Meet the photographers of NZ Birds Online #5

Adult swamp harrier in flight. Wanganui, January 2011. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

Adult swamp harrier in flight. Wanganui, January 2011. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

Happy New Year to you all! How was your summer birding? The NZ Birds Online team have been out and about enjoying the flora and fauna of New Zealand. Colin was lucky enough to get to Snares Island to see some of the subterranean avian inhabitants.

We’re continuing our Meet the photographers series - as ever, we’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! Next up is Ormond Torr, an active member of OSNZ.

How did you get involved in the NZ Birds Online project?

I responded to the initial invitation to Ornithological Society members to express interest in contributing images.

What image (or images) are you most proud of on NZ Birds Online?

New Zealand pigeon in display flight. Wanganui, December 2007. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

New Zealand pigeon in display flight. Wanganui, December 2007. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

New Zealand pigeon (kereru) displaying in flight. The display flight of the kereru is easy to see, but not so easy to photograph in any detail. I was lucky enough to be able to capture this bird when it suddenly flew up at relatively close range.

Nankeen night herons are resident behind the garden of a cafe on the banks of the Whanganui river,and although they are often visible, are usually partly obscured by vegetation. Repeated trips to the cafe finally resulted in this shot of one of the young birds out in the open.

Adult spotted shag in breeding plumage, in profile. Wanganui, August 2008. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

Adult spotted shag in breeding plumage, in profile. Wanganui, August 2008. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

The spotted shag occurs in Wanganui in small numbers every winter. Clambering over rocks on a rivermouth mole, I was pleased to be able to depict details of the magnificent breeding plumage.

What’s your favourite bird species to photograph?

The harrier remains my favourite as it is such a charismatic bird and is common enough to provide many opportunities for photography yet is so wary that it is always a challenging species.

 

 

Do you have any tips for aspiring wildlife photographers?

Know your subject. There is no substitute for knowledge about a bird’s habitat, movements and habits.

Know your equipment. Successful bird photography often depends on quick reactions and decisions, so you must be able to change settings, etc. without fumbling or hesitation, preferably by touch as well as sight.

Spend as much time in the field as possible; more photos taken should result in more successful photos.

Immature Nankeen night heron. Wanganui, June 2012. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

Immature Nankeen night heron. Wanganui, June 2012. Photographer: Ormond Torr © Ormond Torr, courtesy NZ Birds Online.

What camera equipment do you use?

Most of my bird photography is done using a Canon 7D with Canon 100-400mm lens.

Thanks Ormond – and great tips! Check back next week for the final instalment of Meet the photographers.

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