I was practising with my new macro lens on this bottlebrush or callistemon flower in the garden when a tiny fly decided to join the party. I often don’t notice the bugs until I start focusing on the flowers with my camera – perhaps I need to wear my glasses when I want to look specifically for small insects. I am impressed with the macro lens (Nikon 105mm), although I did get good results with the 60 mm (just need to be that bit closer).
Bee on red callistemon
Burchardia congest (milkmaid) with shiny insect
Native wisteria and bee
Bold Park dragonfly
With the bigger insects, like bees and dragonflies, I usually do see them unaided – of course, getting sharp shots is still a bit of a challenge. My real bugbear is butterflies – every time I try to focus they flit away – but I did manage one decent butterfly image this year. Sometimes I think I should stick to the big slow caterpillars!
Western Australia has an amazing variety of wild flowers, many of them unique to the region. Spring is unsurprisingly the optimum time for chasing flowers with your camera, but there is almost always something flowering at any time of the year. Some, like the fringe lily above and a few in the selection below, are tiny and need some careful hunting to find. They also often involve strange contortions to photograph, which is fine when they are in our own garden or in a quiet patch of bush, but can lead to funny looks at more public places like Kings Park.
Stylidium – or triggerplant, also considered a carnivorous plant.
Pretty in pink – unfortunately not sure what this is.
Pink drosera flower – very tiny sundew (carnivorous plants).
This next selection includes some of the distinctively Australian plants, such as grevilleas, banksias, eucalypts and verticordias. These are often much bigger plants with easily recognisable flowers, although some can still be tricky to identify correctly. Very interesting plants and flowers, I sometimes find it quite challenging to do them justice – getting a photographically appealing image that is still recognisable (to my botanist hubby, particularly) is not always easy. And of course, we won’t mention the dratted breezes, the enemy of all flower photographers!
Grevillea thelemanniana flower with raindrops
Pear-fruited mallee (Eucalyptus pyriformis)
Mystery myrtaceous flower from Ninghan Station
Verticordia grandis near Eneabba
Prickly leaves and pretty flowers – still need to figure out what it is.
It is already starting to feel like spring in Perth – the days are warming up and flowers are appearing everywhere. As I haven’t had much chance to get out with the camera so far this year, I thought I’d travel back to spring in 2012 when we spent a few days at one of my favourite spots in Western Australia. Dryandra Woodland is a nature reserve in the middle of the Wheatbelt, protecting remnant patches of native vegetation. Spring is a great time to visit with many interesting species flowering.
This main image is a bug’s eye view of sundews or Drosera on a gravel path at Dryandra. Sundews are one of the largest groups of carnivorous plant; these particular ones are pretty small.
On the other end of the scale are these huge flowers of Eucalyptus macrocarpa or mottlecah. I’m not entirely sure if they are native to the specific area, as they were growing in an arboretum, but the species is endemic to the south-west of WA.
Bee on Eucalyptus macrocarpa
If you look carefully, you might spot the tiny orange spider on the white Pimelea flower below. I didn’t spot it until I got home and saw the image on the computer screen. The image on the right is Red Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia formosa) on one of the less-travelled roads in Dryandra; I love the way it just grows in the middle of the road. The other white flower is another tiny sundew or Drosera. Crawling around on the gravelly roadsides capturing these flowers was rather painful on the knees!
Pimela flower with tiny orange spider
White drosera flower
Parts of the reserve are dominated by sheoaks – here pink paper flowers make a very attractive understorey: