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I exhibit my bird portraits ‘human size’ to challenge the way we see other creatures. So travelling to the Arctic after two weeks at sea, it was clear that wilderness does scale like no other and this time it was challenging me. It’s a bewildering experience to be a speck amongst so much beauty @poseidonexpeditions @huwlewisjones
This is me in the Arctic Circle. Even as I write those words I still find it hard to believe. An incredible journey of a lifetime with exceptional human, Expedition leader @huwlewisjones @poseidonexpeditions
This is a different photograph of Riley who I posted on instagram a few weeks ago. (It is Riley No.1). I met him at the @ojairaptorcenter and two of his portraits are part of my Wounded Warrior Series (2015). He is an Eastern screech owl. Taking his photograph was very difficult as although gorgeous with little pointed ear tufts, he was tiny and trying to focus on individual parts of him was like looking into a fog as he has the most confusing feather pattern. There are bands and spots and mottled marks and feathers go straight while others ripple. It made it hard to focus. So I focussed on his beautiful eyes. The Eastern screech owl can be found most commonly on the eastern side of North America. They prefer wooded habitats although they don’t seem to be bothered by the type of tree. True to their name, they are most easily recognised by their characteristic whinnying or trilling call, which is described as a haunting screech. They are also known to make other other noises such as rasps, hoots and barks. Similar to most owls, the eastern screech owl is most active at night, which is why they are usually heard, not seen. Riley was lovingly cared for by the Ojai Raptor Center after being hit by a car. He was a bit blind in his right eye and a bit deaf but he was comfortable with people and was an ambassador for the center until his recent death from natural causes. He will be missed.
Hello all - I am pleased to finally announce dates for my next exhibition - High Society. It is the first exhibition in my home town of Sydney in five years so I am very excited. Sydney @olsen_gallery High Society | 16 October – 10 November, 2019 Opening Reception, Thursday 17 October, 6-9pm New York @olsengruin High Society | 13 November - January 6, 2020 Opening reception, Friday 15 November, 6-8pm The concept for High Society occurred to me when I noticed how a flock of native Australian Budgerigars resembled leaves when perched in a tree. I looked closer: I saw individuals, couples, and families - a secret High Society. From whole flocks of birds to those who live within it. I hope this series inspires you to ask questions about the constructs of society: the relationship of the group through to its individuals. ———————————————Here is one of my new portraits, a couple ‘Rain and June’. Thank you to Ravenswood Art Prize @rawartprize for their award of Highly Commended last Friday. It is a huge compliment given over 1200 entries. ———— I will send an email update closer to the exhibition dates. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or use my website to be added to this list. Thank you.
In my last post I spoke about Bob the American Kestrel cared for by the @ojairaptorcenter and how he and Kira had raised more than 30 orphan Kestrels. This is beautiful Kira.
Bob is a rescued American Kestrel that was not raised by an experienced rehabilitator. It's often well intentioned but if wildlife are not cared for properly the birds can become ‘imprinted’- a social disorder where a bird no longer recognises its own species and loses the ability to hunt. Fortunately Bob was taken to @ojairaptorcenter in California who are professionals and there he met Kira (another permanent care Kestrel). Bob and Kira have now bonded for life, and although they cannot be freed, they are champion surrogate parents. Bob and Kira have raised more than thirty young kestrel orphans who have been released back into the wild. So next father’s day, don’t forget to toast incredible dads like Bob the Kestrel. Bob is part of my ‘Wounded Warrior’ Series on injured and rescued American birds of prey. Available as a limited edition artwork.
I am sure like most of us, I have a preconceived idea of the size of a bird before I meet them. But when I travelled to @ojairaptorcenter in the United States I couldn’t believe just how small owls can be. One such tiny little man was Riley the Eastern screech owl who I photographed for my Wounded Warrior series. He was beyond cute. It saddens me to write this but Riley recently died peacefully, having lived a very special life with a Western screech owl named Lucy. Have a look at the @ojairaptorcenter post - you can not only read about their remarkable story but you can scroll through the photos to truly see what I mean by small for an owl. This centre is one incredible place that does such good for their local wildlife. Farewell lovely Riley.
This is ‘Drifter' - a Broad-winged hawk from the US of A. I photographed him at the brilliant @ojairaptorcenter - an organisation that picks up and rehabilitates injured birds of prey for release. He and his friends appeared in ‘Bird Love’ (the US edition of my book). The chapter was called ‘Wounded Warriors’ and this series has never been exhibited, so I thought I might post more of them here. Drifter was found in Santa Barbara with a coracoid fracture (up near the shoulder / wings). It was his first migration and he was lucky to have been taken to the @ojairaptorcenter for care and release. These majestic hawks are found across North America and are long distance migration birds. They can be seen as far south as South America in the winter months. They form flocks of 1000 - known as kettles. But on this day he was on his own. An absolute beauty.
It is a slow process deciding what works to exhibit especially because I get so attached. This little Diamond dove (Australia’s smallest dove) was one that didn’t quite fit my last exhibition but he deserves a look.
That’s a wrap. Another major photo shoot completed for my upcoming exhibition ‘High Society’ opening in Sydney in October @olsen_gallery and New York in November @olsengruin 📸 @cambloom
Nothing quite as sweet as a flock of budgerigars. I have been working hard on my upcoming exhibition ‘High Society’ which is all about budgies, the birds I first photographed in 2008. The exhibition will open in October in Sydney @olsen_gallery and November in New York @olsengruin Happy Friday!
I visited @tarongazoo in Sydney and am always blown away by how passionate the staff are. They have built special habitat classrooms that schools can book to have hands on ecology lessons with the aim of encouraging passionate future adults. There is a living woodlands, desert and rainforest classroom where children can interact with wildlife. My favourite is the desert classroom with red sand, a flock of bush budgies, finches and bilbies (for followers outside Australia they are an adorable marsupial with giant ears - our native version of the easter bunny!). The classrooms are inside Taronga’s Institute of Science and learning which is a living lab for conservation, education and scientific investigation. It is available to children right up to completing a university degree - a place for the scientists of tomorrow.
Study a bird in detail and what may at first seem plain, will delight you with great beauty. The Brown cuckoo-dove is a large Australian pigeon from the rainforest that has a taste for the finer fruits - they love berries. With rich rusty brown feathers and stunning eyes - no one puts birdy in the corner! This beauty lives @tarongazoo and his portrait was captured as part of my Ornithurae series exhibited in New York @olsengruin
This is Charlie - a Gouldian Finch. Some Australian finches like Charlie are losing their homes. For example wild populations of Black-throated finches are at risk of losing their habitat to proposed open cut mines. Others are at risk from urban sprawl. Reading about their plight can be overwhelming. I once asked Tim Low (one of Australia’s best ecologists) what should we do and he said - either get politically active or support the organisations that are. I’m a member of Birdlife Australia @birdlifeoz for this very reason - being Australia's largest conservation organisation for birds. If you support a conservation organisation where you live, I’d love to hear about it.
Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sooty the Sooty Owl hopes you have a good party or a quiet night and then focus like an owl on a wonderful 2019.
The birds are part of the group exhibition ANTUMBRA showing now in Sydney @olsen_gallery until the 22nd December and then reopens on the 8th - 19th January 2019. It’s a pleasure to have work hanging alongside such wonderful artists. I’ll tag them in so you can look them up. Also artists without accounts are #wawiriyaburton #matthewjohnsonartist #timsummerton #melindaharperart #michaelcusackpainter
Sometimes I get to photograph the same bird over a year. This is ‘Trinity’ the Brown Goshawk. A feathered dandy that as a juvenile wore heavy brown splashes before refining his feathery jumper to stripes when maturity set in. Adult Trinity (second artwork) was exhibited as part of my Prey exhibition in 2014. #browngoshawk #photographicart #wildliferescue #leilajeffreys
Did you think pigeons could be this beautiful? The Wompoo pigeon (also known as the Wompoo Fruit-dove) is a large rainforest pigeon that eats tropical fruit high in the canopy. I saw my first wild Wompoo in Byron Bay where I was birdwatching with a friend and couldn’t believe my eyes 👀. The pigeon in this photo had an injured foot & was in care and so I was able to capture his portrait. It's when you see these birds up close that you realise just how beautiful they are.
I’ve just returned from a little bit of birdwatching in Sri Lanka. If you know anyone travelling here that loves birds & nature then I have a tip. I met Gayan, a wonderful local who took me on a paddle boat on a lagoon in Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary - South Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka. His Dad was a fisherman so he grew up where the mangroves meet the ocean & has a 6th sense for the 150 species of birds that live there. My favourites were the Kingfishers, Orioles, Fish Eagles & Painted Storks. We climbed a great big beautiful rock while the sun rose & talked about his life, birds, the environment and when the 2004 tsunami hit. If you want a true knowledgable local to show you the nature in Sri Lanka below are his contact details, you could also see if he could be a guide at other National parks as it helps so much to have an expert with you. For nature lovers 2 - 3 hrs would be nice but for bird watchers 4 hours is perfect. He’s a kind hearted, absolute gem and I want to help him - you can reach him via WEB kalametiyabirds.com, FB @KalametiyaBirds E email@example.com, WhatsApp +94 77 706 0920. After that go check out the Elephants and have a surf lesson with friends! thank you Steve Taylor @tropicsurf