Interview with a Singapore Bird Photographer – Zacc HD

In this series of interviews, I’ll like to pay tribute to Naturepixels, a now dormant nature photography website and forum where I first started. One of the interesting feature of the website was as you guessed it, a series of interviews that shed light on the men and women that were involved in nature photography.

ZaccHDThe first person in this interview has his start from a different place, the Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) which is still active, with passionate members that showcase the best in nature photography.

Zacc HD is a very active bird photographer who has been taking very good photographs of our local avifauna and finding very rare ones as well in the process. His sightings and photographs are regularly cited in our monthly bird report as well. So without further ado, below is our interview followed by some of his selected work.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 40 years young , married with 2 kids and enjoy nature photography.

How long have you been interested in nature photography? And also how did you start?
I started from doing Macro photography using my SONY H50 with close-up filters. Slowly, I was introduced to bird photography by a friend back in 2008. So, I decided to stick to this hobby from then on and never looked back. For bird photography, I’ve moved from using P&S cam to Nikon D810 DSLR with 55-200mm, 150-500mm, 300mm f4 and finally the 600mm f4.

What do you like about it in particular?
Besides able to see beautiful feathered friends in Singapore, I can relax my mind at the same time and enjoy the sound of the forest especially. That’s the reasons why I enjoy going to Bidadari.

What’s your photography techniques and how did you learn them?
I guess pretty much the same as the rest of the photographers around me. But when I changed to the new Nikon D810, I struggled a bit to get sharp images. Lucky for me, Wang Bin who is also a Nikon user shared with me a few tips on using the camera.

But of course, I will try to learn more as I move along.

Was there anyone that inspired you, and influenced your photographic style?
The day I started bird photography, I’ve learned a lot from the guys in NPSS forum. All photographers in that forum shared their camera settings on every picture taken. Photographers like scfang, wltpch, bjorn, JRC , confoley and stingrey were always there, with good series of beautiful photos in the AVIAN section. They inspired me to have the “eye contact, thin perch and smooth background” in my photos too. That was the trend and it continues until today for most bird photographers.

What is your favourite bird species and why?
I don’t know why, but I like the cuckoos. My favourite is still the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo. I still remember the feeling when I saw that bird for the very first time in 2011 at Bidadari of course.

If not bird photography, what would you have spent time on?
I think I will go back to Macro photography…?! or maybe not. Maybe spend more time sleeping and wake up late every weekend… Haha.

While pursuing your hobby, what is your most memorable moment to date?
Errmmm…Let me see… Was it my first climb to Bukit Timah Summit for the White-throated Rock Thrush in 2011 or photographing the Chestnut-cheeked Starling last October?? LOL… I guess the sighting of the rare vagrant Chestnut-cheeked Starling, gotta be my most memorable moment to date. I was told that the last unconfirmed record was in 2003. Good to know that.

Your most disappointing moment?
Having photographers arguing around me while shooting birds… (Pssst! please don’t publish this… Oops!- Ed)

Finding more birds species or getting really good pictures of a few?
300 is the number I’m looking for in my Singapore Birds collection, but getting really good pictures is a bonus for me. One click/tick at the time, over many years… I think.

You can visit Zacc HD’s Flickr page for more of his work. Selected photos below.

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