A Walk on the Wild Side


OK….ok….I live in Suburbia (on the western side of Melbourne).

For me, the walks I do are on the mild side.

The important thing in life is to make the best of what you’ve got.

You can spend your whole life wishing for more, (or better scenes for photography for example), but then you’ve never lived at all – you’ve only stood on the side lines.   Better to just make images of your local surroundings, rather than not at all.  Best to be mindful and attentive to your current reality.  Besides I’ve got plenty of travel books and nature DVDs to satisfy my love of remote locations in nature.

Tuesday dawned cold, but dry, and my 4 month old severe headache threatened me…… to either get outdoors for some more fresh air or it would get worse.  (yesterday it actually did, get worse  I mean 🙂 but a pre-planned appointment with my Dr scored me some stronger analgesics).

I complied and not only reached the Maribyrnong Wetlands pond on Tuesday afternoon, but I actually walked home again, instead of catching the bus (shown by the continuous line on the map on the left of the page).  To be honest, part of the reason I catch the bus is to go to the local Pharmacy or Shops on the way home.  I rarely do the 10 minute walk along the main road to the local Shops as its downright boring  and I’ve always been the type of person to go on the scenic route to get anywhere, even in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, even if its four times the distance.

I set off with my wallet, phone, keys and tiny bottle of water and spare camera battery in my coat pockets and my lightest camera (Sony a6000) in my hand.  I can’t carry my tiny backpack or heavier DSLRs/lenses at the moment.  I hoped the weather forecast would be right for a change as I left the folding umbrella at home.  It was (although the sun went behind the clouds and the wind bit into my face with with a hearty appetite partway through the return journey).

It’s definitely Winter here in Melbourne.

While I’ve done this walk many times since I moved to this suburb 8 months ago, I’m always looking for something to photograph.  Yesterday I practiced some more landscapes.  Same views I’ve shared before with you, but I continue to change the horizon, or amount of water in the frame, to see which makes the image well-balanced (just in case one day I get to the mountains or countryside to photograph some real landscapes).  Of course, those hideous electricity pylons that tower over this green belt of land and river always seem to get in the way and spoil the view.

You can never get too much practice when it comes to Photography – whether you’re a beginner, a seasoned amateur OR a professional (making a living from the craft).

After I left Frogs Hollow, I took the well-trodden tiny path at the water’s edge, instead of the asphalt cycling/walking path on the long peninsula of land.  This leads me to the island with a small footbridge at either end.  This time I saw a rubbish dredge thingey, (whatever i’s called), near the river bank which I hadn’t seen before.  Little Pied Cormorants and Little Black Cormorants, (or were they the larger Block Cormorants?), stood on its frame in the sun lapping up the warm rays and I tried to get a bit closer as the 55-210 lens on the Sony doesn’t reach as far as my 150-500mm lens of my Canon DLSR.

I must have passed about 5 new seedling ‘forests’ since my last walk along this route.  The local council or land management team have been hard at work.  Turning to look into the sun revealed  lovely silver water, but when the sun went behind the clouds, I realised how cold the day really was and headed for home.

…..and here’s the good news.

When I travelled through the city 2 weeks ago, I stopped at Michaels Camera Store, (where I regularly shop and drop in to ask questions I might add).  I asked one of the salesmen, who are all skilled photographers themselves, how on earth do you photograph birds through thick foliage with the Sony a6000?  I can do it easily with my Canon DSLRs, but not the Sony ‘mirrorless’.

If you’ve followed my nature blog for a long time and remember me moaning about the lack of this ability when I first bought the camera 2 years ago, you’ll be surprised to hear that there is an easy solution.  Apparently, changing the focus mode to flexible spot (which is actually a square, not a dot like on the DSLRs), is only the first step.

You can actually change the Flexible Spot, aka ‘square’,  into S (small), M (medium) or (large).  My Sony was actually set on L.

Duh!  I felt like such an idiot.  I have never read this anywhere in the online manual.  Seriously.  As I mentioned when I first bought the camera, the Sony a6000 menu is convoluted, and for me, not very logical or easy to remember.  Even the reviews I read of the camera before I bought it say the same.  But the sales assistants in Michaels Camera Store  are ever so patient and kind and always make you feel as though your questions, no matter how small or trivial, are always normal and often asked.

So I tried it out on the way home on Tuesday amongst the artificial watercourse below my apartment block.  I caught sight of a Purple Swamp Hen among the 9′ high water reeds and actually scored a focused shot of the bird.  A reed got in the way of the head, but that doesn’t matter.

Can’t wait to try it out on a bird high up in a tree in a future walk.



8 thoughts on “A Walk on the Wild Side

  1. I’m glad to see that you were able to get out for a good walk! That must have felt good! Also good news finding out about that focus setting.
    Does the colder weather make it easier or harder for you to get out? The cooler weather is easier for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the cold weather as I have an (abnormal) intolerance to the heat. This week has been fabulous, but cold in the mornings. It’s been foggy too, but usually clear when I get up as late as I do.

      I’m ok outdoors on the cold wintery days as long as I don’t get wet in the rain and my spine is warm and my pain levels tolerable (for a walk). I know you love the cooler weather too. Maybe you and I just weren’t made for Summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So beautiful! I am almost done booking a month in Australia for 2018. We are focusing on Queensland this time where we haven’t been and I am VERY excited about it. Just thinking about the birds!!!
    As far as sony manuals, they are actually worse (more ridiculously convoluted) than my Audi manual which is thought to be the most ridiculously complicated car manual in the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only seen a little bit of Queensland from a drive up the east coast of Australia about 35 years ago, Cindy. I can’t tolerate the heat and humidity so I’ve never considered a trip to the far north rainforest areas. Melbourne on a humid day is bad enough for me 🙂

      I’m glad you agree that the Sony manual is useless. Maybe that’s why I also prefer my Canon DSLRs too. They are fabulous for bird photography and just so easy to use (in comparison to the Sony settings, dials & menus).


    1. Can’t believe I missed it, but the arrow on the Flexible Spot setting is invisible to my eyesight anyway. If my memory was better, I’d actually learn how to use this Sony ‘mirrorless’ camera properly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s