You don’t have to go too far from your home to find grasslands and many people may pass them by without noticing. Road verges and nature strips may contain elements of the original native grassland community. Often, many of the species have been lost from the community but you can often still find a number of native species. In Canberra, there are also a number of remnant grassland patches, which closely resemble the original community and/or contain important threatened species, dotted around the city. These patches have often been highly fragmented but they may still be very important for conserving threatened species and ecological communities, for educational purposes (to teach people about grasslands and ecology) and for their intrinsic and historical value. Every grassland has a unique make-up and history. Grassland remnants are also often located in unexpected places such as churches or cemeteries as these places are often subject to lower levels of disturbance compared with other urban areas.
Close to Lake Ginninderra in Canberra, there are two small remnant natural temperate grassland patches. I paid a visit to these sites one evening in November last year. Even though some things were starting to finish flowering, there were still interesting photographic opportunities. As it was getting late in the day, it was a matter of making the most of the available light and taking advantage of the conditions in order to try to find some interesting images.
The Common Everlasting Chrysocephalum apiculatum is forb that is commonly found in the grasslands and is quite disturbance tolerant. It can often be seen colonising bare areas and areas such as road verges. For this image I used a wide angle lens and shallow depth of field. Use of narrow depth of field allows the photographer to draw attention to the sharp part of the image and create blur in the rest of the image. Portrait photographers often employ this technique to draw the viewer’s attention to the face of the subject and create a pleasing background.
You never know what you are going to capture in nature photography. Although this photograph is not particularly outstanding, I was happy to capture this flying moth in the frame. I have cropped in quite a lot her. The small forb in the bottom right of the frame (though a little hard to make out) is the Curved Rice-flower Pimelea curviflora . It is shown more clearly below.
Near the same plant, was this mosquito, which adopted an interesting cross-shaped pose.
This image illustrates how grasslands can be exposed to disturbance in the urban landscape. Here, a dirt road has been created through the grassland and erosion is occurring.
For this image, I used the live-view on the camera so that I wasn’t looking at the sun through the lens (which can damage your eyes).
As the available light faded I decided to try to capture some silhouettes. Some minor post-processing was done to create a more pronounced silhouette effect in this image. This can be done with software that comes with most cameras or specialist software such as Lightroom.
The nice thing about photography is that you may find an opportunity to get a photo that you had not set out to capture. As I returned along the bike-path, I looked across the lake and saw this beautiful sunset and what I think was a lone Eurasian Coot Fulica atra just visible.