If you're very very very lucky you'll get a superstar subject like Sirocco the kākāpō. Check this awesome clip out to see what happened when BBC zoologist Mark Carwardine tried to photograph the world's biggest parrot and the world's biggest parrot mistook Mark's head for his girlfriend! There's only 100 or so kākāpō left in the world, but your backyard has it's own superstars: just open your wild eyes!
Become a famous nature documentary photographer in your backyard and catalogue the wild things living there!
What to do
Your mission is:
1. LOOK OUT!
Since people first arrived in Aotearoa (way before the internet) close observation has been key to figuring out the sweet-as secrets of our environment. Your mission today is to go out into your backyard, open your wild eyes and discover one or all of the following:
- a native plant,
- a native insect,
- and a native animal or bird,
- and then ...
2. SHOOT THE WILD THINGS!
No not that sort of shooting (that's illegal and not at all Wild Eyes!). Shoot them with your camera. Aotearoa has some of the weirdest wild things around, from demon grasshoppers (weta) to dudes like this down-under dodo (takahē – seen here).
If you’re lucky you can capture them in a photo, learn about them and and find out how to look after them, especially those taonga (treasures) that are endangered, like the takahē.
3. PRO TIPS #1
Be creative with your angles: crouch down, zoom in, or stand on your tip-toes. Use your spy skills: being quiet can lead to surprising discoveries!
Take a selfie and/or put yourself in the photo!
4. PRO TIPS #2
Sometimes a background can be distracting: frame your subject so it stands out (e.g. against a clear sky or solid colours). If you have a digital camera you can take heaps of photos and learn what works by experimenting.
5. ID THEN UPLOAD
You’ve taken a photo of it – but what is it?!?
Check out these guides to help you suss your subject: birds, plants, insects and animals. Then UPLOAD your discoveries to the Wild Eyes website to earn points towards the next level, and help make the eyes on your Wild Eyes avatar go fully wacky wonderfully wild!
Another option is to draw the objects of your nature-watching (then photograph the drawings and upload to Wild Eyes!).
This is a picture of a kōrora (blue penguin) meeting a kiwi. This possibly didn't happen in a backyard (which is probably why there's no photo!). The kiwi is high-fiving with its beak because its wings aren't big enough to high-five ... or fly!
To go next level, suss out a Nature Watch photography competition with your friends or classmates, then set up an exhibition! It can be in your classroom or on your fridge door – both count!
This photo won best photo of a kaka parrot landing on a person's head while on Kapiti Island in the U12 division of the 2017 Connor family Photo Competition.*Only members of the Connor family were allowed to enter.