Forest Lake is a man made suburban development located about 22 kms south west of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. The main feature, the lake itself, is also man made but after more than 10 years, has developed into a sanctuary for many types of water bird species. The water dragon with its chameleon style colouring of greens, blues and browns is another popular inhabitant of this lake ecosystem.
I spend many hours at the lake with Moxie, my little mini fox terrier, often taking along one of several Nikon DSLR cameras for company. My favourite lens in this area is a Nikon 55-200mm zoom lens that allows me to get close and personal with the wildlife, often producing spectacular shots. Once I’m back at home, I can’t wait to process the photos and upload them to on of my web sites for people to view.
The most common wildlife are the Pacific Black Ducks, Mallards, Swamp Hen and Dusky Moorhen. Sitting quietly on a bench in the sunshine is my favourite past time as these birds scoot across the water in a spray of water as they land, grabbing at the bread offerings thrown to them by passers-by. I try and capture their moment of landing using shutter priority of 1/500s to 1/1000s, freezing the droplets of water cascading off the birds. Occasionally, I see black swans, elegant in a spread winged pose on the lake. The zoom lens comes in handy at these times, as they are usually in the centre of the lake. Other visitors are the flights of snowy white cockatoos and corellas as they noisily screech overhead before roosting in one of the many eucalyptus trees surrounding the lake. A good panning technique often lets me capture some amazing photos of birds in flight. One on my favourite birds is the Australasian Darter which submerges itself to catch small fish inhabiting the lake waters. As the bird spreads its wings, the colours glistening in the sun, I focus on the darter with a large aperture on my Nikon to blur the background out of focus.
I’ve often attempted to pan across the sky chasing the elusive House Martins and Swallows as they wheel and dart across the surface of the lake hunting insect prey. While I definitely need a fast shutter speed, the only way I take an instant shot of one of the fast moving birds is to fire a flurry of quick shots, hoping one of the frames produces the goods!
As I said, I’ve spent many hours at this lake, which is a 10 minute walk from where I live. I never tire of the variety of wildlife here and hope to spend many more hours of my retirement doing what I love best – wildlife photography.