Rob's Photography New Zealand
Blog 29 December 2015
Sony A7R II: Rare 4K
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
I decided that this was an opportunity to try videoing the kiwis, rather
than attempting to take hand-held still images through the reflecting
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
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