Gum Leaves With Fog

Taunting the Photographer

Good photographers make us look more closely at things we may never have considered before.  They have an artist’s eye for subtle differences in light, colour, form and texture, and they’re able to frame their shots in a way that pose a question, or highlight a detail.

When I first bought a good camera, I thought I had all that was needed to capture the world around me.  From the beginning, I was told I had ‘a good eye’ and this gave me the confidence to explore. I’ve even managed to produce some good photographs, but the more I learn about photography, the more I realise how much more I need to learn.  Looking back on the photographs I’ve taken since we moved here, I can see the flaws in lighting and framing in some shots;  that sometimes, the colours I saw before my eyes didn’t show up when I loaded the shots from the camera to the computer;  that there were sometimes blurry focal points and  angles which didn’t show off the feature I was trying to highlight.


With every Season that returns, I think I’ll have a second chance to photograph the same things, but it doesn’t always work out like that.  The landscape changes with the amount of rainfall.  This favours some plants, while others don’t flourish.  Changes in vegetation and water levels affect the wildlife – some move on, while others move in.

Each day I walk around with my camera, the environment is different. Yesterday I photographed the only pink Common Heath plant I’ve found on the property, but the photographs were slightly out of focus. This is because I waited until feeding birds outside the house had moved on before venturing out with the camera. By the time I was photographing the Heath, the midday sun was reflecting off the surface of the plant, I couldn’t see it as sharply as I would have been able to in a softer light.  When I went back this morning, the plant was gone.  While it was probably eaten by a species that I also want to capture in an image,  it means I have a blurry photograph of pink Common Heath to add to my plant species list.  Achieving a balance between plants, animals and humans means accepting that things cannot always be perfect.

Being Prepared

This morning we had thick fog and no wind.   When I loaded the images from my camera to the computer, I saw the rich colours of  moss, bark and leaves glowing beautifully back at me from the screen. The lack of wind meant there was no distortion  through movement.  The fog would have made a perfect background for the pink Heath, allowing the colours of the plant to show clearly. Yet even on a perfect photography day like today, there’s always the shot that was missed.

Walking along, looking at the moss, I took a different path than I usually do.  Kangaroos, used to my usual movements, were hiding in the bracken.  I came within two meters of them before they decided to flee.  I was so focused on the moss, I didn’t even see them.  By the time I raised my camera they were gone.  When I think of all of those morning and evenings spent monitoring the grass outside the window to get a close-up shot of the kangaroos, this seems like such a wasted opportunity.

Changing Lenses

Sometimes it feels like the small “tweety birds” are taunting me.  We have many species of these, which I can’t  photograph.   Their calls and whistles are all around me as I walk along, but there is never a bird in sight for more than a few fleeting seconds as they move from thickets of grass to branches hidden in a mass of leaves.  While my camera has a fairly good zoom lens, I don’t have a telephoto lens.  This means I need to be fairly close to the birds before I can hope to catch them in an image.   When I was given a macro lens as a gift, I thought I would turn my attention to plants and fungi.  You can guess what I’m about to say, I think.  Every time I have the macro lens attached to the camera, the small birds seem to come out of hiding and almost dance in front of me.   I think it is because I squat down to photograph the plants, and the birds want to see what I am doing.

I haven’t yet learned the art of changing lenses quickly enough. Perhaps I’ll have to master the illusion of pretending to use my macro lens when I’ve actually got the zoom settings in place!

New Challenges

Increasingly, I want to know more about our nocturnal mammals.  That blurry photograph of a possum has made me wonder if we have Sugar Gliders, or Antechinus or Quolls.  I want to know if the new joey emerges from the pouch in the safety of the dark. I’m even curious about feral animals – do we have foxes, rabbits and other pests here?  So far I haven’t investigated night vision cameras, but I’ve been keeping an eye on a blog kept by Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park where they do have an infra-red camera set up.  It’s fascinating to see how many creatures climb up and down a single tree overnight.

So stay with me. I will endeavor to take good photographs of the flora and fauna on our property for all of my posts – to show you the colour, the texture and the form –  but sometimes I’ll fall short of the mark.  When it comes down to it, I won’t frighten the birds or the kangaroos for a good shot.  They live here too.   On this blog, I want to document the species we have here, even if the photograph was taken at midday on a sunny day when the light reflects badly.

Gum Leaves With Fog
Even this quick snap shows the vivid colour of the red stems and green leaves against a foggy background.




11 thoughts on “Taunting the Photographer

  1. I’ve travelled the same road with my cameras but now keep a little “point & shoot” with 30X zoom in my pocket. It’s not as good as an SLR but I have managed to capture images I would have missed while lens swapping, hopeless in very low light though. Thanks for sharing your lovely environment.

    1. Thsnk you! I used to wonder why photographers felt the need to carry more than one camera, but now I completely understand why they do! I laugh to myself when I set out on my own land with a bag with two camera stands (a low one and a medium height one) a lens, sometimes a small seat, and other related paraphernalia. It seems silly but is often necessary to get good shots! Two years ago I never would have imagined taking more than my camera with the lens it came with! 🙂 Funny when I think back.

  2. That is a very good picture, love the red stems they look so pretty with the green leaves. I am still learning to use two cameras. I hope to some day be able to take really nice pictures. So much to learn! Hope you have a great weekend. Hugs

  3. really nice read Lisa and I love your resonance with your habitat. beautiful. I am about to buy a mid range camera myself so it might be nice too have a tutorial with you. Love from bern

  4. Lisa, first of all, your postings are of excellent quality, both in terms of photos, and of writing. I love all of them! In regard to the cameras, I had before a Nikon DSLR. Nowadays, I carry only a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix L820, with a 30 times zoom. Sometimes, I don’t have the quality that I would like to. But, in terms of action, it is very reliable and very fast to shoot. I have learned the following: for occasions that I really have a lot of time, I may use a more sophisticated camera. For action happening before my eyes, a simpler camera may do it better. Thanks so much, Lisa! Take care! 🙂

    1. Thanks Fabio 🙂 A few people seem to be saying the same thing – take a point and shoot with me when I go out – just for those shots I want to capture quickly, and when I don’t have time to set everything up. Thanks for your vote of confidence too! 🙂 Lisa

      1. Lisa, Thanks for raising such questions, which all of us have, but only a few have the courage to ask. In regard to the vote of confidence, my position is without risks! Thanks so much! My big pleasure to follow life on such rich fifteen acres! Take care and I will be looking forward to reading your new “dispatch” from your adventurous place! 🙂

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