Saturday Evening Post: #27

We had the opportunity the other day to be in Williamstown, and as there had been several reports of Eastern Spinebill at the Botanic Gardens, we took it as too good an opporuntity not to go see.

Established in 1856 after a petition from the local residents, a 10 acre site was set aside and developed.  The formal garden layout was by Edward La Trobe Bateman who had also designed the Carlton Gardens. The Willamstown Gardens were opened in 1860, and as was fitting for the time, must have a extravagant gala event.
Today, the gardens have an elegance that belies their small size.

We managed a warm sunshine day, and as those who laboured through my Dean of Light blog sometime back will recall, I have been experimenting with old exposure techniques and manual settings.
Which as it worked, worked well for me when we found the Spinebills as they were on a salvia bush in the shade.
But there were small fingers of light coming through the tall trees on the Gardens border and making their way to highlight small areas of the foliage.
And that is where a Spinebill chose to hover.
I managed to be working on  mid tone for the bush and 2 1/2 stops from there is White (see I’m going to keep going back to Dean’s method), And that is just about where the bird’s face in the sun fell in the technical wizardry we call Exposure.

A little tweak in post to get the shadow area up and we could see the detail of those amazing hovering wings.
As the bird was busy extracting the nectar, its head/bill and body were stationary and so  slower shutter speed kept the wings in motion, while the body was sharp.


8 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post: #27

  1. Lovely images, David! They are delightful birds to observe!
    The Salvias they are feeding on are not in the most ideal spot for photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave, thanks for the headsup to find them. We tried afternoon light, but they seemed to prefer the shady side of the bush. Nothing is ever easy. But at least they are low down, and easy to get close to.


  2. Well captured David, that gleam in the eye! great with slower exposure speed. I am a bit of a fan of movement shots as you would have noticed in my posts, though we prefer the well focused flight capture, which you are very talented at. We find the botanic gardens in any city we visit to be our first port of call birding in a new place with often surprising results. The Spinebills have left our area now for the last month and will return a little later in the year, they will be in the mountains after the Mountain Devil and Banksia, since Banksia is the only native flowering at present but for some gums. We often see them in nurseries looking for the tubular flowers that their beak is so masterly designed to accommodate, where I have taken some of my best pics of them to the delight of the nursery owner. Enjoy your week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks AB. I’m going to to a Saturday Evening Post about the three types of result we can achieve, the sharp image with all the detail as a tech exercise, or the softer more flowing feel that brings the movement of the wings as its main motive. But more to follow 🙂
      We have to make a journey to these gardens, and its just about outside our ‘sphere of travel, or influence’, but of course sometimes the rules get broken.
      Not a common bird for us, so we make the most of the few opportunities.
      Thanks again for dropping by and adding your insight. Appreciate that.

      Liked by 1 person

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