For years I wanted to photograph a wild platypus. But I am not very patient. They are around, no doubt, but they can be pretty elusive.

Anyway a few years ago I took some friends to Mt Field national park. I always take visitors there as it gives a real taste of Tasmania’s nature and is easily accessible from Hobart (more info here).

So we went to Russell Falls, as you do, and then made our way in the stunning rainforest below the falls. I knew that we might spot some wildlife so I had my Nikon 80-400mm ready to go. Had my camera been in my bag I most likely would have missed the cheeky platypus that popped up a few metres from us. It played hide and seek for a few seconds and then disappeared. My friends were ecstatic.

Be ready… you never know when a good opportunity might show its beak. Or whatever it is.

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Technical details

I shot this handheld. A tripod would have hindered getting the shot. The 80-400 has a decent vibration reduction (VR), not perfect but it certainly helps.

Because the light was low and the Nikon D800 was ok but not fantastic in low light I under exposed by 1 stop. It suited the scene well anyway as it was a fairly dark image.

The shot is not the absolute sharpest but it is sharp enough and I would have no issues having a big print of it on my wall.

Camera data

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: NIKON D800
  • Taken: 27 December, 2014
  • Exposure bias: -1EV
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 400mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Keywords: Mount Field, Tasmania, platypus
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s