New Zealand – Fox Glacier by Helicopter

The definite highlight from my trip to the South Island of New Zealand just on a year ago was the helicopter flights over Fox Glacier and the Southern Alps. A helicopter ride is far and away the best way to see, experience and photograph both Fox Glacier and the Southern Alps. Whilst you can walk up to the Glacier (and even climb on sections) most of the glaciers slowly moving mass is generally just to unstable, too difficult to traverse and too dangerous to access in any other way except by helicopter. Not to mention its otherwise impossible to get these kind of shots from ground level. This photograph was taken over Fox Glacier leaning out (but well strapped in!) with the door off for better visibility during one of the many passes we did over the seracs and crevasses. Although quite hard to tell in this small jpeg the scale of the ice wall running through the frame is immense and that crevasse seemingly bottomless. A higher resolution version of this photograph is on my portfolio website at in the New Zealand section. At this stage I am likely heading back to the South Island of New Zealand early next year and will definitely be returning to Fox Glacier for more aerial photography.

Iceland – Katla Situation Update July 11th

Barring any major volcanic event this will most likely be my last Katla update before I leave for Iceland in two and a bit weeks. I did ‘touch wood’ before my last update a week or so ago when all was quiet as it kind of felt like the calm before the storm with very minimal seismic activity. However, there have subsequently been more than seven earthquakes at the Katla Caldera in the last 48 hours. Since 17-May-2010 there have been approximately 96 earthquakes at the Katla volcano site within the region of the Myrdalsjokull glacier. Of the 96 earthquakes, 27 have been within the Katla caldera. It is interesting to note that of the approximate 96 Katla earthquakes since 17-May, the majority have occurred just off of the northwest rim of the caldera. Katla has been fickle during the past number of weeks in that there have been days when hardly an earthquake has appeared, while there have been other days that have been fairly active. There was one stretch of several weeks that was very quiet, while during the past several days there has been quite a lot of activity, much more than average since I’ve been watching this. What does this mean?

Who knows… or rather no one knows. There are no reports of imminent eruptions from the Icelandic MET office to date for Katla. But, (and it is a big but), I am reminded that Katla historically does erupt following the Eyjafjallajokull volcano; which erupted back on the 14th of April this year. I am also reminded that Katla is around ten times more powerful than Eyjafjallajokull and that an eruption would have world wide consequences. Not the least of which would be greatly affected air travel. Its only a couple of weeks until I leave for Iceland now so my fingers are crossed Katla can hold its ‘magma’ for at least this long.

Wildlife Portraits Project – Parrot

Birds have not been high on the list of subjects for my wildlife portrait photography. The longest lens I own is a Canon 300mm F2.8L IS; which even when coupled with my 1.4 Tele-Extender on my full frame 1DS MKIII still only gives me quite limited reach for photographing birds. Most serious bird photographers I know are shooting with a minimum of 500mm on crop sensor cameras (often with Tele-Extenders) for seriously long reach; because you need that kind of each most of the time. In this case I got lucky, and was able to catch this Parrot with his colourful wing extended with the 300mm lens. The light was quite dull and overcast so I used fill flash to bring out the colours in the plumage. I am hoping I get an opportunity to photograph some of the native Icelandic birds (including the Puffin) later this month and August whilst I am in Iceland.

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Wildlife Portraits Project – Australian Dingo

Every time I have visited Healesville Sanctuary in the past to photograph wildlife the Dingo’s have been sleeping (I think they might actually sleep more than cats). On my last visit they were up and moving around so I couldn’t resist ripping off a few frames on my way past. This frame ended up as quite a nice portrait – handheld with the 300mm F2.8L IS at F5.6 1/100th of a second.

Australian Dingo