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Film Diary / 28.12.2016

This morning I took the Canon into Palm Grove National Park to film the aerial roots of a Bangalow Palm, the fallen Moreton Bay Fig tree, volcanic rocks on the slope above the school path and a male harvestman on a rock where I once filmed six in close proximity. The greatest benefit of a fully functioning camera was accurate focus from wide to zoom. The sunlight created strong contrast which I tried to overcome by adjusting the exposure, but the controls are not as handy as on the Sony and will take some getting used to.

This evening two guests made for an extra large party on our night walk in The Knoll. The old crew of Mark and Dan only lacked Jaap’s presence to be fully reunited. This was the first opportunity to try out the Canon at night. Because it has a better sensor than the Sony, the focused beam of the spotlight resulted in over-exposure, particularly on wide shots. Resorting to a version of manual exposure improved the image quality without getting the exposure right. I filmed a great barred frog, a female poinciana longicorn beetle depositing her eggs in a tree, two resting… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 14.12.2016

Mark has retired from teaching and joined Lumart and me on the 138th night filming walk. We paid a return visit to MacDonald National Park, having failed to complete the circuit in mid-November. There was plenty to see, for instance skinks, a variety of snails, spiders and cockroaches, fungi, Giant Stinging Trees, and some beautiful ascending and descending vines. Even after so many walks I always find compelling subjects to film; this time an Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly, a katydid instar, a moth, a Greengrocer Cicada completing its moult and a Short-beaked Echidna up against a tree before it slowly waddled off into the black.

PS  I photographed a second moth on the 11th which I recognised as probably the same species as one I had filmed a few years ago. Only my expert had got the species wrong and had to consult a colleague who specialises in the Lymantriidae family. An email awaited me after tonight’s walk which contained the specialist’s verdict.

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Film Diary / 11.12.2016

One of the moths I photographed on December 5, was new to me. The following day I got the best close up of a moth I first filmed with my SD camera and later, at night in rainforest in HD. On December 7 I saw and phtographed for the first time, a moth described as one of the most common in Australia. And today, I photographed another new moth. What a difference a fully lit garage has made in such a brief time.

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Film Diary / 26.10.2016

On checking out Jaap’s sighting of a pair of Whip Birds near the pond in the Land Care Depot the other day, I caught sight of a peewee, as the Magpie Lark is known in Queensland, feeding on the ground. I have never filmed this bird, though I have seen it over the years when I didn’t have my camera with me. I returned a day later, but found it too difficult to film the bird. Yesterday, I made a start, with some distant shots and improved the record this morning. However, on returning this afternoon I noticed a nest in a gum tree which the adult birds had frequented. There were two almost fully fledged chicks in the nest, which the adults visited regularly; the visits lasting from a few seconds to half a minute or more.

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Film Diary / 12.10.2016

We started the new night filming season in The Knoll with walk 134. Jaap and Lumart were the crew. Although the night was cooler than we would have liked, we were expectant of some night life because the weather last week was warm. I can’t readily recall a more felicitous season opening. I filmed a weevil, a moulting spider, a moth, a damselfly, a mayfly and, wonder of wonders, the dwelling of a log cabin case moth larva – the last three on a stand of young palms. The dwelling had seven layers and lacked the extensions of the one I photographed in April this year, which had eleven layers. I never expected to see its like again, yet barely six months later one turns up at night in our beloved rainforest. We saw female and male harvestmen, some very large spider burrows, several moths, a semi-slug, two leaf-tailed geckos, some beautiful fungi and two huge giant water spiders.

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Film Diary / 07.10.2016

For the second time this week I stopped to film three Masked Lapwing chicks on my way to the bower (see the post for 23 September). They were foraging in a small, unfenced orchard in my street. I had seen the parents for some time on a vacant block on the other side of the park in front of my home. The chicks were older than the ones I filmed in SD, which were being nestled by their mother. The chicks I filmed this week were very quick on their legs. Today I was able to get closer to them.

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Film Diary / 23.09.2016

In five attempts since September 12 and after many hours of waiting and with a few near misses, I at last shot about 4 ½ minutes of footage of a female with a male Satin Bowerbird in its bower, located in a  secluded garden. By near misses I mean occasions when the female was close but not close enough, calling volubly but remaining out of sight and this morning, hopping onto a branch overlooking the bower but then flying away before returning, touching down and remaining. This afternoon I watched the footage, which turned out well.

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Film Diary / 05.09.2016

For the first time since June I took some photos with my PANCAM and two months later than I would have liked, inaugurated the PANCAM 2016 B folder of my image library. The subject was close ups of the flowers of Zieria collina, a shrub which only grows on the mountain and is listed as vulnerable. Spring officially started on the 1st of September. The zieria bushes are bursting with flowers. I also filmed the flowers and am confident that the close ups are an improvement on those of the SD footage, though they won’t match the PANCAM’s.

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Film Diary / 07.08.2016

This post is included not so much because of what I filmed but because I filmed – for the first time since my return, indeed since June 10. The location was the same, the lagoon in the sports complex, now empty of water. The subject was a small bottle brush tree, with many buds and a single, red flower. Filming again was a therapeutic blowing away of the remaining cobwebs of jet lag. It has taken longer than usual to get back to my normal sleep pattern.

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Film Diary, Other / 13.05.2016

I was thrilled and touched to receive a hand-written letter from David Attenborough thanking me for the photos of the Log Cabin Case Moth and the letter about finding it that I sent him. He wrote that he had never seen the dewlling of a Log Cabin Case Moth before and that he found it fascinating.