I am an amateur nature photographer based in the Eastern Perth Hills, where I live with my husband Terry, daughter Soraya and dog, Jezz.
My interest in photography originates from my childhood, forty years ago, in the West Australian desert. As a kid growing up on Kalli Station a remote sheep farming property, I developed a fascination for the natural world.
My spare time was spent out in the bush, wandering the creeks, granite outcrops and breakaways that surrounded our homestead with Jacko, my dog.
We would walk for hours, looking for waterholes, aboriginal carvings, birds, animals, tracks and different plants. Sometimes we would take the motorbike to a distant rock or breakaway that held the promise of wondrous finds. Jacko would sit on the fuel tank with his paws on the crossbar looking for kangaroos while I took note of landmarks so I could find my way home.
Over time my wanderings added up to many mental maps. I memorised locations of different rocks, breakaways, caves, creeks and waterholes and more importantly how to get to them. I noticed patterns in vegetation and became familiar with the different trees, shrubs and grasses that grew on our property. I checked on galah nests, followed snake tracks, visited lizard holes, watched hawks fly, tracked hopping mice, teased trapdoor spiders and knew where to find geckos, scorpions and centipedes in the rocks.
Colours, textures and smells were everywhere. Shimmery red bark, knobbly tree nuts, bright orange seeds, iridescent beetles, silky spider webs, translucent petals, desiccated seed pods; the smell of rain, the smell of caves, native tobacco, sandalwood, kangaroos, sheep, foxes, dust and flowers.
Drawn to detail, my eye would catch the intricacy of moments, and memories would form of creatures and places. The bush became a place of endless fascination, full of unpredictable surprises and imbued with an ethereal rhythm that played whether I was there or not. A place that was ancient, beautiful and ruthlessly practical at the same time, where things made sense and judgement was not required.
I grew older and went to boarding school. Kalli Station was sold and my family moved to Perth. Life took its course with university, jobs, houses, gardens, marriage, a baby girl, friends, divorce, travel, another marriage, sickness and health, but, the influence of those early years never left me. Gratitude for the time I spent in the desert as a child has grown with time and perceptions from those years have woven themselves through my life and powerfully influence what I see and how I connect with the world.
I have always taken photographs. There is an almost manic desire to record what I see, so I can show others and keep the memories alive in my mind. It is the ruthless beauty and infinite subtlety, the continual change, tiny moments and defiant, ungraspable nature of it all that I try and capture in my images.
In taking photos, I try to highlight subtlety, movement and light and open a window to the vivid nature of life and transience that I notice acutely whenever I am behind the camera. When I look at a photo, I like to sense that a greater level of complexity lies just beyond reach and, that to touch and experience that depth, boundaries need to be stretched and pre-conceived ideas and constraints dropped.
A photograph captures an instant in time and records it as a picture, yet as soon as it is taken that moment is gone. It may be 1/3200 of a second (my usual shutter speed), a tiny moment, which can be broken down into tinier moments and tinier moments to a level impossible to record.
Each moment plays out somewhere in space and then is gone, never to be repeated. The wheel constantly turns and before anything can be defined, it has shifted, changed and is gone. This seems to me, the real nature of life, something too vast, too intricate and too complex to ever be accurately grasped.
Over the past two years my interest in photography has developed into an almost obsessional hobby with a focus on birds and flight. It is a constant learning process where I am continually expanding my knowledge of birds, their behaviour, ecology and habitat and also my understanding of camera gear and photographic techniques.
To me, birds represent wildness and freedom. They are exquisite creatures and are challenging to photograph. I usually get up very early before dawn and drive to one of the local lakes, rivers or swamps to find subjects to photograph. The light of the early hours is the most beautiful and when combined with water and reflections there is the potential for stunning images.
I will often hide along the shoreline in the undergrowth or a camouflage tent and wait for something to fly in and land. Other times I will walk along the edge and carefully stalk a particular bird, slowly getting close enough to get good shots. To capture takeoffs and landings, I need to move quickly so the vast majority of my photos are taken in natural light with a handheld camera and no tripod. I use a Nikon D800E and a Nikon 80-400mm zoom lens and process my photos with minimal adjustment in Lightroom.
Images are a very powerful way of communicating. They express what words cannot and have the ability to evoke strong emotions. I use bird photography as a way of staying connected to the natural world, expressing myself and relating to others.
I post my images almost daily on facebook and regularly on this website. It has been extremely rewarding to find that others enjoy my work and to know that many who cannot get out into the bush are able to see and appreciate my images as a link back to the natural world.