Personally, I think Irises are one of the hardest flowers to photograph. It took me many test shots in the Iris bed in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne before I achieved anything remotely satisfying to my eye.
With the old Iris bed being in an open area exposed to Melbourne’s almost constant windy weather, many of my images are not as sharp as I would like, but back in early 2011, I didn’t know anything about ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed.
This wonderful flower bed, with many different varieties and hybrids, was dug up and re-lanscaped several years ago, so I am lucky to still have a few images from the old back-up disc I resurrected.
Some are good shots and some not-so-good, but the colours are amazing.
As I roam through my archives looking for flower images to share, time and time again, on re-checking which lens I was using, it turns out to be the 55-250mm (although I have got some nice images made with the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro of course), so I assume it must have been a good lens. It was surprisingly sharp for a telephoto.
……..and a few more images – made with different lenses at various times over the years.
It’s been a while since I’ve taken any flower photos (except the flowers in my potted balcony garden), but there’s always plenty in my archives to fill the gap.
Most of the images below were made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and I believe many of the Common and Botanical names are on the images (which helps if you’re a garden lover). If you see an incorrect name, I would appreciate you letting me know in the comments section.
They were made with a variety of lenses from a 100mm f2.8 macro, to 50mm f1.4 to a borrowed 55-250mm (which takes a really sharp shot I notice) ……to my old favourite 18-200mm lens.
MINT BUSH or VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS BUSH (Prostanthera lasianthos)
I remember the very moment I finished my ice-cream while sitting in the shade of this Jacaranda tree. It is located near the gift shop and restaurant on the eastern side of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
It was a very hot summer day in 2013.
I popped the last of the crisp ice-cream cone into my mouth, crumpled the paper serviette, wiped my sticky fingers, threw the waste in the rubbish bin and looked up to admire the beautiful mauve colour of the Jacaranda flowers over my head. I got my camera out of its bag and captured the blossom in two shots.
On another visit I passed a different Jacaranda tree on the green lawn next to the RBG’s perennial border.
Funny how a photo captures a moment in time which sparks a memory many years later.
By the way, this is the Perennial Border – planted to flower at the height of Summer in mid January, although the image below was made in December 2010 (pre DSLR days). You can see another Jacaranda tree to the left of the old house. This building serves as a function centre. I’ve made many photos of this colourful border over the years, but the image below, with the lady walking briskly past, remains a favourite.
Note: I seem to have 2 folders with very similar looking plants, but different names, so if I have identified this flower incorrectly and it should be one of the Kniphofia species, feel free to let me know in the comments section. I have ‘Red Hot Poker’ typed in both folders of my old iPhoto library as one of the common names. Admittedly, I am no horticulturist or even a gardener (when it comes to common garden flowers). I am a little more knowledgeable about English Herbs (or was in the early 1990s).
Another kind of Poppy. I’m pretty sure these images were made in The Herb Garden, RBG – my favourite location in the whole of the Royal Botanic Gardens and frequented during Melbourne’s long, hot summers with its cool shady seating and fragrant patches of my favourite herbs.
I haven’t been back since I moved from the area about 3 years ago and now, with the constant road construction and tram diversions on the western perimeter due to the new underground rail link, unlikely to re-visit any time in the near future.
Once again, these images were made with a little Canon point & shoot camera, not the Canon DLSR which I acquitted a month later.
One of the first flowers I ever photographed in the Royal Botanic Gardens was a Californian Tree Poppy on the 6th January, 2011. Not an especially good photo so I’m posting a later image from 2012 (below).
The petals are feather light and very fragile, so not a good flower to photograph on a windy day, or even when there is a faint breeze for that matter.
There are many other types of poppy growing in the RBG so maybe it’s timely to post a few (if I can find them). I have a combination of about 14,000 well archived images with folder titles from my old software and about 4000 images from the newer El Capitan software that are mainly still in their date made folders.
I was digging through my archives a short while ago and came across these lovely images made using my first camera purchased in 2010 when I took up Photography as a hobby. It was a Canon Powershot A3000 ISpoint & shoot and I was reminded that you don’t have to have expensive camera gear to take a decent photo.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my break from daily/weekly blogging at the moment, but I have to admit the cameras are ‘gathering dust’ (not really gathering dust as I usually keep them in my camera bag or soft pouches when not in use).
There’s a narrow strip of landscaped area at the top of my steep narrow road where I walk through to catch public transport.
Among the lovely succulents and grasses there are a couple of Yucca plants and I made some photos back on the 28th March and forgot to share them. One plant was in the shade…..
……and the other…..just caught the late afternoon sun.
Yucca is probably best known as a house plant here, but it does make a spectacular architectural plant for the garden.
Yuccas include around 40 evergreen shrubs and trees, all of which come from hot, dry deserts and plains. Their sword-like leaves are produced in shades of mid-to dark green or blue-green. A few have cream or yellow edges.
Towering spikes of bell-shaped, usually white flowers rise above the leaves Summer and Autumn, making a dramatic focal point in a garden or pot.
While I’ve had Sweet Basil growing on and off many times in the last 35 years, I’ve always used all the leaves in cooking before it flowers.
My 2 current plants were decimated by caterpillars this past summer and I was all set to throw them in the rubbish bin, but decided to cut all the damaged leaves off (about 97% of the plants) and amazingly, they have recovered and I now have 2 flower heads.
This is the first time in my life, I’ve actually seen Basil flowers outside one of my Herb books.
I think I’ve mentioned in a prior post that my balcony garden seems to have a sort of micro-climate (despite the frequent strong, or gale-force, winds that race down my steep short road).
I’ve grown many plants that haven’t survived in other balcony gardens in previous apartments.
BUT……………this past summer has been the worst ever for pests. It seems as though the bugs and caterpillars like the micro-climate too 😀 This is the first time I’ve ever had dozens of Harlequin Bugs on my herbs and flowers.
Normally it’s the Caterpillars that leave their mark.
For a good example, count how many ‘pillars I picked off plants (in my first balcony garden when I lived near the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne).
I’ve been trying to make a good photo of this Pelargonium flower for months.
The flowers are gorgeous.
A sort of hot pink – almost reddish in some light. The plant nursery identification tag just says PELARGONIUM Survivor.
Finally captured it 2 nights ago when the Autumn dusk was starting to descend over my apartment balcony and the sun had dipped behind the hill. If you’re a flower photographer you’ll know how hard it can be to capture the details of some brightly coloured flowers in full sun. Whether under, or over-exposed, my editing skills have never been able to ‘fix it’.
Best to leave the dark background and slightly under-expose the shot.
The ‘Survivor’ series resists poor weather, extreme heat and tolerates drought. These bushy plants have big flowers and mine is just recovering from over-watering or heavy rainfall. To be honest, I suspect now Autumn is here, I won’t have to water it at all.
Believe it or not, I remember where I photographed 99% of my old photos. This one was made about 8 feet from the old Gorilla enclosure at Melbourne Zoo. Not sure if this lovely flower is still there (all these years later), but you can see why it is called Ribbon Bush by that lovely curling petal on the top right.
……and straight from Wikipedia for this description – purely and simply because I never knew this Hibiscus was so rare until I read about it on Wikipedia – hope this information is still accurate. I know of at least 2 large bushes in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and one of the rare plants in which I know the Botanical name off by heart, but never knew the Common name. Both of the large bushes are in deep shade most of the day.
The Philip Island Hibiscus (Hibiscus insularis) is a species of hibiscus that is endemic to Phillip Island, a small island to the south of Norfolk Island. The entire natural extent of this species is just two small clumps, and each clump apparently consists of multiple separate stems of a single genotype. It has been propagated and planted more widely on Phillip Island, but only vegetatively which does not increase the genetic diversity. Seedlings apparently have not been observed in the wild. It produces greenish-yellow flowers that fade to mauve through most of the year. Horticultural use of the Philip Island Hibiscus has greatly increased the number of plants (though not in its natural environment) but as it is usually propagated by cuttings the number of genotypes is still extremely small. This species is listed as Critically Endangered under Australian federal environment legislation.
The Rose Garden in the RBG in Melbourne is located near one of the south-eastern gates at the top of a very steep hill. There’s usually flowers in bloom through much of the year as they have climbing varieties up beautifully shaped rusty cones as well as lower-growing horizontal spreading varieties.
It’s quite a windy exposed area so can be hard to get sharply focused images though. Up until I moved to this western suburb along the Maribyrnong River 18 months ago, I used to think the southern side of the Gardens was the windiest area in Melbourne. Since it was near the street where I walked to work, I walked past many times, but it was not until I bought a camera and took up Photography in ‘retirement’ that I really gave them a second look.
Since they like sun and need about 5 hours sunlight to grow well, the location of the Rose Garden is just about perfect.
I have to say I know nothing about Roses, but they do well with soft feathery Lamb’s Ears, Catmint and Geraniums that provide a nice contrast to their bare base and have minimal watering needs similar to Roses. Penstemons also make a nice contrast at the Rose’s base.
The images below were made with 2 lenses. #1 and #2 with a Canon 50mm f1.4 and #3 with a Canon 18-200mm f3.5 – 5.6. These images were some of the last photos I made when I lived 5 minutes walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. Since I worked next to the RBG for some 16 1/2 years before I had to take early retirement, these gardens were my ‘back yard‘ and I used to walk in, or around, the 38 hectare site daily – sometimes 3 times a day in good weather – no wonder my poor feet are quite literally, worn out 🙂
Many of the old large black plant/tree identification posts are still intact and easy to read/photograph, but I found the tiny new metal tags tied to many of the small plants pretty much impossible to read, so spent hours looking the names up in my RHS(Royal Horticultural Society) encyclopaedia – Garden Plants & Flowers in Australia by Ian Spence, or Stirling Macoboy’s What Shrub is That? Both books were a valuable resource for Australian species when there were no identification tags visible.
When I first bought a camera and took up Photography in 2010, the flowers were still mostly English cottage plants, but with new landscaping and the Wetlands project, many beds were changed to drought tolerant plants from Africa, South America or arid regions and it became much harder to identify them. The Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens on the eastern perimeter of Melbourne’s CBD don’t have these identification tags, but are still very enjoyable to walk around.
The Royal Botanic Gardens have a great collection of grass species – mainly indigenous to Australia.
To this day I can remember exactly where I shot about 97% of my archival images, although I don’t know enough about plants to remember which season they were shot without looking at the meta data. Much of my early bird photography was also done here in 2010 – 2015 (for those interested).
At the current time, the new Metro underground rail line through Melbourne (with 5 new stations in Melbourne itself) is still being built and the tram/bus routes have changed slightly in the RBG area so I haven’t attempted to go back for more flower photography. This tunnel is supposed to be finished in 2025 so I’ve been exploring my (new) local area in the western suburbs, but I have to say 2-3 lots of public transport take a heck of a lot longer than a 5 minute walk.
Fortunately, I live next to parkland and/or nature reserve and not too far away from a couple of other nature reserves or man-made wetlands.
I no longer have quick access to the Bayside Beaches to the south of Melbourne without a car, although it is still possible to get bus, tram or trains – just takes too long when the transport stops at every stop, or suburb. I don’t have the health/energy to make long day trips.
In the second half of my walk yesterday I spent a short time in Pipemaker’s Park.
I was looking for signs of Autumn colour, but Autumn had barely announced its coming and the sun kept going in and out behind the clouds, which means you can miss the colour of the vine leaves as they change from bright orange to dull brown.
The Dog Roses were lovely though.
The Olive tree was completely bare of fruit, but the massive fig tree had literally hundreds of immature fruit – shame I don’t like figs, as it would be a feast when they’re ripe. I might add figs are very expensive to buy in the fruit/veg shop, market stalls or supermarkets here in Melbourne. If someone were to pick them all off this tree and sell them to donate funds towards the park upkeep and restoration, it would be a very fine thing indeed. The Park Ranger told me the ripening olives disappear almost overnight, so some local obviously takes the time to harvest, process and brine them.
Which reminds me that when I was small, our family would always have a large box of dried figs and glase fruits amongst our Christmas fare. They were a real treat. Blackberries, which are quite expensive in the shops these days, were picked by the bucketful for free in the bushland near our home and we had bottled blackberries, blackberry jam and blackberry sponge puddings all through the year (as my Mother always bottled and made preserves, chutneys and sauces from the excess of our summer vegetable garden and fruit trees, AND the annual blackberry picking we did with another family near our home).
But back to Pipemakers Park………….
My favourite photo of the Day.
I think these are called Dog Roses – climbing roses?
Many of the white rose blooms were spent, but there was still plenty of buds to come out.
A back view of the rose beds and an angle I had never thought of taking before.
…..and is this a rose? I’ve never seen one that has petals curling backwards like this
The mosaic under the small wisteria covered rotunda.
Halfway home is the small mosaic fenced area next to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve
I’d never noticed there was a dragonfly mosaic here.
The mostly impenetrable Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on the western rim.
Standing on the tiny curved road before I go in my back gate gives you a sense of the distance to the Nature Reserve on the left and the river about 7-8 minutes walk away.
Another shot from a few feet closer to the back gate.
My ‘back gate’ – doorway or entrance to the carpark for the apartment building – not very glamorous but quicker than walking around to the front of the building. By the end of my walk, I usually have sore feet and a sore shoulder (if I’m carrying my heavy DSLR and telephoto lens). Yesterday I had 2 lighter cameras and lenses over my shoulder instead of taking a wheeled trolley bag.
And just to give you an idea of what I was looking for, here’s a few images from Autumn 2017, including my favourite photo (which looks just as good in B & W I might add – good light and shade in the shot). I think I was about 5-6 weeks too early yesterday.
These evergreen Australian plants are grown for their showy five-petalled flowers. At least one species,Chamaelaucium uncinatum, is grown commercially for its cut flowers.
Personally, I’ve only ever seen the white or pink variety and were one of the first flowers I ever photographed when I bought a little Canon point & shoot camera and took up Photography as a hobby in May 2010. There is also a red variety.
The first image was made by a Canon DSLR in 2012 and the last two by the little Canon P & S in 2010.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some of my favourite images from 2017 – in no particular order or subject matter. Some of them are good shots and others are just reminders of a particularly enjoyable Photography walk outdoors.
I’ve been too unwell to do much Photography lately, in fact not much better than last year, so enjoy this series until (hopefully) I’m back outdoors more. At least the weather is mostly much cooler, although yesterday the winds were gale force around my area and too windy to water my balcony garden until quite late in the day. The wind dries out my potted plants regardless of the moisture retaining mixture I’ve added to the potting soil, so watering each night is a necessity…….most of the year, surprisingly.
In fact, the weather has been too wild to go out much via public transport. Of course if I owned a car, I’d go out for a drive or up the country regardless of the weather 🙂
I still have to catch a close-up shot of the white Royal Spoonbill water birds at Jawbone Conservation Reserve which I could only photograph from a distance (with the shorter telephoto lens I had with me) on my last visit. So I’m looking for a nice cool afternoon, with minimal wind, to make the trip down to the coast. It’s only a 2 bus trip, but these 2 particular bus routes don’t run as often as some of the others near my home, and not that much on the weekends either.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) enjoying the early afternoon winter sun on the Maribyrnong River.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – Maribyrnong River
MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND in late Autumn
DEW still lays heavy on the grassy verge next to FROGS HOLLOW nature reserve in winter. 1.30pm
Early Spring blossom – PIPEMAKERS PARK
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa) – MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS pond
FREESIA (?) – PIPEMAKERS PARK colonial garden
The one and only time I’ve been able to see the other side of the main pond in FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE.
A rare shot made in deep shade, which when lightened in post processing revealed a NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE
Blue BACOPA (Sutera cordata) catches the late Spring sunshine on my balcony
Looking over the chainwire fence over to FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE pond on my walk down to the Maribyrnong River in Spring. Note the yellow WATTLE flowers in bloom.
SPOTTED DEAD NETTLE (Lamium maculatum) – FOOTSCRAY PARK
PERUVIAN LILY (Alstroemeria) – FOOTSCRAY PARK
GREY SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) on my blacony fence rail.
ROSEMARY FLOWERS in the late afternoon winter sun – PIPEMAKERS PARK
LADY BANKS ROSE (Rosa banksiae ‘lutea’) – PIPEMAKERS PARK arbor in the colonial garden ruins.
New Spring growth – PIPEMAKERS PARK colonial garden
NEWELLS PADDOCK NATURE RESERVE main pond. Melbourne city in the far right background.
EUROPEN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) on the young tree in front of my balcoony. It was bouncing up and down in the strong gusty wind and I was urprised to find the bird in focus when I downloaded the image.
CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) – male with green head and russet chest feathers, female on right. Pond near FROGS HOLLOW WETLANDS. note: female is very similar to a GREY TEAL so I’m guessing here as Chestnut Teals usually swim with mates.
Looking up to the top of the hill from my balcony at the sunner sunset.
….and finally one last photo from the day I spent photographing this lovely Chinese Temple on the banks of the Maribyrnong River in the next suburb (to the south of my home location).
PS If you see some funny spelling or typos, it’s that stupid AutoCorrect which drives me crazy as it keeps turning bird and flower names into common words. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time re-reading everything I type a zillion times. I’m sure you all have the same problem so you know what I mean.
The Cocks Comb Coral Tree appears with slightly different names in my Plant Encyclopaedias, so if you know it by a different name, don’t be surprised.
I came across one particular plant down near Fern Gully in the centre of the Royal Botanic Gardens which was covered, (well, at least 30-35 birds), in Rainbow Lorikeets when the flowers were fully open in the Summer.
What a raucous noise they made. It was such an amazing sight to see so much colour.
Further down the same path, but next to the large Ornamental Lake there was another bush right next to the asphalt path and I photographed 3-4 more Rainbow Lorikeets up close – not in the least disturbed by my proximity. As it was very bright sunlight, I just had to wait until the birds climbed under the bush to avoid over-exposed shots.
I just came across the Illawarra Flame Tree in my archives and realised that it would be in bloom at the moment and right through to the end of February (at least) since my last image had a February date on it).
The hot weather yesterday reminded me of the many visits I’ve made to the cacti & succulent area called Guilfoyle’s Volcano in the highest corner of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
5 minutes walk from door to door made it my main thoroughfare on the way to all the older sections of the Royal Botanic Gardens down by the large Ornamental Lake. I say ‘down’ because there are some very steep hills in this 38 hectare site.
I wove my way up, down and all around the Royal Botanic Gardens some days and on others, frequented the areas where arbors and gazebos were available to shelter from the burning Summer sun OR rain showers and incessant wind in Winter.
Personally, I’m not keen on cacti and succulents, but after discovering how difficult flower photography was back in 2010 when I first took up the hobby, the solid unmoving mass of cacti was a draw card for the simple reason that they were easier to photograph (than the soft delicate English cottage plants waving in the constant wind in the area).
I had a dedicated 100mm Macro lens back then too. I traded that in when I bought the Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ in early 2015, as I hadn’t used it much after I found new locations and subjects for photography.
Guilfoyle’s Volcano is not a real volcano, simply a water storage area atop a small hill at the highest end of the RBG.
Since I’ve returned all the Cacti & Succulent books and encyclopaedias to my SIL 2-3 years ago, it would take me too long to add names to these images by looking up each one on the internet, but if you’re interested, I’m sure Mr Google will supply them for you.
Crassula perfoliata var. minor (Airplane Plant) – Crassulaceae – South Africa
Agave geminiflora – Agavaceae – Mexico
“Guilfoyle’s Volcano was built in 1876 and was used to store water for the Gardens. After lying idle for 60 years, it is now restored as part of a significant landscape development project called Working Wetlands.
This spectacular and historic water reservoir has commanding views of the city, and its striking landscape design showcases low-water use plants. Boardwalks and viewing platforms give visitors the opportunity to explore this long-hidden, but remarkable, feature of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Guilfoyle’s Volcano is in the south-east corner of the Gardens, easily accessible via C Gate (enter via Anderson Street) and D Gate (enter via Birdwood Avenue).”
Actually 2-3 of these images from my archives are from the Arid Garden near ‘Guilfoyle’s Volcano’, but are still drought-tolerant and suit Melbourne’s hot summers.
Some of the images below you may have seen before, but as I’ve done little photography in 2017, there’s not many new images to share these days, so my archives will have to suffice.
Agave geminiflora – Agavaceae – Mexico
PARRY’S AGAVE OR MESCAL AGAVE (Agave parryi)
Aloe humilis (Spider aloe) – Aloeaceae – South Africa
Canon EOS 600D, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, ISO 400, 100mm, f/3-5, 1/4000
Canon EOS 600D, Canon EF 100mm f/208 Macro, ISO 400, 100mm, f/3.5, a/1250
NOTE: I started this post about 22 hours ago and then, drip, drip, drip, splat, splat, splat. Water started coming from one of the ceiling downlights(?) right over my head. I got such a ‘shock’ I had what some might term an anxiety attack, but those who know I have severe obstructive HCM would know my heart rate escalated into overdrive. Chest pain and all the usual symptoms of stress, or over activity (beyond what my ‘old ticker’ can handle).
I raced for an old towel and large plastic bowl, flipped the nearby power switch off and pulled out the power board plug and removed every bit of computer equipment and cables to one side.
(A bit later, I remembered to move all my cameras to the back of the room).
I went downstairs to the foyer as I couldn’t remember the correct phone number, called the Body Corporate manager, (who called an electrician). Si. told me to turn all the power off and wait for the electrician.
St. the electrician, phoned and arrived about an hour later. He’d come from a country town I think. In the meantime, I took my pm heart meds early (which keeps my heart beating evenly and slowly), a valium, slapped an emergency BP patch on the back of my hand and took some Bach Rescue Remedy (a homeopathic type shock or stress treatment), in that order. I may have a feeble ticker, but my Brain does still work……….. (most of the time).
I am so used to leading a simple, relatively stress-free, life in early retirement, I couldn’t even handle the potential “drowning’ of my computer & associated printers/scanner etc.
The electrician told me to leave all the power off and not turn on the ceilings lights for next 24 hours (assuming the rain would eventually stop anyway). It would dry out and someone would contact me some time over the next week to assess the damage. S. said how lucky I was that it was not worse as he’d been to one house where the lounge ceiling collapsed with the massive deluge of water collecting over the central old-fashioned ceiling light.
Apparently, a few ceilings came down yesterday……… and several streets were flooded.
My main room ceiling has 7 recessed lights and I’d only replaced 6 globes in them when they all died a month or two ago. The one that leaked was the one that hadn’t had the globe replaced by sheer co-incidence.
I ended up reading a few chapters of my favourite book by the light of a tiny camping lantern. I’d originally bought this lantern as the power in this apartment block had gone off several times in the year I’d lived here, and I was fed up trying to clean my teeth and wash my face by the light of my mobile phone and a tiny torch. Needless to say, since I bought the bright USB charged lantern, the Body Corporate (building caretakers) had finally found an old-fashioned electrician who solved the continual black-outs and I’ve never had to use the little lantern.
……………until last night.
Anyway, the dripping lulled me to sleep……..eventually. I had emptied the large plastic bowl before I went to bed and hoped it wouldn’t overflow during the night.
Back to last night’s post……
It started raining Thursday and hasn’t stopped (and it will rain for some days according to the recent news flash).
I stood close to the windows late yesterday (i.e. Friday) watching several flocks of birds flying overhead – an unusual occurrence in the one afternoon. A row of Crows (or Ravens ?) were all sitting on the roof of the apartment building at the top of my hill, but by the time I got the camera out, there were only 2 left.
I wondered if all the birds flying was one of those things you read about when unusual extreme weather patterns are forecast?
The heavy rain never seemed to stop, but I wasn’t in the least concerned for myself as I live in a modern apartment block which probably had 101 building codes all in perfect order when constructed around 2013.
“Victorians have been warned to expect an “unprecedented” deluge today with severe thunderstorm and flood warnings across the region. A severe weather warning remains in place for heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flash flooding in much of the state including Melbourne”.
“Up to 120mm could fall in the border town of Albury-Wodonga. There is a flood warning for Melbourne’s Yarra River with fears it could burst its banks”.
Note: Photo credit Alex Coppel
Most Melburnians have spent the last couple of days holed up indoors. I’ve been indoors for much longer – hot & humid to start the past week with the air-conditioning on fullbore and now………….it’s been predicted that we’ll have more rain in the first 3 days of December that what is normal for the whole month (or even…….Summer season).
“(He) warns there will be massive flooding around the city”.
“If you wake up tomorrow and think this isn’t going to happen, you just have to wait a while,” W. said. “They didn’t think the Titanic would sink, but it did.”
Talk about drama in the Media 😀
I could help a little smile creeping across my face when I read it on the computer news.
I’d received 3 text messages already warning everyone about the wild weather and not to venture outdoors if they could possibly help it, (AND NOT TO GO NEAR FLOODED ROADS, CREEKS OR RIVERS).
I wondered if the low-lying field in Frogs Hollow would fill with water?
I couldn’t decide what flower images to share out of my archives, so you got none at all in the last day or so.
(don’t ask me what torrential non-stop rain has got to do with blog image decision-making) 🙂
Then I decided to just see what I could photograph between heavy rain pelting down 99% of the day yesterday and came up with a chive flower from my balcony potted herbs.
Of course I could always share another shot of my green tomatoes………
Or an image of the rain spots on my mini Polygala (which I’d moved to rest in front of my window).
I stood at the window and watched a sheet of water running down my road, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it. My camera didn’t want to focus on the road. It was more interested in focusing on the raindrops on the window.
I watched it for a while, but it drained adequately away down the new storm-water drains.
I do feel for some of the country towns which are already experiencing some flooding and some areas have had the most rainfall for the start of Summer (since records began in 1888).
Interestingly enough, I’ve always lived in the highest parts of Melbourne’s inner suburbs, but I have to say I’m now glad that the local council recently spent about 5 days constructing new storm water drains and cutting up my road, (which annoyed me with all the jackhammering etc). I live halfway down a steep little hill and I’d wondered at the time about the jackhammering and the necessity for half-road closure at the time. Actually, every time a car runs over the new grating located every 50 feet on the road, it’s so loud it sometimes floods out the noise of the tweeting from the young birds nearby.
I’m getting used to it now though.
I can’t open my large door or lounge windows as the rain comes in so here’s the best image I could capture earlier this evening (i.e. dusk last night).
…..I had to go to my bedroom window to check on the tomato, blueberry and capsicum plants – this window is tucked into a corner which gets almost no rain on the glass.
The plants didn’t look that wet to be honest. I used a different camera which could handle the light better.
They looked ‘happy as larry’.
But to cheer us all up on the south-east coast of Australia, here’s a few flower images to brighten the skies (from my archives).
NOTE: I was just about to hit the ‘preview’ button when the water started dripping on my head and keyboard last night and I immediately switched everything off hoping the autosave had worked.
(I missed the TV news tonight, but I don’t think we had any baby Titanics going under) 🙂
There’s some lovely examples of Crepe Myrtle trees in the Royal Botanic Gardens. I photographed this one 16th March, 2012 next to Nymphaea Lake (the smaller of the 2 lakes in our Royal Botanic Gardens).
As the gardeners had placed a wooden bench under its shady branches in summer, it was a great place to sit and read (or watch the bird life) on a hot summer’s day.
At the height of its summer flowering, it would spread right over Nymphaea Lake and offer some deep shade for the ducks, (or even Cormorants, Black Swans, Pacific Black Ducks, Dusky Moorhens, Purple Swamphens or Chestnut Teals), who frequented the area.
Today, at 35 degrees, is far to hot for me outdoors in my current home as there is little shade along much of the Maribyrnong River near Frogs Hollow where I live.
The small lake was quite close to the south-eastern entrance of the Gardens and a brisk 5 minute walk to the Garden entrance gate (from my front door) and another 2-3 minutes to walk down to the Lake.
Occasionally, I would even take my tripod over to this area to get some sharper focus on the Water Lily flowers.
Un-edited WATER LILY (Nymphaea)
It was a bit windy in this area, but then, its windy everywhere in Melbourne in my experience. I used to walk along the nearby path on the way to work back in my working days (BC = Before Camera) and on the southern side I would occasionally see what looked like a water-rat of some kind, sitting on some flattened leaves on its hind legs daintily nibbling some food it had foraged.
The first time I saw it, I was so enchanted and amazed, that I felt like I was in a Beatrix Potter storybook. I’d never seen one of these little water creatures before (or since).
Eventually with the start of the Wetlands Project, many of the old reeds disappeared to be replaced by man-made islands and new reed beds. In fact, with the success of the various Wetlands created in the Botanic Gardens, the bird life and turtles nesting have almost disappeared among the high water reeds and grassy banks. Good for the bird life, but a shame for me as an enthusiastic new bird photographer.
The rocks on the southern edge of this small lake were the best places to find Dragonflies around February each year too. In fact, the 3 images below are among my first attempts at photographing a Dragonfly.
Angel’s Trumpet flowers have to be one of the hardest flowers to photograph. I think its one of those species that you have to share several photos from different angles to appreciate their lush, tropical appearance.
They come from the Andes which explains their love of cool winters. The flower sizes vary, but to say they’re 12-14″ long would be a good guess.
Best to try photographing them after the bud starts to open as they deteriorate quickly once fully mature and rain marks the petals, (so not after a recent rainfall). Well, this is my experience of them anyway. Most the trees grow in the shade or semi-shade in the RBG.
ANGEL’S TRUMPET (Brugmansia)
They come in several colours as my early images from 2010 & 2011 show.
I figure since I’m stuck at home at the moment, I’ll share some of my very early images from when I lived next to the Royal Botanic Gardens from 2000-1015. Some good, some not-so-good.
But always interesting to see the vast array of plant species among the 55,000 plants on this 38 hectare site. Many of these images portray flowers that have now been replaced with more drought tolerant species.
I’ve had great enjoyment from reviewing some of my very old images in recent days. Some of them I can’t even remember taking 🙂
Most of the Agapanthus images below were made with my old 100mm Macro lens in the first 3 weeks of owning a DSLR back in Jan/Feb 2011. I traded it in when I bought the Sony a6000 in early 2015 as I wasn’t using it much.
I didn’t have the slightest clue how to use a DSLR and macro lens in those days, but I do remember I didn’t have the camera set on Auto. I’d already used the Auto setting on my little Canon a3000 point & shoot for 7 months, so I started using my first Canon DSLR on manual I think. I do remember keeping the ISO on 800 all the time as it always seemed to handle the bright sun as well as the shade. I think I let the camera choose the shutter speed. I daresay I had the aperture on 2.8 also as I didn’t know what DOF (depth of field) was either.
I had absolutely no idea about the exposure triangle and the what ISO, shutter speed and aperture were all about.
These flowers looked so bright on the screen last night, I de-saturated the colour slightly, but I daresay the original colour was very bright at the time of shooting 6 years ago.
Last week I mentioned the incessant tweeting by George the House Sparrow on the young Eucalyptus next to my apartment balcony.
I shared the photo (below) at the time, as I can usually see the bird over the top of my computer screen…..(computer is black blur in the lower half of the image frame). The crown colour of the bird does suggest a male.
This morning, I can’t see the bird but can hear tiny little tweets (as well as the incessant loud tweeting from an adult).
I do believe ‘George’, or the incessant sound, is from Georgina AND her eggs have hatched overnight.
I might have to put out some bird seed on the balcony as I did last year (below).
Unfortunately the bush is thick with new growth and I can’t see a thing, but presume there’s a nest hidden in the foliage. I wish I could share the little ones, but the foliage IS a complete screen.
All tweeting has just stopped so I presume lunch (its 12.40pm) has just been served.
On another subject, it truly is amazing what you can see if you look through the window long enough. I spent quite some time watching this butterfly move from daisy to daisy drinking in pollen (I presume), yesterday. This is the same daisy that I planted on 4th November last year and has flowered every day since. I dead-head it regularly to encourage new flowers to form. The flowers have faded from bright pink to a wishy-washy pale pink in the bright Spring sunlight, but they’re still going strong. I’ve also had to cut several branches off as they broke in the strong winds we get in this area.
There’s never ‘nothing going on‘ in my road. It’s a hive of activity with finches, wrens and sparrows crisscrossing the road from hedge to hedge.
I suspect most of the nests are on the thicker taller trees on the opposite side of the road, but my 150-500mm lens doesn’t quite reach far enough.
I’ve seen crows, ravens, blackbirds, magpie larks, ordinary magpies, grey shrike-thrushes and other birds, whose names I do not know, as well.
Two or three times on a Sunday morning, I’ve heard a flock of ducks quacking as they fly overhead too, but I was way too late to catch them with a camera.
Even the sky was worth watching for a while last night. Low cloud cover was very dark, but in between each racing puff of dark grey cloud you could see the sun reflecting off higher cloud cover. I watch the sun setting nearly every night, but I don’t think I’ve seen quite this effect before.
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.
When I was last at Newell’s Paddock Nature Reserve and Conservation area in the western suburb of Footscray, I saw a tiny patch of Water Buttons next to the large pond. My one shot was completely out of focus when I reviewed it at home, (although you may remember the ‘101’ pink Rounded Noon-flower images did turn out well).
So here’s an example of what they looked like (made from my time living next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne).
They are so pretty when growing in a great mass.
Since I’ve retrieved an old file off my back-up disc which contains about 14,000 images, I’ve now got a larger selection to share when I’m house-bound and not outdoors walking and doing Photography.
Ominous clouds threatened the skies with a thunderstorm when I set off for a quick walk down to the river, a little way downstream, round the nearest pond and back home again late yesterday.
Am I the only person who takes 2 hours to do a 15-20 minute walk?
Despite the slight breeze it was still humid and muggy, made worse by my long trench coat (with hood). I had to get the umbrella out a couple of times, but the rain only sprinkled a few drops onto my camera lens. Enough to put it in its bag, only to bring it out again 2 minutes later. I’d left my lens cloth at home too, so a handkerchief from my coat pocket had to suffice.
Poor light, but as usual I, took a hundred and one photos of nothing much in particular.
Will it rain or not I wondered as i left home to do the 6-7 minute walk to the river.
A lovely white flowering bush caught my eye over Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
A male Splendid Fairy-wren stayed quite still for a short while
Not sure what this flower is.
Not enough light but I took lots of photos anyway
This rather invasive weed is actually rather attractive.
A few Rounded Noon-flowers were still in flower in various patches along the river bank.
A red-flowering Gum still had a few flowers left
Looking downriver didn’t show much promise for any bird photography
So many colours in this tree bark that I felt it deserved a photo.
What is that stuff that draped the rocks and tree stump – dead algae or seaweed?
Some more house reflections along a location that I’d love to live in.
I was standing half under a tree and heard a rustling. Straight above my head was a Noisy Miner, so a quick shot and I stepped quickly away (in case of a deposit of bird poop landing on my head)
A different path, landscaped, and ordinary. But still a lovely place to walk in the late afternoon.
The light was poor up-river, so I decided to head for home.
Ribwort flowers always take my fancy.
Various succulents line the river bank
I think the thunderstorm must have moved on at this stage.
A few more Rounded Noon-flowers
The Frogs Hollow artificial watercourse, or canal, reflected the gloomy atmosphere.
No wonder I never get a bird shot here. 8-9 foot high water reeds are impossible to see through.
Almost back home.
A small tree growing in the grass about 10 feet from the back of my apartment block needs closer investigation, but the ground was wet and squishy.
What a lot of flowers this red-flowering Gum still carries.
A large lovely thistle was growing on the other side of the temporary fencing the owners have place around the field. This fence is to stop people taking short-cut over the steep field to Pipemakers Park I guess, but what an eyesore it is to us residents.
Rain again today, but there still may be time for a ‘quick’ walk 🙂
But if George (the male House Sparrow), doesn’t put a sock in his mouth and stop his incessant tweeting this morning, I’m going to throw a sock at him.
(Just joking. Now the intercom repairman has left, I’m going for a walk).
A young female House Sparrow – Georgina, perhaps?
……as to George.
If he thinks I can’t see him hiding in the young Eucalyptus next to my balcony, he’s very much mistaken.
The images below are a good example of how changing the 9 focus points in my Canon DSLR to 1 point and carefully pointing it through the breeze-shifting foliage can photograph a bird on autofocus, where my Sony a6000 on the S (small) Flexible Spot can’t (do this).
When I was in the city centre on Wednesday, I had to drop in to the Camera Store to buy another rubber eyepiece for my Sony a6000 (which I lost last week). I mentioned this ‘failing‘ to the Staff member and he was surprised that I couldn’t get a bird in focus with my Sony ‘mirrorless’ on S (small)- Flexible Spot through very thick foliage. I explained to him that the Flexible Spot setting was a small square (not a dot like a DSLR) and the edge of the square kept autofocusing on the surrounding leaves, not the bird’s face. He suggested I try manually focusing, but I explained that I can’t see enough with my thick glasses and had to rely on Autofocus for photography 🙂
I should have given the Sales Assistant (an expert photographer, as are all the Sales Assistants in Michaels Camera Store) an example.
Some more daily happenings inmy balcony potted garden……..
I’ve had babies……..from both my 3 tomato plants and my single blueberry bush. Looks like Santa is bringing me home-grown tomatoes for Christmas and some home-grown blueberries to have for breakfast. There are actually dozens of tiny thumb-nail sized tomatoes on the 3 plants – hope they don’t all ripen at once 🙂
My brother warned me last Summer about all the birds eating them, but I had no trouble from the Avian species at all.
After a Winter of toadstools growing in the potting soil and all the leaves going yellow with black spots (which I kept pulling off the plant), my pink geranium has lots of new leaves and a lovely display of fresh flowers. If I didn’t know better, I’d say my Guardian, (read Gardening), Angel is looking over my balcony garden, as I’ve never really had a ‘green thumb’ per se, just followed the Water, Sun, Food …….and lots of TLC (Tender Loving Care) way of growing potted plants on an urban balcony.
The Blue Bacopa was looking a little ‘battle-weary’ from the strong winds so I put it back on the ground, instead of higher up, and the flowers have freshened up. So it’s been in bloom 375 days in a row, now. (so has the pink daisy). I know I’ve mentioned the flower bloom longevity a few posts ago, but its true. These couple of flowering plants have bloomed for the longest I’ve ever known any plant to. A horticultural friend of my brother said she had never been able to grow a Becopa plant!
PS. Now I’m REALLY, REALLY excited (but now, will I ever get out the door for a walk?).
A male Splendid Fairy-Wren just visited my balcony garden. I managed to grab my Sony a6000 and fire off 2 shots before it flew away.
The flower looks like a Salvia and the leaves look like a Salvia (Sage), so it must be a Salvia I think 🙂 Can’t remember all the flowers I photographed last Thursday, but I mustn’t have been able to get close to this flower bed (for me to not get a close-up of a single flower).
The second half of my walk last week, (after Newells Paddock Nature Reserve and the pink Rounded Noon-flowers), was through part of Footscray Park. I walked from the back riverside entrance uphill to the front entrance in order to catch a bus home.
Wikipedia says……..Footscray Park is one of the largest and most intact examples of an Edwardianpark in Australia. The 15-hectare park is located on the south bank of the Maribyrnong River in Footscrayin Victoria. It is classified as a heritage place on the Victorian Heritage Register for its aesthetic, horticultural and social significance to the State of Victoria and was the first gardens to be placed on the register. The park is noted for its botanical collection, ornamental ponds and garden structures.
The display of Peruvian Lilies near the front entrance was quite striking.
Peruvian lily (ALSTROEMERIA)
Peruvian lily (ALSTROEMERIA)
Peruvian lily (ALSTROEMERIA)
Last week there were many flowers that had wilted, (Rhododendrons in particular), OR were still in bud, so another visit is needed I think. Next weekend, and maybe the following weekend, should be about right. Many of the flowers need some more time to mature. We’ve had strong winds and a few harsh storms so maybe that why the fragile Rhododendron flowers looked so forlorn. I saw a pale soft pink one and a bright pink one that had survived.
There were only 2 very young Canna lily flowers just starting to open last week.
The colourful display of Alstroemeria, or Peruvian lilies, near the front gates seemed to last much longer. They flower from Spring through Summer to Autumn. I’ve never been there in Winter so I don’t know if they flower then. Being low ground cover, they would have survived the wind and storms far better too.
Peruvian lily (ALSTROEMERIA)
POOR MAN’S RHODODENDRON (Impatiens oliveri)
ANGEL’S TRUMPET (Brugmansia) – one of the hardest flowers I’ve ever tried to photograph
I had the use of a Sony 35mm f1.8 prime lens for a couple of weeks last Autumn and to be honest, I felt my flower images were far better at that time. Perhaps it was the overcast skies in Autumn. Bright summer sun is usually unkind to most red, yellow or white flower petals.
I always say it’s the Photographer than makes the images, but when it comes to flower photography, good light (preferably slightly overcast in Australia as our Summer sun is too bright when I go for my nature walks early afternoon) AND a good sharp prime lens makes a big difference (as you can see in the older images below).
In general I prefer to get up close and just capture a few flowers within the frame, instead of a whole bush, but occasionally, photographing the leaves and whole bush can make identification easier. In these days of digital photography it’s probably better to make a 7-8 images of each flower from all angles and chose a favourite image to share on reviewing the day’s shooting.
FLOWERING MAPLE, CHINESE LANTERN (Abutilon)
FLOWERING MAPLE, CHINESE LANTERN (Abutilon)
Peruvian lily (ALSTROEMERIA)
There’s a lovely small pond down in the lower part of Footscray Park surrounded by thick shrubs, near the Maribyrnong River, which certainly needs many more visits to try and work out how to photograph it. I didn’t visit it last week as I was heading for the bus stop via the Park, not spending the whole afternoon in the Park.
It’s hard to access with the surrounding foliage blocking some of the pond bank when I first saw it last Autumn.
I couldn’t get close enough to the water lilies at the time so used my long telephoto 150-500 lens to get a close up of a water lily flower. I didn’t have a tripod on the day either. It would be interesting to see if there are any pink water lilies in this small pond or just pale lemon (as seen below).
While we’re on the subject of Noon-flowers, I figured I may as well go to NewellsPaddock (as well as the Jawbone Nature Reserve walk a few days previously), to see if the squishy bed of succulents I had walked over on previous visits in Winter was the same as the bright pink Rounded Noon-flower I have photographed on my walks along the Maribyrnong River.
You can read the background behind Newells Paddock Nature Reserve here and its worth reading about as well as viewing the second image in the link, to gain an appreciation of what a unique area it has become. The article is not too long. The Friends of Newells Paddock, with the help of the local council, are ensuring the return to wetlands and nature reserve continues as an ongoing project by the planting of hundreds of indigenous trees and plants.
Yesterday it was truly magical and I’m not sure that the ‘101’ photos I took do it justice. In fact I was so moved by the beauty of the scene, I literally had tears in my eyes.
Last night I tried to reduce the number of images down, but in the end I still have about 25 to share.
When I entered the picnic area, I walked over to the trees and found one or two Noon-flowers in an enormous carpet of green succulents and wondered if it would be a ‘no-show’ and a wasted trip.
This tiny area looked gloomy and rather forbidding on such a cloudy day with poor light in general (for photography). Looks like a large tree has fallen in a storm (below). No doubt the council will clean this area up soon.
After walking through this tree area, I was taken aback to see not a little, but a sea of pink sprinkled between patches of green and other native grasses.
One Noon-flower near the entrance….
…and then a sea of pink
A spotted Turtle-dove sat on the fence quite happy in my company
If you look carefully near the centre of the flock of Silver Gulls you can see an Australian White Ibis with its long black beak. It flew away quickly as I tried to get closer.
Standing in this sea of pink, I bent over to try and photograph it up close.
To the upper right you can see a viewing platform (accessible from the river path).
In the distance the rail bridge and the city of Melbourne is clearly visible.
In the upper part of this image is the rail line on the southern rim of the reserve.
I made this photo after leaving the area and going up to the viewing platform
After taking about a hundred photos, I walked to the back entrance connecting with the river path and the sun came out. There was no way I was going to go back and re-photograph the flowers in the improved light conditions. As it was, I hated walking over the flower patches and squashing them in the first place.
A few more images to share in another post……..not Rounded Noon-flowers.
Further to my previous post on my visit to the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve and Lakes system yesterday, I’ve found my original photo of the Signage at the entrance to the Jawbone Arboretum (which I didn’t enter yesterday). In the bottom left-hand corner it shows an image of the pink Rounded Noon-flower in bloom.
This was the plant that I was hoping to photograph yesterday. You can see it very faintly by the pink patch on the left hand side of this image (below). The lake is between where I was standing and the patch nearer to the sea.
This image (below) made on my very first visit to the area some months ago, suggests that I should have gone into the Arboretum area again and I would have found all that brownish-green succulent would now be covered in a sea of pink flowers?
Just to remind you of the Rounded Noon-flower which I found in many small patches along the Maribyrnong River last week, here’s an example (below).
I passed this gorgeous red flowering bush near the end of my walk yesterday.
I haven’t got the slightest clue what it is, but I love the way the flower splits into feathery fronds. It looks like an Australian native, but I’m only guessing, as many of the plants in the formal landscaping on the western side of the Maribyrnong River are native grasses, so I imagine that the flowering bushes are too.
If anyone knows what it is, please let me know in the comments section so I can update this post.
A lovely specimen of red Bottlebrush was growing opposite the front door of the local Pharmacy yesterday. I wished I’d taken the time to walk off the boardwalk to the other side where the light was better, but my long river walk and then bus trip up the steep hills had left me wanting to make only a quick stop before the supermarket and then, the walk along the main road home.
I must say it was a beautiful patch of colour in a (mainly) overcast day.
Sometimes when I walk along the Maribyrnong River path, I think I’ll never find something new to photograph and share online.
At a glance one might think that there’s never anything much happening, (compared to the many other locations I photographed when living on the south-eastern side of Melbourne city 3 years ago).
Yesterday was hot, (as is today), but my walk revealed plenty of new sights with the changing of the Seasons. It’s the small details that I seem to notice most. So when you cast your eyes over some ordinary green space in a residential area, it’s worth walking slowly and looking down towards your feet every now and then.
While I can no longer bend down low, or kneel to photograph ground cover up close, I managed to do well enough by using a telephoto lens and standing a bit further back and zooming in close.
I spent ages chasing a ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) around the high reeds but this is the only shot remotely in focus. It really blends in with the dry reeds and is hard to spot until it flies to another reed.
COMMON VETCH (Vicia sativa L. sip. sativa)
RIBWORT or RIBGRASS (Plantago lanceolata L.)
There seems to be some sort of algae on the river at the moment.
My asphalt pathway led past a clump of grass and I disturbed a DUSKY MOORHEN resting in a shady spot. Poor thing – I nearly stepped on it as it was hidden on the shady side.
I don’t know what this is called but it looked pretty.
By walking around one of the ponds anti-clockwise (which I rarely do), I came across a CHESTNUT TEAL couple resting. The male is the green-headed one on the left.
The succulent that covers much of the wetlands and moist areas is in bloom at the moment and a very attractive spot of colour amongst the greenery. I’ve forgotten the name that the Park Ranger told me.
Heading back home means photographing into the sun, but can’t be helped as this is the time in the afternoon when I’m free to go for a walk
You’ll have to look carefully to see the tiny flower on this ground cover. This is the best shot I could get from standing position.
Now & then there is some formal landscaping with this lovely greyish-blue low-growing plant. I don’t know what it’s called but it must be very hardy to withstand the windy conditions in the area. From a distance it reminds me of Santolina.or Cotton Lavender.
Much of the river path is straight and featureless with minimal shade trees so its quite hot to walk the main path in summer.