Behind the Lens: A study in red
It was “scoparia” time of year... I hoped. With the native plant Richea Scoparia, you can never quite tell. It marches, as all nature does, to its own drum, and can be at its peak earlier or later as is its whim.
One tries to predict by looking at other plants that are easier to access, and to make a call according to how they’re going, but ultimately, it is always a lucky dip, and some years you get it and others you are too early, or too late for the best of the party. It is a plant that enjoys high altitudes (as do I), so it is also hard to just pop in and see how it’s going.
Despite this, I wanted to be in the mountains to try my luck. My husband had died not too long before in the wilderness, and it gave me peace to be there, even if the plant and weather forces don’t often align. My destination was the very top of Tasmania: Mt Ossa.
This is a long walk to do in a day carrying a full overnight pack, as well as a heavy tripod, camera, filters, and the works, but I am used to that. I train every day of my life precisely to be strong and fit enough to do this kind of thing. I am rather a puny, skinny little female, so my huge pack is a large proportion of my bodyweight.
By lunchtime, I had reached Pelion Hut. It was raining, so I sheltered there to eat in the dry. The temptation to call it quits and settle for a comfy, dry night was strong. But my real mission called, so off I set into the drizzle, climbing much higher and further.
That evening was dark and gloomy, but the flowers were glowing with colour, responding to the light conditions marvellously. That night I tucked myself into my tent, as the wind howled around me.
The next morning there was frost on the ground, so I threw on something warm, attached my camera to the tripod, and set off, choosing spots according to the light. Nothing had been chosen in advance as I had been expecting more rain.
This was the scene I captured in cool, clear conditions - how very unexpected; but then, that is nature: utterly unpredictable.
About the author: Louise Fairfax is a Tasmanian wilderness photographer. She enjoys capturing the beauty of nature, whether it is landscape, or the minutiae of fungi and wildflowers. She hopes her photos will lead others to appreciate nature’s beauty.