As a weekend photographer and keen explorer of our natural spaces, I set myself a photo project of capturing every land-based national park in my home state of Victoria, located in the south-east corner of Australia.
Visiting all 45 of them took two years of regular trips, outside work and other travels. The largest park is Alpine NP at 646,000ha (1.6 million acres) – an area that you could devote a lifetime of exploration to and barely touch the surface. At the other end of the scale is Lind NP at 1370ha with no tracks passing through it at all.
Many of these parks are within three hours' drive of Melbourne and, as you can see, comprise a wide range of environments from snow, beach, desert, rainforest to dry eucalypt bushland.
Many areas are accessible by a family car, but you'll need to hike for the best locations.
I hope you'll consider looking up a few of these spots – but if you're not, hopefully you'll be inspired to take up a similar photo project in your home area. If you've been to a few of these places, I'd love to hear about your favourite spots!
I'm currently using a Nikon D610 DSLR which gives me full frame quality in a package that's not too heavy or bulky – something you appreciate when hiking up steep hills with it!
When not multi-day hiking, I'll usually use a lightweight travel tripod – a Benro GoPlus Travel FGP18C CF with a RRS BH30 ball head. Although the tripod limits the spontaneity, I find it lets you evaluate the composition more precisely, allowing small adjustments for more impact.
For the glassware, Nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR and Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lenses do most of the heavy lifting, often with a polarising filter. I almost always shoot with manual exposure and 14-bit uncompressed raw files and use a di-GPS Eco ProSumer M unit to encode location metadata. Processing is generally kept to a minimum.
Here's a quick glimpse of the other 36 Victorian national park – sometimes a wide vista, sometimes the native residents or just the small details. Each location has its own unique charm...
About the author: Jason Freeman is a graphic designer based in Melbourne, Australia. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Photography, he began work in aerial surveying, transitioning to creative roles in multimedia, video and print. He is an Adobe Certified Expert in InDesign, Photoshop & Lightroom. As a keen hiker and traveller, the camera is always close at hand.
To view his latest images, or for comments or questions, visit his folio site GoWild Images.