QUOTE OF THE WEEK

There is a point at which everything becomes simple
and there is no longer any question of choice,
because all you have staked will be lost if you look back.
Life’s point of no return.

Dag Hammarskjold

Sorry, I’ve neglected my nature blog for a couple of weeks, but I’ve been very busy offline (furniture repairs and restoration) and hunting for a new (ground floor) apartment.  This post is for Linda (who was looking for a few pink water lilies recently).

Enjoy……..

 

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 32

From the archives

14th July 2011

HELLABORE 

Canon EOS 500D

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro

ISO 1600

f/10

1/25s       (much too slow a shutter speed for a handheld macro shot, but I didn’t know any better back in the early days of my photography hobby).

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I’ve got way behind in replying to comments and blog reading this past week, but do know I’ve read most of your comments and enjoyed hearing from you.

Apologies to those who I haven’t answered.

My energy envelope is only 5-6 hours every day.   Due to bad (sometimes migraine-type) daily headaches and neck/shoulder pain from my Fibromyalgia, I can only do so much on the computer and then have to switch off and do something mindless like watching movies, or pottering in my balcony garden (depending on the weather).  I have to change position and alter my wrist/elbow/shoulder movement regularly to avoid that arm or body part becoming totally unusable – something that happened from time to time when I was still working on a computer in an office all day pre early retirement in 2010.

Sometimes, when I’m really fatigued,  I just sit and watch the birds drinking and playing in the birdbath for hours, just picking up my camera occasionally to try for a few bird shots or standing upright and walking around my lounge for a while to relieve my lower back and hip pain – a most relaxing way to while the hours away when you have chronic pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

I try to live my life Mindfully, just concentrating on the present moment.   With the present ‘lockdown’ I suggest you try to do that too.

Take time to enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.

~ Robert Brault ~

Rather than getting stressed, and feeling a wee bit guilty about not replying to blog comments, or when I get behind with blog reading, I give myself permission to switch off.

In fact, one of the best things about modern technology (i.e. the computer), is that I (or you) CAN turn it off.

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 18

From the archives

17th February 2011

White Begonias – The Conservatory, Fitzroy Gardens

This post has to be more than one photo so you see the whole indoor setting.  My SIL had lent me this Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens for a month.   It made some lovely images, especially considering I’d only had a DSLR for about 2 months and wasn’t well versed on how to use a DSLR, especially exposure, composition and so on.

Begonias

The Conservatory in the Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne, is a relatively easy walk from Melbourne’s CBD, but I usually visited from the opposite side via a bus I caught from the south-east of Melbourne city (where I lived at that time next to the Royal Botanic Gardens).

BEGONIA

The Conservatory has 5 exhibits per year.   One for each season and an extra one.   Always best to check before setting out as it’s closed for several days to prep each seasonal display.   If you hang around my blog for a while, you’ll see some more photos while I’m doing this photo a day from my archives.

….and here’s the setting down one of the indoor paths for Summer 2011.   The path through the Conservatory has a little stream going through it and gravel paths, so with the crowds of tourists at certain times of the day and the loose gravel, don’t bother taking a tripod.   You have to shoot hand-held and seriously………try to miss the tourist buses & crowds.

Begonias at the summer display at the Conservatory – Fitzroy Gardens, MELBOURNE

….and a shot from the outside looking in which is far more to my taste.

Looking through the Conservatory window, Fitzroy Gardens, MELBOURNE

As you can see there are plants cascading down from hanging pots and don’t be surprised if the sprinklers come on during the daytime.

ROUNDED NOON FLOWERS or PIGFACE (Disphyma crassifolium subspecies. clavellatum)

Browsing through my archives last night, I came across the images I took at Newells Paddock Nature and Conservation Reserve, located about 4 kms (2.3 miles) along the river path, around this time in 2017.

Photo below was actually made on 26th March 2017 and is a great view of this remarkable area.

Photo taken in summer of NEWELLS PADDOCK NATURE RESERVE main pond. Melbourne city in the far upper right background.

You can read a little more of the history behind this wetlands and conservation area here.

ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)

It’s Rounded Noon Flower season now as I noticed a tiny patch at the opposite end of my apartment building last Wednesday (left).

In the meantime, here’s a few images made in 2017 to remind long-time followers of the stunning display of Pigface (or Rounded Noon Flowers) below.  These fowers have various names so you might know them by a different one.

I’m hoping to go back again this year to photograph more of the bird life, but since it’s a bit far from the bus stop, it might have to be a taxi journey there and back, as I can’t walk as far as I used to pre hip osteoarthritis.    I’d rather use my limited walking range to walk around the wetlands and reserve, than waste it on walking from the bus stop through ordinary residential areas to actually get there.

I did walk home along the river path back when I first moved to this western suburb of Melbourne to live in 2016, so I know by the walking trail signposts exactly how far it is.

Not far for normal healthy fit people to walk, but nowadays, too far for me.

In the meantime, here’s a sample of that stunning splash of colour on the ground at Newells Paddock.

ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)
ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)
ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)

This area is also where I was so engrossed with the camera up to my eye, I didn’t notice a White-faced Heron walk up to about 10 feet away from where I was standing.

THE MAGNOLIAS ARE IN BLOOM

Coming home in a taxi yesterday, I noticed a number of residential gardens with massive Magnolia trees in Bloom.

There are literally hundreds of stunning flowers on the trees at the moment.

While I  can’t find my favourite shot of them in my archives, I did find this image showing the buds, from 3rd March, 2011……… of a different variety.

Made with my old, (now traded in), Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

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I finally remembered that shot I wanted was around mid 2015 when I lived on the north-eastern side of Melbourne, so it actually was easy to find after all.   My short-term memory always has a ‘hiccup’ before it goes to the right part of my memory bank  😀

Here ’tis……from the 26th August, 2015. …..made with my Sony a6000 & 18-200mm lens.

…….and the close-up…..

If I go to the local Plant Nursery during the next week or so to buy seedlings and potting soil, I will try to walk home past the magnificent tree and get a ‘newer’ image.

There’s a cacophony of House Sparrows outside my lounge window at the moment.   Don’t know what they’re twittering about, but it’s obviously some sort of argument, not the usual sweet sound.

I’ve had so many Sparrows on my bare-limbed Japanese Maple in the last couple of days that I couldn’t resist trying to get a shot of some of them this morning from where I’m sitting at my desk.

It’s not always easy to Autofocus when the lounge windows have dirty rain droplets on them.  I have to keep moving the camera slightly to one side to stop it autofocusing on the dusty windows and focus  on the actual bird(s).

Finally managed one shot (below).

You can see the Maple buds on the branches and you’ll also notice that this area is still in shade, with the sunlight shining on the other side of the road (which gives the image the bright light in the background).

In the latter part of the day, the other side of the road falls into shade (with my balcony in sunlight in the golden hour) 🙂

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE – Pink Lillies

My God-daughter brought me some lovely pink lilies when she and her Mother came for lunch on Wednesday.   It was such a thrill to see her as I couldn’t go to her wedding in Spain in May of this year.

The buds were all closed, but with the warmth of the wall heater, they have quickly opened and brought a welcome array of Spring colour into my home.

I started off with my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens on an ISO of 800  which was what I’d been using the day before with the birds on my dark shady balcony.   I did have a bit of trouble getting enough light onto the flowers with a hand-held shot, so the aperture was left on f2.8.

Note: I don’t why this lens exif data keeps showing Canon 17-55mm lens, but it’s definitely a Sigma 17-50mm lens.   I love this lens for getting a little closer to flowers.

Then got out my old Canon 50mm f1.4 lens which I hadn’t used in ages.   I was trying to focus on the stamens and still keep the aperture on f1.4 to get a narrow DOF (Depth of Field).

I don’t know what variety of lily these are and Mr Google images had more than one description of this pink lily so we’ll just call it Pink Lily.

I probably would have done better to put the camera on a tripod and use the remote shutter release cable so I could step back and let more of the light source in but was happy enough with the 2 differing shots.

Enjoy!………

SCENTED GERANIUM ‘Candy Dancer’ (Pelargonium ‘Candy Dancer’)

This scented Geranium is a small, compact shrub growing approximately 70cm (27 inches) wide and 70cm high.  It’s so easy to grow and has a lovely fragrance and is drought and heat tolerant, so perfect for our Australian climate.

Pelargonium ‘Candy Dancer’

The images in this post come from The Herb Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (as you can see from the brick paved path in the background), but I’ve certainly seen it in many residential gardens also.

Pelargonium ‘Candy Dancer’

OLEANDER (Nerium)

The enormous Oleander (Nerium) was in full bloom (with a few spent dead heads) outside my local pharmacy yesterday and I stepped back & forth trying to work out how to get some images in the shady part of the bush.

First close-up was at an Aperture of f3.5 which I often use for flowers to get a blurred background.

Next  a shot taken at an aperture of f8.00 to get more in focus. (note: I couldn’t see on the LCD screen due to the bright light of the day, hence several shots, which I’d later keep, or delete, on seeing them on my large computer screen).

The harsh late afternoon sun made shots of other flowers on the walk to my medical appointment almost impossible to shoot.

Disappointingly, the enormous patch of Fairy Iris which I’d been hoping to photograph next to the small local park, was still at the bud stage, so no photos there.

I only scored images of the pink flowers and a Magpie sitting on a nearby tree. So glad I had 2 cameras and 2 lenses to choose from.

 

While it has lovely flowers and is extremely tough, the downside of these particular plants is that all parts are poisonous, so not a good plant to have in your garden if you have young children around.

While the leaves are generally green, I believe there are variegated leaf forms.

Flowers come in a range of colours and are sweetly scented, but I must admit I’ve never bothered to bend down and smell them (having allergies to some strongly-perfumed flowers).

The flowers appear late Spring until the end of Summer and are white, pink or crimson, with some double forms available.  Oleander is perfect for hot, dry gardens.

The only thing I find a wee bit annoying is that with the lovely flowers, there are often dead or dying blooms next to them, so it can be a bit hard too capture a fresh flower without its dead neighbour within the frame.

Doesn’t stop me trying though 🙂