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Mount Field Snowgums. By Geoff Murray

January 17, 2022

Mt Field Snowgums texture by Geoff Murray

Over the last couple of days I have had a couple of short forays into Mount Field National Park. This magnificent park has landscapes that range from temperate rainforest with beautiful waterfalls to extensive alpine areas with some stunning mountain topography. Mount Field National Park, along with Freycinet National Park, were both declared national parks in 1916, making them the oldest national parks in Tasmania.

It is also home to some amazing alpine vegetation including the palm-like Richea sandanni and the Tasmanian Snowgum.

Yesterday I visited the Mosaic Moorland, a moorland with a carpet of wildflowers, occasional bushes of the prickly but colourfully flowered Richea scoparia and a few Waratah bushes in amongst patches of Snowgum. It also has extensive areas of the Alpine Sundew, a small carnivorous plant whose globules of sticky glue spell death to any unfortunate insects that land on them. I wandered around off track looking for images in the overcast cool conditions, coming across the occasional scene worth capturing. A couple of hours were spent enjoying the alpine landscape before packing up and heading home.

Overnight, significant rain fell right across Tasmania and this meant the snow gums bark would be saturated, a condition that often brings out amazing otherworldly colours so I thought a return to the Snowgums would be worthwhile.

The first time I photographed these trees was in 1993. I was using medium format cameras at the time and was given some newly released film, Fuji Provia, to try out. This film was excellent at representing the outlandish colours that these trees can exhibit.

One of the trees, a smallish Snowgum with a Pandanni nestled in close to it, has the most spectacular colours in the right conditions and this was the first tree I visited today. Walking up towards the tree in heavy rain it actually looked like it was a wasted trip as there didn’t appear to be much colour at all but as I moved around to the weather side of the trees I was greeted with the colours I had hoped for. Luckily I had brought an umbrella with me as the rain was heavy and continuous.

Having captured images of the tree I worked my way back to my car then drove up to visit Old Friend number 2. I have featured this tree in a previous article, describing how I found it, photographed it, then lost it for some years before finding it again.

It still shows the magnificent colour and was definitely worth a revisit today.

The rain continued but fortunately, I was wearing my Mont Odyssey jacket and Austral overpants so the rain wasn’t a problem, and the umbrella mostly kept the camera dry.

A few more images in the area and I was happy to head home again.

Geoff Murray
Mont Ambassador

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