Albany photographer takes out award for rare moonlight moment

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Moonlighting Wren INSET Nathan Watson with his camera.
Camera IconMoonlighting Wren INSET Nathan Watson with his camera.

As a little female wren bounces around on a branch of a eucalyptus tree, silhouetted by the moon, Albany photographer Nathan Watson’s camera goes snap.

It’s an image as difficult to capture as it is stunning, but Watson’s “opportunistic” encounter paid off.

The photo, titled Moonlighting Wren, was announced as the winner of the Backyard Birds category in this year’s Birdlife Australia Photography Awards early in November.

Watson, a full-time executive at the City of Albany and a passionate bird photographer, described the win as “a huge honour”.

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“It was really nice, it’s one of those lifer shots,” he said.

“It’s very hard to get any bird silhouetted against the moon so a little wren bouncing around at that time of the evening and giving me an opportunity probably won’t happen again for a while.”

On an evening after a super moon earlier this year, as golden hour made way for deep blue twilight, Watson was almost ready to put away his lens after an unsuccessful shoot with honeyeaters.

Watson’s winning photo Moonlighting Wren .
Camera IconWatson’s winning photo Moonlighting Wren . Credit: Nathan Watson Photography

“I didn’t have much luck, I went to go inside and there were a couple of wrens sitting on a eucalypt tree at eye level,” he said.

“I saw I could get the moon rising behind them as it was well and truly on its way up,” he said.

“I positioned myself with my camera to get the composition I wanted and hoped that the wren would hop along the open branch to the right spot.

“Thankfully the stars aligned and she did exactly that, posing for a few seconds right in front of the moon.”

It was the second time Watson had entered the national competition and after having three images shortlisted, this magic moment came out on top.

A bird photographer of two years, Watson said he aimed to captivate and inspire others by sharing the birds of the Great Southern.

“My aim is to show the beauty of birds in a really creative and artistic way,” he said.

Watson will also be presenting at the Birdlife Photography Biennial Conference in Queensland in May next year.

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