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Rosy hyacinth orchid (Dipodium roseum)
Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
Unlike most plants that rely on the sun to produce energy in their leaves, the rosy hyacinth orchid is leafless and instead obtains its energy from decaying organic matter in the soil. To convey this unusual way of life, I photographed this species under a sunless sky.
Canon EOS R5, Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8 III USM lens, 20, f/2.8, ISO 10 000, Canon Speedlite 580EX II with Godox XT2-C radio trigger and X1R-C radio receiver, stabilised on ground with a small sandbag, torchlight was used to light up the trees in the background
Algae (Acetabularia peniculus)
Shoal Bay, Albany, Western Australia
When I first saw this little plant growing on the sides of shells I was captivated by how pretty it looked. Exposed at low tide, I used a macro lens to capture the delicate beauty. I was surprised to learn that it was actually an algae.
Olympus E-M1 Mk III, Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 60mm f2.8 macro, 1/320, f/8, ISO 500, handheld
Signs of recovery
Between Orbost and Goongerah, Victoria
Burnt eucalyptus trees start to show signs of life a few weeks after bushfires by sprouting epicormic growth/shoots from their blackened trunks. Once they sprout, all going well, the tree will begin to gradually regrow all its lost foliage, and (hopefully) recover over time. Sadly, not all trees have this capability.
Nikon D750, Nikon 70–200mm f/2.8, 1/320, f/4.0, ISO 160, handheld
Royal hakea (Hakea victoria)
Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia
This shrub is the emblem of the Fitzgerald River National Park. Its beauty comes from brightly coloured foliage rather than its understated flowers. I found this attractive patch beside a dirt road in the park. Only when I climbed onto the roof of the vehicle could I frame this pleasing composition.
Canon EOS 5D Mk IV, Canon 24–105 f/4L lens, 1/640, f/11, ISO 800, digital capture, handheld
Alpine National Park, Victoria
Captured during the peak of winter after a recent snowstorm had passed through. I was drawn to the unusual shapes of these trees scattered along the peaks of Mount Hotham. The way the trunks branch out in this unusual way give a sense of the harsh and brutal conditions faced each winter.
Sony A7Riii, Sony 24–105mm f4 G OSS, 1/20, f/13, ISO 100, tripod
Mullinger Swamp Conservation Park, South Australia
Mullinger Swamp Conservation Park is a protected area just outside of Kybybolite, on the South Australian and Victorian border. On our final day in the area, we lucked out with clear skies, still water, no wind and low-lying fog.
Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus 40–150 Pro 100mm, 1/1000, f/9, ISO 200, tripod
Snow daisy (Brachyscome nivalis)
Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales
A lone snow daisy stands frozen in time, trapped in the ice that killed it when winter came. Normally these small flowers would be crushed under the snow, by fate it stands tall, held up by the cause of its downfall.
Nikon D850, Nikon 70–200mm VR2 f2.8, 1/1250, f/4, ISO 31
Bird on a Wire
Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.), silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)
Westcliff Lookout, Bunya Mountains National Park, Queensland
Over many Westcliff Lookout bushwalks, I’ve seen the grass trees flowering profusely only once. The birds had hundreds of flower spikes to choose from – each photo requiring a patient wait. The title references the Man on Wire documentary about the tight-rope crossing between the Twin Towers.
Canon 6D II, Canon 300mm f 2.8, 1/800, f/4, ISO 200, Manfrotto with Wimberly head, tripod
The Wattle Tree
Wattle tree (Acacia sp.)
The Wattle Tree honours one of my favorite trees. By using off-camera flash to illuminate the tree, I was able to further subdue the background and highlight the beautiful yellows of the flowering wattle. This image can no longer be taken as the trees in the background have been harvested for timber.
Canon EOS 5D Mk III, Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8L II IS USM lens, 1/200. f/8, ISO 400, off-camera flash used from the right-hand side, handheld
Ghost mushroom (Omphalotus nidiformis)
Belanglo Forest, New South Wales
Nicknamed ‘ghost mushrooms’ due to their eerie glow, this fungi is only found in certain forests in Australia. They glow for only a few weeks in a year and are therefore quite hard to find and photograph.
Canon 70D, Sigma Art, 30, f/3.2, ISO 6000
Home Topics Science & Environment AG Nature Photographer of the Year 2021: Botanical shortlist
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