In a busy world it is often hard to find the time to appreciate the little things. Yet the time it takes to stop and take a short walk through a park, down a river bank, through a market, in fact anywhere you wouldn't normally go, can often reveal the most amazing results. As photographers, we are always on the lookout for interesting. Yet, how often do we drive to places and then look around? On this particular occasion, the car was in for a service. I could have caught a cab, got a lift, even had a courtesy car; instead I took the opportunity to take my photography assistant for a walk. And discovered something in my own home town, I never knew was there.
Take a look! Walk round that corner ...
In a town that follows a series of coastal hills north to south, there are brief breaks in the landscape that allow rivers through to join the sea. In most cases these unions are obvious. Aside from the large channel of water, there are bridges that span their widths. Bridges we normally, if not always, drive across. It was one of these bridges that I crossed and found a small walking path. Being inquisitive.... OK nosey, I went and had a look.
From the bridge, the path narrowed to a small tree lined alley beside the river. As it snaked it's way through the undergrowth, one thing became clear very quickly. The sheer diversity of the plant life beside the river, or more correctly creek. A creek that became a swamp that flooded and drained with flowing and ebbing tides.
At the edges of the water, where the trees overhung, there were aerial roots of mangrooves piercing the shallows. Barely metres back the mangroves gave way to trees. Trees which changed species, as they followed natural dividing lines. Swamp Oaks, Mud Paperbarks, Casurinas. Moving away from the creek, the trees grew taller and provided canopies for smaller plants to grow. And in barely 1 kilometre, life in the fast lane suddenly changed. Here, in barely a few paces, I was gaining a first-hand view of how life first rose from the seas, all those eons ago.
The walk went on for five kilometres, with board walks, replacing paths to traverse the floodplains and bridges to span the creek, but the fast lane was calling me back. Places to go, things to do again. A second visit was a must. Who would have believed I had this magical space in my own home town, right under my nose.
So here's an idea. Give yourself five and see what you can find. Enjoy your break.
Feature Image Flying Fox, one of a colony that varies between 20,000 and 200, 000 annually, that roosts in the trees above the creek.
© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography Travel and Events Photography and Editorials