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Archive 2013 · Insect photography in Queensland?

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Insect photography in Queensland?

Hello everyone,

I will be traveling to Queensland this August for a family vacation. I am working on my equipment list and was wondering the following
- How common are small colorful insects?
- How common are lizards and amphibians?

For the first question, I am trying to determine if I should bring my MP-E 65 + MT-24EX. I am weight limited for part of the trip so I only want to take the equipment I know I will use. I am already taking my 100L macro, but the MP-E 65 is more useful for insects as long as they are plentiful. I will not have too much time to go searching.

For a telephoto I am trying to decide between my 300/4 and my 400/5.6. The 400/5.6 is more useful for birds, which I understand are plentiful there, but the 300/4 is a better choice for lizards.

The following is my rough itinerary.
- Start in Cairns, or more specifically Port Douglas - where we have a house with 30 acres bordering the jungle
- Several days in the Cairns area
- Several days in Fraser Island at Kingfisher Bay
- Two days on Lady Elliot Island
- Five days at the Gold Coast, mainly going to amusement parks

Thank you for your help.

Apr 23, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Dave Wilson

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Insect photography in Queensland?

Hi jscalev,

August is typically the "coldest" time of year in Qld, so the bugs won't be as plentiful as other times of the year. Having said that, particularly up north there will still be plenty and you shouldn't have to go looking - they'll come to you. I'm up north and have both the 100L macro and the MP-E 65 and don't use the MP-E very often for outdoor shots. The northern critters seem to be very sensitive to the pre-flash, so I usually make do with the 100L. It depends how close you like to get. Unfortunately the most common lizards and amphibians are the imports (Malaysian Barking Gecko and Cane toad) and they are very, very plentiful, though will be scarce at that time of year down south. You can usually find some native geckos amongst the imports, but they are rather shy. In my experience you have to be lucky with frogs or go looking. As for colourful insects, I believe MarkB1resides in Brisbane
and has an excellent gallery of what's available in the southern regions at various times of the year.
While in Cairns I can recommend the Kuranda butterfly sanctuary if you want some shots of the Cairns birdwing and the Ulysses butterflies. You may also wish to try the Atherton tablelands where you should be able to see platypus in the wild if you go to the right spots at dusk or dawn. The faster 300/4 would be beneficial here due to the low light, also for the geckos when they appear at dusk. The saltwater crocs are plenty big enough for the 300/4 without getting too close. Certain spots (Paronella Park and places on the tablelands) are also good for freshwater turtles. For access to all sorts of wildlife places like the Canopy Treehouses on the tablelands can offer some great shooting opportunities and everything pretty much comes to you (except the tree kangaroos, in my experience).

On Fraser Island, the dingoes are typically more wary these days, so you may need the 300 for them. If you like spiders, there will be plenty to keep you busy. If you look carefully around Kingfisher Bay you may be able to find some Funnel-web spider burrows. I found one just off the track up to the lookout a long time ago. There also used to be one just outside the change rooms at Lake Mackenzie, but it was gone last I checked. You may also come across bull ants on Fraser. They are easy to spot at around 1", but hard to shoot because they are typically coming after you - and a cautionary word, they hurt...a lot!

I hope some of this info is useful. Enjoy your trip.


Apr 24, 2013 at 01:02 PM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Insect photography in Queensland?

Thanks! I'll take the MP-E 65 just in case. I usually photograph with both camera + flash in manual so I do not believe there is a preflash.

I remember seeing excellent photos of the bull ants in National Geographic and have always wanted to try photographing them. I'll have to strategize some way to photograph them without getting hurt.

Apr 25, 2013 at 03:56 PM

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