In December of 2018 we did a couple of days on the West Coast Wilderness Trail (read about that here). A fab trip. Definitely heading back for more.
As you’d expect on New Zealand’s West Coast, the Trail has some beautiful bush, forest and wildlife. On our first day we came across a couple of Wood Pigeons engaged is some courtship behaviour. They seemed quite oblivious to their audience, but we didn’t hang around too long.
There was a bit of swooping around which, from what I’ve read, seems characteristic but also some rapid beak movement as seen in the video. This is well documented courtship behaviour for pigeons in general, but I couldn’t find anything specific to Kereru on the www (if you know of any material on the topic, drop me a line and I’ll reference it here).
The footage was shot on a Panasonic G85 at 4k 30p with the 12-60mm 3.5-5.6 G Lumix Vario lens at 60mm focal length (which equates to 120mm on a 35mm camera).
I was happy to get the footage, but the quality is not great. First off it was quite wobbly. I actually love this camera-lens combo for travel and get some good results. It’s super light and compact, weather sealed and the dual (body + lens) stabilisation means you can get pretty good video hand held in a lot of scenarios.
However, on this occasion I wasn’t doing a great job of holding things steady. I jumped off the bike, grabbed the camera and started shooting and kind of watching at the same time! The in-camera stabilisation takes the jitter out, but if you’re swaying around like a drunk, there’s only so much it can do. Bit of a trick holding a steady shot at that focal length too. Tripod or monopod would have been the thing. Managed some improvement in post with FCPX stabilisation.
The other issue was shooting against bright cloud which is generally challenging but I’ve subsequently concluded that my lens protector wasn’t in the best condition (replaced since) which might account for some of the haziness but there’s some fringing going on at high contrast boundaries which is probably a lens thing. Shots like this also test the camera’s sensor & dynamic range.
The lens is not premium glass but it’s not rubbish either. At full zoom image quality is often not the best, but it’s capable of producing some amazingly clean images and footage in better conditions.
Things are also a bit overexposed. The aperture was fully stopped down at f22, shutter set at 1/60th for 180 degrees shutter angle. If I’d had my wits about me I could have bumped the shutter speed up a bit. Had a dodgy ND filter (replaced since), but no time to fiddle around with that (good thing, would have made it worse).
After some work in post it’s watchable, it could be worse and the engaging subject matter is what counts.
I find pretty much every shoot is a new occasion for learning technique and testing your gear. It’s all part of a very beautiful journey towards a mystical destination that none of us really understand. Don’t you reckon?