24 May 2010

Whio, Pohangina river

In keeping with the recent International Day of Biodiversity theme: two whio (blue duck; Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) in the headwaters of the Pohangina river in March 2008. Meet these in a wild river valley and you know you're in Aotearoa — you’ll find them living naturally nowhere in the world but in New Zealand. The world would be a poorer place without them. 
I rested the lens on a rock in lieu of a tripod; when doing this, I try to get two points of contact — the barrel of the lens and either the foot of the tripod collar or the camera body — and weight the lens with my left hand on top of the barrel. Sometimes I’ll pad a rock or log with a jacket or daypack and rest the lens on that, again weighting it with my hand. I’ll almost always fire off a few shots first, though, then try to improve the technique. 

The little piece of what looks like gunk on the right of the tip of the beak is a piece of down — they’d been preening as I photographed.

[8 March 2008; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 200, 1/30 at f5.6]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Anne-Marie said...

I'll never forget the thrill of seeing whio for the first time. You have to keep your eyes peeled to spot them - they're incredibly well camouflaged amongst those lovely rocky rivers they hang out in.

Beautiful photograph. They look quite plump and self-important, don't they?

AJB said...

I'm still yet to see Whio in the wild. One of these days...


pohanginapete said...

Thanks Anne-Marie. You're right on both counts — i.e. camo and personality. And I, too, never fail to be thrilled when I meet them.

Andrew, that could be arranged :^)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
A slice of heaven. Thanks.

pohanginapete said...

Cheers Robb — I agree :^)