Stepping out. Exploring your backyard.

I know better. Yet, for a variety of reasons, I managed to forget some pretty basic principles over this latest lockdown. There has been a lot going on in my life for the last few years, and I managed to forget there was a world outside a very small area I had become used to inhabiting.

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I realised this, having decided to go for a wander (one of very few) outside the house this morning.

I live overlooking the Botanical Gardens in South Auckland. You would think this would impress on me the fact that I have a fair bit of bush to explore in my backyard. I don’t have to go far, however, it wasn’t until I was standing in the middle of it that I membered. I am sure I will forget again, and remember again, but this is a little record of today’s trip.

Off Track, In the City

Another moment of silly realisation – despite having lived in the area for quite some years now, I have never actually headed much ‘off track’ in the area. Of course – like most urban bush areas – there is actually quite an extensive network of bait lines running throughout the sections of the bush. So, today, I decided I would step off the track and go for a bit of exploration.

I have done this before in the Waitakere Ranges before and used it as navigation practice. While some might say you couldn’t get lost in the Waitak’s – you can, people have, and regardless, designating an area to get to, then forcing yourself to use map and compass has benefits – even if you can hear the distant sound of traffic the whole time.

Anyhow, I went for a bit of a look-see, took the camera, got some great photo’s, wondered and mused to myself why I didn’t do this every day. Sometimes, your own mind is your worst stumbling block. Isn’t it?

Macro Photography

I do enjoy looking through the camera, and taking only one lens with you forces you to look in a specific way. This time, I just took my Canon L Series 100mm Macro with me.

Macro Photography makes you look at your feet. It makes you bring things closer in and pay attention to your immediate surroundings. Once you do that, you start seeing a lot of interesting things that are always there, but maybe just outside your normal perception. Or maybe that should be ‘inside’ your normal perception?

Tracking Practice

I find myself quickly trying to evaluate if anyone else had been through the same tracks anytime in the recent past. Looking for this kind of stuff again forces your mind to be present, and for anyone interested in hunting – tracking animals and peoples impressions have some fairly obvious benefit.

The reality is you are not that likely to be able to completely stalk up on an unsuspecting animal in the bush – they really do have the advantage out there – but some basic ability to understand, see and track basic sign can help ensure that there are at least animals around.

Sadly though…

Humans are relatively easy to track. Because many are lazy and leave their rubbish behind them.

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