The elusive Platypus

We took a trip to Eungella National Park while up north for the express purpose of seeing (and hopefully photographing) a platypus in the wild.

After driving out to Eungella Dam and back to kill some time, I patiently waited at one of the observation decks for over an hour as the light faded more and more. Eventually, ripples upstream indicated something was in the water and heading out way (sort of). A while longer and I glimpsed the platypus. I tracked him for a while, snapping off handheld shots at iso1600 at around 1/40th or less, having abandoned the tripod in favour of flexibility (these guys move fast and only surface for a second).

This very ordinary shot is an extreme crop and probably the clearest of all the shots I took. Not long after this, mindful of the waiting family and the large group of other observers hoping to catch a glimpse, I packed up and went on my way. In hindsight, staying longer with the hope the little bugger might get closer might have been a good call, but I was already pushing the camera to the limits anyway, and it wasn't getting any brighter...

View all photos taken: Monday, 7th July 2008, This photo: 4:55pm

Previous Photo: Catch of the Day


  • Xenedis said:
    It'd be a tough job to capture an image of one of these guys in the wild.
    You must be very patient. :-)
  • David de Groot said:
    It's be a lot easier with say a 400mm f/1.0 lens and a noise-free iso 6400 body ;-)
    But yes, it would seem wildlife and bird photography involves a lot of waiting around, punctuated by very short bursts of activity.
  • NKN Photography said:
    Well done Dave. I have never even seen one in the wild.
  • David de Groot said:
    This would be the second one I've seen in the wild, the first was when I was in Primary school, camping at Bunya Mountains. Very cool little critters though, quite playful in the water, even if they are just looking for food.
  • Louise. said:
    I've only ever seen one in the wild, didn't see one at Carnarvon unfortunately.
    cheers Dave - keep up the good work.
  • David de Groot said:
    Long time no hear Louise. They're definitely quite elusive aren't they?
  • Garry' said:
    You can really consider yourself very lucky seeing this in nature and after an hour waiting. Not even the best camera will change this fact. Once you have your ISO6400 body and 800mm lens you can always revisit the place ...but the little bugger may not be there anymore. Freeze the moment
  • David de Groot said:
    Precisely Garry. Yes, the shots weren't fantastic, but I got to see a wild platypus, and that's what really matters :)
  • petepothole said:
    Wow David! Its been a few years now since I have seen one in the wild!
    Its a great thing to see ! Awesome you got this shot! I looked at it on the large size ! Brilliant for you mate to even see this!
  • David de Groot said:
    'tis indeed pretty awesome to see. Very cute little critters, and so nice to see them in their natural environment.
  • -Gadabout- said:
    yay :D the wild platypus :D nice one :D
  • David de Groot said:
    Thanks - the picture doesn't do it justice, but it really was a most adorable little fella.
  • AustralisWilds said:
    Just been up there and I know what you mean, the shadowy areas in the morning and the fading light really put a bit of strain of the results. I always prefer morning rises, that way it only gets brighter.
  • David de Groot said:
    [] I got a much better one on the next trip:
    Wild Platypus!