29 February 2012

Pōpokotea (whitehead)

Whiteheads (pōpokotea; Mohua albicilla) are one of those particularly difficult birds to photograph. They're small, never stay still for more than a second, typically hang out among obscuring foliage, and because they're almost always overhead in the canopy, you're shooting against the light. On the Tunupo track last Sunday we spent some time watching a flock foraging. I didn't bother getting my camera out of my daypack (which was probably why a male flew down and posed perfectly for us a few metres away), but when we encountered them on the way back down I decided to try. Judging from the gape, the rapidly fluttering wings, and the general scruffiness, this looks to me like a young bird.

[26 February 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 400, 1/400 at f5.6]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor


bigskymo said...

What a great photo of pōpokotea!

The Elephant's Child said...

Glorious photo. Thanks.

butuki said...

I'm always agog at the photos of birds that you manage to capture, especially tiny ones. I can rarely get a good shot of them.

I see you're continuing to use the GH1. Are you finding it a more reliable companion than your Canon?

Zhoen said...

You caught him mid ruffle.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

I've always loved your 'fowl' portraits ;0 This little one looks pretty fierce, no?

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Maureen :^)

Elephant's Child, glad you like it :^)

Miguel, thanks. A lot of it's luck, though. The GH1's a great little camera, but I miss having a decent viewfinder and a lens that focuses instantly. The Panasonic 100–300's an excellent lens, but the autofocus is slow and often fails completely, making it a poor choice for photographing small, fast birds. What makes the GH1 my preferred camera now is simply that it's tiny and light compared to the monstrous but wonderful Canon.

Zhoen, yep. It was doing a lot of ruffling.

Barbara, thanks! Yes, it does look feisty. I admire that in small birds ;^)