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Wandering Albatross by Cindy Marple

"A deep ocean trench runs near land at Kaikoura on New Zealand's South Island, bringing marine life and sea birds much closer to the coast than usual. Pelagic trips from Kaikoura are only a few hours, because you are out far enough in about 15 minutes! Chum brought in many species, including this giant Wandering Albatross, giving some very close encounters. With a wing span of nearly 12 feet, it is one of the largest flying birds in the world. I particularly liked this image with the coastal mountain range behind, since it is an unusual setting for these giants."

Equipment Used: Camera Canon 1Dmk2N, 100-400mm at 180mm, 1/1000 at f/8, iso 200, manual.

In this issue:
  • Behind the Lens: Photography tip, interview, and trip report with Cindy Marple.
  • Upcoming NSN Certified Workshop adventures
BEHIND THE LENS: This month's photography tip, interview, and trip report with Cindy Marple
  Copyright Cindy Marple PHOTOGRAPHY TIP Gray-breasted Spurfowl

Expect the unexpected, for luck always favors the prepared! While there is no substitute for doing your homework—researching and scouting locations and subjects—there are times when luck plays a big part in capturing great images. This is particularly true with bird and wildlife subjects.

On a recent safari in the Serengeti, we arrived at the Simba Kopjes at first light and stopped to take some landscape photos, when a Gray-breasted Spurfowl appeared on a rock at eye level right next to my vehicle. Fortunately, all three of us had a second body with a long lens set up and ready to go, and within seconds were able to switch gear and start shooting. It's a good practice to set up two bodies with different focal lengths when shooting from a vehicle or blind, so that you're ready for action wherever it happens.

As silly as it sounds, being prepared can be as simple as setting up the camera when arriving at your location. Turn it on, check for space on the card and power in the battery, then set the controls to a good starting point for the type of shooting you plan to do. You won't get the Osprey flying overhead if your camera is set to mirror lock-up and Bulb from the star trails you shot last night! As you're walking toward your subject, put the tripod at the right height, recheck controls, and think about what the next move might be. Simple steps can result in an awesome photo instead of just an awesome experience.

–Cindy Marple
Forum Moderator, Wildlife Forum »
  Cindy Marple NSN INTERVIEW Cindy Marple

1. How did you get started in nature photography?
I've been into photography since grade school, when I received a Kodak Instamatic camera for Christmas. My interest in nature subjects grew as I started traveling more and exploring some of the beautiful places this planet has to offer. Landscapes, scenics and flowers were my favorite subjects to start with. Continue reading…

  TRIP REPORT Favorite Location - The Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are one of my favorite bird photography locations. There, the main attraction is large nesting colonies of penguins, albatross and shags, but there are plenty of other species as well. Several species of shorebirds scamper along the beaches, and inland lakes host a variety of waterfowl. Striated Caracara, known locally as Johnny Rook, are fearless and comical. For the most part the birds are unafraid of humans and quite approachable, making this a place where you can do serious bird photography with a maximum 300 or 400mm lens. A 100-400 or 200-400 zoom is ideal.

There are no native land mammals in the islands, but Southern Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals breed on the islands and are workable subjects. Orcas and Commerson's Dolphins can be found near shore at the right time of year.

The islands are remote and it is a somewhat arduous journey to reach them. There is only one flight per week in and out from Santiago, Chile. Once there, you travel between islands on small planes operated by Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS). Accommodation on the different islands is comfortable, either in small lodges or farm-stay. Each island has a slightly different landscape and bird life so during a one or two week visit, plan to stay on different islands each for a few days. There are a number of bird photography tours available, and joining one is a great way to travel to the islands.

NSN Certified Workshops Upcoming NSN Certified Workshop Adventures
The Ultimate Africa Experience » Tanzania, Africa January 30, 2012–February 9, 2012

This photographic safari will be conducted in the east African country of Tanzania, home to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. It will combine an exciting photography workshop in one of the world's most outstanding wildlife, birding, landscape and cultural locations together with a luxury vacation in fascinating Tanzania.

Last chance - registration closes this Friday! Contact Erin Masters for late registration discounts.
Related Article:
Magical Tanzania by Greg Downing As a professional nature photographer and traveler I often get asked, "What is your favorite location to photograph nature?" And, while it's hard to choose a true "favorite" location, East Africa seems like an obvious top choice for anyone… Continue »
Copyright Greg Downing
Copyright E.J. Peiker Southern California Duckshop™ » Southern California, USA February 10–15, 2012

One spot remains in our February 2012 Southern California Duckshop workshop with widely acclaimed pro nature photographer E.J. Peiker.

This five day workshop will cover a number of photography hotspots in SoCal, including Santee Lakes, La Jolla Cliffs, and Bolsa Chica. Photographers will have the opportunity to photograph a variety of birds including Pacific Brown Pelican and White Pelican, and an assortment of ducks, shorebirds, grebes, and other species, including possible exotics such as the beautiful Mandarin Duck. Read more information on this amazing opportunity or visit our workshops page for a detailed itinerary, species list, and photo gallery or to register.

  Related Article:   Related Article:  
  Southern California - A Mecca Of Bird Photography by E.J. Peiker The coastal regions of Southern California offer some of the best winter photographic opportunities in the United States. The areas between Santa Barbara and San Diego are the winter home for many species of waterfowl, shorebirds, waders, pelicans and songbirds. The region offers an abundance of habitats… Continue »   La Jolla Cove by Carolyn E. Wright On a chilly January day, it can be difficult to find the inspiration to get your camera out of its bag. That is, unless you head to La Jolla, California for some spectacular bird photography. There, pelicans are roosting in their beautiful breeding plumage just a few steps from your parking space. They have settled down in an area called La Jolla Cove… Continue »  
Rainforest Macro Photography » Costa Rica May 19–28, 2012

Led by Foto Verde Tours founder and professional nature photographer Greg Basco, this instructional workshop takes you to some of the best places in Costa Rica for macro photography. We’ll photograph all manner of macro subjects, including poison frogs, tree frogs, insects, mushrooms, and orchids to capture outstanding images of the amazing colors and details contained in the small world of Costa Rica.

Related Article:
Rainforest Macro Photography by Greg Basco Macro photography, defined loosely, is the photography of small things. In temperate zones, where habitats tend to be more open and blessed with nice morning and afternoon light, macro photographers often use tripods, small apertures, and… Continue »
Copyright Greg Basco
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Coming in December:
  • Featured photography tip, interview, and cover photo by Greg Basco.
  • Spotlight article on New Zealand by E.J. Peiker.
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