• "MEET A MEMBER" #11 Patrick Kavanagh

    Patrick hales from Victoria and lives where any one of us would love to have a house. 16 hectares of prime box woodland. Patrick was drawn to bird photography not too long ago when he found nesting Square-tailed Kites and wanted to document them. Lets get to know a little more about Patrick........

    What is the first thing you think of in the morning?
    That it would be nice to sleep in.

    What attracted you to avian photography?

    We found a Square-tailed Kite chick that fell out of its nest and took it to a wildlife shelter. They told us what it was. I borrowed by father-in-laws DSLR to follow the progress of the sibling and realised that I really liked playing with an SLR again. I was stunned at how much better it was than my old Olympus OM-1 which I’d bought back in 1982 to do some wildlife photography but as a student couldn’t afford the film or lenses to make it worthwhile. Discovering the delights of digital and modern lenses opened a whole new world.

    What was the first bird you photographed? Did you know what species it was?

    The first bird I successfully photographed was a Buff-rumped Thornbill on the birdbath at home using my Canon 500D mounted on my smaller astronomical telescope. Not a bad shot given my lack of expertise, but the rig was quite cumbersome. Dragging it all to the Kites’ nest was not easy.

    What is it about avian photography that keeps you coming back for more?

    For one thing, I can take a very pleasing photo without having to have much creative imagination. The bird does the looking good. And I find I learn a lot about them by photographing them and observing them as I do. Where we live is one of the most special things in my life – I feel very deeply connected to the bush we live in and photographing our bird life has deepened this. I know in more detail what birds are where and what they are doing. I suspect that it also satisfies some ancient hunting instinct. I feel a deep satisfaction coming home with a good photo in the camera and I imagine it’s not too different to how a hunter-gather would feel bringing home some tucker. It’s great to be able to have this without having hurt anything.

    Which nature photographers are you most inspired by? Why are they such an inspiration?

    I don’t know any particular wildlife photographers, but I find the photos on this forum very inspiring. I would say that my first interest back in the early 80s was probably David Attenborough’s “Life on Earth”

    If you could choose anyone to join you on a shoot, who would that someone be?

    My wife, but I think she’d get quite frustrated with me.

    What was the first camera & lens combo you used for avian photography?

    My current Canon 500D with kit 55-250 lens and my ED80 telescope.

    What is your current kit? Why did you upgrade?

    Same camera and Canon 100-400mm zoom. I upgraded because I wanted to take some half decent photos. I’m quite happy with this kit. I do sometimes use a Kenko 104x extender, but prefer just the zoom if I can. Also a 430 EX II flash.

    Do you prefer to shoot in the morning or afternoon?


    When the light turns bad do you end the session?
    Not so much recently – I’ve got a bit more confident using the flash and have now got a few photos in poor light that I’m very happy with.

    Have you any interests besides birds when it comes to photography?

    I take a few macro photos here and there – mostly insects etc - and some landscapes from time to time. But mostly birds it seems.

    Do you have a dream location where you would love to spend a week(or longer) photographing the native animals?

    I live in my dream location surrounded by wildlife.

    Do you have a favourite location? If so where is it?

    Home, at Strangways, Central Victoria. 16 ha. of Box woodland in a great remnant forest with a wonderful local bird community.

    How often do you get out to photograph birds?

    Most days.

    What are you trying to portray in your work?

    The extraordinary beauty of the birds and their habitat.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: "MEET A MEMBER" #11 Patrick K started by Chris M View original post