On a recent week-long camping trip into the Victorian High Country (Bentley Plain), I had the opportunity to photograph a small variety of wildlife that accompanied us and which also visited our campsite on a regular basis. It’s actually great to get out to these more remote areas (though far from unvisited, depending on time of year) and enjoy the peace and quiet of bush life. By no means were we completely out in the boonies; as the predicted weather made certain that we had to settle into a locale that provided reasonable shelter from the anticipated storms (and storms we did get), but bush life it was (in a 21st Century fashion).
The weather on this particular week varied in the extreme, from hot bouts, to unusual mists that rolled in every night and a rather furious storm that invited itself upon us one day. Despite all of this, it was the most pleasant and enjoyable break that we’ve had for a long time. And while we had all the amenities of the modern camper, we still managed to enjoy a more rustic and sometimes frustrating lifestyle, as we were constantly challenged by less than cooperative firewood. That said, the peace that ensued as evening fell and the mists rolled in, calmed all and any frustrations (as did the odd red wine or champagne).
Even the mornings provided some pleasant surprises as the mists of the night evaporated.
Now part of the introduced wildlife was easy to photograph (up to a point) and provided plenty of amusing and memorable moments. It wasn’t simply the human element that was having fun, as it was a refreshing change for the furry kids to be able to enjoy the outdoor life without being tethered to a rope and post. And, in turn, that made the trip so much more relaxing for the humans as well.
So much for the easy targets, the native wildlife, while at times seemingly very cooperative, were a much more difficult subject to isolate. However, with perseverance and patience while observing their habits, one was soon able to work things out and be prepared. Even then, it was often a case of hit or miss, as the best laid plans didn’t always work out. But then that’s often the case when it comes to any wild or wildlife photography. Though when things did work out, the results were more than satisfying. The Robins were the most casual of the native birds, flitting in, out and through the camp all of the week, sometimes stopping and posing, wondering what that noise was, as I pointed my camera their way and fired off bursts.
The other local inhabitants included a small swarm of swallows, which I didn’t even try to photograph as they cycloned around (literally) each night, as well as a group of Wagtails (of unknown origin) that challenged me every evening. Far more accommodating were a Rosella and Kookaburras (or was it just the one?), which didn’t appear to be all that perturbed as I sneaked about trying to get to the best vantage point.
In a way, we were all birds of a feather, enjoying the quiet bush life a few weeks before Christmas. I do wonder what it’ll be like when the hordes descend on the plains, but I hope that they also make the best efforts to relax and enjoy the bush life like we did that week.