BLOG  "Our Kind of Valley"

To love where you live is one of life's greatest gifts.  The Yarra Valley is the home-base for the Visionista team.  There are also  many other valleys in Australia and around the world that we adore too.    Liz will be reviewing places of note in the Yarra Valley very soon.  We will also be sharing some other favourite spots of ours that you may chance to visit one day.

The most recent blog is on top.

16th November 2017

This morning's whooshing wake-up call told me there was a photo opportunity hovering over my home.

Mark, a Go Wild Ballooning pilot of many year's experience, skilfully piloted his azure coloured craft to land in a local park.  The thermal drop and change of wind direction left no choice.  

I always enjoy watching the balloons in the Yarra Valley.  This close encounter enhanced my respect for this quietest form of transport.  After floating above town and the main street, Mark manoeuvred the balloon into the widest open space of the park.  

Beautiful, elegant vessel.


6th October 2017

The birth of Microtis sp (Onion Orchid)

The slender shoots of this plant were about 15cm tall when I bought
the small pot at the Warrandyte State Park Nursery two months ago.
Not knowing what to expect, I became excited this week when the clusters began to break through, mid-length of the stem.  

Some emerge erect while others are a messy cluster of curves.  
Without the macro lens, I would not have noticed the minute dot which is the centre of lipped flower.    'The internet' suggests the use of orchids in gardens is not recommended. Hmmm??

Isn't the Yarra Valley one big garden?


25th September 2017

This splendid tiny orchid 'Chiliglottis trapeziformis' does not know
that us humans think it is still too cold to be Springtime in Victoria.   

You may find some in the wild if you know where to look, but locally it is a threatened species.  Commonly known as the 'dainty bird orchid', the lip of the orchid is less than 1cm wide and the sessile black calli is about 2mm long.  I bought these beauties in a pot from the Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) nursery a few days ago, whose volunteers propagated the seeds in January 2017.  

I hope Chiliglottis blooms in my garden for many years to come.


1st September 2017

Welcome Spring - colourful promises in tiny-ness.

I have been prowling the garden for weeks watching for any sign
of new foliage in rouge, millimetre-width buds and to see which
is first to burst.

The sudden abundance of native birds hints. 
They love the Callistemon and grevillea nectar.  

Bulbs began poking their green sheaths through a few weeks ago. 
Daffodils first.  Then hyacinths.  Tulip bulbs are opening now. 
My first native orchids are strong and their blooms will feature soon.

I can forgive the extended iciness now.


25th August 2017

Australian Spring is just one week away.

The only additional light I use when shooting with a macro lens is a reflector.
The late afternoon sun backlit the 'Pan Pipes' and a small gold reflector lifted the shadows from the hot pink blossom.  I have been nurturing the Hardenbergia ground cover for eighteen months and it is finally showing off it's 1cm flowers.  

Nature does the styling. I adjust to her light and breeze.

12th August 2017

Countdown to Spring.

 I get older but feel like the banksia in the middle.
Early mornings I resemble the right image.
Seeds of youth refuse to leave.

Our two year old garden already holds promise and loss.
Pending blooms touch the primal core.

6th August 2017

Looking and listening = meeting wonderful people.

Yesterday at the Warrandyte Market, I met Nada Jones.
Her colourful and elegant wares tempted my love of all things glass.
Betters still, Nada re-fashions all types of glass objects and gives
them new purpose.  The two aqua-jade coloured glasses came
home with me - the perfect cooling wavy tones for summer sipping.

Nada also has a wonderful selection of the most elegant glass
bird baths and cake stands I have seen in the recycled world.  
Nada experimented with various methods of adhesion and
has a selection of options depending upon the pieces she is combining.

Be sure to enjoy her work next month at Warrandyte.


6th August 2017

Yarra Glen held it's third Festival of Light this weekend.  
With children outnumbering the adults, the lanterns seemed to float
around 60cm above the ground,  

At the start of the parade, the projection of sixties style patterns on the
walls of Saint Pauls' church lifted the crowd's eyes.  Pete Field of
Spektraflash Lighting chose  the projection of sixties style patterns
which also symbolised life at a cellular level for this year's
festival theme of science.

 Dance, song, mime and awe and the delight on children's faces.





1st August 2017

Meet 'Drosera aberrans', a fragrant Australian native carnivorous plant. 

The tiny buds are 2mm wide and the emerging flower is 5mm.  The sticky sap produced by the plant traps any unsuspecting insect.  There is also an tall variety of this plant, which was in the 21st July 2017 blog.  Theplant thrives in full sun and these photos were all shot with natural light on 105mm macro lens.

These are the joys of a frosty morning.

28th July 2017

The photographs in today's blog are the result of a group of volunteers.  
Each week members of the Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) gather to tend bush land, participate in propagation of native flora, replenish former farming land with plants indigenous to the area and generally share stories and information about all things botanical.

The good fortune to meet the group arose when I was completing a folio on 'Caring for the Land' during my photography course.  The energy and dedication of this knowledgeable crowd is easily absorbed.   How could I not become a member too?  

After an absence of several weeks due to an injured shoulder, it was great to be planting rare species in a fenced area of the park with them this week.  A wombat or two had visited and the photo at left shows the tunnel under the fence.  Did you know that Australian native fungi could be as large as 30 cm across?  

Botanical vocabulary expands.

21st July 2017

Frosty nights just below 0C and heavy rain over the past few days is stirring my excitement for spring days.  A few native orchids that I have in pots have sprouted & and I am hopeful of an abundant supply to photograph in the wild.

Photographing the native flora of the Yarra Valley is my true delight.  Lying low, managing shadows from large plants and strong winds that twist through the hills can mean one good photo is hours of work.  The joy of seeing the 'unseen' through the macro lenses touches deep emotion.  It is a wonderful meditation.

This spring I will be working with both Canon D6 and macro lens as well as my usual Nikon 105mm.  I will be focusing in ever closer.
 The quest for the new begins.

6th July 2017

On my drive to work yesterday I could see that the whole of Mt Dandenong and her villages were fogged in.  Twenty-four hours later, the whole of the eastern side of the Melbourne metropolitan area was sunny. 

The Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda (Dandenong Ranges) are an easy 30-40 minute drive from the Yarra Valley.  The gardens show off their best in spring and nature is in full preparation for September.   The trees are full of new buds and some are blooming ahead of schedule.

Watch this space in spring time.

29th June 2017

When the water is high, the walk around the Yarra Glen Billabongs is filled with croaking frogs and excited birdlife.  The fires of February 2009 destroyed most of the plants around the billabongs.  Soon afterwards a local group of volunteers saw to it that the area was rejuvenated.

Winter 2016 brought good rainfalls to Victoria, as the images of September 2016 show.   I revisited the billabongs today.  While the shiny green hills surrounding the valley suggest lots of water, the photographs (June 2016) are a better indication of the state of the climate so far this winter.  

The billabongs are close to dry with only a couple frogs giving a brief croak.  


Early winter morning, Yarra Valley, June 2017

27th June 2017

With the hot skies of summer gone for a while, we have been treated to the gentle palette of blues, mauves and greys in the mornings.  In the late afternoon, the golden light is always reminiscent of a Tom Roberts painting. 

We never tire of watching the clouds and fog and their dance with the mountains.  The fog is a challenge as the light and dark of the scenery compete for the camera lens' attention.  

I have placed some other views from this morning's views of the Yarra Valley on the Instagram account:  visionista_photography


15 June 2017

It becomes second nature to constantly check the sky in the Yarra Valley.  In fact, the first person awake in our household gives a quick commentary on what is happening over the mountaings.

The sunrise and sunset  lighting and colour palettes are daily visual delights and are a regular source of learning about harsh light and deep shadows when taking photographs.  

The view is never the same on any two days.