” and Barry was one of the founding members and we have so many awesome memories and I was not expecting this amazing card when they invited myself and ” Rosepetal” over for dinner recently. Thank you so much and for the wonderful card. Now this card is massive and I should have put a 20 cent piece next to it so you could see how big it is.
We have some other exciting news not to far but that will have to remain a mystery for the time being. This will be a birthday I’ll always cherish for all of the right reasons and Vicki and myself plan of growing older and fatter together. Bring it on whooohooooo.
To take a good picture and to capture something that stands out a little from the rest means there are several things that you need to do. I’ve spoken about this in the past and I’ll keeping talking about this subject every now and again and hopefully the examples that I show will encourage you to take this article on board..
Often I’m asked, “Wow how did you get those shots etc. and so on. Having patience and spending time in one place and not moving to another location will help achieve the shots that people ask, “ how did you get that shot. ”The secret for many of the shots that I take where there is emotion in the shots comes from having patience and then putting that patience into practice..
The series of pictures in this blog were taken at Monarto open Range Zoo here in Adelaide where I live. This biggest in the word outside of Africa itself.
Last week Vicki and myself spent an entire day on the one spot. I said to her, the way to getting good shots about any subject is being prepared to spend time at a place, not to be impatient and saying to yourself’ Nothing is going to happen here, so lets go.’ Often when you do get up and go, that is when something happens.
Yes there are times when nothing at all happens, I get that but unless you give it a go you’ll always be wondering.
At Monarto, I run my own specialized photo tour there where we are up close and personal with the animals, where we get time to spend at each place in the enclosure with the animals. The end results are always rewarding and you’ll get shots that you cannot get while doing the standard tour that is offered there.
When we arrived, Vicki and myself did the tourist thing and did a lap of the open range zoo, in their provided bus. The end result of that was it made me even appreciated more the programme that I run there and my guests are very lucky when they join the tour as the time you get in each enclosure and to have the window down to shoot the animals, is leaps and bounds ahead of there normal tour for Monarto.
The time in each enclosure was between 30 seconds and 90s being the longest. Those who have done my photo tour there would appreciate it even more if they were to go back and do the regular tour that the zoo offers.That’s why I run the Photo Tours there as ut all about the time spent, having time and no matter where you are , no matter what you are photographing, time and patience is the key to coming away with pictures that will be different from those who don’t spend time.
So after doing their regular tour, which wasn’t that long, we decided to put into practice what our purpose was. We wanted to get some shots of the baby giraffe that was born bout a month ago and to do that, we were going to spend the entire day waiting….. and waiting at the one spot!!!!
When you wait long enough and you wait for the wildlife to get closer to you ,you’ll be able to take their portraits and framing and composition is just so important. Knowing how to use the light and working in with the animals movements are also crucial in achieving nice and emotive portraits of the animals.
Wildlife even in captivity is unpredictable; you never know how far away it will be from you. Our mission was to stay at the giraffe platform all day and to see what would come our way.
The series of photos that you see in the blog were a result of just doing that. There were quiet moments when the giraffes were way off into the distance, others times they ventured close enough to make it worth while in taking their pictures.
I can’t stress this enough the key to any amount of success in taking picture is being able to spend time with the subject, not to be rushed. ( This applies to any subject, not just animals)This I know sounds all like common sense and yet, few have the patience to do just that.
One of the things that I state on my photo tours is that it is never about coming away with a 1000 shots wherever you go, it is about walking away with hand full of shots that you are very pleased with.
When was the last time you actually stayed and waited an entire day in one spot and walked away with a collection of images that you were really pleased with vs staying for an hour and walking way with a 1000 images, all which you’ll mostly liking never look at again.
The value of the picture to yourself can be measured in how often you look at it, what emotion is behind the picture and the impact that it has on others.
We live in an era where people are so self absorbed in taking every movement on themselves.
When I’m just waiting in one spot for the day I’m always looking and observing what is before me and if the wildlife comes close enough to me, I love working with the abstract. This is only possible when the wildlife is close enough and that comes with patience. All of my shots are perceived in my head before I put the camera to my eye. I can see the picture before I take it and with the following abstracts that you see, I was able to see them before I put the camera to my eye. That comes when you have time in a place, it comes when you are prepared to simply wait and wait. Are you prepared to stay in one spot for the day?
Not that long ago I was running a photo tour in Australia and there was this couple there. Normally at sunrise I’m usually the only one there with my group at this spot but this morning we were graced by the company of this couple. I’m not stretching the truth but this couple would have taken well over 400 shots of themselves at the different points of this place. The funny thing is, given they were so close to themselves, they would have not seen the background, as their faces would have dominated the frame. How many pictures of the self do we need to take? Nothing wrong with taking a few pics of where you are with friends etc. but it’s become such an obsession today.
So we take our 1000 pictures of our self all which most will never be looked at again or deleted perhaps and I think this style of mentality in shooting has made us lazy in our approach in taking quality shots as opposed to quantity of shots .It also has made us lazy.
The biggest negative of the digital revolution is that it has made us lazy, self absorb and we have lost the ability to be prepared to wait, spend time and observe. We live in a world where our attention span has been reduce to very little.
Taking pictures is a craft where you take the time to know how to take time to work out your composition. With the millions of pics that are taken all over the place, what strikes me the most is the complete lack of composition and thought that is placed into the picture which is very little.
Being at a place, spending time, not being in a hurry should encourage you to look at the subject, you be able to look at your composition and to wait for it to happen.
All of these pictures that you see in this blog, I thought about the composition, waited for that to come about was all at the forefront of the picture taken. When I’m at a spot, composition is what I look for to add more emotion to the pictures. Remember when you take a picture , this is your sole opportunity to show the world what you see through your eyes , so make it count.
Now you will notice that there is dirt road in the pictures, well one cannot do anything about that as this is what is in the landscape. Many I know what clone the track out where, as I prefer to leave it there, as this was the setting where the pics were taken.
I love it when you are able to get good close ups of the subject as it makes it more engaging, more emotive and these shots in this blog came about when the animals on their own accord make their way to you. Most animals are inquisitive at times and will at some stage move closer to explore what is before them. Spending time at a place requires only one thing, patience.
Monarto is an outstanding place and the temptation to see everything in a day and that’s fine but if you want to be able to come home with some pleasing shots that will be emotive, that help tell a story , then you will achieve that if you have the patience to wait.
It is not uncommon for me to go to a location and stay for the entire day. I have dome this on so many occasions and the photographs that I walk away with always put a smile on my face and it continually teaches me that you can never have the attitude, been there done that.
What you put into your photography is what you get out of it. If photography is a strong passion of yours, then make sure if you go away on holidays with others that you are all on the same page otherwise , you will be very frustrated…hence the reason that its great to do photo tours as you are all on the same page that’s another story for down the track.
What was fascinating with these two, the feather was the main attraction. They were like little kids, so playful. When one had discovered the feather, the other wanted a play as well. Seriously. this was so entertaining, so inspiring and it did the heart well to see these adorable ladies having fun and they were ever so gentle during this time. These creatures can be aggressive to each other when the males are fighting for the rights to mate. The way they do that is to pound each other with their necks but in this case, it was just playful fun. Spending time in one place for the day, you get to see little things like this, the unexpected moments but it is these unexpected moments that stirs the emotions deep within us and put a smile on our faces.
To be continued with a few more pics to be added…..
There are times when you are traveling that you come across your favorite subject to take pictures off. This was the case here. I love old ruins; anything rustic as it is a reminder of the past and even it its run down state it is also a snap shot of the present and the future.
On my photo tours and day workshops, one of the things that I like to stress is for people to tell a story with their pictures. To do this you need to explore the subject, search the angles out and look beyond what is the obvious. By doing this you will grow as a photographer, you will see things in a different light and you will be amazed of the angles and the unlimited photographic opportunities that are in front of you.
There may have been a time when you would have walked right past or just taken the standard shot and that’s it. I have posted several articles about telling a story with your pictures. This is much the same but I just had to post this to show you another example of that story.
When I’m out and about and no matter what it is I’m photographing, I always try to tell that story through pictures. I may not always be successful in doing that, but it is still a lot of fun in looking for the edge in your pictures.
I love photography as it is very expressive and what I like about it most, is that you are showing the world through your eyes which is reflected in the pictures that you take.
Vicki my partner and I were just going for a drive on the long weekend here in Adelaide and we came across this little gem. It is not often that you score an old car on the back of a old truck. For those of us that love things rustic, this is heaven to us.
If rustic is your thing, I do have a Forever Rustic Photo Tour that I run each year and what you are exposed to are things rustic which is totally awesome.
What appeals to me with the rustic things, things that are old is that in your pictures you are persevering a little bit of history and min their decayed state , they have their own charm and there will come a day when some of those things will no longer be standing.
Everytime you snap, you have just recorded history. Go tell a story through you pictures. Pete:)
It is so nice to share the rest of my life with this wonderful warm and adorable woman whom I call , ” Rosepetal” who shares the same interest as my self, who is definitely a far better person than myself. I love seeing the joy in her face when we are photographing together and this subject was no exception. Pete:)
What I love about Photography is that there is always something different to photograph and you can really never say” Been there done that” .. if you do then you have missed the bigger picture of photography I think.
In my 30 years of doing photography as a professional, I have shot this little creature many times but on this occasion, this is one of the most rewarding times that I have had with the Echidna.
Here is a little background to this very unusual creature which I think you’ll find interesting. The echidna has spines like a porcupine, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Some say it has a beak like a bird but personally I can’t see that at all. Also known as spiny anteaters, they’re small, solitary mammals native to Australia and New Guinea. They are not very big and grow to a maximum of about 75 centimetres and weigh up to 10 kilos as adults.
There are two different type of these awesome Photographing Australia’s Echidna’s the short beak as they call it and the long beak. The long beaks are native to New Guinea.
The spines which are found all over its external body are modified hairs and in between the spines, they have their fur.
They can vary as you’ll see in some of the pics that the ones that I photographed in Tasmania, their spikes are very thin and are not as thick and intense as those on mainland Australia.
They live up to 45 years and in captivity it is not uncommon for them to push 50 years unlike the Tasmanian Devil whose life span is roughly 6-7 years.
There are many things that are unusual about the echidna. The male has a 4-headed penis. During mating, two of the heads shut down and the other two expend and fit into her two branched reproductive tracts.
Like most animals in the animal kingdom, there is a ritual for the male to gain rights to be the chosen one to mate with the female. How this is done with these creatures at the beginning of the breeding season the males line up behind the female, nose to tail and there can be up to 12 males and when she is ready to mate, the males will dig a trench around her. They will then push each other own of the trench in the ritual of gaining rights to mate with her; the last male left in the trench with the female has won the honours.
The Echidnas lays eggs just like the platypus as both are mammals. She lays a single egg, which is the size of about a 5-cent piece. It’s soft and leathery and lies in the pouch. 10 days later the baby echidna emerges forth and they are about the size of a jellybean.
The young which are called Puggles, which secret the milk from glands which are found in the pouches.
The Echidna is toothless but what they lose out for not having teeth, they make up for having the “fastest tongue “ in the west and they are so long when extended. They can reach up to 18 centimetres.They use their long sticky tongues to eat ants and insects.
Echidnas are very solitary animals, but they are not territorial and are willing to share their home range with others of their kind. Thye just waddle from place to place, acting as if they don’t have a care in the world.
They only eat termites, ants and other soil invertebrates including beetle larvae which they love. Their strong claws help them break open logs to get to termites that they scoop up with their long tongues.
They are one of the most fascinating creatures to photograph and also one of the hardest. They don’t move fast when walking but although they are slow in walking, its slow enough to make left hard for the photographer to get a really good shot as they are either walking, or if they are shy and not use to people, they will crouch into the ground hiding their heads and can take a while to come out. I have waited up to 45 minutes for the head to rise again. Other times, they can be a free going as one can be and there are no issues with them hiding their heads
Unless they are on open ground that is flat, it can be a challenge to get a descent shot of there faces. The pictures reflected in this blog were taken in Tasmania and on Kangaroo Island. I was so happy to get some decent shots of them and while on Kangaroo Island recently, the one there as so helpful as it was just standing there looking straight at Vicki (my partner) and myself.
You can see by how close Vicki is to this little character and it wasn’t fussed at all. It was so involved in licking up the ants as it had found a little hole that was rich in food for itself.
There are two types of Photographing Australia’s Echidna’s here. The ones that I have been photographing on Kangaroo island have the longer spikes and they are so predominate and the other one which seems to be more life a fur ball with a few spikes thrown in was photographed in Tasmania. I’m not an expert on this creatures and I’m assuming given it is a lot colder in the winter months in Tasmania , the Photographing Australia’s Echidna need more fur for warmth, hence the difference between the two.
This little character was taken in Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and why they need to put themselves at risk to cross the road when the bush on both sides of the road is the same, I’ll never know. The good thing , people do stop for them and allow them to continue on their way.
Seeing them cross the road is a good opportunity to get a good clear shot of their features as you have nothing to obstruct your view.
Then it is you who needs to be careful of the cars!
A coat of short, coarse hair insulates the Echidnas from the cold, hence the Tasmanian ones lacking in spikes and having more fur, while longer hairs act as spines, protecting them from predators. Their sharp spines are 50 mm (2 in.) in length and are composed of keratin, the same material that makes up our fingernails.
It is not always possible but when taking pics of the Echidna, it is better of you can get at ground level as this point of view I feel gives you a better perspective on the animal. It is not easy to do this as the older we get, it is harder to get to ground level and being at ground level you’ll have small grasses and twigs that can obstruct parts of the face. The face is the critical feature to try and capture as it is so different and it is not always easy to capture their eyes. Patience will always pay off in the end.
The above series of shots is thanks to Vicki. It was an awesome opportunity to get it on the log looking for ants. For myself as the Echidna was about to get on top of the log, guess who’s memory card was full.Grrrrr For those who do my photo tours know the term that we give to this and that’s ” Black Hawk Down” and this was a “Black Hawk down moment that I was not hoping for…. but there is always tomorrow.
The Echidna has a low body temperature maintaining temperatures around 31-32° C (87.8-89.6° F). Given the way their legs are positioned, they waddle as they walk as a result of their legs positioning and shape.
Their predators, include goannas (large Australian monitor lizards), dingoes, foxes, feral cats, dogs, eagles, and Tasmanian devils (which even eat the spines).
As mentioned before when threaten they usually roll into a ball and expose only their spikes or they will dig into the ground, again only exposing their spikes.
As you can see how close Vicki was this character. As i mentioned before, they can be stubborn in digging themselves in but not this one on Kangaroo Island. He was happy to pose for the cameras giving us some rewarding shots.
I love this shot and ones like it as it shows how focused they are in getting their food and coming up with sand and dirt all over their faces which takes me back to my own childhood.
I remember my mum shaking her head as when I came back from playing with my friends outside and I would be covered from head to toe in dirt.
This little fella wasn’t too fussed that it couldn’t see where it was going as there eye sight is very poor as it stands and they reply of their very good sense of smell to find their food and their way around things.
To take the perfect panoramic picture, there are many ways that you can do this. You can buy dedicated panoramic cameras, they are expensive, you can buy a special plate to attach to your tripod, the Nodal plate, these are very expensive and wouldn’t be justified by most people. So what is the next best thing for us?
When I teach photography on my workshops I take as much jargon out as to make it very simple.
To take the perfect panoramic photo you need to find the nodal point. I won’t go into the details in explaining what they is, it’s technical, but the basic idea, is that you need to find the place that is most central where you can rotate your camera and still be square to the plane that you shooting towards and that is basically the Nodal point.
If you were to put your camera on a tripod and rotate the head around it will dip to one side and this is not good, it won’t be flat.You’ll get better results with a ball head but you still need to keep it flat and square.
So what do we do then?
The best way of finding the nodal point is to place your camera on your thumb as shown in the picture here and rotate your camera on your thumb. It’s that simple.
1.Things to keep in mind. You need to overlap your picture by a third.
2.Don’t chose a lens that shoots extreme wide, like 16mm etc as this will be too distorted.
3.The best range to use in my opinion is between 35mm – 50mm.
4. Always shoot vertical and not horizontal. Vertical as it gives more depth to the foreground and it allows some give when it comes to photoshop or lightroom when they stitch it together. There will always be a little cropping that you’ll need to do at the end. Shooting it vertical gives you more room to crop.If you chose the right lens,and your horizon is always flat, you’ll have minimum cropping to do..
5.To help keep the horizon flat, I use the focusing points in my view finder. I select those that are in a line to each other and place them on the horizon, 95% of the time, that gives me a flat horizon.
6. Chose to do this when the light is consistent throughout for better results.
7. Take no more than 10 pictures to stitch together-Ideally 7 would be fine.
8. For better results shooting in manual mode and manual focus will give a more consistent result. Having said that, I have shot some of my panos is Av mode and it has been good but on those days, I was had even light overall.
Using the camera in manual mode for controlling light just does that, controls light and you won’t have any great jumps in the level of brightness from each frame.
9. What I always do is take a picture of my hand as the first frame and the last frame. I do this as it is easy to work out your starting and ending points. If you do several panos in a row and you don’t take a picture of your hand at the beginning and end, you will get lost in the number of pictures you have taken and will have little idea where you started and finished.