TALKING OF GINGER LILIES (in the last post)

…..Talking of Ginger Lilies in the last post, I just came across another image I shot on the 28th April 2012 in Melbourne Zoo’s landscaping.

This image has no lens data in my photo library so that must have disappeared in one of my computer crashes?   Obviously cropped to a square format, it’s a shot to be proud of early in my photography hobby.   Either side of it in my photo library is the data showing it was probably shot with my first Canon DSLR and 18-200mm f3.5 – 5.6 IS lens.

Eventually, this much-used general-purpose lens died from overuse after about 100,000 photos.   Now that….lens…..was real value for money.

I bought an 18-200mm Sony lens to go with my Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ camera on 24th February 2015, but it also died – this time in a fall in Melbourne Cemetery 26th June – 4 months after purchase.

…..and how do I know the exact dates you may well ask.   Well, I took a photo of the Sony boxes when I bought the camera and took a selfie of the gash from hairline to eyebrow when I tripped over a marble tombstone and ‘killed’ the Sony lens in Melbourne Cemetery.

If you’re new to photography and can only afford one lens to pair with your new DSLR, I can highly recommend an 18-200mm lens.   It’s good for close-ups, good for landscapes and gets you pretty close to a bird up in a tree.

I took so many photos in the early years of my photography hobby, I just have to view an image in my photo library and I can see where I was and what I was doing on that day – better than a diary.

FITZROY GARDENS – EAST MELBOURNE

I had an hour to spare on arriving at my appointment in East Melbourne on Monday 24th May.   I’ve been trying to find the names of 2 (common) flowers to no avail, so I decided to just share my photos anyway (minus those 2 common flowers).

The Fitzroy Gardens, located in East Melbourne,  was named after Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy (1796-1858), Governor of New South Wales (1846-1851) and Governor-General of the Australian Colonies (1851-1855). 

The heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens were originally set aside as a reserve in 1848. The landscape is diverse and layered, following a classic Victorian-era design. There are extensive lawns and pathways lined with mature elm trees, plus a framework of garden structures and floral displays across the 26 hectares.

(Note: the Royal Botanic Gardens to the south-east of Melbourne’s CBD are 55 hectares and go back to 1846 and are far more interesting in my view).

Star attractions are the historic Cooks’ Cottage and the Spanish mission-style Conservatory with its magnificent floral displays.   I managed to find some images from The Conservatory in my archives to illustrate this post even though I didn’t visit The Conservatory on this occasion.   There are 5 seasonal displays per year – the four seasons and one extra.  Best to ring first before visiting The Observatory from a tourist point of view, as I got caught out one year making the long walk from the bus stop and finding The Observatory closed while they changed the display from one season to the next.

White Begonia
Calathea leaves
Looking through the Conservatory window, Fitzroy Gardens, MELBOURNE
Green HYDRANGEA FLOWERS – A nice change from the usual pink, blue or mauve varieties.   Or,  are all hydrangea flowers green before turning a soft pastel colour?
For years I’ve been visiting the area and always found this fountain dry. I never even realised it WAS a fountain – just thought it was a sculptured piece sitting in a raised base.  Just once have I seen it flowing with water and the checkered pool floor filled on what was probably the last photography excursion when living on this side of Melbourne.

Other points of interest include a miniature Tudor village, the Fairies’ Tree carved sculpture, myriad fountains and statues, and the Scarred Tree.

The Gardens have a long history of over 150 years, few other capital cities can boast such a significant garden so close to the City’s centre.

My appointment was in the nearby Grey Street and so my short walk included the Grey Street Fountain – a rather unimaginative name in my view.

The brilliant sunshine threw many flowers into over-exposure mode as I started my short walk and I couldn’t see through the viewfinder well enough to make some well-composed shots.

I quickly changed the target and photographed flowers in the shade.

There weren’t many.

The wind was also a factor as all you flower photographers will know and it  (the wind) is not our friend when it comes to photographing delicate blooms or grasses.

There were not many flowers in flower this close to winter, so I quickly restricted my walk to about 100feet and then turned and walked back to the side street again.   The only 2 birds in sight, were a pair of Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) atop a couple of rocks in the Grey Street Fountain pond.

First I captured some Cassava (Yucca) backlit by the sun.   I know this plant more by the name of Yucca (and have 2 really beautiful specimens at the top of my steep road near my home).

Then a lovely fresh bloom of this Fuchsia , (swinging in the wind so not sharp focus).

FUCHSIA (Fuchsia boliviana)
ORANGE FLOWERING GINGER LILY (Hedichium Greenii)
MORNING LIGHT MAIDEN GRASS (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’) – not the best shot I’ve even taken, but my brain was slow on the day and I should have increased the shutter speed.
MORNING LIGHT MAIDEN GRASS (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’)

The Agapanthus was at just the right opening stage for fresh blooms…..

AFRICAN BLUE LILY (Agapanthus)

And below, one of only 2 white Angel’s Trumpet flowers not brown and dying.

PURPLE CRANESBILL (Geranium x magnificum)

There were winter-flowering Salvia and Sea lavender (or Statice) budding and showing a few scant flowers but my photos were poor and not worth sharing.

This week it’s back to a cold Antarctic chill, with strong winds and very chilly mornings. Rain all day and/or overcast skies and rain showers will dominate the week.

QUOTE – LIFE

Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”

 Mary Anne Radmacher

I was determined to do some outdoor photography yesterday.

What actually spurred me to take a camera to my medical appointment was the weather forecast of ‘light winds‘.   This usually means the water is still enough to capture reflections as seen in the image on the right (taken a couple of years ago).

The bus stop outside my local medical centre takes me right down to the Maribyrnong River, a large lake and a small area of murky pond with a reed-covered island in the centre and access to a number of local birdlife.

The Maribyrnong River flows (unseen in the above image) just behind the tall reeds halfway down the frame.

To the left of the image above is the large expanse of water between the river and the residential area on the western side of the river valley.  Once again poor light and I had to fiddle with some basic photo editing tools just to get this amount of detail below.

Must be 18 months since I visited the area – partly due to declining health and lack of physical ability to walk across uneven ground and of course we Melburnians stayed mostly at home during Melbourne’s 111-day lockdown and nightly curfew during 2020’s COVID.

I discovered yesterday that I can no longer see through the viewfinder (or LCD screen) since a new glasses prescription earlier in the year.   So while I could see shadows and light and managed to compose a relatively good composition below, I missed the fact that the photo is out of focus (except for the bush in the foreground) until I downloaded it at home.

They say there is no such thing as poor light in photography, but yesterday there was poor light!

What to do?

Is my 10-year photography hobby at an end?

Or, do I try again ‘tomorrow’?……………. (when there’s better light).

Ever the optimist, I think I’ll try again another day.

I only had my lightweight Sony A6000 with me which doesn’t really get between thick foliage for bird photography.   And with the lack of decent light, the Swamphen image was the best I could capture.   I spotted about 4-5 Purple Swamphens (Porphyrion porphyrio) in or around the pond and only one Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) madly swimming up the Maribyrnong River itself (out of focus so no image to share).

PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Yesterday, it was nearly 4.30pm when I caught the bus down the river valley and in hindsight, I should have known there would not be enough light and just gone home after my medical appointment.

At this current stage of late Autumn, the daylight turns to a short golden hour, dusk, and then, depending on your location, pitch-black (if you’re not near street lights).

There are some spectacular Golden Hours and Sunsets in Autumn around Melbourne and the bayside suburbs though.   I’ve captured many of them over the last 10 years.

But yesterday, I turned around to shoot straight into the dying sun (below).   I knew from experience it would be just a silhouette.

I quickly decided there was no point staying, so walked around the rest of the pond.   You can see the bus stop shelter a third of the way down the frame on the right-hand side of the image below.

You can also see there was not a single bird to be seen on this side of the pond, so even if I’d taken my Canon DSLR and Sigma 150-500mm heavy lens, I wouldn’t have made any bird photos.

I crossed the road to the bus stop going in the direction of home.

I didn’t have to wait long (and it can be up to 40 mins on this particular bus route if you’ve just missed one bus).   As it climbed the suburban streets across the river valley, I could see the remnants of a spectacular sunset out the bus window.

When I got off the bus, I took a shot of what was left between the houses (below).

As I walked down my steep short road towards home I managed to capture a little more sky colour across the enormous open field next to my apartment building.

So it’s back to the archives for some images for this blog.

************

The photos below were taken on a ‘good’ light day 2-3 years ago.

3 PURPLE SWAMPHENS totally ignoring me standing right next to them i.e. only 8-12″ away
juvenile GREY TEAL
PURPLE SWAMPHEN
A GOOD ‘LIGHT’ DAY ON THE SIDE OF THE POND NEAREST THE ROAD AND BUS STOP.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS
not enough detail to see but I think it might be an AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE
MASKED LAPWING (with a Silver Gull in the rear)
GREAT EGRET (in the golden hour)

SILVER GULL

KHAKI CAMPBELL DUCKS
The other end of the lake (which is only 10 minutes walk from home)
Juvenile GREY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
POND IN MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS (always has some ducks except for yesterday)

QUOTE – NATURE

Autumn is the hardest season. 

The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like 

they’re falling in love with the ground. 


Andrea Gibson

These imges were made on the 18th April 2014. My brother, who was driving me home after a visit to his farm, stopped at this tiny park near the top of the Dandenong Ranges – a low-lying group of hills overlooking the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

He knew I would capture plenty of Autumn colour. This group of hills is spectacular at this time of year and well worth a drive up the sharp winding roads on the way to the highest point of the hills (and beyond to the Victorian countryside).

Most of these trees would have been planted by the early settlers to the area (from seedlings brought out from the U.K. and Europe?) in the late 1800s or early 1900s i.e. they are not indigenous to the area, or Australia.

I had a brief 20-30 minutes to quickly shoot the series before the light faded and the sun dropped behind the hills and we continued the drive down to my home in the inner suburbs of Melbourne.

Today, I couldn’t seem to get into the old Classic WordPress Editor at all, so I assume WordPress have (finally?) ditched that easy method of uploading images (and a post) which I used previously.

I do not like this tedious, multi-keystroke method of uploading a post – partly because it seemed to take several steps to upload just one photo. I couldn’t click on each photo in my media library with the ‘command’ key held down on my Mac and transfer all the images in one step. I guess I’ll have to do a tutorial.

I updated my iMac software a couple of days ago, but that doesn’t seem to have changed my day-to-day computer tasks, so I naturally assume it’s all WordPress.

I never liked this WordPress software design or method of posting when it was first introduced, so have been happily using the old Classic method for many months, but now………… $%#@!