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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:21 AM   #1
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Default Aussie winter Kangaroo series

Hi everyone

Well, as I guess not too many folks have "access" to kangaroos in the wild, I thought it would be decent of me to share some 'roo photos with you. Yesterday late afternoon I went for a walk in a conservation park, which is less than 10 minutes from my home (on the outskirts of Adelaide, actually in the Adelaide hills).

There are several kangaroos that live there, and I've seen them before (particularly in the evening when they tend to feed and be out and about). Yesterday I saw about 6 adult kangaroos up a forested hillside, so I went up to see how close I could get. The first 5 jumped away when I was about 30 metres (100feet) away, so I still got some "ok" photos. However one just remained there. He was the "big daddy" of the bunch.

This senior male 'roo was obviously very comfortable with the fact that I was not going to do him any harm... and obviously I posed not threat to his territory. I had my 100-300mm Canon lens on my camera. Never did I think that I'd get so close that I would need to switch to a wider lens to fit him in!

Here he is, very relaxed, just chewing on some grass!

Paul
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:35 AM   #2
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OK, so that's the background story to this photo series. I was particularly happy that a kangaroo in the wild had let me come right up to him and give me plenty of time to take as many photos as I wanted of him.

In fact, I was so close, that my 100-300mm camera lens could not focus (as it can't focus closer than about 2 metres). Actually , I got 1 metre (3 feet) away, so I literally could have reached out and touched him - but I decided not to because after all, he still is a wild animal, and I thought this being our close encounter, I'd play it safe. As you can see from the portrait photo above (the 2nd photo) - I was very close.

In many wildlife parks and "native farms" I've stroked and fed kangaroos before, but in the wild, well there are some events I know of where big kangaroos (particularly dominant males or females with young) injuring humans who have meant no harm. And if you look at the next photo (#3), you can see how muscly his forearms are. Almost like a "work out" kangaroo.

There were two families down in the valley and the kangaroo was paying more attention to them (several hundred metres away) than to me. Probably because the children were ... well, being children and running, speaking loudly, etc. The 2 families spotted me up on the hill through the trees, and eventually came to where I was (I had a bright red jumper on).

One boy, about 6 or 7 years old asked me how I could be so close to the kangaroo without him running away (I was about 2 metres away at that stage). I explained I had walked up to the group of kangaroos calmly, but most had jumped off, except this big one. I know from experience, if one is comfortable, then to keep in front of him (i.e. don't come up from behind) and to make soft "clicking noises" as kangaroos themselves make, helps.

Also I said I don't make any sudden movements. The lad was very impressed, but I did add that this big kangaroo was obviously not scared of me, whereas the 5 other smaller kangaroos had. To give you an idea, when the big male kangaroo stood up, he was was as tall as I am (I'm 171cm, about 5 ft 9 in).

About an hour and a half later, when I was in quite another section of the recreation park, the big 'roo had jumped down the hill and saw me again, and was obviously just as relaxed about me... because again I could get right up to him. Some minutes later a younger much smaller male came and joined the "big daddy" - and I was glad for this; as the smaller roo had a different coloured fur (more red / warm brown). The smaller male 'roo was about 4 foot high when he stood up. But the markings and "build" of the smaller roo made it look so puny compared to the big one.

Anyhow, these 2 next photos below are from that 2nd encounter, when the sun was very close to sinking below the horizon, hence the warm and soft light.

Any feedback and comments gladly appreciated. Happy viewing!

Paul
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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Awesome Paul. Man, that 3rd photo shows how powerful these kangaroos are! What a "build". Glad he took a shine to you...I don't imagine you'd last long if he didn't..cheers...Don
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Holy Moly! I can't believe the muscles on that guy. Your first shot reminds me of the Burt Reynolds pose in Playgirl magazine back in the 70's. Sorry, if that gives anyone else shivers.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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Great shots, Paul, but risky - Big Red there could pack a pretty mean kick if he got riled. I know the temptation, though - In my younger and more foolish days I once got nearly that close to a very large resting Bull Elk* with a huge rack of antlers in a National Park during the rutting season when they behave oddly. I got my shots and beat a hasty but cautious retreat. Now that I am older and slower, and could break more easily, I don't think I would do that again (besides I have longer lenses now). I also had to shoo away someone else's unsupervised small child who had gotten even closer - I could have been setting a bad example for him.

*A Wapiti, not a Moose. What we in North America call a Moose, in Europe is called an Elk - those vernacular names again! (early settlers obviously got confused). Wapiti is a native American name.

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Old Jul 28, 2009, 2:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thekman620 View Post
Awesome Paul. Man, that 3rd photo shows how powerful these kangaroos are! What a "build". Glad he took a shine to you...I don't imagine you'd last long if he didn't..cheers...Don
Indeed, I wouldn't want to be in a boxing ring with this big boy! I prefer the non-violent approach to communication anyway. It was good that he was so relaxed... from years of experience and being in the outdoors a lot, I can "read" much Aussie wildlife pretty well, and know when they're nervous, relaxed, excited, dangerous, etc.

Paul
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 2:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by smac View Post
Holy Moly! I can't believe the muscles on that guy. Your first shot reminds me of the Burt Reynolds pose in Playgirl magazine back in the 70's. Sorry, if that gives anyone else shivers.
Hi Steve

Yep... this kangaroo does his push-ups all right. I haven't seen that Burt Reynolds pose... but I can only just imagine. Interesting how even animals can remind us of humans.

Cheers

Paul
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 2:59 AM   #8
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Great shots, Paul, but risky - Big Red there could pack a pretty mean kick if he got riled. I know the temptation, though - In my younger and more foolish days I once got nearly that close to a very large resting Bull Elk* with a huge rack of antlers in a National Park during the rutting season when they behave oddly. I got my shots and beat a hasty but cautious retreat. Now that I am older and slower, and could break more easily, I don't think I would do that again (besides I have longer lenses now). I also had to shoo away someone else's unsupervised small child who had gotten even closer - I could have been setting a bad example for him.

*A Wapiti, not a Moose. What we in North America call a Moose, in Europe is called an Elk - those vernacular names again! (early settlers obviously got confused). Wapiti is a native American name.
Hi penolta

Thanks also for looking and your comments. Especially with their back legs, they certainly have a lot of muscle strength there that could do damage. And the male 'roos often fight (boxing style) using their front legs. They have sharp claws too!

It is not actually a "Big Red" though, as that is a different species of kangaroo, being the "Eastern Grey". However this one would have been equal to the size of many big males. Wikipedia lists more details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Grey_Kangaroo and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Kangaroo

Interesting to read about your experiences with Elks. I've seen a few "elk/ moose" in Europe, they're fascinating animals. So, if you've got a longer lens now with age, I hope that might work for me too in the future. I'm 34, so hopefully before I'm 70 I'll have a 600mm lens! Whoppeee!

Paul
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 5:39 AM   #9
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Paul,

These pictures and texts add immensly to the general "picture" of kangaroos. That picture with the enormous muscles. Seems to be a individual with a big confidence in itself.

Thar grass straw...

Great, Paul

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Old Jul 28, 2009, 2:05 PM   #10
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Hi penolta
Interesting to read about your experiences with Elks. I've seen a few "elk/ moose" in Europe, they're fascinating animals. So, if you've got a longer lens now with age, I hope that might work for me too in the future. I'm 34, so hopefully before I'm 70 I'll have a 600mm lens! Whoppeee!

Paul
Paul, perhaps I did not make a clear enough explanation for our non-American viewers- our Elk is not the European Elk (= Moose), but our largest deer (the native American's Wapiti) - A bull Elk would be akin to a European Red Deer Stag, potentially much more of a threat than a true Elk(Moose), I would think. . . .

http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/animals/elk.html

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