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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
The Polygala I’m growing on my apartment balcony is in full bloom at the moment and I can make a close-up photo with my 150-500mm lens by leaning my elbows on my desk. Very handy and saves carrying the heavy weight outdoors.
(this is not the first time I have shot a good flower close-up with a long telephoto lens which goes to show it doesn’t always have to be a short or a macro lens for close-ups).
and just to give you an idea of how lovely my view is from my desk at the moment……….
The two rows of trees on the upper right of the frame hides tiny birds like Splendid Fairy-wrens, New Holland Honeyeaters, House Sparrows and tiny finches (I think they’re finches – I don’t know their names).
On my side of the road next to the footpath there is also a row of similar trees, but I can’t see them while sitting at my desk.
Can’t complain about not living on the rear of my apartment block overlooking Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve and the Maribyrnong River when I’ve got a view like this.
I’d barely walked past Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on to the Maribyrnong river path when I spotted this Red-flowering Gum in the middle of a calf-high grass field this afternoon. I believe its Corymbia ficifolia (originally called Eucalyptus ficifolia).
Feel free to correct me in the comments section if I’m wrong. I know nothing about indigenous flora.
If it is this species, the one I saw was a baby at about 7-8 foot high, as it can grown up to 10 metres (or about 30+ feet). It was gorgeous, even from some distance away when I made this first photo with my long 150-500mm lens.
With the same camera lens, I got a bit closer, but there were so many flowers, I couldn’t isolate one particular one. I suppose I could have cut off some surrounding foliage, but that’s not my thing to do when walking in nature.
I prefer to see images of the real plant with no disturbance of its natural habitat if possible.
This red-flowering eucalypt is often used as a street plant in residential areas due to the profusion of flowers, but this specimen was definitely the most colourful I’d ever seen.
I stretched what is essentially a 30 minute walk to Maribyrnong Wetlands into a 2 hour stroll, (slower than snail pace), in the Spring sunshine. But was glad of my light windproof jacket as the breeze was cool, despite the heat of the sun.
The Wisteria growing over the small rotunda and an arbour in Pipemakers Park is almost as breathtaking as the yellow Lady Banks rose I shared in another post this week.
The only way to get a good view is to shoot facing into the sun, roughly facing North, as there’s too many other trees, plants and bushes forming distractions from the other side. This is not ideal for any photograph in general, but I suppose I might do better on an overcast day.
But Tuesday of this week was sunny and you can’t tell the Sun to go away after so many inclement days for the first month of Spring.
Besides I need more sun for my freshly planted Tomatoes on my apartment balcony 🙂
Here’s an image made on the 21st August to give you a comparison.
The Wisteria in the Royal Botanic Gardens near the lake restaurant is all mauve/purple, whereas the petals of each flower in Pipemakers Park are whitish with a mauve/purple tip.
Yesterday I found my very first Tasman Flax-Lily in this suburb. It was beside the pond (located between Pipemakers Park and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve).
These tiny blue flowers, appearing in Spring and Summer, are followed by bright violet globular berries. I’m not sure which is prettier, the flower or the berry. But I do know they’re a delicate little flower and quite hard to photograph in the ever-present wind we seem to experience in Melbourne and surrounds.
Dianella tasmanica was first described in 1858 by eminent English botanist and explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker. I first saw the plant in the Royal Botanic Gardens and thought that it was just a weed of some type, but apparently many people grow them in residential gardens.
They are found in the wild from southern New South Wales, through my state of Victoria and down south in the island state of Tasmania on the south-eastern side of Australia.
I’ve only seen the one plant in the year I’ve lived in this western suburb of Maribyrnong, but hope to see some more in the coming days.
Wattle (Acacia) is in bloom everywhere at the moment and while there are 1350 species world-wide, at least 1000 varieties are indigenous to Australia. No wonder the Golden Wattle is Australia’s national flower.
There are also pale cream flowering varieties like the one below which was located close to the pond in Pipemakers Park.
On the way to, and from, Pipemakers Park on Monday, I passed many trees and several varieties. I left home after a morning of rain showers so it was still overcast walking along the river path (which meant I should have changed the White Balance on my camera, but completely forgot). On the way home, I took the shortcut through the picnic area which leads directly to the western path (and then gravel access road), around Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
On the way home, the sun was out, but the nature reserve had pockets of deep shade which form as the sun goes down behind the hill (on which my apartment block is built). So while I had plenty of time, now that the shortest day of Winter is past, the light can fade very quickly after about 5.00pm.
The sky was overcast as I set off around the eastern rim of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve
I notice Andy, the grass-cutter has recently mown the path around the river and northern rim of the nature reserve.
Note sure, but this looks like Golden Wattle.
On the shortcut from Pipermakers Park home, I notice there’s many Wattles in bloom along the newly mown pathway.
It’s coming towards the Golden hour when the whole area will be lit up like a spotlight is cast over Frogs Hollow.
Between Wattle trees, golden Wild Radish and Golden Oxalis on the ground, there is a distinct gold/green hue to the nature reserve at the moment.
I was reading up a little on Wattle as I’m embarrassed to say I know very little about it, except it makes many people sneeze and although I don’t usually get too close to the flowers, it can make my nose a bit itchy. I was reading an article, some of which I’ve reprinted below, which indicated it can be eaten – I never knew that. But then, I know a lot more about (mainly) English herbs, than indigenous plants in my own country, Australia.
All parts of various Acacia species have been or are used by people for one purpose or another.
The seeds from some specific Acacia species provide a valuable food source. Mostly the seeds are ground into a flour and cooked like damper although some are eaten raw or made into a porridge. The gum from some species is also edible.
Various extracts from the bark and the leaves or phyllodes have been and continue to be used by Australian Aborigines for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as relieving toothache or colds or applying to wounds and burns. Green leafy branches of some species may be used to ‘smoke’ someone who is suffering from a general sickness.
The wood of various species has been used to make clubs, spears, boomerangs and shields. Some species, such as Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood), are used to make fine furniture.
Tannin has been extracted from the bark of a number of species for use in tanning including Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle), A. mearnsii (Black Wattle) and A. pycnantha (Golden Wattle).
A boomerang made from the wood of Acacia melanoxylon
Note: for those new to my Nature Blog, I currently live in a large modern apartment block cut into a hillside overlooking Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve and the Maribyrnong River in the western suburbs of Melbourne. The building is located about 100 feet from the rim of the nature reserve and about 6-7 minutes walk to the river………if you’re a brisk walker…….I’m not.
I also have a Black & White blog located here (which is mainly street photography and not used so often these days) and a Sunset/Sunrise blog located here (which is mainly about the sunsets from my previous 3rd floor apartment to the north-east side of Melbourne). This sunrise/sunset/cloud formation blog is not going to last much longer as I don’t see the sunsets as much in this current hillside location, despite my apartment balcony facing west.
I walked over to Pipemakers Park on Monday looking for Spring.
On the way down to the river path (for I was going the long way round via the river), I spied this glorious patch of colour on the fence between Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve and the river walking/cycling path. A Mallow perhaps? And while Frogs Hollow is still looking rather Wintery, this patch of colour looked so cheerful I was tempted to pluck a few cuttings off and plant them all the way along the fence. But I know the Council in charge of the area are cutting out all non-indigenous trees, so I daresay they would not appreciate me spreading this non-indigenous flower.
Now that the weather is starting to improve a bit, I’ve been trying to get out for a walk more often.
I was rather shocked to find myself more breathless and fatigued than usual when down at Jawbone Conservation Reserve last Sunday. That was the first time since I took up Photography 7 years ago that I actually felt really unfit.
I planted this pink Argyranthemum in a pot on my balcony on the 4th November 2016 (according to the dates on my fist photo) and it has flowered non-stop through the extreme heat of Melbourne’s Summer and the wild winds of recent Winter weekends – some gale force.
I’ve been dead-heading, (cutting off the wilted or dead flowers), continuously and today the 21st August, close to Spring 2017, it is still flowering.
I’ve never grown this brilliant pink daisy before. It this a record? Or is this normal?
I don’t know.
I’ve just moved it closer to the lounge window so there’s a space to observe the bird’s nest (I spotted the other day) from my desk chair.
After moaning about the wild and windy weather lately, I thought to check out what I was doing this time last year.
(well, 15th August, 2016 was close enough).
It appears I was in the Royal Botanic Gardens doing some flower photography. The dark background suggests it was on a dark overcast Winter day, but it didn’t stop these lovely pink flowers shining. I’ve had a ‘senior moment‘ and can’t remember what they’re called 🙂 Uhmmmm…..Japonica….Flowering Quince?). At least I remember where I made the image. It was next to a blue rubbish bin, 50 metres up the path from the Rose Pavilion, which was located on the hillside above the large Ornamental Lake).
Did I ever mention that I’ve walked around and through the Royal Botanic Gardens between 8-10,000 times in my adult life. I even walked to/from my office on the southern perimeter of the RBG for some 16 1/2 years. It’s a beautiful part of Melbourne and well worth a visit.
The Royal Botanic Gardens I mean, not my old office 🙂
I hate walking along the main road to the nearby Shopping Centre. (In fact I usually catch a bus, tram or taxi).
It’s so boring.
The car exhaust fumes.
The traffic sounds.
So back in mid June I set myself a challenge to see how many flowers I could photograph in residential gardens, (or next to footpaths), along the walk. It worked. By the time I’d found the last flower on the journey, I had arrived. And I didn’t even notice how long it took. Here’s a couple of images I shot along the way.