In recent blogs I have spoken about making the most of the photographic opportunities that arise whenever and wherever I can. I can’t just sit around waiting for the sun to shine in order to be able to take photos. Even on cold and dreary days I must persist and find or make the opportunity to spend some time doing what I love. So once again this morning, shortly after school drop off and in time before the rain started, I made out for one of my favourite parts of Melbourne. The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – located in South Yarra which is fortunate for me as I too live in South Yarra.
The gardens have long been a family favourite destination on weekends and even on special occasions such as Mother’s Day and Easter. My wife and I used to walk through the gardens and have picnics there when we were first dating. We even have friends who were married in the gardens. So yeah, it is a special place for us. And they are just amazing. A couple of quick facts: The gardens were first established in 1846 and occupies 36 hectares of land along the south bank of the Yarra River. The gardens comprises 8,500 different species of plant and in total there are over 50,000 individual plants in various collections. The gardens attracts over 1 millions visitors every year. You can check out more about the gardens at the official website here.
I started out this morning focusing on getting up close with various plants and flowers as I find the structures and diversity of flora fascinating. When I was studying Design in university I would often explore my own illustration pursuits including botanical illustration. Drawing flowers and plants with precision detail. Looking back I wish I had pursued this more and undertaken a course – even just a short course would have been great. So with camera in hand this morning, I explored the gardens and would stop to get in close enough to capture the details. For this I was using a Fujifilm XF50mmF2 lens on my Fujifilm X-T2 camera. This focal length gave me a little extra reach.
Given that it is currently Autumn in Australia and we are experiencing very Autumn weather here in Melbourne, the great trees throughout the gardens were all shades of oranges, reds, yellows and of course there were plenty of ever greens and tropical plants to create contrast to a scene. Before long I found myself taking images of larger environments so I switched to the Fujifilm XF23mmF2. A much wider angle of view and much better for landscape work. I made the most of the open areas of the gardens to create brighter images despite the dullness of the day. And equally in the areas that were dense with tropical trees, I capitalised on the reduced light to create darker and moodier images.
The beauty of these areas stretch far beyond the offical boundaries and fences. Even just the surrounding streets and park areas are lush with trees and gardens. The gardens have a special area for a children’s garden, a large lake with Gondola rides and also a lakeside restaurant that is quite large and perfect for family get-togethers on colder days. At the South West end of the gardens is the Observatory entrance. This large plaza houses the Melbourne Observatory – a collection of buildings built from 1861 and used as an actual observatory for the Southern Hemisphere. Guided tours can be taken at night. It also has a large Gardens Visitor Centre with a gift shop, indoor restaurant and outdoor cafe with a bonus ice cream stand.
If you are in the hood then I highly recommend taking a stroll through the gardens. It is a very serene and relaxing experience smack in the middle of one of the busiest parts of Melbourne. As mentioned earlier all images for this blog were shot with the Fujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm XF23mmF2 and the XF50mmF2. Happy shooting!