My Savage Quest

A bald eagle standing its ground on Vancouver Island in 2011. (Image: David Haynes)

Contributed by QG player 'Savage'.


I picked up a serious camera for the first time a little over five years ago. That day was the start of a journey that has ultimately led me to QuestaGame. It’s a journey that has shown me life in a new light, and I can’t wait to see what further adventures this journey has in store!

In mid 2011, my wife and I we visited family on Vancouver Island, Canada - a beautiful part of the world. My brother was an experienced bear photographer and I was lucky enough to borrow his camera, with a serious zoom lens. Unfortunately, I didn’t encounter any bears that day (or should that be fortunately?!). The zoom did come in handy though as I snapped a beautiful bald eagle holding its ground through constant raven(?) bombardment on a distant pine tree. I had a taste, but I needed more! As soon as we got home to Australia, I bought my own camera and headed back into nature.

At first it was about appreciating life from a new angle (usually bugs with a macro lens), but it opened my eyes to a diversity of life that I hadn’t previously realised existed. I had to learn more.

I’d always ‘believed’ in evolution, but had taken it for granted, not thinking about it very deeply. As I started paying more attention to the life around me though, my curiosity only grew. The beauty and power of evolution by natural selection was also driven home for me as I read Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ as well as Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Selfish Gene’.

Whenever I come across weird or wonderful bugs, it’s always fascinating to consider their evolutionary journey. After all, if you trace their family line back far enough, it merges with our own! What pressures took our common ancestor, and on the one hand shaped a tiny peacock spider, while on the other hand, over the same period, shaped me, camera in hand peering down at it, watching it's majestic display? (If you are not familiar with peacock spiders, you must check out this video)

A species of peacock spider, specifically Maratus Calcitrans, on Canberra's Black Mountain in 2016. Unfortunately I found this little guy just before finding QuestaGame, and I'm yet to add one to my collection. (Image: David Haynes)

“There is grandeur in this view of life... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859)


Here are a few of my favorite QuestaGame sightings. Among them is an egg mass from a sea snail (I always wondered what those jelly blobs were as a kid!), and a tiny wingless female Anestia ombrophanes moth laying its eggs (I had no idea what I was looking at - thanks for the ID QuestaGame!).

To get good close-ups of cool little critters, traditionally I’ve always used my D-SLR camera and a macro lens. Since taking up QuestaGame though, I’ve actually been very surprised by the macro capability of my smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy S7. Most of my sightings are just with my smart phone - it’s just so convenient, particularly for one handed sightings when I’m walking the dog, or carrying a toddler (the only time I seem to get for sightings these days :P). In fact, of the sightings I've shared on this post, only three were with my DSLR - can you tell which ones? My smartphone's zoom capability isn't up to scratch though. This is why I don’t have many decent bird sightings. Perhaps it’s time that I adopt Austin’s technique of combining my phone with some binoculars.

I’d love to hear more about other QuestaGamers' journeys. What had led you to QuestaGame? What have been your favourite sightings? And what techniques do you use to get your best sightings? Why not share your stories on this blog!?