Nature Photography Guide to Tasmania

Nature Photography Guide to Tasmania

Picnic Rocks

Text and images by Australian wildlife and nature photographer, Michael Snedic (April 2023)

Tasmania is an island state situated 240 km south of the Australian mainland and separated by the Bass Strait. Its landscapes are incredibly photogenic and range across rugged and diverse terrain including alpine heathlands, dry midlands, evergreen eucalypt forests, cool temperate rainforests, and so much more. There is a large array of wildlife found in Tasmania. Mammal types include various species of kangaroos and wallabies, bats, wombats, possums, platypus, echidnas, quolls, as well as the iconic (and endangered) Tasmanian devil. The island also has a wide assortment of bird species, reptiles and frogs. Some of the rarer bird species which bird photographers often seek to photograph include the endangered Orange-bellied parrot, the Swift parrot, the Forty-spotted pardalote and the Shy albatross. Regarding reptiles, there are 18 different species found here, including the She-oak, Delicate and White’s skinks. Frog species number 11, with species such as the Green and Gold, Eastern Banjo and Striped Marsh frogs found on this island state.

Tasmania is also a great location to photograph auroras (Aurora Australis), and they can appear at any time of the year. I have photographed auroras in Freycinet (from Coles Bay looking across to The Hazards) as well as Cradle Mountain, but they can appear almost anywhere across the state. Due to Tasmania’s closeness to the south magnetic pole towards Antarctica, Aurora Australis is often visible.

Basically, Tasmania is a photographer’s heaven!

Travelling to Tasmania

To get to Tasmania, you can fly to places such as Hobart or Launceston. If you are on the mainland and have a vehicle, you can drive it on to the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry from Victoria across the Bass Strait.

As far as travelling around Tasmania is concerned, by far the easiest way is to hire a vehicle (either a car or a campervan). That way, you can travel wherever you want and stay in locations as long as you need. I have personally hired a campervan a number of times and this has given me plenty of flexibility. You can also join one of many organised tours on offer in the state, but unless it’s a photography-specific tour, your photographic options are usually limited, and a tad rushed.


Suggested Locations

1. Cradle Mountain

One of my personal favourite locations, where I have travelled with my camera and presented photography tours numerous times over many years, is the Cradle Mountain region. Cradle Mountain itself is situated in the central highlands region of Tasmania, within the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and rises 1,545 metres above sea level. Apart from incredible landscape opportunities (especially of the mountain itself at sunrise and sunset), there are plenty of stunning rainforests and waterfalls to be found in the region. Two waterfalls within easy reach are Knyvet and Pencil Pine, both of which are accessible by walking 5 minutes along a short boardwalk from the carpark area in front of Cradle Mountain Lodge. As far as wildlife opportunities go, you really are spoilt for choice! Echidnas frequent area, wallabies are quite common and around sunset and in the evenings you will sometimes see tiger quolls, which are carnivorous marsupials. Wombats are also common towards sunset around Ronny Creek. They are used to people, and you can generally get quite close to them with your camera.

Aurora-Cradle Mountain Tasmania

2. Tarkine/Takayna

The Tarkine region (also known by its indigenous name Takayna), in northwest Tasmania, is a much quieter and less well-known area and features incredibly beautiful landscapes. It contains high-quality wilderness as well as large tracts of rare, cool temperate rainforest  It also has eucalypt forest, dry sclerophyll, buttongrass,, woodlands, wetlands and grasslands, to name but some. For wildlife, the Tarkine is home to 28 terrestrial mammals, 111 birds, 11 reptiles, 8 frogs and 13 freshwater fish. One of the best areas to stay and visit is the small town of Corrina, situated right on the banks of the Pieman River. This small village offers cabin accommodation, campsites and meals (not offered in the off season). Corrina Homestead also offers two different boat trips – the Pieman River and Sweetwater cruise. Both cruises are worth doing and make for some unique photography experiences in Tasmania.

3. Freycinet

Freycinet, situated on the east coast of Tasmania, is a very popular tourist destination and for good reason. It features a peninsula defined by Schouten Island and a stunning mountain range known as the Hazards.
There are plenty of locations in Freycinet National Park worth visiting with your camera, the most popular being a hike which leads to a lookout that overlooks stunning Wineglass Bay. This hike is all uphill so a decent level of fitness is required. Another popular location is Cape Tourville Lighthouse, where you drive up a windy road to the carpark area and then walk along a boardwalk to reveal stunning views below! Other locations worth taking your camera to include Sleepy Bay and Honeymoon Bay, both of which are easily accessible by parking in the designated carparks and hiking along well-signed trails. Apart from an assortment of mammals to photograph, there are plenty of birds to along the shorelines, including species such as Pacific Gulls, Pied Oystercatchers, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Red-capped Plovers. The range of beautiful landscapes and wildlife are one of the reasons I run photography tours to Freycinet National Park and surrounds.


4. The Bay of Fires

Travelling north from Freycinet and still on the east coast of Tasmania is the region known as the Bay of Fires. Here you will find an incredible 50km coastline laden with massive granite boulders covered in orange lichen, snow-white sandy beaches and turquoise-coloured water. Destinations well worth visiting with your camera include Binalong Bay, Mount William National Park, (including the very photogenic Picnic Rocks) and Eddystone Lighthouse. There are loads of bird species here too, similar to the Freycinet region.

5. Mt Field National Park

Another area that is popular with photographers is Mt Field National Park, which is only a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Tasmania’s capital, Hobart. Highlights include two majestic waterfalls – Russell and Horseshoe Falls. Both falls can be accessed very easily with a short hike from the Parks and Wildlife Service Information Centre, at the entrance to the national park. It is important to note that Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife permits MUST be purchased at the information centre prior to you visiting each of the falls. Another popular location is Tarn Shelf. By driving 16kms from the information centre, you end up at Lake Dobson carpark. You can then do a 12km hike known as the Tarn Shelf Circuit. This walk includes a number of glacial lakes and is very colourful in autumn when the deciduous beech trees turn a rich yellow colour.

Bennett's Wallaby

Best time of the year

As far as the best time of the year to travel to Tasmania, it depends on where you decide to go. Each season has its benefits. For areas such as Cradle Mountain, I suggest visiting in April/May. At the end of April and early May, the deciduous leaves of the Beech trees (Nothofagus) change colour and make for stunning landscape shots. The cooler months in this region (if/when it snows) also make for some great snow-covered mountain shots. On the east coast, in the areas mentioned including Freycinet and the Bay of Fires, I favour visiting in winter or spring, although most of the year can be quite decent to visit and photograph. The temperature is generally cooler and the forests quite lush. For the Tarkine region and Mt Field National Park, anytime of the year is fine to visit and photograph.

Top Tips for Nature Photography in Tasmania


1. Look for Diffused Light

The light can be very harsh in places such as Freycinet and the Bay of Fires, so when photographing seascapes, I prefer shooting at either sunrise or sunset. Subtle light wins over harsh, daytime light anytime!

When taking photos of waterfalls such as Russell and Horseshoe in Mt Field National Park, in the stunning rainforests at Cradle Mountain or forests in the Tarkine region, overcast days are always best. Clouds act as ‘nature’s diffuser’ and help reduce harsh shadows that sunny days can produce. To achieve smooth, milky waves crashing over rocks or onto the sand or cascading waterfall, using a neutral density (ND) filter with a sturdy tripod and a remote or cable release (or using an App on your phone that’s paired to your camera) is the best way to stabilise your camera/lens combo. This reduces the chance of blurry images quite well. You can also use a circular polarising filter (CPL) to slow down the camera’s shutter speed by 1.5 to 2 stops, reduce glare created from water as well as saturating the image slightly.

tasmanian devil

2. Bring a Long Lens

For photographing wildlife in locations such as Cradle Mountain, using a zoom lens with a decent focal length is best. I would certainly recommend a minimum focal length of around 400mm (or higher). Even though some of the wildlife such as wombats are quite relaxed and used to people approaching them fairly close, the longer focal-length lenses are needed for the more skittish species such as Tiger quolls or the popular Pink robin. The further away you are physically, the less the animal is disturbed and displays more natural behaviour. Wildlife species such as wombats, Bennett’s wallabies and echidnas (one of only two monotremes or egg-laying mammals in the world) are more active early in the morning or later in the day. The wider the minimum aperture your lens allows the better, as you are letting in more light and therefore increasing the camera’s shutter speed. The faster shutter speed minimises blur when handholding your gear. A monopod, with a monopod head, is another way of stabilising a heavy camera/lens combo.

For subjects such as wombats, Tasmanian devils or echidnas, which live on the ground, getting down to the animal’s eye level makes for more pleasing shots. With the Tasmanian devil, sightings are quite rare nowadays, due to a spread of facial tumours which drastically wiped the populations of these unique mammals. You may, however, be fortunate and see them at dusk and in the evening.

3. Use Fast Shutter Speeds

If you are planning to capture flying shots of bird species such as the Pacific Gull, the Wedge-tailed Eagle or the Green Rosella I suggest using continuous focus mode (AI Servo for Canon users) to help track your animal as its moving, coupled with ‘burst’ mode. Many mirrorless cameras have eye tracking capabilities nowadays which make tracking moving animals so much easier. To freeze your subject, you need to use a decent shutter speed (I recommend at least 1500th to 2000th of a second), especially for fast flying birds. The faster the better! If your subject is still and you are wanting to take a few portrait shots, then you don’t need a high shutter speed.

protesters falls

The main points to remember are to focus on the animal’s eye(s), leave room in the direction it is facing (if facing left or right and not looking directly at you) and watch for distractions in the background.

In conclusion

Tasmania has recorded the cleanest air in the world, is covered in incredible scenery and has many unique wildlife species. If you do decide to take a trip to this incredibly rich and diverse island with your camera, you will not be disappointed!

To view Michael’s photography, website, please visit:

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

Use of Perspective In Wildlife Photography – Part Two

Use of Perspective In Wildlife Photography – Part Two

Close Up Polar Bears

Creating A Three-Dimensional Look

Over the many years I have been a wildlife and nature photographer, I have enjoyed experimenting with different lenses for capturing wildlife. This has made it possible to capture so many different types of wildlife images and has kept my photography ‘fresh’ after 26 years of shooting. Using a wide-angle lens such as a 14-24mm on a full frame camera, for example, can help you create interesting and unusual images with a totally different perspective. By getting down at eye level and close to a subject (if it allows you to get close) has created many pleasing images for me over the years. The image of the baby Common wombat featured here, was one of the examples. The use of a wide-angle lens up close exaggerates the three-dimensional look of the image. To me, this close-up wide image creates more of an impact than a nice portrait shot taken from a distance with a longer focal length lens.

Common Wombat

Exercise Patience When Getting Close

I am often asked “how do you get close to wildlife subjects” when using a wide-angle lens. One answer I give is “lots of patience”! With the shot of the pair of Tasman Boobies sitting on a cliff top at Norfolk Island, I spent a couple of hours each morning, over many days, sitting with them, talking calmly and basically letting the birds see that I wasn’t a threat. I would always approach very slowly and quietly and sit, then edge a little closer over time. Wild birds will often let you reasonably close, as long as you don’t make sudden, jerky movement and make lots of noise. With the Tasman Boobies, I was eventually at a stage where the pair sat calmly on the hill, while I was quite close with my wide-angle lens. For this particular shot, I was incredibly fortunate to have the clouds part slightly and the crepuscular rays shone through. All I needed to do was sit still and press the shutter.

During a trip to Macquarie Island in the Subantarctic, we came across some quite mellow Royal Penguins. Not having any predators on the island, after a very successful vermin eradication project over a number of years, the penguins were very chilled indeed! I was sitting on rocks surrounded by these delightful birds and waited. I had a wide-angle lens on my camera and as this pair started interacting, I was able to hone in and focus on that pair, while the other penguins were distant in the background.

Using A Trigger Remote

You may not always be able to get close to your subjects, like some of the examples I have mentioned. Another way to capture wildlife using wide-angle lenses is to set your gear up on a tripod and use a trigger remote. I have done this a few times in situations where the animal regularly does a courtship display or where there is a bathing, feeding or preening spot. You will need to ‘guesstimate’ where the individual may be (or you hope it to be) and pre-focus using manual focus. If you don’t do this and try and use automatic focus, you can’t necessarily control where the focus point will end up in your scene. I use a wireless remote release which allows me to sit a distance away and trigger the shutter, without spooking the subject.

Shoot At Eye Level

Even when using a larger focal length lens, you can achieve a completely different image by getting down at eye level with your subject. By using your widest aperture (smaller number) and focusing on a distant animal, you will often blur out the background and foreground. This blur helps exaggerate the subject. By being low down, the image you shoot can give greater significance to the subject. The viewer of the image therefore ends up having a stronger connection with the subject.

Abstract Wildlife Images

You can also achieve a completely different perspective by focusing in on one particular part of an animal. This could be the feathers of a bird, the fur of a mammal or the scales of a reptile or the eye(s) of a frog. These images are known as abstracts and again, can expand the repertoire of your wildlife images. They can be quite artistic and once you start experimenting, you have endless possibilities. If you can get close to your subjects and are using a macro lens, please remember that depth-of-field can become an issue when shooting so close. Make sure you use a small aperture (in size) to get as much of the detail you are photographing in focus.

Fit More In – Using A Fisheye Lens

Even fish-eye lenses can be used for wildlife photography and will definitely show a different perspective. In the image of the lone penguin standing on a small iceberg, I wanted to show the massive and stunning Antarctic landscape while showing how tiny the penguin was. It again gives a sense of scale – this tiny bird on a tiny iceberg in a massive landscape. Having a single zodiac with people in the background emphasises scale even more.

Lone Adelie Penguin

To add a different perspective to a well photographed subject, try also shooting in different light conditions. This may be a silhouette, a reflection or even a shadow of an animal. It often makes the viewer needing to look twice at an image before realising exactly what it is.

The best part of trying new ways to photograph wildlife it is that it is up to your imagination. Do some research as to where you may find certain wildlife subjects, head on out with all the appropriate camera gear and start experimenting. You may ‘fail’ with many shots but you will also succeed with others. As the old saying goes “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”.

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

Noisy Pittas: Jewels of the Rainforest Floor

Noisy Pittas: Jewels of the Rainforest Floor

Noisy Pitta with chicks

Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolor, sometimes known as the Jewel Thrush or Anvil Bird. The Latin versicolor refers to the various colours of the bird’s plumage.

‘WALK TO WORK, walk to work’ – this was the unmistakable call of an adult Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolor as it flew towards its nest at the base of a Black Booyong tree. In response, two small heads appeared from the nest entrance. Shortly afterwards, one of the chicks summoned up the courage to leave the warmth and security of the nest and venture into the open…

By now, both parents had arrived and were fussing excitedly over the chick. This prompted the second chick to follow suit. The chicks seemed totally bewildered by all this attention, with both parents circling nervously as if to protect their offspring from the dangers of the ‘real’ world outside. Within minutes the parent birds disappeared, only to return a short while later, beaks brimming with tasty morsels.

Seeing the chicks fledge at such close range was a memorable moment, made possible by the camouflaged hide I was sitting in. Although living and working in southeast Queensland’s Lamington National Park had given me other opportunities to witness the Noisy Pitta’s nesting habits, I had never before been able to observe the birds or record their behaviour so minutely. The hide also enabled me to photograph the Pittas without disturbing them.

Distribution and habitat

Of the three Australian Pittas (Red-bellied, Rainbow and Noisy), the Noisy has by far the widest distribution, ranging from the Torres Strait Islands in the north to the Hunter Region (NSW) in the south. Mostly found east of the Great Dividing Range, Noisy Pittas seem to be well established in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. Over the years, I have spotted them at various locations, including Noosa National Park and Brisbane State Forest (Qld), Border Ranges National Park and Mt Warning National Park (northern NSW).

Fortunately, the Noisy Pitta is not currently under any threat in any part of its range. However, in some areas, the bird’s habitat has been partially affected by land clearance for agriculture and urbanisation, as well as the proliferation of feral cats.

In Lamington National Park, two hours south of Brisbane, the Noisy Pitta’s population is quite steady. Lamington was the third national park to be declared in Australia, in July 1915. This stunning park has the distinction of containing the largest remnant of sub-tropical rainforest in Australia. Covering some 20,500 ha, Lamington also incorporates eucalyptus and beech (Nothofagus) forests as well as wet and dry sclerophyll forests. The sheer diversity of fauna and flora, some of which are exceptionally rare and unique to the area, led to Lamington National Park being listed as a World Heritage Site in 1983.

Antarctic Beech Nothofagus moorei, Lamington National Park. With its vast area of undisturbed, old-growth rainforest, heavy rainfall and rich volcanic soils, Lamington provides ideal habitat for the Noisy Pitta.

Antarctic Beech Nothofagus moorei, Lamington National Park. With its vast area of undisturbed, old-growth rainforest, heavy rainfall and rich volcanic soils, Lamington provides ideal habitat for the Noisy Pitta.

With an annual rainfall of 2–3 metres, rich volcanic soil and a large area of undisturbed old-growth forest, Lamington allows the Noisy Pitta to thrive and breed undisturbed. Being mostly ground dwellers, the Pittas spend their days foraging through the moist, decomposing leaf litter of the rainforest floor in search of the many insects found there. Rather than walking or running, they tend to hop along the ground.

At an altitude of 920 metres, Lamington National Park becomes quite cool from the middle of autumn to early spring. My observations have shown that during this period, the majority of Noisy Pittas migrate to lower altitudes, seeking a warmer climate. They tend to leave around April, returning approximately October. There are, however – as always – exceptions to this rule: some individuals will brave the cold during the winter months.

Nest building and breeding

In southeast Queensland, Noisy Pittas may breed from October to February, though mostly November to January. Here in Lamington National Park, their favourite nest sites are the bases of buttress-rooted trees: White Booyong, Black Booyong, Mararie and Green-Leafed Moreton Bay Figs. Quite cleverly, the nest will always be situated on the downhill side of the buttress to prevent it from washing away after excessive downpours.

The pair of Pittas I observed shared nest-building duties, both birds working diligently. Sticks and leaves were used to compose the dome-like structure, which was woven together with thin pieces of grass. Once the nest was complete, the pair lined it with copious amounts of moss and lichen. A distinctive feature was the platform-like structure leading to the nest entrance.

Apart from nest-building duties, both birds shared incubation duties. Three eggs were laid, two of which later hatched (Noisy Pittas generally lay three to four eggs). Incubation started after the third and final egg was laid, with incubation lasting 15 days.

Noisy Pittas are diligent feeders of their chicks – something I experienced while watching this particular pair flying back and forth continuously to the nest, sharing chick-feeding equally.

Feeding the chicks. How can one chick physically digest so many insects, so often, in such a short time!

Feeding the chicks. How can one chick physically digest so many insects, so often, in such a short time!

It’s hard to imagine how a small chick can physically digest so many insects so often in such a short time! From the moment they hatched, these chicks were crammed full of insects, including caterpillars, worms, centipedes, spiders and even flesh extracted from the Giant Panda Snail. As the chicks grew older, the quantity of insects increased dramatically, though the frequency between feeds decreased significantly.

After feeding a chick, the parent bird waited patiently until the chick released a faecal sac. The parent then took the sac in its bill and proceeded to fly a fair distance from the nest to dispose of it. The theory behind this behaviour is that it prevents odours from building up within the nest, thus detracting predators such as Green Catbirds, Carpet Pythons or Dingoes.

For most of the time, the parent birds used exactly the same flight path, close to the ground, and landed on the same perch before entering the nest, being quite systematic in their approach. On a few occasions when I approached too close to the fledged chicks, one of the adult Pittas gave a loud ‘keow’ call, thought to be a warning or alarm call. The adult would try and distract me away from its offspring by flying quite close to me, then feigning injury. It would drop its wing to the ground, while the second parent would try and call the chick with a series of frequent, low-volume calls from a distance.

Observing Noisy Pittas

In my experience, Noisy Pittas are generally shy, wary and quite elusive at times, despite their brilliantly coloured plumage. When searching for the Pitta, it’s best to start by listening for its distinctive two-note call – thought to be used mainly to attract a mate as well as being territorial, particularly during the breeding season. This call can be heard throughout the day, especially at dawn, but also just after dark.

Apart from their call, another sign of the Pitta’s presence is the discovery of discarded rainforest snail shells (i.e. Giant Panda Snail) near a rock. This rock is commonly referred to as an ‘anvil’ due to the Pitta’s habit of repeatedly bashing snails against it in order to extract the prize within. Often, whole shells will be seen lying intact near the anvil, with only the centre smashed open. Once an anvil is established, the Noisy Pitta will commonly return to it to crack open its snail shells.

Even though Noisy Pittas are mostly found foraging amongst the leaf litter, they will roost high in trees at night so as to avoid predators.

With its strikingly coloured plumage, engaging mannerisms and elusive nature, the Noisy Pitta is a favourite among birders, including myself. Regularly I walk the numerous trails of Lamington National Park as a Guide, birders in tow, looking for the rainforest’s countless fascinating birds. When I hear my friend the Pitta’s distant ‘Walk-to-work’ call echoing at me, I can’t help but smile at the irony – I am walking to work!

If you are interested in learning more about how to photograph birds in Lamington National Park from experienced nature photographer Michael Snedic, you might like to join his next bird photography workshop at Lamington National Park.

First published in Wingspan Magazine.

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

5 Day Freycinet Photography Adventure – Tasmania

Wineglass Bay Freycinet N.P. - Tasmania

5th to the 9th of May 2024

About the Workshop and Tour

NEWThis new photography workshop incorporates the best that the Freycinet region on the east coast of Tasmania has to offer. From the moment you are picked up at your accommodation in Hobart until you are dropped off at the end of the workshop, everything is covered. Michael has scouted the best possible locations and subjects, so that you will come back with lots of photos and great memories!



Freycinet Coast - East Coast Tasmania


5th to the 9th of May 2024


$AU3695 (plus GST) per person twin share

$AU640 (plus GST) extra for single room supplement


Please note: WildNature Photo Expeditions will endeavour to find someone to share with you, from the photography group. If no one is available to share, then a single supplement will be added and you will have your own room.



Professional photographer and tutor, Michael Snedic

Leaping dolphin

Contact Michael Snedic directly
on +61 408 941 965

Meeting Point

Hobart hotel pick up and drop off included from Graham Apartments, New Town, Hobart. Participants will need to book a night's accommodation at Graham Apartments for the 4th of May 2024.


 4 nights at 'Bicheno By The Bay'


All transport (bus) within Tasmania is included, starting and finishing at Graham Apartments, New Town, Hobart.

Oyster Catcher

Photography Level

There is no “minimum level” required regarding photographic ability. Beginners and highly experienced shooters alike are all very welcome to join us. You will receive plenty of individual one-on-one time that will be geared towards your own personal skill levels and needs.

Bay of Fires - Tasmania


  • Accommodation at Bicheno By The Beach (4 nights, twin share – a single occupancy surcharge will apply)
  • Tansport during the workshop in a 12 seater bus
  • All meals (except where indicated)
  • National Parks entry fees and permits
  • Full day Wineglass Bay Cruise
  • Photography tuition by Michael Snedic


  • Accommodation in Hobart, the night before the workshop
  • Transport to/from Tasmania & all associated expenses
  • Hotel “in-room” expenses
  • Other personal expenses such as alcoholic beverages with meals.
  • Lunch on the last day of the workshop


Your Tutor: Michael Snedic

Michael Snedic, Professional Photographer and Proprietor of WildNature Photo Expeditions, has been passionate about the natural world since he was very young and has now been photographing wildlife and nature for twenty seven years. He is one of Australia’s most accomplished and published nature photographers, his images having won numerous awards. Michael’s images have been published across Australia and the world, in hundreds of publications. He has also written many dozens of magazine articles on nature/photography since 2001, including Australian GeographicWildlife AustraliaBirdlife Australia, the UK’s BBC Wildlife and Australian Photography (Australia’s largest-selling photography magazine) which he has been a feature writer for since 2006.

Michael is honoured to be a Nikon School tutor as well as nature photography competition judge. Judging includes The Nature Conservancy Australia’s Photo Competition Ambassador and judge  (2015, 2016 and 2017), Australia Birdlife Photography Awards (2022 and 2023) and well as international competition WildArt Photographer of the Year (2023)

Michael in the Sub Antarctic


Day 1

This morning, you will be picked up from the Graham Apartments in New Town, Hobart. We will head to Bicheno for lunch, then to our accommodation at Bicheno By the Bay. You will have time for some to unpack and settle in, before we start our first session on camera settings.

Aurora Australis - Coles Bay - Tasmania

Day 2

This morning, we will head to Coles Bay at Freycinet and jump onboard for a half day cruise with on and around Wineglass Bay, with Wineglass Bay Cruises. This will be not only a chance to shoot sea life such as leaping dolphins, seals and soaring sea eagles, but also just to sit back and enjoy one of Tasmania’s iconic locations from a vantage point that most people don’t get. The cruise includes a tasty lunch with mostly local produce.
In the afternoon, we will head to Friendly Beaches to do a reccy for our next morning’s sunrise shoot, followed by some free time. Dinner will be at the Freycinet Lodge, overlooking the ocean. After dinner, there will be a sunset shoot at beautiful Bicheno Beach.

Wineglass Bay Cruise

Day 3

This morning we start with a sunrise shoot at Friendly Beaches, followed by breakfast. We will then have a few hours of free-time, allowing you to prepare for our image critique session.
After lunch, we will hike up to the platform overlooking stunning Winegalss Bay, for some incredible landscape photography.
Michael will then present an informative image-critique session.

Day 4

After breakfast, we will head to Cape Tourville and view the coastline from high up, followed by a visit to two photogenic spots, Honeymoon Bay and Sleepy Bay. From there, we will explore the Freycinet Coast and photograph whatever takes our fancy!
In the late afternoon, we will venture out to Coles Bay, overlooking the iconic Hazard Mountains, for our final seascape and sunset session. If the weather permits, we will also do a night sky shoot.

Day 5

Another sunrise shoot, this time at the Bicheno Blowhole, as well as some other local landscape spots.
After breakfast and checking out, we will drive to Hobart, arriving at approximately midday.

Aurora Australis - Coles Bay - Tasmania

Highlights include:

  • Half day Wineglass Bay Boat Cruse
  • Friendly Beaches
  • Cape Tourville Lighthouse
  • Sandy Beach
  • Honeymoon Bay
  • Coles Bay
  • Wineglass Bay lookout
  • Bicheno Blowhole

pacific gull

Bookings and Contact:

To reserve your place or just to ask more questions about this photo expedition, please contact Michael either via his CONTACT FORM or by calling +61 408 941 965.

Your position on the tour will be guaranteed immediately upon payment of non-refundable deposit of AU$750.00 (plus GST) The balance will be due up to 90 days prior to the start of the workshop. 

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation up to 90 days before departure - deposit forfeited. Cancellation between 90 and 60 days before departure - 50% of total workshop price forfeited. Cancellation less than 60 days before departure or during tour, no refund available.

How To Photograph Birds in Lamington National Park (Green Mountains section)

How To Photograph Birds in Lamington National Park (Green Mountains section)

Eastern Spinebill

World Heritage Listed Lamington National Park, in Queensland, Australia, is an approximate two-hour drive from Brisbane or a one-hour fifteen-minute drive from the Gold Coast. Habitats within the park vary from subtropical and remnant rainforest, ancient Antarctic Beech forest, as well as some sclerophyll and eucalyptus forests. The variety of bird species, therefore, is quite numerous. Many of the birds are used to the presence of people, so they can often be photographed at close range. There are around 245 or so species of birds found within the park, so it is easy to see why so many bird photographers travel there with their cameras from across Australia and the world and why I run my bird photography workshop in Lamington National Park.

Where To Find Different Bird Species in Lamington National Park

Ground Dwelling Birds

It is a good idea to pick up a track map of the national park from the local Parks and Wildlife Service office and familiarise yourself with the different tracks within Lamington National Park. Once you choose a track, I suggest spending a bit of time there, letting the birds get used to you being there. The Border track, which has its starts right across the road from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat entrance, is a perfect place to begin. Here you will find a number of ground-dwelling birds, including the Bassian and Russet-tailed Thrush, Australian Logrunners and the elusive Whipbird. These birds spend most of their time on the ground, searching for food and interacting with each other. By keeping still and silent, you will be surprised how close the birds will come to you.

Two ground-dwelling species which are high on the list for bird photographers to try and photograph in Lamington N.P. are the Albert’s Lyrebird and the Noisy Pitta. The Albert’s Lyrebird is only found within an approximate 100-kilometre radius of the park. There are none in captivity, and they aren’t found anywhere else in the world. The males of the species, once they mature, produce an incredible array of sounds. They are quite proficient at mimicking many of the different bird species in their territory and do so with amazing accuracy. By walking along the boardwalk that takes you towards the tree-top walk, you will sometimes see a lyrebird scratching the leaf litter, searching for insects. This is the time to take a few shots – while the bird is ‘preoccupied’.

The second species mentioned, the Noisy Pitta, is one of the most beautifully-coloured birds in Lamington National Park. They hop along the ground and are rarely seen flying. They will often land on the large buttress roots of trees, making for a perfect background. Their call is quite distinct – it sounds like ‘walk to work’ but in a high pitch, which they repeat over and over.

Identifying Birds in Lamington National Park

It can be quite daunting to turn up to a new area such as Lamington National Park and to know where to find birds. I recommend photographers purchase one of a number of Australian bird identification Apps that are available for download. Personally, I am a fan of ‘Michael Morecombe’s Birds of Australia (iOS / Android)’. This app has every Australian bird featured as paintings (male, female and juvenile), the regions where they are found, the nest and eggs, as well as the various calls each species of bird makes. I wouldn’t be without it!

Best Way To Photograph Birds in Lamington National Park

Monopod or Tree

Quite a number of the birds in Lamington National Park can be seen around the edges of the rainforest or along the rainforest tracks. Some of these tracks include the Border, Elabana Falls, Python Rock, and Moran’s Falls tracks. As it can be relatively dark in these areas, the issue you may encounter is your camera’s shutter speed will be too low. Sure, you can raise your camera’s ISO to a much higher setting, but that inevitably leads to images with too much noise. What I have been recommending to my photography workshop participants for many years is to look at how you can stabilise your camera and lens in low-light situations. I am quite a fan of using a monopod and specifically designed monopod head to help minimise movement that is caused by hand-holding a camera with a larger lens in low-light environments. The monopod allows you to swivel your camera and lens around from left to right (or vice versa), while the monopod head allows you to swivel the camera and lens back and forth. If you don’t own a monopod and are out and about shooting, you can also rest your lens against one of the many trees that grow along the various tracks within the park. This alone will greatly reduce any camera shake.

Suggested Metering For Rainforest Bird Photography

If it’s overcast and you are in a rainforest such as Lamington N.P., I suggest using Evaluative Metering (for Canon users), Matrix Metering (for Nikon users) and Multi-pattern or Multi-segment Metering for all other brands. This metering is recommended as your ‘general’ metering for bird photography, especially in overcast rainforest conditions. If, however, there is bright light behind the bird, Spot Metering (all brands) is recommended. By using Spot Metering, you are metering on the bird itself rather than the whole scene, therefore greatly reducing the chance of the bird ending up as a silhouette.

Practice Your Bird In Flight Techniques

Once a day, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (situated within Lamington National Park) offers a ‘Free Flight Bird Show’. With a backdrop of trees, a stunning valley below and photogenic mountains in the distance, you have an incredibly beautiful backdrop to shoot the birds against! Some of the birds on display in the show include the Barn and Barking Owl, Nankeen Kestrel, Black Kite and Wedge-tailed Eagle. Being such a large and fairly slow-flying bird, the Wedge-tailed Eagle (for example) is the perfect species to practise your birds-in-flight techniques. By using the Continuous Focus setting on your camera, coupled with burst shutter mode, your chances of success in capturing that split-second moment are much greater. Species such as the Barn and Barking Owl will happily sit in one spot, so you have plenty of time to properly compose your image and adjust your camera’s exposure settings.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Lamington National Park for optimum bird photography opportunities is spring (September, October, November here in Australia). There is so much activity going on – birds are calling for mates, displaying regularly or raising chicks. It is no wonder that this park is one of my favourite places to visit in Australia for bird photography. Other times of the year are quite decent for photographing birds, but it’s spring where you will find the most number of birds.

Other Species To Look Out For

Satin and Regent Bowerbirds

Both of these stunning birds frequent the area in front of reception at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. The males take approximately 6-7 years to colour up, and once they do, their plumage is quite striking! The native grevilleas that grow on either side of the reception entrance are favourite ‘landing sites’ for the bowerbirds. This means you are close to eye level with the birds and it makes for the perfect angle to photograph them. As there is a building where the birds land, care needs to be taken to not to include this distraction in your photo. By simply moving a metre or two to the left or right, you can end up with foliage in the background, that makes for a much more pleasing image.

Eastern Spinebills

While you are our front of the reception area photographing the Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, you will regularly see the Eastern Spinebill hovering like a Hummingbird, feeding on the nectar of the native grevillea bushes. You need to make sure you use a shutter speed of at least 2000th of a second (or higher) especially if you wish to ‘freeze’ the Eastern Spinebill’s wings while it is hovering over the flowers.

Eastern Yellow Robins

The Eastern Yellow Robin is a common bird in Lamington N.P. and can be easily photographed along the various tracks within Lamington National Park, including the Border track, Python Rock track as well as around O’Reillty’s Retreat. The key thing to look out for with these birds is that they will regularly land vertically on the side of a tree, rather than horizontally on a branch. By turning your camera to portrait, you should be able to get some decent images of these birds, often with a blurred-out background.

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

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