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BY DAVID HOSKING

The Olympus camera size and technological innovation have always made it attractive to wildlife photographers. It was my system of choice when I set off for New Zealand. With two OM-D E-M1 Mark III bodies, 12-40mm, 40-150mm and 300mm lenses and both teleconverters, my camera bag has never been lighter!

The visit was going to be split between my son’s wedding at Hawks Bay and then 2 weeks of wildlife photography. Covid-19 had other plans for us.

Takahe (Notornis mantelli) on Tiritiri Matangi island
Takahe was one of my target birds, its flightless and was saved from extinction by releasing them on pest free islands and then gradually reintroducing them to the mainland. Moderately tame they are easy to photography on Tiritiri Matangi island where the 40-150mm lens fitted with the 1.4 teleconverter was the perfect lens to walk around with.

We arrived in Auckland and managed a very successful day visit to Tiritiri Matangi, the island home to many of New Zealand indigenous bird species and a must for anyone interested in wildlife. The M.ZUIKO 40-150mm PRO with the 1.4 teleconverter was ideal for many of the opportunities with the occasional use of the M.Zuiko 300mm F4 PRO, which I either handheld or used with a monopod, particularly when the teleconverters were attached.

My Son and Daughter in-Law
I always like to have a short zoom lens with me, it comes in handy for landscapes and showing wildlife in its environment. The 12-40mm fits in nicely with my other lenses and it saved the day when I took over the roll as wedding photographer. The F2.8 aperture is great for low light situations.

Onto the wedding venue at Hawkes bay, arriving just as New Zealand went to level 4 lockdown. We were lucky that the ceremony went ahead but some of the locals including the wedding photographer refused to attend. I became not only the father of the groom but the official photographer! The M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens proved to be the perfect lens for the job.

Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa)
Small inquisitive native bird and I actually took this at the wedding venue, I was using my other camera body with the 40-150mm lens, perfect for an obliging bird.

Wedding over sadly, it was back to Auckland and two weeks of trying to get a return flight home, staying in an Airbnb house where the bathroom window proved a great hide for birds visiting the nearby fruit trees. I was amazed at how successful I became at hand holding the 300mm lens while using the teleconverters. Our once-daily walk was to one of many local parks looking for more subjects to photograph.

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius)
Although an introduced species from Australia these colourful birds are common in Auckland. Taken from a bathroom window with the 300mm plus the MC-14 teleconverter.

Having reviewed the images from New Zealand, I’m delighted with the results but the subject movement was a problem in some. The image stabilising is outstanding, but this does not have any effect on subject vibration, which is greatly magnified when using the MC-20 teleconverter on the 300mm, only a fast-enough shutter speed can fix this. So, by using a shutter speed of 1/2000th or more and using auto ISO, I have greatly reduced this problem. This does sometimes mean having some rather high ISO’s images but that’s often better than the subject movement. This combination is now saved as one of my ‘C’ settings.

Pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus)
Standing on a bridge in one of Auckland’s many parks, this was a good opportunity to try out the 300mm lens with the MC-20 teleconverter. I can’t believe this is the equivalent to 1200mm and at this magnification it can be difficult to locate the subject in the view finder so I’m going to invest in the EE1 dot sight.