ETHEREAL

    EASTERN GREAT EGRET, ARDEA MODESTA

    It was a misty morning with heavy cloud cover and still waters when I visited the estuary. The great egret was one of the few birds looking for an early catch, its white feathers and elegant shape merging beautifully into the serene backdrop.

    Mandurah, Western Australia

    Canon EOS-1D X, EF 500mm f/4L IS USM + 1.4x Canon teleconverter, 1/1600, f/7.1, ISO 1250, handheld

    Photo Credit: Georgina Steytler, Western Australia

    THE NORTHERN LEAF-TAILED GECKO

    NORTHERN LEAF-TAILED GECKO, SALTUARIUS CORNUTUS

    This northern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius cornutus) was found and photographed during a night Mandurah walk around Lake Eacham.

    Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park, Queensland

    Canon EOS 5D Mk III, Canon 100/2.8L macro IS USM, 1/200, f/11, ISO 500, Youngnuo flash with diffuser

    Photo Credit: Igor Mikula, Slovakia

    LYREBIRD STRUT

    SUPERB LYREBIRD, MENURA NOVAEHOLLANDIAE

    This particular male lyrebird had just performed his fancy show of courtship in the dim undergrowth beyond. Normally, a clear shot of a lyrebird is diffi cult, so I took my chance to capture this one while out in the open crossing the road, focusing on his sassy tail feathers as he strutted away.

    Fitzroy Falls, New South Wales

    Nikon D810, Nikon 200–400 f/4, 1/250, f/4, ISO 2500, handheld

    Photo Credit: Charles Davis, New South Wales

    LUMINOUS

    BLUEBOTTLE, PHYSALIA UTRICULUS

    A Physalia utriculus, also known as the Pacific man-of-war or bluebottle – its shade of blue is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Every summer bluebottles sting about 40,000 Australian beachgoers, but their design and colour is truly art in nature.

    Bushrangers Bay, New South Wales

    Nikon D810, Nikkor 8–15mm, f3.5–4.5 E ED, 1/250, f/29, ISO 160, two INON Z240 strobes, Aquatica digital water housing and 4-inch glass port

    Photo Credit: Matty Smith, New South Wales

    STARRY BLENNY IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    STARRY BLENNY, SALARIAS RAMOSUS

    The starry blenny is a type of combtooth blenny, which has comb-like teeth lining its jaws. Coombtooth blennies are the largest of blennies and are found in tropical and subtropical waters and freshwater habitats. The starry blenny spends most of its time flitting from rock to rock as it looks for algae to feed upon.

    Lembeh Strait, North-eastern Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Canon EOS 7D Mk II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM, 1/250, f/11, ISO 200, Inon Z240 strobe, handheld, subject was backlit with a narrow beam of light produced by a Retra Pro light-shaping device fitted to the strobe

    Photo Credit: Ross Gudgeon, New South Wales

    THE SCREAMING

    BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE, ELANUS AXILLARIS

    I could hear this young black-shouldered kite calling all morning from its perch on our TV antenna. Eventually I went outside with my camera, and as I did so, its parent came up behind me. The young kite took off screaming for food, looking in my direction. Some days you get lucky.

    Toodyay, Western Australia

    Canon EOS-1D X, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS USM, 1/4000, f/8, ISO 1250, handheld

    Photo Credit: Georgina Steytler, Western Australia

    ETHEREAL GRACE

    ANEMONEFISH, AMPHIPRION PERIDERAION

    A pink anemonefish gracefully hovers above its host anemone’s purple-tipped tentacles. The shallow depth of fi eld and soft blending of the fi sh’s body with the background created an ethereal feel to the image.

    Wakatobi Reefs, Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Canon EOS 5Ds R, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM, 1/160, f/20, ISO 100, single strobe, freediving image

    Photo Credit: Pam Osborn, Western Australia

    RIBBON DANCER

    THREADFIN PENNANTFISH, ALECTIS CILIARIS

    I found this beautiful juvenile threadfin pennantfish during a night dive at my local site. The unexpected tropical visitor appearing in my dive light was a total surprise. Its body was the size of a 50-cent piece and its long blue fi ns wove patterns nearly a metre behind it.

    Bushrangers Bay, New South Wales

    Nikon D810, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 micro, 1/200, f/18, ISO 200, two INON Z240 strobes, Aquatica digital water housing and macro port

    Photo Credit: Matty Smith, New South Wales

    THE LAST STRAW

    BLACK SWAN, CYGNUS ATRATUS

    As this black swan brought his head out of the water with a single straw of weed in its beak, it gave me a priceless expression, as if stating this is The Last Straw – respect my personal space, or else.

    Lakes Entrance, Victoria

    Nikon D610, Nikkor 200–500, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 400, Promaster CPL fi lter, handheld

    Photo Credit: Kim Borg, Queensland

    SHORT-TAILED GRASSWREN

    SHORT-TAILED GRASSWREN, AMYTORNIS MERROTSYI

    On a warm morning in the Flinders Ranges I set out at fi rst light hoping for a glimpse of the usually hard-to-see shorttailed grasswren. Not only did I see them, but I had the opportunity to photograph this unique and special little bird foraging in the spinifex.

    Stokes Hill Lookout, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

    Canon 1Dx II, Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM and Canon 1.4x III extender, 1/640, f/6.3, ISO 1000, handheld

    Photo Credit: Laurie Ross, Northern Territory

    CARING MOTHER

    LICHEN HUNTSMAN SPIDER, PANDERCETES GRACILIS

    Strolling through Daintree National Park near Noah Creek, I noticed an interesting shape on a tree trunk beside me and closer inspection revealed a lichen huntsman spider. I set my tripod to take the picture only to fi nd that I was about to photograph a mother guarding her most precious treasure.

    near Noah Creek, Daintree National Park, Queensland

    Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM, 4.0, f/11, ISO 100, tripod

    Photo Credit: Jakub Hodan, Slovakia

    DAY HOPPER

    MUSKY RAT-KANGAROO, HYPSIPRYMNODON MOSCHATUS

    Musky rat-kangaroos are one of Australia’s few diurnal mammals. Being so small they are extra vigilant, with their huge eyes ceaselessly searching for predators while they snuffl e around for fruit and grains in the leaf litter.

    Topaz, Queensland

    Nikon D800E, Nikon 500mm f/4, 1/200, f/6.3, ISO 1250, handheld lying on ground

    Photo Credit: Henry Cook, New South Wales

    The AG Nature Photographer of the Year Awards are sponsored by Coral Expeditions.

    Photo Credit: Coral Expeditions

AG Nature Photographer of the Year 2018: Animal portrait shortlist

By AG STAFF | June 13, 2018

In this category, 30% of the frame had to be taken up by the animal. Creatures of the land, air and sea all feature in this stunning shortlist. These photos will be exhibited at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide (24 August – 11 November 2018 ) and the Australian Museum in Sydney (24 August to 27 January)