Today, 18 budding photographers from around New Zealand capture the wildlife in the Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough. After a fun evening of food shots, night lights, torches, stars, phosphorecense, orbs and all sorts of whacky and unique imaging, it was an early rise to capture the morning light and get breakfast in before the 8am departure on Dolphin Watch Ecotours (a Picton based operator).
The excursion commenced with the cormorant colony right next to the Lodge – pied shags, black shags and spotted shags have all made a home for themselves here. The King shag colony is next on the list - http://www.naturetours.co.nz/new-zealand/Birdwatchers/ – the only place in the world to view these birds is here in Marlborough.
Simon Woolf and Murry Cave will be working with the photographers throughout the day, exploring the mechanics of the camera, lenses, zooms, exposure, aperture, macro and micro and all the components of capturing the top shot. As Simon says, especially to those more amateur or those with non-professional equipment – ‘it is not about the camera itself – what is important is what is 6 inches behind the camera that matters!
The predator-free Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is a bird-lovers paradise with blue penguins, South Island Saddleback, Kereru, Bellbirds, Yellow-crowned Parakeets (Kakariki), Bellbirds and South Island Robins encountered amongst the native trees and shrubs. It takes around 45 minutes to walk to the top for amazing views across Cook Strait and to the North Island. The birds at Motuara island are plentiful, fearless and very vocal and if you sit still the birds often come within arms reach! There is a little pool of water where one can sit and take photos as the birds come to drink and bathe.
In the afternoon it will be cruising through the Sounds enroute back to the Lodge to check out the other wildlife – Dolphins (Dusky, Bottlenose, Hector’s, Common) or even Orca, Fur Seals, Oyster-catchers, White-fronted terns, Australasian Gannets, Shearwaters, reef and white-faced herons, arctic skuas (seasonal), plus a variety of seabirds. Back in the bay, there is the resident dog, Merlot, ‘bluey’ the pet blue-cod plus the glow-worms and other wildlife, right on the property!
In the evening, the photographers will review their day’s work and share their experiences over a glass or two of Reserve Marlborough wine, before indulging in a 7 course degustation dinner prepared by Executive Chef Hannes and his team. If you are passionate about food and wine – this is a thoroughly creative, extravagant and delicious gourmet experience – and some wicked images will be captured via canon, nikon, olympus, leica, and even the good old ‘smart’ phone!