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Weekend Wanderings: Wine and Wildlife Tour Part 1

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Last weekend two friends and I did a Wine and Wildlife Tour in the Yarra Valley. The tour started at Healesville Sanctuary, so we got there very early.  I was keen to try the Tamron 150-600mm lens that I have on loan from Maxwell International Australia. I hoped to photograph some more birds there and maybe get some great close ups of some of the animals.

According to the brochure at Healesville we would get this, “Your wine and wildlife package begins at Healesville Sanctuary where a personal guide will meet you and take you on an interactive and information tour of Australia’s unique and endangered wildlife.” I have to say this didn’t happen. We were told we might be able to get a personal guide, but then they would only take us around and tell us things about the animals.  So no interactive anything.  First disappointment of the day.

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The koalas were asleep.  They looked so cute, like little furry balls in the trees.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning and even the kangaroos were enjoying the sun. Many of them were lying down and it was great to be able to get lots of very close up shots.

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A platypus, not a very good image I’m afraid.  The area they are in is so dark and they move so fast.  This one was just sort of sitting there, so I managed to get something.  Apparently there are some in the wild around here, but I need to get up very early to see them, so I might have to do that.

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Some goannas, also just lying around enjoying the sun.  It is hard when most of the animals in your country are nocturnal and you aren’t.

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A Tasmanian devil.  Very cute too, though judging by the teeth, might not be nice to be in the cage with it.

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A lyre bird, they are like Australia’s own peacocks, well that is what I’ve thought. They have big feathers at the back, maybe not as pretty. They are known to mimic the sounds of their natural environment.

healesville-sanctuary-australian-birds-animals-1024We did go and see the Spirits of the Sky again, and this time saw some different birds, including this one, the Major Mitchell Cockatoo.  They are endangered and we do need to protect them.

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The wedgetail eagle was also there.  I do love this bird, I love photographing them.  So serious and dangerous, but also so beautiful.

The Tamron lens was so good for the zoo, and I really like how close it gets me to the animals and birds.  I did have trouble photographing the bird show as it was a bit awkward to use.  Perhaps I just need to practice. I might try going back and seeing what I can get with it.  I did get some great shots and you will see them in the gallery I’m about to put up.

This was the first part of the Wine and Wildlife tour.  I thought I would show you the photos taken with the Tamrom 150-600mm lens.  As soon as the Spirits of the Sky was done I changed my lens to the macro and then it was off to lunch, but that is part 2, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that.

86 Comments
  1. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I love all of these, especially the Tasmanian devil fellow. Those birds caught in flight are stunning.

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you Jackie, we were surprised to see the Tasmanian devil, usually asleep when we go. The birds are so good, I love watching them.

      April 18, 2015
  2. A wine and wildlife tour sounds like a whole bunch of fun. You got some great photos out of it too.

    April 18, 2015
    • That’s what we thought, not all great, but basically most of it was lovely. Thanks Laura.

      April 18, 2015
  3. Thanks for posting these. I am still working on my kangaroo and one of your pix is especially helpful. I hope you don’t mind but I printed it so I could take it to the studio while I make the face…

    April 18, 2015
    • You’re welcome, sounds interesting, you will have to send me a pic when you are done.

      April 18, 2015
  4. Beautiful set of images! What are you going to do without the big lens once you’ve returned it??

    April 18, 2015
    • Thanks Chris, I’ve been thinking the same thing, I might have to save up for one.

      April 18, 2015
  5. these are wonderful, leanne!. sleepy koala one of my favourites.

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you, how cute are they, all curled up like that.

      April 18, 2015
  6. Sue #

    Taz of Tasmania looks cute in your photo, but I believe they are vicious little Devils!

    April 18, 2015
    • I think so too Sue, they have some pretty serious teeth, I liked the fence between us.

      April 18, 2015
      • Sue #

        I’m sure you did, Leanne!

        April 18, 2015
      • 🙂

        April 18, 2015
  7. Looks like a quite nice day – great captures of the birds in action.

    April 18, 2015
    • It was mostly, I will fill you in on the crap part of the day tomorrow. I was really happy to get the birds in action. Thanks Robert.

      April 18, 2015
  8. Such heartwarming and intimate pictures! Sometimes you take photos that make the viewer glad to be alive!

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you, what a lovely thing to say.

      April 18, 2015
  9. Such beautiful wildlife.in.Australia 😊

    April 18, 2015
    • Yeah we do, nice to see some of it, though I love being able to see it in the wild more. A mob of kangaroos was in a paddock down the road the other day. Thanks John.

      April 18, 2015
  10. Amy #

    Great part 1 of the wildlife tour! The Major Mitchell Cockatoo is especially beautiful, so different. 🙂

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you Amy, we need to protect the Major Mitchell, would be such a shame if it became extinct. 🙂

      April 18, 2015
      • Amy #

        It’d be heartbreaking…

        April 18, 2015
      • Yes, we have lost so many unique native fauna because of our stupidity to think that the earth is do with as we please.

        April 18, 2015
      • Amy #

        And, because of our selfishness!

        April 18, 2015
      • Oh yes, absolutely.

        April 19, 2015
  11. Glorious photos Leanne!

    April 18, 2015
  12. I saw the words wine and wildlife tour and was thinking “wow, they gave you wine early in the morning, those are great shots!” lol. I love the second image of the smiling kangaroo close up! Anyway, checked out the tour page and that sounds like a fun day.

    April 18, 2015
    • LOL, no such luck, no wine until lunch. I hadn’t thought of the kangaroo as smiling, but yes, I think it was. It was a fun day, mostly. Thanks Cynthia.

      April 18, 2015
  13. Some beautiful work here. But what I’m looking forward to are the photos taken after imbibing! Let’s see you keep focus then! 🙂

    April 18, 2015
    • Haha, you will be disappointed Emilio, I am not really a drinker, so while the other two were tasting wines I was doing something else, you will see tomorrow.
      Thank you. 🙂

      April 18, 2015
  14. Beautiful as always 🙂

    April 18, 2015
  15. Fabulous pictures. If they were form the trip it was a winner.

    April 18, 2015
    • They were from the trip Sherry, and thank you.

      April 18, 2015
  16. Great photos of your native fauna.

    April 18, 2015
  17. Too cute for words.

    April 18, 2015
  18. Hey Leanne … wow, beautiful photos. Love the pics of the birds .. glorious! 😀

    April 18, 2015
  19. leecleland #

    Great shots with the big lens Leanne and how lucky you are to even get a shot of the platypus head on. The only times I’ve seen them has been in the river near home and they’re too quick and all I get is a shape in the water and a stream of bubbles.

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you Lee, I was very lucky, I took so many and only got this one and one other. I haven’t seen any of the ones around here, but then again, I haven’t really tried. I might have to start getting up really early. They are very quick.

      April 18, 2015
  20. wow what beautiful animals! I want to hug them!

    April 18, 2015
    • It would be nice if you could, but not many Australian animals are hugable. Thanks Lisa.

      April 18, 2015
  21. ! amazing

    April 18, 2015
  22. These are great shots. I remember as kids we thought the platypus was a fictional creature😀. This still remains one of the mammals I have never seen – even in a zoo😐

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you, how extraordinary. I’ve never seen them in the wild, but I have seen them before, they are wonderfully weird creatures.

      April 18, 2015
  23. you are becoming a wildlife photographer!! Great shots Leanne!

    April 18, 2015
    • Wouldn’t that be funny, not something I ever thought I would see myself photographing. thanks Cybele.

      April 18, 2015
  24. Like it

    April 18, 2015
  25. Stunning wildlife shots. The bird photos are so sharp, amazing skills Leanne!

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you Katie, I think I’m getting better, it was hard though, I took so many photos, but only a few were any good.

      April 18, 2015
      • Those few were very good though! 🙂

        April 18, 2015
      • I guess that is all that matters, in the end. Thanks Katie, 🙂

        April 18, 2015
  26. An absolutely amazing collection of pictures! I love them ❤ Australia is such a rich place, when it comes to wildlife! I hope to visit it one day! Have a great weekend!

    April 18, 2015
    • Thank you Lucy, we do have some great animals and birds here, very different. I hope you can see it too, and if you are lucky you might be able to see some of them in the wild. 😀

      April 18, 2015
  27. There is a great spot in summer in Warburton behind the shops in the river that during summer in the evenings the platypus come up to grab bugs from the surface..nice spot for a swim too 🙂 Bird shows are notoriously hard with those big lens..you need to be further back than you really are tempted to be in order to get the movement ..the areas are more suited to a slightly smaller lens sadly..but if you can resist the temptation to be where the seating is and move further back you can get some great images..the wedge tails here are so gorgeous…and always rock up when the sky is bright blue and near impossible to shoot them..i always hope they come down to get a rabbit so at least they won’t just disappear when my les goes berserk 🙂

    April 18, 2015
    • Sounds good Bev, I haven’t heard of that place before. There are, apparently, a couple of places around here where you can see them too, but only at daybreak, so early early mornings. I do want to see if I can see them one day. The lens is a big one to use for that, I found it awkward. I did sit, or rather stand right up the back so I would be able to do better panning. We don’t get any wedgetails around here, I love them, would love to see more in the wild. Haha, maybe you will have to set your own bait for them so they will come and get them. Thanks Bev.

      April 19, 2015
      • Hahaah i am too squeamish i think..but they do soar over the paddocks her ..but why when the sun and sky are too bright urghhh never work with kids and animals..i keep saying it….i keep doing it…hahhahah 🙂

        April 19, 2015
      • LOL, well if you have them, then I want to take photos of them, so when, we should talk in facebook or email one another.

        April 20, 2015
  28. It’s good to see you really giving the Tamron lens a good workout and you captured many wonderful wildlife shots. Because of the lens’ size and weight, it’s a real challenge trying to capture birds in flight, but my experience is that practice helps a lot in tracking the birds, though there is still an awful lot of luck involved. I take lots of shots in burst mode in an effort to capture a few good ones

    April 18, 2015
    • Thanks Mike, I am really enjoying using it. It is a challenge to get them, and I do get some, but the fast ones, I can’t get, I do need to practice a lot more. I don’t know that the D800 is great for it, I might try using it on my D300s, it clicks a lot faster and doesn’t get slowed down with trying to write the images to the memory card. So I might try what you said. Thanks for that.

      April 19, 2015
  29. One of the best collection of wildlife photography at one place.

    https://knowherephotography.wordpress.com

    April 19, 2015
    • I don’t know about that, but thank you.

      April 19, 2015
  30. This is my favorite part of the tour! Awesome closeups of the birds and other wildlife! Loved it!

    April 19, 2015
    • That’s great, I have to admit, I loved getting the close ups, really nice. Thanks Tiny.

      April 19, 2015
  31. The bird looks half human, half bird. I had to look at it twice to see if it was a costume. Creepy.

    April 20, 2015
    • Which bird, unusual reaction to the birds.

      April 20, 2015
      • The black one. The very last pictures. The eagle?

        April 20, 2015
      • Oh yes, the Wedge Tail Eagle, I love those, one of my favourite birds.

        April 20, 2015
  32. The black bird, eagle?

    April 20, 2015
    • They are vicious ones, I wouldn’t like one to pray on me in the wild. Though I suspect they look much the same as most eagles.

      April 20, 2015
  33. nice to see the great Tamron shots. i have friends about to buy the Sigma 150-600 contemporary, Its great to see lenses at this length in the price range of us amateurs.

    April 20, 2015
    • Thank you, it is a nice lens to use, and I like that I can still hand hold it. The Sigma lens that your friends are about to buy, is that the really good one? I agree, it is a great lens at a good price. I would never be able to afford a Nikon 600mm

      April 20, 2015
      • The ‘sports’ one is the really good one that’s been out for a while. its weather sealed, but very heavy. The ‘contemporary’ also has the OS and the image quality is meant to be up there with the ‘sports’ but its aimed more at the amateur, so is not fully weather sealed. This makes it lighter than the sports and cheaper.

        April 20, 2015
      • Oh okay, that’s the one I was thinking of, that is very heavy and you can’t really hand hold it. I think I would find it cumbersome, but I have heard it is very good. I think I will stick with the Tamron one for the time being.

        April 20, 2015
  34. Reblogged this on ademijuc's Blog.

    April 23, 2015
  35. I am totally against this kind exploitation of animals. Why did you no try the lens in the wild?

    April 29, 2015
    • That’s your right, but the reality it, they are doing a great job of looking after the animals and educating the public on protecting them and what they can do to ensure their survival. When people visit the animals at the zoo they build a connection with them and learn about them, and then they want to help protect them. So you might call it exploitation, I call it education. Exploitation is where we have overdeveloped in their natural world and causing their extinction. I also shoot in the wild.

      April 29, 2015

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