Studio Werkz: Restless Flycatcher, on the Run

Be like the forces of nature: 
when it blows, there is only wind; 
when it rains, there is only rain; 
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
Lao Tzu

When I was a mere broth of a photographer, and knee deep in learning the craft, one of the big studio swings was away from formal portraits in a studio and more to ‘environmental portraits’, as they became known.

I’ve blogged on this process here before and over on Studio Werkz, and the studio I was working with, at the time, was quite slow in making the ‘customer’ perceived change and ‘that mob’ down the road with their shiny new Hasselblads made the running. Yet the young-gun in me was always eager to explore new opportunities. And like hand-coloured black and white photos, the old studio portrait gave way to the more ‘exciting and involving’ outdoor portrait.

As much of my own direction turned to product photography the need to embrace the new age really didn’t catch me.  After all who wants to see their precious white-porcelain bathroom bowl posed against some tree/plant/water feature or industrial backdrop.

Yet, I have to be among the first to acknowledge, the chance to use the power of the ‘around’ and the available light has always given me a real pleasure when I get to do the occasional, informal portrait.

I’ve been contemplating my own bird photography of late, and while I enjoy the camaraderie of the Flickr page tis  a tough medium to encapsulate the images that go into making a story of the birds.  Long time readers will recall the earliest blogs here were much more the sharing of time with a bird or pair or family as it seemed to me to bring the story of their important lives.

So, I have considered combining Studio Werks into BirdasPoetry, and share the challenges of the craft of portrait stories.

Which of course takes us directly into the field and in this case a sunny morn at the You Yangs.

And almost before we had the cameras out of the car, the shrill, Zhhhhht, Zhhhhht, Zhhhht.  Pling pling pling, of a Restless Flycatcher rang in our ears.

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Studio Werkz: The White-plumed Honeyeater Appointment

I know all the birds of the hills

Psalm 50

To say we’ve had a run of weather of late would be to guild the lily somewhat.  Lack of sunshine, and howling southerly winds have been much more the norm. Add to that the best of fast moving squalls with intense rain, and well, its enough to make you roll over and pull the donnah up even closer.

So with a touch of sunshine peeking through the breakfast room window, EE and I decided on a quick trip to The Office.  Image our surprise when we found Mr An Onymous out there as well.  Put it down to the call of the Osprey.  However she wasn’t in residence so we had to content ourselves with lesser subjects.

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Where the Ibis builds its Nest

They had told us of pastures wide and green,
To be sought past the sunset's glow;
Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit ,
And gold 'neath the river's flow.
And thirst and hunger were banished words
When they spoke of that unknown West;
No drought they dreaded, no flood they feared,
Where the pelican builds her nest!
http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/v00016.pdf

Been away to Ballarat for a few days.  “Go the Doggies”, well not that I follow football, but the connection to the story is long and tenuous and involves boredom, so we’ll move right along.

Always good to take a bit of a stroll through the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.  Always amused by the interchange of Botanic and Botanical when used in names of gardens.  The ‘usage’ rules struggle a bit on the cogent side. Still Ballarat for all that has chosen Botanical.  And, well, just sayin’, that’s good enough for me.

In said Gardens, or more particularly, in Lake Wendoruree there are a number of small islands that might have been designed for other things, but have been squatted on by colonies of White Ibis.  Always amusing to see them fly in and out over the township.

I grew up, as a little tacker along the banks of the irrigation district around Swan Hill, and it was an everyday occurrence for the young lads and their dogs to be wandering the irrigation channel banks and see large flocks of these birds at work in the irrigated paddocks around.  Their guttural call, their harmony in flight was always a pleasure to experience.  So much so that we became so accustomed to them that we often took no notice on our ways to one piece of mischief or another—but those indeed are other stories.

When I moved to the city, I was taken aback that city folk saw them as ‘rubbish tip raiders’, ‘ugly, dirty, messy birds’.  Which given their high acclaim in cultures of yore, made me quite sad.  Then I realised that said sity folk had only ever seen them around their garbage dumps.And I wondered, (and still do) whose fault was it for their scavenging.  The birds, or those who dumped the rubbish.

Among my other childhood memories was a poem my Father was want to recite.  “Where the Pelican Builds its (Her) nest.”
It must have been one that he learned as a little bloke in school as he knew it by rote, word-perfect, except for the occasional its/her nest.  It was one of his favourite lines before going to bed at night, as “I’m off to where the Pelican builds her nest”.

Funny watching these lovely birds in action that his words came back so clearly.

 

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The Lady makes her Return

For a few months last year a female Eastern Osprey visited the western side of Port Phillip.  It spent some of that time along the Werribee River lower parts, fishing in the tidal estuary.    We named her Eloise,  because of her most elegant appearance.

To our delight, she has made a welcome return.

At this stage she has been mostly seen around the K-Road Cliffs area, which has given photographers and birders excellent views.
Needless to say of course we’ve been down to say hello.

 

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Scarlet Robin and Friends

It’s been awhile since we’ve been into the greybox at Woodlands Historic Park.
As we had a need to travel out to the northern subs today, we hummed and hahhed about making the extra effort to swing by Woodlands.  Mostly the conversation was about the weather.

Neither of us being partial to walking about in the rain, or being blown backwards by strong wings, nor suffering from the interminable porridge skies we’ve been experiencing the past week or so.

So says she, “Why don’t we put the cameras in, and take a late lunch at Greenvale Shopping Square and if when we come out, the weather is reasonable—at term to be defined by looking at the sky and the action of the wind in the trees—and decide then.?”
Done.

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