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All the animals

Melbourne, Australia

It is exceedingly difficult to plan activities for such a long trip. Things will never go as planned. Add to that the possibility that your plans fail to include must-see attractions simply because you didn’t know about them prior to arriving. All this is to say that while I had booked in advance all my flights and accommodations, my day-to-day has been largely about playing things by ear and taking opportunities as they come. So on arrival to Melbourne I had nothing planned or booked whatsoever. I do now, at least for the next several days, but upon arrival I looked to my relatives for suggestions. This is why I spent my first two days in Melbourne at the aquarium and at the zoo.

I have to say, I felt a bit like a child at first, but both trips were well worth it. Australia has an immensity of rare sea life and wildlife much of which I was able to see and photograph first hand. I pretended to be a wildlife photographer and ran around with my camera taking up close photos of all the animals, which included koalas, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils, among many others.

My first takeaway is that wildlife photography is extremely difficult. Granted, my camera is not nearly as fast as the ones used by the pros, but it’s pretty good, and my animals were all in tanks or behind cages, not in the vastness of the bush and the ocean.

The second takeaway is that it is extremely fun. At the end of the day, I am trying to capture actions and emotions from these animals. In most cases they are either unaware or disinterested in me, so all shots are candids. In most instances I could use auto-focus, but for a large number I had to play with the manual and hope that for the next ten seconds the animal wouldn’t move too far. Sometimes I simply couldn’t get a good shot, either because the animal moved too much, was too far away, the environment too dark, too sunny, too much glare, etc. I would try different angles, keep my camera fixed on a location and wait, or simply take shots without any preparation whatsoever. Many of them came out well, I think. You be the judge!

Aside from seeing all the animals I did explore the city a little bit, or at least the central business district (CBD). So far understanding Australian accents has proven more difficult than New Zealanders, and I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. That said, I have really enjoyed my interactions. I am a fan of the dry, sarcastic Australian humor. Anyway, there is still much more of Melbourne and the surrounding area to see and I am excited about my remaining time here.


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