Tag Archives: AdeHall blog

NEW BOOK made more available… Birds, Words, Creatures & Features

Finally I have gotten my first book, “Birds, Words, Creatures & Features” into PDF format that may be downloaded by anyone, and not restricted to Apple users outside Asia… Yehey!!!
It took a while, but we got there in the end!!! smile emoticon … CHECK IT OUT and hope you like it!


Front page

Colour popped barbets, bittern and cuckoo… yahoo!

“Colour popping” is a term coined to describe a photograph that has had its’ natural background desaturated, and thus monochrome, leaving the subject ‘popped’… here are some recent shots with post processing treatment accordingly… respectively, a Lineated Barbet, Lineated Barbet “fly-by”, Yellow Bittern and Banded Bay Cuckoo… all Singapore in recent weeks…

A39T6208 - Version 3


A39T6861 - Version 2

8D3A0945-imp 2


A39T7786 - Version 2


Happy Days ūüôā


A colony anomaly, dreamscapes and landscapes… WA delivers…

SO after an early morning bird photography treat, off we went from Dunsborough to shoot landscapes. The first point of call was ¬†Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, followed by Cape Naturalise National Park proper and Yallingup…

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 11.52.19 pm

I had a level of excitement and anticipation, as I was going to try out my new Lee Filters for landscape photography, along with my new landscape lens too. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was well frequented by tourists and whilst many went inside the lighthouse itself, photography inside or from the top of the lighthouse was not permitted; so we skipped the tour and proceeded to take landscape shots from other locations around the lighthouse.

We approached the lighthouse on foot as access to the lighthouse itself was prohibited for motor vehicles. So up we went, photography gear in tow…


It wasn’t too much of a trek to be honest but the vistas from the top, and just beneath the lighthouse itself from¬†the pictured road, were really beautiful. The previously flawless azure¬†skies of days previous were now peppered with cumulus clouds that provided some contrast to a wonderful canopy¬†that stretched forever, and the clouds navigated their way across the blues and hues, via a hurrying wind aloft.


I found it quite strange at this point, to be thankful for cloud. In Singapore, being tropical and a mere 1 degree north of the equator, the thought of having pristine blue skies are so far removed from considered possibility, as to render such thoughts as mere wishful thinking at best.  Upon reaching the top of the small rise, next to the lighthouse itself, I decided to try and show cloud movement in the photographs of the lighthouse, by effectively using a filter to delay the shutter speed overall by 10 stops, and with a polarising filter to enhance the sky held hues.


I like the dreamy and creamy effect that this movement, with filter, has on the sky, coupled with an expression of extended time.  Given that the lighthouse itself has stood for many years and shone brightly across many an evening and night sky, elapsing time seemed appropriate.

After the lighthouse we drove to Yallingup and whilst looking for nice landscape vistas, I noticed some white shapes on rocks in the distance. My landscape lens wasn’t going to provide me any clues as to what these shapes were, but I figured it was a bird colony of some kind – the question was, which birds were colonised there? The landscape lens was caressed back into my gear bag and the EF 500mm f4 with a 1.4x teleconverter soon was appended to the Canon 1DX. And lo and behold. A turn and terns for the better. Yehey! Tripod was switched quickly to my birding setup with video head, and off we went – my darling armed with landscape gear and me with all the equipment necessary to take my tern.


A colony of a hundred or so Greater and Lesser Crested Terns were in situ on rocks that had been made affordably accessible by an ebbed tide. Surfers could be seen in the distance, plying their trade with much dexterity, tremendous core strength and yet with grace that when compared to the terns, had all the fluidity of granite. Terns are, after all, passé-partout of the skies, taking aerodynamics to new levels and a banking or cornering adeptness rivalled only by electricity. Many were close to a distant beach, merrily dipping themselves in pristine waters and preening drenched feathers by design.  After preening, the birds singularly began to return to the colony and I took the opportunity to follow them in the viewfinder, snapping them merrily upon proximity to the colony and a selected landing site.


Bird by bird they arrived, freshly groomed, feathers resplendent and aerodynamically renewed. An unwitting ability to hang on the wind, naturally suspended above perilous rocks, their colony associates, seemingly frozen momentarily in time.


I have to say I find terns fascinating, having shot them many times in SIngapore. Flying, feeding, diving with verve, and breeding too. And I never tire of those trademark flight manouevers, resplendent with those tell tale tail feathers dispersed deliberately and always geometrically perfect.


After revelling in these stunning creatures, I released that my darling had begun to shoot her landscape shots and that I had said I would join her. I checked my watch. Over an hour had passed and time had simply lost all plausibility, whilst I had been engrossed with my terns for the better. Nonetheless, landscapes awaited, so with some verve, rocks were navigated, slippery rocks avoided, birding gear deposited back in the hire car and landscape gear was on my shoulder to descend towards the search for a pleasant vista. I have to say in WA that finding a vista is Sooooo difficult. There’s so much to shoot… where do you even begin to look? We settled on Canal Rocks, close to Yallingup and part of Cape Naturaliste National Park for our sunset shot. We still had time, however, to shoot some other landscapes before the sunset was in full swing. ¬†First off I drove around the coast road at Cape Naturaliste and we happened upon a bay that had a degenerating jetty leading out into the bay, and with distant sandstone cliffs in view along the coast. I’d heard that some tourists go absailing down these cliffs yet saw no evidence of that, on this day. I hadn’t instantly seen this vista as a “must shoot”, but my darling beckoned me to look as I drove by and if she could have pressed the brake pedal, I’m sure she would have :).

To her, a vista like this is instantly seen. I have to stop, clear my mind, and purposefully look for it.

The shot below I call “dreamscape”. I don’t know why. I just look at this shot and that’s the thought that pops into my head. Open. Unobtrusive. Calming. Serenely peaceful. And when we visited, it was quiet. Not a human sound from anywhere interrupted nature’s deafening silence, save for the gentle lapping of the ocean waves on re-submerging water’s edge features. My imagination¬†was harking back to ‘what may have been’¬†yonder¬†times and the activity that once was perhaps quite vibrant at that jetty, which now stood flaring, yet drawing one’s eye still to sea.

I just HAD to shoot this vista and I was so grateful that my darling’s mind’s eye had instantly selected this scene as we drove nearby…


I thought of Wordsworth for some inexplicable reason whilst here. Wordsworth isn’t particularly a favourite poet of mine. Yet into my mind his prose emerged and I felt sad his daffodils had not been the sea perhaps, as I played with that poem’s prose in my mind…

“I wandered¬†lonely as a cloud,

that broke the sapphire ceiling shroud,

and came to land from ‘cross the sea,

that cotton, approaching, playfully

above Ma Nature’s inlet scene,

with memories of what once had been

serenity present, my  heart a-flutter,

whilst beauty stifles a camera shutter

Behold the sight, that did unfold

and stories left, perhaps untold”.

I hoped my camera had maybe captured the scene for some of those untold stories and thoughts to be imagineered. For me at least, the captured scene does exactly that ūüôā . ¬†Time was passing quickly now, the sun was noticeably losing intensity, ¬†and so back into the car we jumped and sped to our selected sunset shooting location, at Canal Rocks.


I was excited to shoot a sunset; new lens, new filter set up, no real clue as to how exactly I as going to get a decent shot and we had arrived with sufficient time to prepare and for me to give some thought as to the effect I was hoping to achieve. Landscape photography is not intuitive to me… I have to think. It’s not like the best vista and from what position jumps out at me. in the picture above of Canal Rocks themselves, I thought about¬†achieving several things. Firstly I wanted to find a foreground that could frame the shot, whilst leaving the Canal Rocks themselves to draw the viewers’ eye towards the setting sun. Secondly I wanted to be sufficiently high to provide for the setting suns’ beam to illuminate the sea both ocean and bay side of the rocks… bringing the rocks themselves into focus as an interruption to what would otherwise be a vast expanse of featureless sea. Thirdly I wanted the sea itself to take on a misty calmness, a flat like appearance that could provide for that mirrored beam in a broken, yet undistorted way. Fourthly I wanted to ry and capture actual sun rays emanating from that glorious setting sun. And lastly I needed to fool the camera into thinking the available light was way less than reality was reflecting… leaving the shutter open for much longer than san Aperture Priority program would provide at an f-stop of around f16… then I could grab more colours in the sky, smooth the ocean and reflect some, but not too much, movements of sunset lit cumulus clouds in the sky. Phew! That’s kind of a lot for a noob to try and achieve!

A colony became an anomaly as I hadn’t set out to shoot birds and the Terns demanded their turn. Landscapes evoked thought, prose even, ¬†amid dreams of what may have once been amid beauty that still was. And thereafter a sunset to die for. What subjects for me to experiment with and revel in the moment.¬†So there you go… a lovely morning’s bird photography was more than ably supplemented later in the day.

Mother Nature laid forth the vista – so glad I hadn’t missed her.

Happy Days indeed!

What a place to stay… WA, birds… yehey… YEHEY!!!

After that lovely “impromptu” visit to Vasse Wonnerup estuary, we arrived at our destination just outside¬†Dunsborough, WA.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 8.15.29 amWe stayed at the Wyndham Resort & Spa, which may sound a little ‘5 star-ish’ ¬†but 5 star it is not. Nor did we expect it to be. But it was a wonderful place to stay and great value for the money at that time. This is basically a very upmarket motel with great facilities if you want to use them. Room nights were very affordable and our expectations were not high. I was surprised. VERY surprised.¬†It was dark by the time we arrived and thankfully we explained that we’d been travelling and for a short time, the hotel agreed to keep the kitchens ¬†open, so after dumping luggage in the room, a hearty meal was taken. As we were kind of pleasantly surprised to be greeted this way, indulgence naturally followed and a great steak coupled with recommended Margaret River wine was enjoyed fully. The desserts were great too! what a great start to a Margaret River photography visit! And it just got better and better…

Next morning I awoke eager with anticipation. I’d asked for a room on the ground floor with access to the gardens though I’d not much idea how extensive the gardens would be. How pleasantly surprised was I? I’d not even finished my early morning coffee and cigarette ritual when the desire to get camera, lens and tripod became overwhelming. Birdsong? Lots! Recognisable? Nope. Gotta go SEE where this chorus is coming from…

So camouflage clothing was donned with verve and outside I went. Kids at the resort were doubtless still in the land of nod, so a relative quietness was appreciated, save for nature’s splendid orchestra that caressed my ears and served up auditory ecstacy. I commenced an amble around the resort. No plan, just a mere wander. I was first greeted by a small group of New Holland Honeyeaters. I’d seen a couple of these near Yanchep but hadn’t managed to shoot them.


Here you can see the trademark of nectarivores, with that long tongue partially protruding beyond the beak – I imagine this bird and just finished extracting nectar from a plant and this is the equivalent of ‘licking its’ lips’. ¬†I walked further and caught a glimpse of motion in the distance. And much noise. Couldn’t tell exactly what all this hullabaloo was about, ¬†save for it was coming from a bird. A swimming pool began to come into view and the noise and motion was coming from a shower head where bathers rinse off the pools’ chlorinated water. And all became clearer. The light levels were still very low so I set the camera to compensate for exposure, lightening the scene by about EV +2 stops. I could see wings beating furiously, a hovering, and knew a fast shutter speed would be required. And then with a shutter priority in the camera and a shutter speed set to 1/2500 of a second, focus was achieved. I was enraptured with the sight my eyes were presented with and chuckled heartily…


A juvenile Splendid Fairy Wren had seen its’ reflection in the chromed shower head and took exception to its’ own image, doubtless imagining this was a rival of sorts. Haha.


I watched and photographed this gorgeous little bird, in very low light, for several minutes before it finally figured out that its’ potential adversary was not going to be either thwarted or defeated. ¬†It was very nice to witness this lovely little bird in action though and surprising to hear such volume emanating from such a small package. For readers around the world, this bird in size is akin to a juvenile fledgling wren in Europe, a fledgling Tailor Bird in Asia and around 50% of the size of an American Chickadee. I have no idea whether this bird is the typical Splendid Fairy Wren or the desert morph subspecies (the former has white cheeks when adult and the latter cyan cheeks). From the photo I’d guess it’s definitely male and most likely the desert morph subspecies.


With hotel gardens behind me I ventured out behind the property. A lake was right before me… Happy Days indeed! There was a portion at the hotel end of this expanse of water that was heavily weeded and seemingly shallowed, so I made a beeline for that. Instantly a few birds could be seen to be wading and I approached with some caution, fearing I’d cause them to take flight. ¬†First in view was a Yellow Billed Spoonbill, typically moving their bills beneath the water from side to side, trying to identify and locate a hearty meal.


The spoonbills number four and I focused on the nearest as it turned towards me. The bill emerged and then the bird proceeded to throw back its’ bill to manouevre it’s catch into swallowing position…


As I looked at this bird through my viewfinder I chortled freely, as the positioning of the body and thereafter bill reminded me a little of a hippo. Haha. Nonetheless the bird seemed more than happy with its’ spoils from prawning and proceeded to toss one back into it’s gaping bill.

Light was less than friendly whilst¬†the sun strengthened, as the direction from which i’d have preferred to shoot the birds meant shooting into a strengthening sun… not a winning photography scenario. I was blessed, though, as in the distance I espied a raptor. It was a long way away and much too distant to photograph meaningfully. I got the bird in my viewfinder, focused accordingly, took a shot and proceeded to magnify the image ‘in-camera’ to identify what I thought might be an Osprey. Sure enough an Osprey is exactly what it was, circling and gaining height on the distant thermals.¬†I picked up my tripod sand camera gear, (cumulatively weighing around a good 8 kilos and somewhat cumbersome in size and balance), ¬†and jogged as far towards the bird as pathways would allow… ¬†any further and I would have needed a boat or helicopter. I hoped it would venture in my direction and thankfully a higher power was smiling on me that morning. The Osprey ceased circling and proceeded to glide with such lack of effort that if I didn’t know better, I’d have described it as positively lethargic. Ever closer it came and my pulse quickened. And closer. Still closer…


Perhaps for some an Osprey is not such a great find. This one is an Eastern Osprey and against an unruffled sky, this bird seemed to me to be the personification of majesty, at the very least a prince of the skies, and lord of avian anglers. It glanced purposefully in my direction and I hope it realised the respect in which i held this bird. Perhaps it did ūüôā ¬†? ¬†Whatever, it neared some more. What sheer joy that such glorious elegance could be bestowed upon my camera sensor that day, from such an exquisite¬†creature.


The bird flew on, perhaps unaware of the pleasure it had just given me, as I savoured its’ every move and considered the irony of the birds’ posture; the epitome of calmness riding the wind, yet with a latent potential for hunting and ensuing savagery upon whatever prey it targets.

Western Australia was being lit considerably at this time. The morning sun was casting light into what recently was shadow,  with predictable illuminations and generous warmth. And aside from that, my smile alone must have added considerably to the available light that day, in Geographe Bay.

Just when I had started to wonder if this photography trip may be ‘front end loaded’, with such marvellous sights captured at the beginning few days of our visit, ¬†Western Australia just continued to further delight and take my breath away. I was marvelling. And if ¬†anyone had asked me to set music to what I had experienced thus far, (and in hindsight now, what was to come), then Bachman Turner Overdrive would have headed my playlist.

“B-B-B-Baby, you just ain’t seen nothing Yet…”

What a place. Great landscapes, fabulous wildlife, super friendly people throughout, awesome food. Oh YES! OMG! I almost forgot!!! Australians amazing a Brit with their fish ‘n’ chips? Surely not? Well, they DID! I will try and dig out the impromptu restaurant we had that experience at… but that’s or a later post. I DID, however, ask what fish they had used. They said Spanish Mackerel. I was in hysterics and asked to see the chef. NO WAY that Spanish Mackerel could be served that way… filleted and battered? You gotta be kidding! But the chef showed me the mackerel. and described the filleting method. And WHAT an outcome. The surprises just seemingly kept coming…

Happy Days indeed! ¬†ūüôā

Today’s Fotofact – Woodpeckers are amazing!! I didn’t know these interesting facts…

  • Woodpeckers are found globally, except Australasia
  • Many woodpeckers have fine feather bristles covering their nostrils to stop wood chips entering the nasal cavity
  • Woodpeckers have 2 toes pointing forwards and 2 toes pointing backwards to grip trees better – most birds have 1 pointing backwards and 3 forwards
  • Woodpeckers hammer their bill between 8-12,000 times per day!!!
  • Woodpeckers hammer their bill to loosen bark to find insects, to make holes for nesting, and during the mating season, also to communicate with one another
  • Woodpeckers have an unusually long tongue relative to their size, up to 4 inches in some species!
  • Their tongue has a glue like substance on the tip, which aids the process of catching insects


What? I’m going to be a father again? You gotta be kidding me!..

On Saturday I went to Pasir Ris to practice BIF (Bird In Flight) photography, and after a couple of hours my camera shutter was not exactly getting worn out. In fact, it was about as likely to be engaged as Britney Spears at a Mother Of The Year convention.

After a little while, I began to hear whistles. Quite a few whistles. And to be honest, I paid little heed to this, not having won any ‘world’s most attractive man’ awards. But some frantic waving caught my eye from an observation hut around 350 metres away. I trained my lens and saw a few birding buddies, beckoning me to join them. So the tripod and gear was duly slung over the shoulder, and off I went. ¬†When I got there it became apparent why I was being beckoned.

A39T0265-impNot just for the camaraderie (thought that in itself was enough reason to go join the group), but because an Oriental Pied Hornbill was perched nearby, and providing much food for my bird photographer buddy’s camera sensors. Cool. ūüôā ¬†. Happy Days!

So I set up my gear and began to delight in the Hornbill’s coy movements and preening.

I shot the Hornbill quite a few times but in all honesty, it wasn’t THAT close and it was sunbathing. The light was pretty harsh which meant it was difficult to render much detail in the shots I could take from my position. Nonetheless it was great to catch up with a few birding buddies and have a ‘chinwag’.

A39T0353-impIt wasn’t long before I noticed, ¬†some distance away , that a pair of Blue Throated Bee-Eaters were feeding on what seemed like a bounty of various insects. Apologies for the clarity of these shots, taken against a bright sky background, and at distance (not a winning scenario for crisp shooting). I trained my camera on them for a little while, whilst trying to ignore the fact that it was way past lunch and I was getting very hungry. A Coppersmith Barbet joined them soon after, which I told the birders as they were still happily snapping the Hornbill.

A39T0379-impThe Barbet wasn’t content, evidently, with these Bee-Eaters sharing its’ perches, and took an aggressive stance.

A39T0381-impI decided to train my lens on the scene, in anticipation  of the Barbet getting aggressive. Sure enough it decided to cause both Bee-Eaters to take flight and return to a perch they had occupied earlier, much farther away.

Many of the birders saw this fast sequence of events, though I don’t think anyone else captured this. In any event, I said my goodbyes and headed back to the bridge across the Tampines River, ¬†for a final ¬Ĺ hour and to see if the Stork Billed Kingfisher would return. I’d promised myself that I ¬†would go and eat after that.¬†I set up my tripod and all on the bridge and one other bird photographer was present.

photoI heard a chirping. A loud chirping. It seemed near but I couldn’t locate the source of it. Finally I saw a recently fledged sunbird in-between the wooden slates of the bridge railing and some orange netting that local authorities had placed there. The bird seemed distressed and I could not locate either of its’ parents. I picked the young bird up and returned it to sanctuary in a nearby hedge. It seemed comfortable and continued chirping.

photo 4I thought it would be fine and returned to my camera set up. Merely a few moments later I heard chirping again and observed the young sunbird flying towards me. I stood still. It came to rest. On my shoulder! LOL. My goodness. So now I was to become a father again??? The other photographer was kind enough to take a few shots with my iPhone, which are shown here. not good quality, obviously, but nonetheless a record of the event.

I took the sunbird in my open palm and walked. Then stopped. Awaited the fledgling to chirp, which it incessantly did. It took me around 10 minutes of walking and stopping, covering an area of maybe 50 square metres, before the youngsters’ chirps were answered. I placed the sunbird carefully into a bush, and its’ mother was in the top of this plant. The sunbird flew back onto my hand. The mother came down the bush to examine the proceedings. But made no sound. Just watched. Very carefully. Gingerly. I placed the bird back a further 3 times, and each time it flew back to me, landing on each hand and an arm. Still I placed it back in the bush. And FINALLY, ‘mum’ called to its’ youngster. The youngster immediately acknowledged the mother… both were reunited.

Whilst this was going on, i couldn’t carry my photography gear with me, so I didn’t get to shoot them both together; by the time I went back with it, they were both gone. ¬†but mum and youngster were reunited, so I was happy. Mum had probably taken the fledgling for lunch. I thought it was time I did the same. So off I went… resplendent with a smile that stayed with me, for quite some time. I’m smiling even now, as I am typing this. I feel very fortunate that this bird ‘took to me’. Animals often do, and I am always grateful for this. They say that creatures can sense whether a human means them harm or not. This fledgling sunbird seemingly felt I’d take care of it. Smart bird, despite its’ immaturity. It could have picked few better people, to transfer it back to its’ mum. ūüôā ¬†.

I’m glad it chose me. The bridge has joggers and cyclists passing over it regularly. I couldn’t leave the bird there. It could have been harmed. Killed even. And with the regular human traffic travelling in a variety of ways, ‘mum’ wasn’t going to come and rescue its’ chick. So I thought it best to plan a reunion. I’m glad I did ūüôā ¬†.

Happy Days. ūüôā