Proteas are native to southern Africa and belong to the same family of plants (Proteaceae) as Australia’s native Banksias, Grevilleas and Waratahs.

The series of images in this post are, like many of my photos, taken by sheer chance on a leisurely nature walk.

I was walking from the Meerkat exhibit to Melbourne Z00’s exit to catch a tram home after a day spent (mainly) in the Zoo’s large Aviary photographing birds when I passed a lovely bush full of freshly opened Protea flowers.   I still had my 150-500mm lens over my shoulder and put it up to my eye and took some photos at a relatively short distance (for a long telephoto lens).

It wasn’t until I downloaded the day’s images onto my iMac’s 27″ screen that I realized they were well-lit and had come out very well indeed.


Note for those new to my blog, I am extremely short-sighted and have been since the age of 7 when I was prescribed very thick glasses right from the start.   I also have astigmatism (double-vison) which cannot be completely corrected via glasses, so my photography in retirement is often a hit-or-miss affair.   But after 100,000 images in the first 7-year period of photography, I’ve learned to compensate or guess.   From the age of 16 to 56 I wore contact lenses and in the final years of that period, bifocal contact lenses, which, believe it or not, really do work.  I had relatively good vision at that time.

23rd JULY, 2013

Just before I bought a camera and took up photography in 2010, my dry-eye and blepharitis condition had deteriorated so much that I had to return to very thick glasses permanently.   Unfortunately, due to a further decline in eyesight more recently, (and an optic nerve haemorrhage in my left eye), I daresay my nature photography days are numbered.   Luckily, I went to the Optician and then the Eye surgeon (for a second opinion), as soon as I noticed something was wrong.

A similar thing happened in early 2019 when I suddenly noticed more than the usual ‘floaters’ in my right eye.  A prompt visit to the Optician and then an urgent referral to the Retinal Eye Surgeon for laser treatment to repair a torn Retina (which can also lead to blindness if left untreated) led to a complete recovery.

I urge anyone, young or old, to see an Optician or eye specialist as soon as they notice any change in their vision, large or small.

It may be something a little more serious than bleary eye-sight from lack of sleep or a night on the town affecting your vision.

Or it may be nothing at all  🙂

The following 2 images were made in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens (I think).

Giant Protea (Protea cyanoides)