The books arrived this week, literally a ‘truck load’. Ten pellet loads of books, weighing in at over 6 tons. This is another tense moment as with all the travel from China, and being shifted from truck to truck, there is a high risk of damage. But they all look good, and we have them all now stowed away. We have on hand a lot of pre-orders but will not send any books out until after the book launch on July 25, 2014. Below is a picture of one pallet of books, with me pushing, ‘boy were they heavy’! A friend snapped this picture on her phone.
Yesterday I received two advance copies of my new book – BIRDS New Zealand – beauty like no other. The remainder of the books (six tons of them) are coming by ship and due here mid-July. It was a very tense moment – what was the book going to look like? All my concerns were immediately dismissed – the book is just beautiful and exceeds my greatest expectations. Everbest Printing Co in China does such a great job and their colour rendition is spot-on. Never before have New Zealand’s birds been so beautifully showcased.
It is the time of the year for getting some new pictures for my annual Wanganui Calendar, not an easy task after many years of producing it. Fortunately Wanganui is a scenic area with the sea, the river, the historic city, the countryside and a backdrop of mountains. Every couple of years I seem to end up using a picture of the paddle steamer Waimarie, such a historic sight on the Whanganui river, a recent picture found below.
Update 22 May 2015 – Due to Whitcoulls not placing an order for the 2015 Wanganui Calendar I have decided not to go ahead with it. Each year calendar numbers have been dropping (from 3,000 to 1,800), now to the point where it is uneconomic to produce them. It is a sign of the times, due in part to the younger generation using smart phones, and the increase in overseas postage costs.
There is however good demand for the small Wanganui book and we plan to replace our current edition with a new one later in the year.
After three years of travel, research, writing, computer work and editing I have finally got the PDF document away to the printers in China for my latest book – “BIRDS New Zealand – beauty like no other”. This time I was able to send the files by high-speed internet, moving 4.7 GB of data in less than 30 minutes – incredible. I feel a sense of relief that I finally got the book together, as many times over the three years this completion point seemed so distant and impossible. Including a number of new topics and 50 new bird species meant a lot of extra research, as well as updating information on all the species previously included in my last book. Below is the contents page, where you can see the topics now included in the section called “The Nature of Birds”.
On my recent expedition in the subantarctic it was great to be travelling with other professional photographers, including a past winner of the BBC ‘photographer of the year’ competition. Ole Liodden, of Norway, was great company and I learned a lot from him. He takes tours for photographers up into the Arctic, photographing polar bears on ice-floes. We spent time together doing landscape photography in the south of the main Chatham Island. Ole is in the centre of the following picture, with the big black Nikon lens. We are photographing shore plover on South East Island.
It was a real thrill to visit South East Island, one of New Zealand’s great nature reserves. We enjoyed perfect weather and were able to zodiac cruise the coastline within a couple of metres. A highlight was to photograph the Shore Plover, in its last natural home. The visit also allowed us close encounters with the rare Pitt Island shag and the rare Chatham Island oystercatcher.
I have just returned from a visit to the Antipodes and Bounty Islands, New Zealand’s most remote territories. The photographic opportunities were outstanding, as these islands are home to birds that nest nowhere else. I obtained close-up photos of my two target species, the erect-crested penguin, and the antipodean albatross, two birds I wanted to include in my new book.
After six months of constant use I have nothing but praise for this camera, especially its low-light ability. Photos taken in the bush at ISO 25,600 show very little grain!