How to snap Insta-gold animal pics
IF you're planning on exploring Tasmania's wilderness this Easter break, see these tips on finding and snapping the island's most Instagrammable animals - tried and tested by a national award-winning photographer.
Australian Geographic's Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 Alex Kydd has taken breathtaking shots of usually feisty Tasmanian devils standing quietly in the rain, seals playing together underwater, tiny blue superb fairy-wrens and rare white wallabies.
The acclaimed photographer recently took a road trip across Bass Strait with partner and photographer Emma Hanney.
"My partner hadn't seen wombats before but they're her favourite so we went to Cradle Mountain," he said.
"We went to a spot on Dove Lake where we saw 20 or so at sunset on the grasslands - it was a beautiful moment.
"When we drove back we saw two wombats mating in the middle of the road - we thought they were roadkill but they were just two wombats having a good time."
The pair have spent two weeks capturing the uniqueness of Tasmania's flora and fauna.
Mr Kydd has lent his expertise to travellers attempting to snap their own wildlife masterpieces.
"I don't think you can go wrong visiting Tassie - everyone's experience will be different but you're going to see wildlife regardless," he said.
"You just have to do it without disturbing nature."
Below are Alex's top 10 tips on how to find and photograph the state's most Instagrammable animals.
1. Do your research.
Mr Kydd said he planned his trip through searching forums, word of mouth from previous visitors and checking out Instagram.
"Tasmania has a lot of locations to cover and a lot of forest," he said.
"Everyone has their favourite location, so map out spots to decide if it will fit the schedule.
"While people might share a favourite location, part of the adventure is trying to find locations yourself that might not have been recommended before."
2. Surround yourself with native bushland.
Alex has embraced camping in the great outdoors, but said booking remote accommodation as close to native bushland as possible would work just as well.
"A useful trick when booking accommodation is to check out TripAdvisor reviews, not to see how comfortable the bed is, but see what others have written about their own wildlife experiences and sightings," he said.
"Searching keywords such as platypus, devils and quolls is a great way to find out what people had seen and what time of day."
3. Take it off road.
Not everyone has access to an off-road vehicle, but Mr Kydd and Ms Hanney said their Toyota Fortuner Crusade helped them head out with all of their photography gear in tow.
"Often some tracks to remote locations are not always in good condition and require access with a 4WD vehicle," Alex said.
"The last thing you want is to head to a location to find that you can't access it or, even worse, you end up getting stuck."
4. From sunrise to sunset.
Given animals operate on different sleep schedules, Alex recommended heading out at sunrise and sunset to see the wildlife at their most active time of day.
"An added plus is the golden light, which is great for photography," he said.
Keep a special eye out for echidnas, possums, spotted quolls, platypus, pademelons and the white wallaby.
5. Grab yourself a bird book.
Alex suggested reading up and knowing what to look for to increase your chances of spotting one of Tasmania's 12 endemic bird species.
6. Stop, look and listen.
Walking through the bush can be peaceful, but nothing beats the clarity that comes with being perfectly still to take in the surroundings.
"We always made sure to stop and listen for a little while as often when walking it can scare off shy birds and wildlife that might be close by," Mr Kydd said.
"We found that our best experiences, such as an echidna walking over my foot, was because we sat whilst out in the bush."
7. Be prepared.
"Staying comfortable is key, especially when the duration of the walk could change as well as the weather," Mr Kydd said.
"Pack the right gear for long bush walks."
8. Talk to the locals.
Whether you're hitting the beach or braving a mountain hike, Alex has found the knowledge of local communities invaluable.
"When looking for areas to free dive off the shore we found that locals were the only way of knowing where is best to go," he said.
"Locals will be about to provide the correct and most useful information when it comes to wind direction, swell and remote locations."
9. Ethical Wildlife Tours.
Mr Kydd recommended Wild Ocean Tasmania as one of the more ethical options for wilderness tours that supported the local economy without disturbing or harming native animals.
"The whole tour is a suitable, carbon off-set and has the animal's best interest at heart the whole time," he said.
"They provide the opportunity to interact with long-nose fur seals from a floating platform to minimise splashing as this has proven to not disturb the animals or change their behaviour patterns."
10. Don't rush the trip.
The keen photographers initially booked Bruny Island for two nights during their recent trip.
The pair ended up extending their visit to explore "a whole different side" of the island, snapping a few priceless images of a white wallaby starkly standing out against the backdrop of its habitat.
"Booking too many locations will mean spending half the trip on the road," he said.
Travellers can bring their cars free of charge onto the Spirit of Tasmania ferry until June, plus an extra service has been added to the Bruny Island ferry timetable over the Easter weekend to cater for more visitors.
Follow Alex's behind-the-scenes journey around Tasmania via Toyota's Instagram.
Originally published as How to snap Insta-gold animal pics