During my recent leave in March, I had the most amazing photographic shoots in the surrounding West Coast towns near Langebaan and at the West Coast National Park.
We spent a long weekend at Paternoster, where we were able to shoot the early morning fisherman leaving on their small boats for another day at the office. Getting up early to catch the sunrise was also fun, as was shooting seascapes. I was trying out my newly acquired Nikon D600, and was horribly frustrated as I had activated the bracketing button, which takes 3 images for each scene; one under exposed, one normal and lastly one overexposed. Now this works well for static subjects, not someone on a moving fishing boat. The idea behind this tool is to capture as much information in all the shadows and highlights, blend all three together for a subtle HDR image. My Nikon D800e, doesn’t have this button on the body, but rather in a menu; whereas the Nikon D600 does.
Each of these images can be viewed in a larger format, when clicked individually.
This caused me to lose a few shots that morning. In the end I worked it all out and ended up with a very interesting fisherman on his boat, surrounded by seabirds looking for scraps. Unbelievably we experienced load-shedding in this little village that evening. I didn’t think to shoot some astrophotography then.
It was only the next evening when I was out shooting with my wife, that I saw how amazing the moon looked. We later shot that night around midnight for about an hour and captured the moon sinking into the sea. Even although there was light pollution, it didn’t have a severe effect on the image. Only in post-production, did we see that we had captured a shooting star, which can be seen here!
About two weeks later, we returned to the West Coast, Langebaan, in fact for a week. I had the most amazing birding photography experiences, where I captured images of the Purple Gallinule, African Marsh Harrier, Jackal Buzzard, Black-Shouldered Kite with prey, Pelicans, Spoonbills, Oyster Catchers, Grey Plovers, various ducks and Flamingos.
I found some interesting information on Langebaan Lagoon and the waterbirds found there:
Underhill, L. G. 1987. Waders (Charadrii) and other waterbirds at Langebaan Lagoon, South Africa, 1975–1986. Osrrich 58: 145–155.
Langebaan Lagoon was surveyed for waterbirds at midsummer and midwinter between 1975 and 1986. The median number of birds counted in summer was 37 500, of which 34 500 were waders (93% of the waders being Palaearctic migrants). Curlew Sandpiper (59,2%), Grey Plover (10,5%), Sanderling (8,3%), Knot (8,1%) and Turnstone (5,7%) were the major components of the summer wader population. The median number of birds in winter was 10 500, of which 4500 were flamingos and 4000 waders. For Palaearctic waders, the median winter population was 11,5% of the median summer population, but varied between 2,5% and 30,1%. For species of wader which breed in the Taimyr Peninsula, Siberia, a three-year cycle in the numbers of birds overwintering was detected, with large numbers in 1977, 1980, 1983 and 1986. Birds feeding on invertebrates consumed 126,9 kJ m−2 yr−1, or 24% of the total production of invertebrates. Greater Flamingos have a major impact on energy cycling at Langebaan Lagoon, accounting for 73,3% of the winter energy consumption by the avifauna. Langebaan Lagoon is the most important wetland for waders in South Africa, accounting for about 10% of the coastal wader population of South Africa. At midsummer, about 0,5% of the total wader population of the East Atlantic Flyway is at Langebaan Lagoon, which ranks about 20th in importance for waders on the flyway.
Please take the time to view more of my exciting images in the Wildlife page which are being added regularly as I edit.
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