2011, 12, 13 & for a short time, 2014, Melbourne Zoo was one of my favourite Photography destinations. Trying to get a single focal point through tiny 3/8″ (yes, 3/8″) wire in some of the cages proved to be the best way to practice holding my (then) new Canon DLSR & heavy lenses perfectly still in the early years of my Photography hobby.
Primates and Meerkats were my favoured subjects (until I moved on to bird photography) and I went to Melbourne’s main zoo in North Melbourne over 100 times. The (mainly) temperate rainforest landscaping at that time, proved to be heavenly on a hot summer’s day and sometimes I could go as often as 3 times a week to escape the blisteringly hot sun and humidity in Melbourne mid-summer. The single entrance fees were not cheap, but you only have to visit 3 times in any one year to make an annual membership worthwhile, so I certainly got my money’s worth going something like 40+ times in the first year alone.
In fact, (and this is no exaggeration), there was one Spider monkey who I visited so often, who eventually came to recognise me and would come bounding up to the glass near the top of the large enclosure and put his hand out to ‘touch’ mine through the glass. I spent ages photographing and cultivating a unique relationship with it (and the Black-capped Capuchins).
But I also had some great opportunities for close-up shots in late November 2011 and January 2012 of the Mandrills.
I never seemed to see them up close in the following years.
Outside School Holidays was the best for photography, but I’m a pretty patient person and also enjoyed watching the delight on the faces of small children, noses pressed up to the glass, squealing with excitement. There can be no better place to take children to create an understanding of animal behaviour and appreciating the great job zoos do in breeding and increasing nearly extinct or endangered species (as well as gaining a close-up view of Australia’s indigenous birds, reptiles, animals and insects).
Melbourne Zoo is so much fun, is not too large and has great interactive and walk-through enclosures to get up close to birds, insects and animals. There are also private sessions to ‘Meet and Greet’ some of the animals with their Keepers.
I mentioned in a reply to a commenter in the last post that Koalas are not actually bears.
The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.
So a few images of Wombats from Melbourne Zoo seems to be worth posting. I’ve seen many Wombat holes/homes in the wild or Australian bush, but never an animal (that I remember) but then I don’t go out much at night 🙂
From the Archives – 2011 and 2012
In a wombat burrow at Melbourne Zoo (lit by special lighting). I was standing in pitch black in an underground tunnel when I took these shots, so its pretty hard not to bump into other zoo visitors when you walk though this area.
Waratahs are evergreen shrubs or trees that are densely foliated and the large red flowers are among Australia’s best known wildflowers.
The one in this post was photographed at Melbourne Zoo near the enormous lion enclosure.
This particular enclosure is/was? massive, (might have changed since I was there a couple of years ago), and has a high fenced boardwalk going over the top, so no matter where the lions are (outdoors), you get a great view of them.
I’ve even managed to photograph the animals through the tough chain wire fence. If you do enough photography practice getting one focal point through tiny wire netting and cages, I can assure you it’s relatively easy.
After my lovely walk last Sunday, its been pretty much back to the gusty, cold winds and the overcast skies of Winter this week. I had to go through the city centre on Tuesday to another medical appointment (via taxi this time), but generally, its been too cold (for me) to go outdoors.
My life is based on health and weather. These 2 subjects shape my Photography Life.
This morning I scanned next week’s forecast and can see Sunday and Wednesday have good forecasts, with Tuesday and Thursday minimal rain, so looks like some more good walking/photography weather might, JUST MIGHT, be a possibility.
It’s the infinite possibilities that make each day in retirement a joy. You just never know how a day is going to ‘pan out’. I love the Freedom of (early) retirement and while I sometimes complain about a bad pain day, the reality is, at least I can do nothing on that day and take in a good DVD documentary or book or just watch the House Sparrows on my balcony fence. (or the %#$@! household chores), with a good cup of herbal tea by my side.
Even watching the rat on my side fence (or birdseed stand) in my old ground floor apartment next to the Royal Botanic Gardens had some entertainment value for me.
The little rat which used to visit my old bird feeder.
I was fascinated by it’s dainty feeding habits and used to watch from the edge of my lounge curtain surreptitiously pulled back to allow my camera lens to sneak a photo or two.
Eventually I had to take down the bird feeder as one really doesn’t want to encourage vermin in the area.
Of course there was Peter the Possum that kept me entertained around Midnight every night back in those days living on the south-east side of Melbourne and became the subject of many a Google Blog post back in 2010 when I first bought a small point and shoot camera.
In the meantime I’d like to share these amazing cloud formations from late last Sunday afternoon (after I arrived home). While I don’t get the spectacular 180 degree views of the sky as I did in my previous apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne, I still sometimes get some interesting cloud cover. I’ve learned to appreciate Nature in all it’s forms – good, bad and downright ugly and clouds that float by are a favourite subject of mine as they are never the same.