Skip to content

A different lens

Published 14 Mar 2017

This stonemason from England has a passion and love for Australia’s unique plants and animals that can inspire us all.

The final photograph: a platypus on Scottsdale Reserve, NSW. Photo Richard Taylor.The sun is just rising over Scottsdale Reserve as Richard Taylor quietly slips from the sleeping quarters. The chill in the air reminds him of his native Lancashire in north-west England, although the landscape is vastly different.

With him are his trusty camera and a collection of lenses. He makes his way to the river and methodically sets up on its banks.

It’s a ritual he’s carried out twice a day for more than two weeks. Every morning and evening he spends two hours by the river in the hopes of photographing the elusive platypus. The camera-shy creature is one of Richard’s favourite Australian species, and it sits atop his extensive shot list.

Today is Richard’s lucky day: there’s some action in the water. A platypus emerges and sits by the rocks, as if posing. Richard’s patience has finally paid off.

“Getting that photo just blew my mind,” he says later. “It was just incredible. That will be something that will stick with me for a long time.”

The photographer in his element. Photo courtesy of Richard Taylor.Since arriving from the UK for a volunteering holiday in Australia, Richard has been quick to get his hands dirty. He’s done everything from frog surveys to tree planting, weed control and general maintenance around Scottsdale Reserve. Wildlife photography is the one leisure activity he permits himself outside of his volunteering commitments, yet the workload has never daunted him.

“It’s incredibly varied work and that’s been one of the interesting parts. The reserve managers have a huge task in front of them so I’m just happy to play my part.”

Richard is an experienced environmental volunteer, having worked with the National Trust, the Northwest Ecological Trust and The Wildlife Trusts in the UK. It was Australia’s unique wildlife that drew him to our shores.

“I’ve been interested in conservation for some time and so I think it's interesting to see how conservation is done over here, especially the techniques Bush Heritage is using, how the land is managed and what fauna and flora are here,” he says. “It's all so new. Everything here, all of the plants and animals, are unique to Australia, and it’s wonderful to see and experience it all for myself.”

The Murrumbidgee River on Scottsdale Reserve. Photo Peter Saunders.The diversity of Australia’s ecosystems amazes Richard: “I see something new every single day,” he says with evident enthusiasm. But he is also keenly aware of the urgent need to protect Australia’s landscapes, and he has a message for us all.

“These species are found only in this country. There's really nowhere else in the world you can see these plants and animals other than in Australia. If we lose them from here, we lose them from everywhere. They’re gone.”

More from BushTracks Autumn 2017

BUSHTRACKS 23/03/2017

How inspiration became a legacy

A childhood spent in the bush and an admiration for Bob Brown combined to inspire Bush Heritage donor and bequest supporter Davydd Shaw.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 23/03/2017

Striking it rich in central Victoria

Gloved fingers point at a collection of maps lying on a 4WD bonnet. The group of Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Custodians and Bush Heritage staff are here to survey the Nardoo Hills reserves in central Victoria for their cultural values.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 20/03/2017

Feral instincts

From the saltbush plains of Boolcoomatta in South Australia, to the sandy dunes of Ethabuka in Queensland, our staff are working hard to implement science-based methods to combat feral cats.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 14/03/2017

Come rain or shine

Braving monsoonal rains and searing heat, PhD student and Bush Heritage Environmental Research Scholarship recipient Justin McCann is unlocking the secrets of Naree Station Reserve.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 14/03/2017

Sympathy for the devil

It's named after a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice, and inspired by the ominous looking spikes and horns that adorn its body, yet the Thorny Devil is one of Australia’s most placid reptiles.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 14/03/2017

Testing the waters

Bush Heritage is taking its renowned science-backed approach underwater to unlock the secrets of Hamelin Pool.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}