I have just had 6 weeks in New Zealand testing out the new mirrorless Canon EOS R from Park Cameras.
I found the camera much lighter than my 70D and the fact I could use my lenses with the adapter really helped.
There are a few settings which are in different places which takes time to get used to, but once you have, it is a wonderful alternative to an SLR camera.
It is such a compact camera, which I love, but it also manages to pack in everything you require. I need something like this because whether on holiday or working, I am out and about in all weathers.
Some of my favourite wildlife photos from the trip are …
Probably the most ‘touristy’ thing that we did was whale watching in Kaikoura. Kaikoura is known as the whale watching capital of the country, only one company has the license to take people out, they stay a certain distance away, the team on board are very knowledgable and know each individual whale by its markings and behaviour. I made sure that once I took a few photos to put my camera away and make sure that I was absorbed in my surroundings, taking everything in directly, not through a lens. The sounds, the waves, the smells were something I have never experienced before. Not to mention my stomach didn’t always agree with the motion of the boat, but it was an experience that I will never forget.
My next favourite image is the Kea on Avalanche Peak. Kea are the worlds only alpine parrot, and these clever and inquisitive birds are now protected under the Wildlife Act as before they were killed because they were thought to attack livestock. Not sure how true all that is.. But I’m no expert. So, Avalanche Peak is a beautifully harsh, yet stunning mountain we tried to explore when heading south on the west coast. However the weather turned and I thought I haven’t come all this way, half way across the world to not see the view at the top. So, we waited until we were heading north on the east coast, and it was well worth it!
We started early as the day was going be a hot one, making our way through the bush out onto the open vastness of the hillside. The terrain is rough, which I like because it makes your body and mind work together, placing each foot in a different angle, different position, not repeating the monotonous left foot, right foot, that you might experience on a well worn, flat track. Once near the top, the ridge line becomes narrow and the Kea greet and join you for the last stretch. The 360 degree view these birds have is fantastic. North you can see fellow mountains of the Arthur’s Pass National Park, Mount Turnbull, Gray Hill, Mount Temple and in the other direction you can see the Southern Alps running down to Mount Cook National Park. During our road trip we saw tourists taking pictures of these clever birds in car parks and at the side of the road, not very adventurous or inspiring.. but this image for me sums up how the birds should be viewed. High up on their rocky throne..
My final favourite image, which was hard to choose, but for me it encompasses the whole trip. It was an image of a common dolphin. These dolphins are so clever, but one of the main threats to their species is the fishing industry, getting caught up in trawl fisheries happens all too much. But New Zealand is working on educating visitors and putting more money into conservation work to reduce other threats. We had decided to take an overnight trip on an old ship to make the most out of Milford Sound, and at night all you can hear are the gentle waves, birds and bugs, which I love. We spend hours out on the deck watching the stars and absorbing the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains that made this part of the world so inaccessible all those years ago before the road.
The following morning we woke early and sailed through the sound, exploring waterfalls, watching seals bathe, we walked out to the front of the boat when out of nowhere these magnificent dolphins came to join us.. I was happier than Rose! There was something about this species which resonated with me, I could hear them communicating with each other as they swam alongside the boat. I took a few photos then put the camera away and sat on the deck just watching. Before they left us, I remember this as if it is in slow motion, there were three swimming alongside us talking away, then just before they left its as if they said goodbye, looking me directly in the eye then turning to get on with their days activity, be it, playing, eating, mating.. who knows.
So there we have it. The stories for my favourite wildlife images from New Zealand. If you have the opportunity, or even if you don’t, you should most definitely go!
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