Wildlife is where you find it. Last night I escaped from an uncomfortably warm hall for a few minutes to cool down in the carpark out the back. It was just a patch of gravel, unlit, separated from Lou Litster Park by an unfinished fence, so it wasn’t promising wildlife territory.
However, a little nose was poking up from one of the posts. In the poor light I wasn’t sure whether it was a gecko (my first guess) or something else, but I remembered what I said last week about “always having a useable camera with you” and fetched my phone…
I was so pleased with my bee photos (previous post) that I shared them on social media, which led to this exchange:
Friend: Excellent pictures. I have the blue banded bee but, try as I might, I never get a good shot!
Malcolm: Most camera-lens combinations won’t get a big enough image of an insect to get this sort of detail. I use a DSLR with a 100mm macro lens (both Canon) and add a +4 close-up “filter” (really another lens but it screws on like a filter) for the really small stuff. And then I take lots of shots and throw most of them away.
Friend: And I use my phone
Malcolm: Some phone cameras are pretty good, but you have to get so close to the insect that you usually scare it away. Practice on small flowers – see what yours will do.
Friend: That’s a good idea. I do a fair bit of flower stuff for my Instagram but practicing on insects would be fun.
Malcolm: Slow insects would be next, then. Caterpillars patiently munching leaves, assassin bugs and spiders lurking in ambush, etc. Then work your way up to to ants and bees. Butterflies and dragonflies? Only while sleeping, I think.
Friend: Oh dear. I am really not in need of another obsession…
Malcolm: But this is one that can fill in your free time while you’re waiting for a bus or a friend to turn up. All you need is your phone, some sunshine, and any scrap of garden…
My phone is nothing special – mid-range Chinese and three years old – but after that conversation I had to take it for a walk around the garden to see what it could do.
Undara is very similar to Cobbold Gorge (last post but one) in that it is a privately-owned tourist operation showcasing a spectacular geological formation in the middle of what was once a cattle station in the Gulf country. We had two nights at each and would have been happy with longer.
Cobbold Gorge is young and very beautiful. It was born about 10,000 years ago when a creek in Western Queensland was blocked and needed to find another way down into the Robertson River.
This is sandstone country so erosion proceeds quickly and the gorge is now many metres deep – although still very narrow – and fantastically carved by floodwaters and the debris they carry. The creek water is some metres deep, we were told, and is darkened to a rich jade green by sediments it carries.
But let’s start a bit further back, for context, and zoom in from far above…