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2019 Monthly Favourites


2019 has come to an end, and tomorrow, we start a new year and a new decade. I apologise for not being very active on my blog this year. I hope to change that next year.

Looking back at my photos in 2019, astrophotography took a back seat in the second half of the year, mainly due to the wettest winter and spring in quite a few years. Aurora hunting was non-existent, as we are currently in solar minimum, plus work and family commitments made it difficult to go out chasing the rare aurorae that did occur. Macro photography was not quite as exciting after a trip to Malaysia in 2018 where I discovered jumping spiders in all shapes and colours. So, I ended up focusing alot on wildlife photography, especially birds.

However, since the firmware update for the Panasonic G9 in Oct 2018, I had not been very happy with the image quality especially for subjects that are quite small in the frame. And let's not even talk about birds-in-flight photography on the G9. Then in July 2019, Olympus updated the firmware of the EM1 mark II. I decided to try out the EM1 mark II, and have not looked back.

All in all, there were a few notable moments in 2019, so I thought I would put up my favourite photo from each month. So here they are in order of month, from January to December:

January: I visited the Royal Botanical Gardens in Cranbourne, Victoria, saw the swathes of kangaroo paw in full bloom and all the birds busily drinking nectar from the flowers (like this Eastern Spinebill) and decided that I had to have Kangaroo Paw in my own garden to ultimately photograph some honeyeaters drinking nectar from my own kangaroo paw flowers.

February: A photo the White Cabbage Butterfly drinking nectar from a Star Jasmine flower from my garden, and I managed to photograph it at 1:1 macro without it being disturbed by my presence.

March: A group of good friends ventured out to photograph the beautiful city of Melbourne at night. This is the view from the Victoria Harbour Pier.

April: On what turned out to be one of the last few days of clear skies, I ventured out to Dog Rocks in Batesford, Victoria for startrails photography. I used a couple of LED lanterns to light up this tree, set my Olympus EM5 mark II to Live Composite mode, and 1.5 hours later this is the result.

May: Well, nothing much happened in May. I literally had one photo and it was of the sunset outside my house. But what a sunset it was.

June: June was cold, and wet, (oh and did I mention it was cold?), and I had no desire to go out to do any kind of photography. But eventually, I had to go out for some shutter therapy or go crazy. As luck would have it, I came across this handsome fellow, a Black-shouldered Kite, with its distinctive red eyes. It was probably about 50m away when I first spotted it, and happily for me, it sat still as I slowly meandered my way across a muddy field until I was finally near enough for a close-up photo.

July: I went to Malaysia for a visit, and I became obsessed with trying to photograph the Blue-banded bee. This bee is tiny, just 1cm long, darting from flower to flower in a blink of an eye. By the time I managed to find the bee, bring the camera up into position, focus, and well, it would be gone. However, I kept at it and after nearly 2 weeks and many, many blurry photos, I managed to get one acceptably sharp photo of the Blue-banded bee.

August: The final month of winter saw bird activity around my house slowly increase with the eucalypt street trees erupting with masses of flowers. There were Red Wattlebirds, New Holland Honeyeaters, White-plumed Honeyeaters, Rainbow Lorikeets, all feasting on the bounty of the flowering gumtrees. But the one stand out bird that I had never seen before around my home was the Eastern Rosella, and early one weekend morning, a pair came to visit. However, they are very shy birds, and I only managed to capture them through my living room windows. The moment I stepped outside, they were gone.

September: The one scene I had been wanting to capture since I started my photographic journey back in 2016 was that of the yellow canola fields. However, that was before I found out that canola is planted only every 2 years. In 2017, I dropped the ball and missed the opportunity, so finally in 2019, I told myself to get moving on this before I had to wait another 2 years. Luckily for me, I didn't have to drive far to find fields of canola. The only thing then, was to find the right composition.

October: In October, I took a trip to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. It was cold and wet, but I had a blast. Beautiful scenery, and some pretty awesome wildlife. My most favourite are these Tasmanian Black Currawongs. With their jet black feathers, beaks as big as their heads, and sinister looking yellow eyes, they are a sight to behold.

November: Back in Melbourne and spring is finally in full swing. Birds galore, and I finally managed an acceptably focused photo of a Black Kite in flight.

December: And finally, we have come full circle, because here is the New Holland Honeyeater drinking nectar from my very own Kangaroo Paw flowers in my very own backyard!

Thank you everyone for coming along with me on my photographic journey in 2019. May 2020 bring bigger and better photo opportunities.

Happy New Year! See you all in 2020.



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