Wildlife on Norman Island

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

Norman Island was the first chance to photograph wildlife on this British Virgin Island trip and I’m not talking about the evenings at the Willy T Bar.! The trails on the island lead to beautiful bays and everywhere you look there seems to be something happening in the animal kingdom. Lots of birds, hermit crabs and of course small ants and the like. Of course, being in one of the best scuba diving areas in the world the wildlife under the water is spectacular as well.

I’m not really set up for photographing wildlife as I don’t have anything longer than a 70-200mm lens with me but again, with 36mp available from the D800 camera I can crop a good portion of the image away and still have very high quality images. As much as I would love to own a 400mm or 500mm lens they both weigh too much and I’d have to sell my truck to be able to afford one. If anyone wishes to gift a lens of this size to me I’ll find a way to use it. In some ways shooting with these shorter lenses makes you shoot more artistically, how many bird photos have you seen where you have no idea where the bird is located?

I tried my GoPro for the first time while snorkelling at the reef near the beach and had a bonanza. Two rays appeared as well as barracuda and squid. These reefs are worth a few trips as they appear to be in very good condition and lots of smaller reef fish like Blue Tangs are everywhere. We were all disappointed in the lack of sharpness in the underwater footage shot with the GoPro at 1080i. This is the original GoPro Hero, a few generations have come out since and I expect the newer versions are better (I have a new GoPro 3 Black arriving soon). It will be interesting to look at the footage later on my main computer and run some processing on the images. I’m thinking the lack of sharpness might be related to the bluish cast and once this is neutralized the sharpness should jump as contrast plays an important role in perceived sharpness. I’m wondering as well about the curved port on the GoPro hero. Perhaps the focus is being affected by this underwater.

You can click on these images to see them full size.

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