This nature photography lark is a lot harder than it looks. I follow a couple of YouTube channels from the UK that weekly show the host going out to some location to photograph and /or film a particular animal or plant. They always find it and always get good images. My experience is a bit different to that. I find that you can go out with all the best intentions in the world, but if nature isn’t playing ball then you don’t get anything. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve set out to look for the Cleopatra’s Needles Orchid (Thelymitra apiculata) driving 100’s of kilometres to find absolutely nothing. Take last weekend. We were down in the South West of Western Australia as my partner was again playing in a croquet tournament. So I’d researched what was about in terms of birds and orchids and set out to several locations with a specific list of what I wanted to photograph. The first stop was Malbup Creek Bird Hide where I wanted to see tawny frogmouths and white-bellied sea-eagles. Well I spent a nice morning at the hide without seeing them. I did get a nice shot of a shelduck and the local kangaroos were hamming it up for a photo.
The next stop was Locke Nature Reserve looking for common helmet and midge orchids. Well after a couple of hours of scrabbling around in the undergrowth fighting off the unwanted attentions of the local mosquitoes I’d found lots of them, but none in flower. There were some Splendid Fairywrens in the nearby bushes but they really didn’t want their picture taken and kept dancing out of the way every time I got close. On the walk back to the car a couple of Western Yellow Robins flew slightly ahead of me. They would stop and perch periodically and I was lucky enough to grab a few frames.
My last spot was Westbay in Augusta looking for scented autumn leek orchids. Now I’d seen them before at this location and knew where to go. They weren’t there. Not a one was to be seen. But I did find some autumn leek orchids – close enough so I photographed them. Funnily enough the autumn leek orchid has a much more pleasant scent than the scented variety which has decidedly unpleasant pong.
So there you have it another rewarding trip. I may not have found what I was looking for but I found other things and really enjoyed my time in the bush and that is what it is all about.
* This weeks musical reference is of course U2’s song I Still Haven’t Found. My favourite version is the one on 1988’s Rattle and Hum album.
When I was a kid one of the many rebuffs used was “take a long walk on a short pier” – it was, I suppose, a more imaginative way of saying get lost. Well whoever first coined the phrase hadn’t taken into account Busselton Jetty in Busselton Western Australia.
Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and it is 1.81Km or 1.12 miles long. Building the jetty commenced in 1853 and it opened in 1865 and by the 1880’s it was already attracting tourists. By 1972 the jetty ceased operation as a commercial port and today it attracts a staggering 450,000 people per year.
At the end of the jetty is the Underwater Observatory which takes visitor down 8m to the seabed where they can observe the huge variety of marine life that has made the jetty home.
To get there you don’t have to walk, there is a solar-powered electric train, the Stocker Preston Express, which can carry up to 90 people. So now it is the case of a small train journey on a long pier.