Even though the weather is out to get me, my favourite time of year is when the flame trees come into bloom. In Darwin they’re called poinciana, but to me they’ll always be flame trees. Their flowers are a glow amid the lush green that comes with early rains, and they add a drop of colour as the stormy days pile up around us.
This time, I decided to capture them out at the East Point Reserve in Darwin. It’s a great spot to see the flame trees because the entire area is so green, which really makes them stand out. There are a number of them right along the reserve’s main footpath, which provided ample shooting opportunity for me.
Although rain threatened, I wouldn’t be distracted from my goal. I’ve been so slack in the past photographing the flame trees, but this year I really wanted to get a few shots of their stunning colour. I’d started the afternoon walking with my Mum, younger brother J, and J’s girlfriend, but they quickly sped ahead as I continued to stop to get the best picture. Even though I’m shooting in RAW, there are benefits to getting it right in camera, which is always my aim. Pretty soon I was walking all by myself along the footpath. Baking in the humidity, I spotted a clump of flowers thrust out over the path, directly above my head. As I stopped to photograph them, I took a moment to listen to the reserve hum around me. Mosquitos buzzed in my ears, birds called to each other, and the slight rustle in the bushes told me wallabies weren’t far away.
Not everyone is so lucky when it comes to having natural beauty right on their doorstep, but Darwin certainly is. I sometimes feel that is the tradeoff for living in through the heat and discomfort of our hotter seasons, and through the chaos that comes with the wet. Those moments where you might as well be the only person in the world.
But those moments don’t last, and Darwin is growing just as fast as anywhere else on the cusp of development. So I picked up my feet, stowed my camera, and ran to catch up with my family.