Rainforest Strangers

Australian Brush-Turkey, Queensland

Two seemingly endless days of flying, across an unnatural number of times zones, and I am in the rainforests of northern Queensland, Australia.  My mission is to document a variety of unusual species native to this endangered ecosystem including the giant Cassowary. But there is no shortage of other astonishing creatures as well that I will be covering over the next few weeks. Take, for instance,  this rather handsome Brush-turkey, a common scavenger on the forest floor. I found one resting in a tree but struggled to find a clean portrait.  Normally I would try to find a position with a soft, unobtrusive green background – but I couldn’t find it here.  Shooting straight up into the forest canopy is always a challenge, but this time the harsh light unexpectedly worked, the round highlights actually managing to add interest to the picture.

The second shot is a more conventional, whole body shot of the same bird. I had to employ a light fill-flash to restore color and detail in what was a dark forest interior.  Not a great beauty  — it’s bare head makes the bird look more like a vulture — but a nice record from my first day here.  Stay tuned for more.

Nikon D3  70-200mm lens