Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 31, 2009

Ash Island Macro Photography

Filed under: macro — admin @ 3:28 am

31st January , 2009. Ash Island , Hunter River , newcastle nsw Australia.

It was hard getting out of bed this morning. I have been so tired because of the hot weather. But I eventually dragged myself out of the house and drove to Ash Island.
I used the foldaway diffuser on the flash. Maybe it is too bright. I am going to make a diffuser from a milk carton and see how that goes.

Anyhoo, here is the first one of some seed pods.


Everything seemed to come out all dark this morning. I really like dark pictures but am not sure about the technical side of things if I have to print them.


This spider was on a diseased branch that looked like it was covered in something like aphids.
She also had what looked like a sac of eggs. I am not sure.



January 29, 2009

Wickham Macro Photography

Filed under: macro — admin @ 10:05 pm

This morning I went to the Wickham Community Garden just over the road at 6:30 am ish. There were hardly any bugs about, just this bee that sat there like it was stunned or hung over from a big night out at the brewery.


I was having trouble with the flash being too dark, it seemed. But they turned out all right I think.
Here are some dewdrops on some tiny little flowers. It looks very nice i think.

Dewdrops on flowers

I have forgotten the name of this burr-type seed. But check out the barbs at the end. They are like harpoons. Very nasty looking. What are these things called?

Burr seeds

Sunflower Seeds. I like the repetition of this photo. Pattern, repetition, texture.

Sunflower seeds

Royal Spoonbills

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 3:22 am

Ash Island , January 29th, 2009.

Here are the photos from my session this morning at Ash Island. I really like Royal Spoonbills. I am not sure why but they are so regal. ha ha. Thats a joke! Their scientific name is Platalea regia.

Royal Spoonbill

They sweep their bills from side to side, feeling for something to eat. The main food they like to eat in fresh water is fish and in saltwater, they will eat shrimps, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. The spatula-shapped bill has many vibration detectors which they use to catch their prey. They like to hang about in freshwater or salty wetlands or tidal flats and estuaries.

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill

White-bellied Sea-Eagles

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 1:57 am

Ash Island, January 29th, 2009.

I woke up at dawn this morning and trotted off to Ash Island which is on the Hunter River as you all know by now. 🙂
I took a few photos(which I will process later) of the Royal Spoonbills and Egrets on the ponds at Ramsar Road and then headed off further into the ponds near the railway lines. I dont know what that road is called. Maybe they were the wader ponds.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

This Immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle was sitting on an electrical pylon feeding on an eel. After a while, he flew off and sat on another pylon with his parents.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

Here is one of his parents. I cannot tell which is mommy or daddy. The female is supposed to be larger. This could be the male. I dont know.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

Here is the other parent. Maybe mommy.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

The little fella flies off, over towards the train lines and soars in circles with his mum. Probably looking for more breakfast. Possibly he was being taught how to hunt.

White-bellied Sea-eagle

It was a great morning. I love taking photos of raptors. Especially when they come a bit closer than usual.

January 28, 2009

Bird Photography at Myall Lakes 3

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 3:14 am

Violet Hill, Myall Lakes, January 26th, 2009

This is Day 3 of our Stay at Myall Lakes. The weather was still overcast but was slightly clearing up. I went down the hill with some people along the flats where there were some scrubby trees scattered around the grassy areas. We spied some silvereyes playing around.



Then we spotted some Southern Emu-wrens so I was lucky to get some half decent shots of them. Here is a male. Notice the blue bib under the chin.

southern emu-wren

Male Southern Emu-wren

Southern emu-wren

Female Southern Emu-wren

Bird Species List for 25th and 26th January

  • Black-faced Monarch
  • Rufous Fantail
  • Brown Gerygone
  • Red-browed Finch
  • Brown Cuckoo-Dove
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • Grey Butcherbird
  • Leaden Flycatcher
  • Superb Fairy-wren
  • Yellow Thornbill
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  • Yelloweye
  • Southern Emu-wren
  • White-winged Chough

Bird Photography at Myall Lakes 2

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 3:13 am

Violet Hill, Myall Lakes, January 25th, 2009

This is Day 2 of our Stay at Myall Lakes. After the forty degrees day before, the rain came and it was drizzling all day. The light was horrendous and I was at ISO1600 and still could not get any decent photos. But who is complaining? Here is my trip along the top of the track where I found a few new species of birds, so at least that was good.

black-faced cuckoo-shrike

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Yellow Thornbill

Yellow Thornbills

Here is a male and female Leaden Flycatcher pair. The male is feeding on some kind of bug. Note the russet belly of the female.

Leaden Flycatcher

Leaden Flycatchers

Leaden Flycatcher

Male Leaden Flycatcher

Superb Fairy-wren

Female Superb Fairy-wren

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

January 27, 2009

Bird Photography at Myall Lakes

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 9:59 pm

Violet Hill, Myall Lakes, January 24th, 2009

We stayed at a property just near the Myall Lakes National Park at Violet Hill, which is on the north-western edge of the Myall Lakes. The weather was very hot on the first day. The temperature was probably around forty degrees Celsius. We were lucky to get some shots of birds right next to the camp, thanks to Alwyn! Cheers, mate. I took a quite a few photos of birds which I had never seen before, so I was really stoked. Here is a Female Satin Bowerbird.

Female Satin Bowerbird
Female Satin Bowerbird

White-throated Treecreeper

White-throated Treecreeper

Black-faced Monarch

Black-faced Monarch

Rufous Fantails are gorgeous looking birds and flitter around very daintily. They are a delight to watch and photograph.

Rufous Fantail

Rufous Fantail



A bunch of Glossy Black-Cockatoos were hanging around the water hole. This female was swooping in to have a drink during the hot weather. The female has yellow streaks on the face.

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Myall Lakes Bird Species List

  • Kookaburra
  • Glossy Black-Cockatoo
  • Golden Whistler
  • Rufous Fantail
  • Grey Fantail
  • White-throated Treecreeper
  • Brown Gerygone
  • Black-faced Monarch
  • Satin Bowerbird
  • Brush Turkey

January 19, 2009

Macro Photography at Ash Island

Filed under: macro — admin @ 12:18 am

Ash Island, Monday, January 19th, 2009

This morning I woke up at 6am and headed off to the rainforest regeneration walk at Ash Island. It is a lovely spot which winds its way between the wetlands with rainforest remnants and she-oaks and a real mixture of bush. You never know what you are going to find in there. But first I must tell of my tale of woe. Firstly the flash would not stay tight and keep falling down. Then I stripped the thread on the plastic wing nut that was holding on the el cheapo ball joint extender. So I had to resort to using the onboard flash. ugh. The other day I forgot to take the lead for the flash but luckily was able to rescue this shot from the disaster. That was over the Community Garden, but thats for another day

sunflower macro

Well, back to today’s photographs, I carried on with the onboard flash. I had been using it for ages before i got my lead. Fellow macro photographers said that it was too hot. I am going to make a diffuser for the onboard flash like I used to have for the 40D. This photo is a little brown moth. I don’t know what the name of it is.

moth macro

This was a big mofo spider that was eating its way through a large beetle or something. No, wait a minute. That was the other one. This one was just hanging around looking hungry. I love the eyes on this one. Notice how many of them they are. Spider eyes fascinate me.

spider macro

I went into the bush and stalked some swamphens for a while, just for practice, and found this nice little thistle flower. I had never seen the white bits on the ends of the spiky bits before but they look quite good i reckon. Thistles are the most beautiful flower.

thistle flower macro
Thistle Flower

I found this large termites mound/nest in a paperbark tree. The termites had just about ruined the poor tree – it was split right in half.

termite nest macro
Termite Nest

Today the theme was earthy – there were so many earthy browny, ochry, orange and yellow colours in the bush. I think it is because a lot of the flowers and leaves and seeds are dying so they are all earthy and brown. I quite like all these earth colours. Here is a dead thistle flower.

thistle flower macro

This afternoon I have to fix my flash attachment. I probably should get a decent setup instead of the botch-up jobs I do. Oh well, I will get a wing nut and try and patch the old piece of rubbish. I wish there was a second hand junk camera store down the road that i could raid for spare bits and pieces.

January 16, 2009

Stockton Sandspit

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 11:29 am

Stockton Sandspit, Hunter River

Friday, January 16th, 2009
7pm. This evening I went to the Stockton Sandspit, under the Stockton Bridge on the Hunter River in Newcastle. It started off sunny and all of a sudden the clouds came over and the light just went whooosh. When I first got there there was a Swamp Harrier on the grass and as I went around the lagoon it flew off. I was hoping it would come back but it never did just flew off low over the river. It was a pretty crap session actually and nearly all the photos I took were rubbish. These shots of some female superb fairy-wrens are all I could salvage.

superb fairy-wren
female Superb Fairy-wren

superb fairy-wren
female Superb Fairy-wren

Stockton Sandspit Bird Species List

  • Superb Fairy-wren
  • Swamp Harrier
  • White-faced Heron
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Eastern Curlew
  • Silver Gull
  • Chestnut Teal

Ash Island Wader Bird Survey

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 1:56 am

Ash Island, Hunter River, Newcastle

Saturday, January 10th, 2009
I went to an Ash Island Wader Survey with the local bird group. Alan and Neville were very kind to let me tag along and took me to some great places on Ash Island that I had never seen. We first went to Scotts Point where we saw a Baillons Crake near the She Oaks. Along the river a grand White-bellied Sea-eagle was fishing and then flew past us.

white-bellied sea-eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Then we went down to Milhams Pond where there were a bunch of red-kneed dotterels hanging out with some sharp-tailed sandpipers. I also spotted a hare down there. Some Royal Spoonbills were there and this one flew past

royal spoonbill
Royal Spoonbill

Further along down Ramsar Road we spotted a Buff-banded Rail on the track.

buff-banded rail
Buff-banded Rail

Around the Wader Pond area we spotted heaps of waders and this Australian Pipit.

australian pipit
Australian Pipit

Off in the distance near the train line a pair of masked lapwings were harrassing a raptor, but it was too hard to identify what it was. We circled around the Swan pond past the railway line and back to the main tracks.

common greenshank
Common Greenshank

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite

australian white ibis
Australian White Ibis

Ash Island Bird Species List

  • Darter
  • Baillons Crake
  • Buff-banded Rail
  • White-bellied Sea-eagle
  • Swamp Harrier
  • Whistling Kite
  • Dusky Moorhen
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Red-kneed Dotterel
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  • Common Greenshank
  • White-fronted Chat
  • Australian White Ibis
  • White-faced Heron
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Cattle Egret
  • Chestnut Teal
  • Welcome Swallow
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Australian Pelican
  • Black Swan
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