Lockdown Life: Sunbird Series

Sunbird on a strelitzia flower

Southern double-collared sunbird perched on a strelitzia flower

Sunbirds in the city!

Renowned for his captivating underwater imagery of South Africa’s marine animals, wildlife enthusiast and owner of Animal Ocean Steven Benjamin has had to pivot his focus to his Cape Town garden during lockdown, where he has been taking incredible shots of Cape Town’s resident birdlife as part of his Sunbird Series Project. Located near the iconic Table Mountain, Steve has embraced the challenge of photographing these feathered beauties as a way to bring joy during these uncertain times, and he’s had some incredible results. “The lockdown has made me relax and take the time to do things I would never have gotten around to doing. I settled on this project which I work on every day. I’m always adding something new to the scene and there are always new birds and interactions happening. It’s made the days fly by!”

Steve holding his camera, standing next to the bird feeder

Steve at home on his balcony next to the feeder that the sunbirds visit

Cape Times Cover

Steve started sharing his experimental imagery on his personal Facebook page at the beginning of the lockdown period in South Africa, showing friends and family the beauty of the endemic sunbirds visiting his garden. “Sharing this on social media helped inspire others and prompted me to keep adding to the project – bringing digital joy to those watching.”

Interest soon took off, with his stunning image of a malachite sunbird facing off an orange-breasted being picked up by a local newspaper. It featured on the cover of the Cape Times in South Africa on the 21st April – a little bit of light in the turbulent times of lockdown!

Cape Time cover with 2 sunbirds perched on a stick on a black background

Cape Times cover page 21st April 2020

Good News Daily

Good News Daily then published a local article later in April, when Steve’s sunbird images had started garnering interest around Cape Town after the Cape Times cover. We continued sharing the images on our social media pages, sharing these beautiful birds with our Seal Snorkeling audience!

orange breasted sunbird on a wild dagga flower

Orange-breasted sunbird atop a wild dagga flower

Forbes Africa

With Steve continuing with his daily morning ritual of observing and photographing the birds visiting his feeder, and sharing recent images online, Forbes Africa published an article online in May – sharing his project with a wider, international readership. The images started taking flight!

Taking pictures through the window

Steve has been using his lounge as a makeshift bird hide!

PetaPixel

His images have now recently been shared on PetaPixel, a leading photography blog – which has helped these photos spread their wings!

“I wanted to use this project as a way to be creative and escape the confines of the lockdown by enjoying the freedom of the birds.” Creating and sharing these images has allowed Steve to spread a little wildlife cheer during the lockdown period, and opened the eyes of locals and visitors alike to the beauty of the birds that flit around the Cape Peninsula.

5 portraits of sunbirds side by side

Sunbird phone and desktop wallpapers available for purchase

Future Plans?

“I’m working toward an exhibition in Cape Town after all of the restrictions are lifted. In the meantime the prints are available for purchase”.

For more information about Steven Benjamin’s work contact Steve at:

stevenbenjamin1@gmail.com 
on Instagram @animal_ocean 
visit www.stevenbenjamin.co.za

Wallpapers for phone and desktop use can be purchased directly here.

YouTube Video

Watch the Lockdown Sunbird Project video made by Steve below, and have a look at the Animal Ocean YouTube page for more videos!