We have had some wildflower reports coming in! Everlastings are now in Mullewa and Western Flora (60 km south of Dongara) have Orchids and various bush flowers. If you see any wildflowers we would love to know.
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Whats in Bloom June 2014.
Anthocercis littorea Labill.
Yellow Tailflower. Erect or rarely sprawling shrub, 0.6-3(-4) m high. Fl. yellow, Jan to Dec (mainly 6-11). Calcareous sand. Coastal limestone, sand dunes & sandplains.
Melaleuca systena Craven (used to be m acerosa) .Erect to spreading shrub, (0.25-)0.5-2(-3) m high. Fl. yellow-cream, Feb to Mar or Aug to Dec. Sand over laterite, yellow/orange sand over limestone. Coastal stabilised dunes & rocky limestone
Spyridium globulosum (Labill.) Benth. Templetonia retusa
common name Basket Bush. Erect shrub, (0.3-)0.6-5 m high. Fl. white, Jun to Nov. Sand. Coastal sand dunes & limestone
The mid-west is one of the most diverse wildflower areas in the world, with a great burst of colour during spring. The northern sandplain is one of two parts of Western Australia where species-rich heathlands are best developed (the other is the southern heathlands between Stirling Range and Cape Arid). Flowering is at it’s peak, depending on rains, in the northern areas in August and September.
The plants of the northern heathlands, or Kwongan, are the typical Australians; Banksia, Eucalypt, Boronia, Southern Heaths, and Peas. These five families dominate the vegetation types of the region, and provide more than half of the area’s species.
In many places, a bewildering array of different plants co-exist in a small area. The region is especially rich in dryandras and there are numerous pea plant, such as the staghorn bush, a daviesia with flattened stems and large nodding scarlet flowers. Low heath dominated by Balgas is common on the lateritic uplands. The plant community is conspicuous around the Mt Lesueur—Badgingarra area. In spring en-masse colour is provided by perennial herbs and shrubs, especially the wattles, smokebushes, banksias, grevillias, bottlebrushes, numerous species of pea, coneflowers,calytrix, and leschenaultia. In late spring, coppercups and featherflowers begin to bloom. One of the most striking featherflowers is orange morrison which flowers in early summer and can be seen in profusion at Moore River National Park. Visitors interested in identifying the various wildflowers on display during the spring / summer period are recommended to then DEC publication ’Common Wildflowers of the Mid-West’, available from DEC offices and Pinnacle Visitor Centre.
See Stephen Scourfield's full gallery of wildflower photographs, with descriptive captions, HERE.
Here are some photography tips for wildflowers and landscape before the season gets into full swing. 1. Be aware of even slight breezes, or you may end up with a soft, fuzzy subject in your photo. Putting up a windbreak - even a camera bag or, better still, an umbrella will help. You can also increase your ISO from 400 or 640 or 800 but this can compromise your image quality. Sharp pictures are good pictures. 2. Reduce the depth of field to isolate a flower. "Depth of field" is the distance in front and behind your subject that is in focus. This will make the background fuzzy, rather than sharp. Many cameras have an Aperture Priority setting to control this. It shows "f-stops" which you can think of as distances. The lower the f-stop, the less will be in focus before and after the subject. For example, a flower photographed on f/2.8 will be more isolated than on f/32. 3. Use a tripod. A tripod will make your camera rock-solid. This will give you better results by eliminating camera shake and enabling you to slow down shutter speed. A tripod also changes the way you work - giving you stronger, more thoughtful compositions. If you are buying a tripod, look for a solid, sturdy one with legs that extend and retract so you can get very low. Tripods with ball heads allow for smooth action and very fine adjustment. 4. Try shooting up from down low among the flowers. Pink everlastings can look amazing against a blue sky. Digital cameras with a tilting screen are handy for this. But please be careful to choose a spot where you won't damage the flowers. 5. You can't beat the softness and colours of early and late light but reality means that most of us will find the flower we want to photograph when the sunlight is harsh. Try holding a translucent gauze material on a frame (such as an embroidery hoop) over your subject when the sun is blasting overhead. This will help diffuse the bright light. Muslin, white nylon and cotton allow different strengths and tones of light through. Experiment. 6. Consider using a flash or reflector when you need extra light on your subject. When using a flash, try to keep it subtle. Most cameras have an adjustable flash you can turn down. A reflector is often a better option. These collapsible discs give a more natural diffused light and are readily available to buy. 7. Most cameras have a flower symbol which is the macro setting for close-ups. But beware, this makes your camera more sensitive to focus. Move the camera in and out to double-check the focus on your screen. Special macro lenses can be added to digital SLR cameras which are designed to focus very close to a subject. The positive is a very high-quality image - but this needs to be balanced with the cost and the need to carry an extra lens around for a specific job. 8. Think about the rule of thirds. If you divide the image area in thirds horizontally and vertically, the four points where these lines cross are spots where the viewer's eye will naturally fall. Your camera's display may have a setting for this. Keep three words in mind for photo composition - simple, graceful, dynamic. 9. While close-ups make great images, it is also good to stand back and take "bigger shots" to show context. These images tell the story not only of what you have seen, but where you have seen it. Two more invaluable items of gear for your camera bag are a notebook and pen. Note your impressions and reactions to the environment you are standing (or kneeling) in to add to the story. 10. If you are photographing a flower close up, it must be a good flower. When focusing on a small group of blooms, the flowers need to be quite tightly set together and form a good shape. Be sure to choose flowers that are physically perfect and in pristine condition - but they must also have character. Look for something that grabs attention and be guided by your own reactions.