Sunday, 18 October 2015

Bugs, birds & stars

Mother Nature has leaped into action with the arrival of Spring and everything is growing and procreating like mad. A quick wander around the garden with my macro lens produced more bugs than I could identify.

First up were some native cockroaches. With more than 800 species in Australia, it took a while to pin them down.
An Ellipsidion sp wandering around a dead banksia flower.
Another smaller Ellipsidion sp enjoying a Kunzia flower.
Sharing a Kunzia flower.
I was unable to identify this little beauty foraging in a Banksia flower.
The bird too, both bush and wetland, are busy nesting and feeding, although they do seem a bit later this year.
This Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) chatters and postures to lure me away from his nest in a Boxthorn bush.
Not my best-focused shot but it does show the grace and size of this Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta) in a nearby soggy paddock.
White-faced Herons (Egretta novahollandiae) are always moving from site to site looking for new feeding grounds.
A pair of White-necked Herons (Ardea pacifica) have staked out a nearby patch of flooded paddock.
Despite some really cloudy weather, I've managed to get out for a few night shots.
I casually set up my tripod on the pool deck to capture some star trails and fluked this tree branch nicely lined up with the South Celestial Pole. This is 8 hours of 15-second exposures shot at 18mm, f4.5 and 1600 ISO, spaced 60 seconds apart, and stacked with Starstax.
I've had my eye on this dead tree in a neighbor's paddock as good foreground material for a Milky Way backdrop. A test run before dawn produced this shot. A single 30-second exposure at 18mm, f3.5 and 1600 ISO.
Up early one recent morning, I spotted an overnight report of aurora across the region so I raced down to the end of the strip to see what I could see. The short answer was nothing as some cloud and sky-glow from the Latrobe Valley got in the way. A single 30-second exposure at 18mm, f3.5 and 1000 ISO.

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