Cemeteries & Fungi

When I sold my 60D, I felt strange.  It had been my companion for so long and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made the right choice.  Was I going to be happy with my little OM-D?  Only time would tell.  On the up side, my selling the 60D had freed up some funds for the one thing my OM-D was lacking: a good lens.  Or two.

There are dozens of choices when it comes to lenses for this little camera so it took me a while to narrow down my options, but I eventually settled on two prime lenses: the 17mm f1.8 and the 45mm f1.8.  (With a prime lens, zooming is provided by your own movement either towards or away from the subject of your photographic gaze.)  I loved the 17mm lens straight away and I’ve been using it for photos of my op shop finds and my handknitted goodies.  The 45mm lens, though… I didn’t feel the love.  But this is exactly what happened with my 50mm lens on my 60D: all I needed to do was force myself to use the lens until I worked out what it was best at.

I finally had a chance to do that when I visited the parents in Beechworth recently.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked the ma.  I’d never been to the Beechworth cemetery and it was a shortish walk from my parents’ house – perfect for a Winter afternoon ramble.  Plus, it would give me a chance to attach my 45mm lens to my camera and get to know it a little better.

The photography started before we’d even reached the cemetery as there was interesting fungi literally everywhere we looked.  And the 45mm lens came into its own, providing me with images of close-up detail without the need to clamber over a fence and stick my lens right in front of every toadstool that came my way.

Here’s a selection of the photos I took over the weekend in Beechworth.  The first five are taken with the 17mm lens and the rest are with the 45mm, so you can see the difference in framing and in how the lenses the behave.  You can still do detailed shots with the 17mm, just as you can do landscapes with the 45mm – the trick lies in the approach and in understanding how each lens is going to ‘see’ the scene.

A burst of fresh greenery stands out from the standard Autumn colours.
Sleeping daisy.
Lavender looks good even when the seed heads are dead!
It's impossible to resist the stunning colour of these berries.
Sometimes pegs like to be arty, too.
These tiny little fungi were almost impossible to capture but so worth the effort.
A redcap toadstool breaking through.
An older redcap showing its gills and stalk.
We walked to the Beechworth cemetery, which is quite old, despite having been re-located several times.
A sad, broken headstone.
Inside the Chinese burning towers looking out. My camera was inside, at least; I was not.
This view shows only a small part of the cemetery.
More fungi encountered on the way home.

When I got back from the walk and had a chance to scroll through the photos I’d taken, I almost felt like taking the 45mm lens aside and apologising to it for doubting its awesomeness.  It’s an incredible little lens!  The detail of the images is so sharp and the focus is amazing – I took a photo of my parents that is possibly one of my favourite photos ever, thanks to the perfect focus and the lovely blur of the background.

With the addition of these two lenses, it feels as though the OM-D was the best choice after all.  I have a feeling we’re going to be very happy together.

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hashigal 24th June 2015 - 10:03 pm

Oh I love this! Fungi and cemeteries are two of my favourite things. There are so much varieties of fungi, and common knowledge about them in Australia is so scant. And then cemeteries, well. I find them to be soothing and calm places, despite the bit where they’re supposed to be haunted and scary. And have you every noticed the massive shifts in headstone culture pre-WW1 and post? It’s fascinating. There’s a little graveyard between Perth and New Norcia attached to the cutest little stone church, and their pre-WW1 headstones have entire poems dedicated to the person. It’s fabulous.

hashigal 24th June 2015 - 10:05 pm

So many! Sorry! I appear to have used up all my editorial skills over the weekend.

Katie Writes Stuff 25th June 2015 - 12:41 pm

Fungi is so fascinating! I love the ones that grow on old tree stumps – I think they’re gorgeous, although many people don’t share that point of view. This goes for cemeteries, too. They’re such fascinating places and I never get a creepy vibe from them. You’re right about that shift in the approach towards gravestones. The older ones are just beautiful and they make newer ones look so plain and banal by contrast. I also love the way families invested in a large headstone and simply added to it when required. They must have cost an absolute fortune!

Trey 25th June 2015 - 12:32 am

Cool photos as always. I had a Biology professor in college who loved to make this joke whenever the word “fungi” came up: “Not a fun girl, but a fungi.” It was funny the first fifty times.

Katie Writes Stuff 25th June 2015 - 12:37 pm

Thanks! There’s definitely a limit to the hilarity of some jokes, isn’t there? You’d think your professor would have been tired of the play on words after about the first time, but I guess that just shows dedication. Or a desire to drive their students completely insane.

Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! 26th June 2015 - 9:42 am

Thanks for sharing your lovely shots!

Katie Writes Stuff 27th June 2015 - 4:42 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed them. 🙂


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