Category Archives: General Blogs

Great Crested Grebe Courtship

It was a scorcher of day reaching temperatures of 38 degrees celcius. I had worked the whole morning but decided to go do some bird photography down at the lake around 17:30 even though it was still very hot.

I decided to head out to a place called Herdsman Lake as it is very close to where I live here in Perth and it usually caters for quite a variety of avian species. When I arrived it was eerily quiet, few ducks sleeping, comorants baking in the sun, a black swan gently paddling in the water and one little egret which I tried to capture but was just too far away for my 100-400 lens.

I was just enjoying being out in nature, taking in the sights, sounds and smells even though I was not taking any photos. I then spotted two Great Crested Grebes which I have always wanted to get photos of as I think they just look so majestic but have always somehow eluded me. They were quite far off in the distance and again too far for my lens, so I waited while they worked themselves closer to the shoreline. I then managed to position myself even closer to them by hiding behind a big bushy tree just off the shoreline. I saw one go underwater and came up with something in its mouth, so I started snapping away and then something unbelievable happened, and somehow I managed to capture it all.

I am so thankful for being able to have witnessed and captured the courtship of the grebes. It happened really quick but my trusty Canon 1d Mark IV and its fast frame rates managed to capture a series of shots which really tells a story in itself. I have included the entire series of shots in the gallery above.

Shortly thereafter I came across a Tiger Snake which really freaked me out as they are extremely venemous so therefore decided to head on home. What an unbelievable experience though, one that I would have preferred without the snake!

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Addo Elephant National Park

Living in South Africa certainly has its benefits, one being so close to amazing wildlife national parks. I was finishing up on a contract in Port Alfred and decided to convince a friend and some students from Mauritius to tag along for the 1h30 min drive to Addo as it was my last weekend in which I had the opportunity to do so.  In fact, I actually convinced my friend to use his rental car for the trip, we all know its the best type of car to use at a wildlife park – amazing how quickly a VW polo transforms into a 4×4!

Arrived at opening time of 0700 in the morning as I wanted to get first light photo opportunities but as murphy will have it, nothing much to be seen during golden light. A quick glimpse of two hyenas got us all excited as none of us at seen hyena before but thereafter it was just warthog after warthog with a few buck in between.

If you never been to a wildlife park before, its all self drive, you get a map at the entrance and you have all day until gate closes at sunset to drive around at free will. There are certain designated areas where you allowed to get out your car (at your own risk of course) but most of the time, you find yourself driving around all day in seek of that special sighting.

So finally we spot in the distance about 6 cars bunched together all looking at something… that’s our clue to head that way to investigate further. Along the route another car in the driving in the opposite direction stops us to tell us that those cars have spotted lion. He told us he was a photographer, the lions were very close to the road and he got great pics of them fighting. Wow, that was music to my ears so we rushed to the spot only to find the lions walking away into the bush after finishing their confrontation. What a missed opportunity.

Anyways, since Addo is 1640 square kilometres in size, we still had a lot of areas to explore. Elephants were plentiful and had a great sighting of the elephants cooling themselves down in the mud baths – unfortunately they do this at the hottest time of the day which also happens to be the worst time of the day for photos.

All my photos were taken on my Nikon D800 body with a 70-200 VR lens. A great day was had and the gallery here shows some of the photos taken during the trip.


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When Lightning Strikes

Capturing a lightning strike is not as difficult as one thinks. You just need patience and perseverence – lots of it!

Capturing a great lightning strike is however a little more tricky, you need to have the right storm, with the right background and need to have the shutter open at the right place at the right time. I am still waiting to capture my “great strike” but for now I am happy with the one I captured from the last lightning storm that hit Dubai.

I think lightning is a thing of beauty, a display that mother nature puts on for us to admire, as long as its far enough away and I am in no danger, I will be out to watch (and trying to capture a good shot of course).

I played around with different settings to try and get this shot – but found that leaving the shutter open for too long (15 – 20 seconds) would take in too much light and the lightning strike would not be visible enough in the shot. This isnt always the case as I have seen some great photos of lightning taken with a shutter open of around 25 seconds but in my case, it just did not work.

I had the camera on a tripod which is essential for any night or long exposure photography, shutter priority mode, ISO set to 100, exposure set to 5 seconds which gave an aperture of F4.5.  The shot was taken with a Nikon D800 camera with a Zeiss 21mm lens.

It took me just over 130 shots to get this particular one which I was “sort of” happy with but carried on taking over 200 shots trying to get a better strike which did not happen. I wanted the buildings as the backdrop but the storm started moving away which would have forced me to change the background, so I called it a night and went inside for a hot chocolate instead.

The shot you see is one shot but I do think that perhaps taking multiple shots and stacking them might produce an impressive picture – I think I will try that next time and see what happens.




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Power of Light with Tony Corbell

I was fortunate enough to attend Tony Corbells “Power Of Light” workshop being help at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai.

For those who dont know who Tony Corbell is, he is a well renowned photographer having photographed three U.S. presidents, 185 World Leaders, 65 Nigerian Heads of State, about 600 brides and grooms, a couple of NASA astronauts and lots of famous and not so famous faces, since 1979 – his website can be found at

Again fortunately for me, there were only 3 people on the course – so it was like having personal tuition from the master himself. The two others that attended the course travelled all the way from Turkey and Pakistan just to attend the course (well this course and a few others thats happening at the moment).

Lots was learnt and I look forward to putting my new found knowledge to practice.




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Baby Boom

So my friend recently had a little baby girl and I was asked to be a Godfather, which is a first for me. I offered to do a baby shoot for them which is yet another first but it went much smoother than I was anticipating.

Yes there were delays to change the diaper, wipe the drool and of course eat, burp and wait for the baby to stop crying but all in all I think I managed well enough but certainly do have a lot more respect for baby photographers now.

The setup was a white backdrop using the lastolite hilite 6×9 which is always a delight to use and for the dark background shots I added the lastolite super black cover which drapes over the hilite. I used the elinchrom quadra as my light source as well as an elinchrom 27″ deep octa softbox which gave me incredible soft lighting. I shot mostly at F11 to ensure everything would be in focus and a shutter speed of 1/125.

This is my first shoot as which is my commercial photography side in which I hope to grow in the future.

Here are just a few sample pictures from the shoot, let me know what you think.

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