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Blog  29  December  2015

Sony A7R II:  Rare  4K  Video

 of  Kiwi  Bird  Mating  Ritual



The kiwi bird is native to New Zealand, cannot fly and is mainly nocturnal, that is, it is most active in the dark. The kiwi is a national symbol for New Zealand and the name "kiwi" is often used to describe a person who comes from New Zealand.

There is a nocturnal house at the Nga Manu Nature Reserve at Waikanae, New Zealand, in which there is a pair of North Island Brown Kiwi. From a photographic point of view, it is quite difficult to obtain a reasonable hand-held image of the kiwis in the nocturnal house because they are behind glass and are in near dark conditions.

On 29 December 2015, I thought I would try photographing the kiwi using the remarkable full frame 42 megapixel Sony A7R II camera. There was one kiwi near the small glass viewing point and, because of the very dark conditions, the camera showed that, even at ISO 25,600, an exposure time of just 1/10 second was required at F/2.8, using the Sony Zeiss FE 35mm F/2.8 prime lens.

Because I did not have a tripod with me, I was about to increase the ISO even further so that I could get a reasonable hand-held image, when another kiwi arrived and the kiwis started to "interact" with each other.

I decided that this was an opportunity to try videoing the kiwis, rather than attempting to take hand-held still images through the reflecting glass.

If you click on the thumbnail image below you will see the resulting hand-held 4K video.



4K video of kiwis mating ritual at
Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Waikanae

When it is considered that the above hand-held video was taken in near dark conditions in which even a very high ISO 25600 may not have been high enough to obtain a reasonable hand-held still image, I consider that the camera performed very well.

I asked members of  "BirdingNZ.net"  whether the kiwis in the above video were preening, fighting, or playing. One member considered that the kiwis were actually mating and that their behaviour towards one another was quite normal. This member said that he had worked with captive kiwi for many years and has seen the live thing many many times and that "there's lots of poking and kicking to get the partner in the mood".

In keeping with the conventional blog tradition, the blogs on this site are presented in date order and include, for example, random thoughts and projects, and references to discussions on photographic forums that I have found to be very interesting. Click  here  to go to the index of blogs on this site. These blogs are quite informal, and thus differ from the style of my more comprehensive articles that are listed  here.