FULL ITINERARY, ALICE SPRINGS, APRIL 25-30, 2018
Day 1: Arrive Alice Springs and check into accommodation. Welcome dinner and get-to-know-you with group at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Introduction session and camera set-up, afternoon targeting a range of woodland species including White-browed Treecreeper, Black-faced Woodswallow, Red-backed Kingfisher and more.
The Bird Photography presentation will cover most of what will be taught over the course of the tour, including:
Aims of bird photography: Why photograph birds? What makes a good bird photo?
Photo analysis: How was that shot achieved?
Hands-on: Set up your camera for bird photography: shooting menu settings, autofocus and tracking modes
Understanding the exposure triangle: Using aperture, shutter speed and ISO to get optimal exposure
Different shooting modes: Aperture and shutter priority versus manual, pros and cons for bird photography
Camera settings for different situations: Perched birds, birds in flight, tricky lighting conditions and more
Exposing to the right: How to read the camera’s histogram and light meter to achieve correct exposure
Focus tracking: Using the right focus settings to track and photograph moving subjects
Composition: How to position yourself in relation to the sun, shadows, background to achieve the best result, understanding depth of field, how to make an ordinary environment look great and more
Fill Flash: How to use your flash to enhance an image
Field craft: How to find and get close to your target species in order to get the best possible result in camera.
Day 3: Parrots and more!
Early morning departure to a local property to photograph Mulga Parrots, Australian Ringnecks, and if conditions are right, Budgies, Cockatiels and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, which are regularly sighted on the property. Banded Whiteface and Chiming Wedgebills are a common occurrence on the station as are many of the local raptor species including Wedge-tailed Eagle and Australian Hobby. We should have some great photo opportunities!
We will then visit a fantastic spinifex habitat to seek out and photograph Australia’s smallest bird by weight, the stunning and elusive Rufous-crowned Emu-wren. Dusky Grasswrens also inhabit this area and we will also endeavour to photograph this species.
We will return to Alice Springs for lunch at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens where Western Bowerbird, Grey Crowned Babbler, Pt Lincoln Ringneck and Red-browed Pardalote are the main targets, along with with some friendly Wallaroos and Black-footed Rock Wallabies. If time permits we will visit the Alice Springs Water Treatment ponds to look for and photograph waders.
Day 4: Ormiston Gorge Trip
Immerse yourself in the spectacular landscapes and fantastic birding opportunities of this local iconic destination. This is ideal habitat for photographing species such as Painted Finch, Spinifex Pigeon, Dusky Grasswren, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Grey-headed Honeyeater, Red-backed Kingfisher and Little Woodswallow.
We'll eat lunch at Glen Helen Resort, visiting one of the oldest watercourses in the world, the majestic Finke River. Woodland habitat on the return trip to Alice Springs will provide opportunities to photograph Crested Bellbirds, Inland and Slaty-backed Thornbills, Western Gerygone, Splendid and Variegated Fairy-wrens.
Day 5: Alice Springs Desert Park
Today we'll visit the well-known Alice Springs Desert Park. Jim is a former staff member here and knows where to find the key species that inhabit the grounds. Families of Splendid and Variegated Fairy-wrens are likely targets, with White-browed Babblers, Western Bowerbirds, Crested Bellbirds and a number of nomadic honeyeater species frequent the park. There is always a chance of an unusual sighting here. The Nature Theatre Free Flight Bird Show is not to be missed and will give great opportunities to practise capturing raptors in flight.
We'll eat lunch at the Desert Park before heading to Simpson's Gap for an afternoon walk in the beautiful gorge and adjacent woodlands to photograph various species.
We'll finish Day 4 set up at a local waterhole to witness the activity as the sunlight fades, Bourke's Parrot is the key target here and it's likely Common Bronzewing and other more common species will also provide some photo opportunities.
Day 6: Departure
Checkout from hotel and departure home.
To ensure you get every opportunity to photograph a wide range of species, the itinerary is subject to change. Certain desert species are nomadic by nature and reliant on local rainfall, flowering plants and seeding grasses. Jim will endeavour to seek out the best locations and find the less frequent species prior to the workshop commencing and we will be flexible in our plans depending on conditions. A reasonable level of fitness is required as there will be some walking involved.
We should encounter approximately 100 plus species during the workshop, with a strong focus on photographing those that are iconic species to this area.
Bird photography tuition from Craig Greer and guiding from local expert Jim Oatley. Individual lodgings and breakfast at Double Tree Hilton Alice Springs and all transport to and from accommodation to tour locations. Airport pick up is also included. Shared accommodation will result in a discounted tour price (separate sleeping areas not available).
Airfares/cost of travel to and from Alice Springs, food and drinks (except for breakfast), any travel around Alice Springs not part of the tour schedule, any other expenses not listed in the inclusions above.
To participate effectively and get the most out of this workshop, participants should have the following equipment:
Camera: DSLR, mirrorless, superzoom camera (even a point and shoot will do!)
Lens: a minimum focal length of 250mm is recommended but the more reach the better!
WHAT TO BRING
Along with the equipment listed above, I recommend that you bring the following things to the workshop:
Tripod or monopod (depending on lens size) (Optional)
Spare camera battery(s) and battery charger
Plenty of memory cards. You will want to bring minimum 4 x 32GB memory cards
Wide-angle lens for landscape photography (Optional)
Rain cover. If you don't have one of these I suggest purchasing one to fit your camera/lens set up. I use and recommend Lens Coat products (Optional)
Natural coloured clothing - greens, browns, greys or camouflage clothes, throw, Ghillie or Yowie Suit
Laptop and external hard drive to download your images, laptop charger, installed copy of Adobe Photoshop ideal
Skimmer Ground Pod with tripod head for wader/ground level photography (Optional)
External flash & flash extender (Better Beamer) (Optional)
Suitable walking shoes/boots
Good wide-brimmed hat (ideally with fly net)
Small torch with spare batteries
Mobile phone and charger.
In the event you book and need to cancel your tour the following refund policy applies:
Full Refund: A full refund can only be provided if the tour is cancelled 60 or more days prior to tour commencing.
Partial refund: A partial refund of 50% will be provided if the tour is cancelled between 30 and 60 days prior to tour commencing.
No refund will be provided for cancellations within 30 days of the tour commencement date.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THIS TOUR?
If you'd like to know more about this tour or have any questions about the itinerary above you can contact me here.