On this website are some pictures of moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata), occurring naturally in coastal Victoria south of Melbourne. They are displayed here to give an idea of the character and variety of mature to old, naturally occurring specimens of this species. There are two sections: my pictures, under the tab ‘Species’; and pictures from historical archives, under the tab ‘Historical’.
My pictures: how taken, processed
All the pictures under ‘Species ─ Moonah’ were taken by me, in November/December 2019. Some were of quite distant trees, to which I could not gain close access but which I was able to photograph using my camera’s zoom (up to 30x).
There are various ways of photographing trees, and what works best is a matter of taste. I always try to avoid tilting the camera up, so that the trees will not appear distorted. In most of my photos, therefore, there is quite a lot of foreground, much of which I crop out. Thoughtful attention to cropping other parts of the picture too can often improve it. Pictures may contain distracting elements such as road signs or powerlines, which can sometimes be edited out discreetly; a few of the photos here have been thus edited.
Trees can look dark against the sky if the sun is not out, and lack life and detail. If the sun is high in the sky, shadows from upper parts of the tree will often fall on parts of the trunk or branches. I therefore take nearly all my pictures of whole trees in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is low, illuminating the trunk and branches well. I particularly like the light just after sunrise or just before sunset, with its warm, pinkish glow. If there are no long shadows from buildings or other trees to get in the way, tree photos at those times of day can be very pleasing.
Photos of just the lower parts of trees I like to take with no sun, or else into the light, since patchy sunlight will often spoil their lines or textures.
Some of the pictures have been converted (by a good photographic laboratory) from colour to black and white. Colour can of course delight the eye; and different colours can separate out the parts of a picture, making it more intelligible — for example, by helping a tree to stand out against a background of other vegetation. But black and white can focus attention on a tree’s important features: its shape or structure, the textures of its foliage or bark, or its abundance of detail. Some pictures, especially if simple or containing strong contrasts, can therefore be more striking in black and white.
I have included some old photographs because they often show vegetation in a less disturbed state than appears today. Under Australian law, photographs taken before 1955 are out of copyright. I have given the source of each photograph for anyone who wants to investigate further.
How to use this website
To see the pictures, click on ‘Species’ or ‘Historical’ at the top, then ‘Moonah’. That will bring up an introduction followed by a gallery of pictures. Click on a picture to display it. To see its caption, click on the ‘i’ button, at the bottom (and click again to hide it). Move the cursor to the right- or left-hand side of the screen to bring up arrows for moving on or back.
If you would like to comment on these trees or pictures, you can send me an e-mail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is one of two websites I have. The other (www.robertpowelltrees.org/) is on trees and vegetation in south-western Australia. It contains my pictures of more then 25 tree species (including moonah), as well as more than 70 historical pictures of trees and vegetation.
Atlas of Living Australia (https://www.ala.org.au/)
Flora of Victoria (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/)
National Register of Big Trees (www.nationalregisterofbigtrees.com.au)
Chamovitz, D., 2012, What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses of your Garden ─ and Beyond (London: Oneworld Publications)
Powell, R., 2nd ed., 2009, Leaf and branch: Trees and Tall Shrubs of Perth (Kensington, Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation; reprinted by Western Australian Naturalists’ Club, 2019)
© Text: Robert Powell