Australia

Kuranda: Butterflies, Birds, and Kangaroos

Butterflies

I had about four hours to spend up in Kuranda. It instantly became clear to me why Kuranda was such a popular destination for hotel guests. It was very much geared for families with kids. As a single guy, it was a bit harder to find a home run activity, but I was determined to use my four hours the best I could.

Photography has been a big focus for me here while I’m in Australia. I’ve been exposed to a number of different kinds of photography: landscape, portrait, macro, lowlight, etc. It’s really been eye-opening how many great skills I’ve learned but more importantly have yet to learn. Looking at the map, the butterfly preserve looks to be an interesting photography exercise.

With my wallet $20 lighter, I headed into the butterfly reserve. All I can say was that butterflies are one hard creature to photograph. They fly in very random directions (at least to those who don’t know butterflies well). They often fly overhead which means shooting into the light. When they do stop still, it’s at the feeding station which doesn’t make the most aesthetically pleasing photo.

My hard work paid off. Many hundreds of photos later, I think I’ve got a good set of butterfly photos! The key trick was to keep the shutter speed up (1/320ish minimum) and to have continuous shot mode as well as AI Servo focus mode on. I struggled a lot with focus points but the practice in moving the camera was invaluable.

They warned you that sometimes the butterflies will confuse your clothing for a place they like to land. I was fortunate enough that a butterfly chose to make my head is home for a few minutes. 🙂

Birds

I didn’t know that you could buy a package at the butterfly sanctuary to see the bird sanctuary and the zoo. Birds were a little easier to photograph and butterflies as they tended to not move near as much. We got the same warning about birds as we did butterflies: they like to use humans as landing posts. I normally don’t have a problem with butterflies, snake, and holding animals in general. Birds freak me out though. Something about the talons and their ability to fly out of nowhere and land on you kiss me a bit of an unsettled feeling.

One of the birds decided that my backpack latches was worth hanging to. While there is a temporary victory for the bird, a few of us were able to get the latch back.

Kangaroos

The zoo was the last place on the tour and it’s surprising how quickly four hours went. I wanted to get a photograph of an actual kangaroo. I was surprised at how small kangaroos actually are. I expected them to be about the size of an average human, just hunched over. The ones I’ve seen appear to be about 4 feet tall. Word on the street is there much bigger out on the outback. 🙂

There was a station where you should go hug the koalas. While no one was working the booth, I stepped up to see one of the koalas up close. There was a part of me that hurt. I could read sadness in his eyes. Maybe they’re just slothly animals, but part of me wanted to believe that hugging people as a job was not that koala’s joy in life.

The lizards were just cool!

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