Australian Raptors

  1. After a long break from filming, it was nice to get out with a good friend on a beautiful Autumn morning.

    We chose to visit a grain silo just north of our home in Central Victoria where we knew a pair of Peregrine Falcons had taken up residence. It was a bit of a long shot, as we were focused on capturing a hunting scene - which we felt might be difficult outside the nesting season. This proved to be ill founded as the birds put on quite a show once the fog lifted.

    I always considered the Peregrine as a very successful hunter however, I was surprised to witness this pair of birds make so many unsuccessful hunting attempts. Having said this, the lack of success on the birds part was wonderful for us, as we got to see the birds hunt non stop over a 15 to 20 minute period.

    Unfortunately, the birds always went hunting away from our vantage point - so the footage is not the best (the strong heat haze did not help either), but it did give us high hopes for what we might be able to capture when the birds are rearing their young in the months ahead. Hopefully as we spend more time in the area, the birds will become more accustomed to us, which might lead to them hunting closer to us.

    Camera gear used was Sony A7S II for all wide angle shots and Panasonic Varicam HS for telephoto scenes.

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  2. A short video of me filming Brown Goshawks from a mobile hide.

    A few long days in the hide paid off nicely with some reasonably nice footage of a pair of Brown Goshawks. Unfortunately, they came to feed on the dead kangaroo late each afternoon, and the light was always very poor for photography. Nonetheless, the video side of things worked out well and once again, it allowed me to get out in the bush and learn a bit more about the camera gear.

    I hope you like the video and please feel free to ask any questions.


    All bird footage filmed with Panasonic GH5 and Panasonic/Leica 100-400mm lens.
    All other footage shot on a Sony A7S II and Sony 28 - 135mm video lens - Slog 2, sgamut.

    Drone footage - DJI Mavic

    Music by Epidemic Sound -

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  3. With a break in the weather, I was pleased to be able to photograph a beautiful old tree on top of a nearby hill. It sounds pretty boring, but the scene was pretty spectacular I think, and makes for a good landscape/treescape composition.

    As always, another excuse to get out and about, learn more about using my camera gear and enjoy nature and the great outdoors.

    I hope you enjoy watching.

    Equipment list;

    Photography Camera - Sony A7R II
    Lens - Canon 24 - 105mm f4
    Mefoto Tripod

    Video Camera - Sony A7S II (picture profile off)
    Video Lens - Sony 28-135 f4

    Music: The Appraise (instrumental), Epidemic Sound -

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  4. I thought I would put together a vlog style video of me out and about for a few hours one afternoon.

    I am trying to make my nature videos more interesting and have started to adopt a "behind the scenes" type approach. Hopefully this does add some interest and helps inspire other people interested in nature to grab a camera and get outdoors.

    It's the tail end of winter here in Australia and it had been a while since I had been out with the camera - so getting out for a few hours to check what the eagles in my area were up to, seemed like a good idea. I do like to sit and watch the eagles and there's usually something of interest to film. Unfortunately, it was a bit quiet on this particular afternoon, but I thought I would post this short video regardless.

    Equipment List

    Panasonic GH5
    Panasonic 100 - 400mm lens
    Panasonic GH4 (blogging camera) with Panasonic 14mm lens and wide adapter
    Zoom H1 audio recorder

    Music by Epidemic Sound -

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  5. During a recent trip up the Birdsville Track, I noticed a pair of Black Kites sitting in the grass, and decided to sit back and watch them from the comfort of my car. After watching them with the binoculars for a few minutes, I realised there was another bird with them - which got me very curious and excited at the same time. I drove a little bit closer and realised it was a Grey Falcon.
    I was unsure what the attraction to the area was and immediately assumed a dead carcass however, my primary thoughts revolved around filming and how I could quickly get into the optimum filming position, after allowing for the light and wind direction. I realised I would have to take the 4x4 off the track across some pretty rough ground however, I thought if I took it really slow, I might just get close enough. I knew it was pointless filming from my current position as they were just too far away.
    The birds were sitting on the ground and I checked with the binoculars every few seconds or so to make sure they were still settled. Eventually, I got close enough and started filming.
    The Black Kites took to the air almost as soon as I was set up however, it was the Grey Falcon I was interested in - which still seemed quite relaxed on the ground.
    The wind direction was perfect, blowing at a reasonable rate from behind. This suited the light direction and I started filming the falcon as it performed what appeared to be a "searching" flight, as if it was looking for something. I didn't really have time to give this much thought, as I tried to maintain the camera focus and get good composition.
    My adrenalin levels were pretty high as I knew the birds wouldn't hang around for too long. I estimate the whole scene lasted for 30 seconds or so, before both falcons joined the Black Kites - which had repositioned themselves down wind of my position. I did try to reposition myself again near the birds, but they cleared out as soon as I headed in their direction.
    My guess is that the falcons were searching for grasshoppers, as I cannot imagine the Black Kites were chasing live prey. Having said this, I did not see the birds feeding on grasshoppers at any time. I know that Black Falcons are particularly fond of grasshoppers and so to are Brown Falcons, Hobbys & Kestrels.
    The second part of this video clip shows a pair of Emus which decided to run alongside my car as I was heading home late that day. It was such a beautiful sunset so I decided to stop and try out a new video camera I had recently purchased (Sony PXW-FS7).
    As is usually the case, I went back to the same area over the remainder of this trip (another 3 days) and could only find Black Kites and two Hobbys - which were clearly feeding on grasshoppers. Unfortunately, no more Grey Falcon sightings.

    I really had a lot of luck on my side this day. The falcons could easily have joined the Black Kites as soon as they took flight. Instead, they hung around for 30 seconds or so, which allowed me this opportunity. The wind direction and light also worked out well - which would not have been the case if I had driven directly to the birds.

    Filming/photographing nature can be very frustrating, where you can go for days where you just cannot locate anything of interest - sitting in likely spots for hours on end. However, when it all falls into place, it can be very special and makes it all worthwhile.

    Technical Information:

    Grey Falcon and Black Kite footage - filmed with Panasonic Varicam HS and Canon HJ18ex28 lens - VLOG setting at 120 fps.
    Emu Footage - filmed with Sony PXW - FS7 and Canon 24 - 70mm - 4K, SLOG 3 at 24 fps.

    © David Gemmell, 2016

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Australian Raptors

A collection of videos which showcase some of Australia's Birds of Prey in their natural environment.

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