Deborah Alcock is our village manager at The Aerie At Narrabundah, ACT. When she’s not working, Deborah’s out exploring Australia, taking incredible photos of the amazing wildlife and landscapes. She spoke to us about how she finds ‘me-time’ and inspiration through her passion for nature photography.
How important is having 'me time' away from everyday life?
I'm very passionate about my work and I love working with the residents at the village. It's incredibly rewarding. But because of the busyness of my role, I find that on weekends I love exploring the outdoors. I'm a sporty person and I've always loved getting 'lost' in the tranquil Australian bush, experiencing the beauty of the flora and fauna, enjoying the sounds of the bush for a few hours each weekend, far away from the busyness that city life brings.
How did you get into photography?
I think because I did spend a lot of time in the bush, I just started taking photos on my phone. A couple of years ago, I decided to buy myself a good camera and join a local photography club recommended by one of my residents. This has been a great place as a beginner to gradually increase my skills. The group goes on outings to the bush, where we take macros, shots of flowers and bugs - anything we find interesting. Photography, combined with my love of nature, exploring the outdoors and exercise, is a wonderful way to enjoy the weekends and express my creativity. It's also wonderful sharing these experiences with the village residents and I'm always happy for their advice and ideas for my next trip exploring the National Parks.
Australia is so varied when it comes to flora and fauna. Where has your photography taken you so far?
Recently, I travelled to South Australia exploring the National Parks. I particularly enjoyed seeing the diverse landscapes, flora and fauna as I travelled from Adelaide up to Port Augusta. The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens was a highlight with so many beautiful native plants, as well as beautiful birds and interesting reptiles. A few weeks following that trip, I headed off to Western Australia travelling from Perth and southward to Albany. There were so many highlights, such as stumbling across a crackle of endangered Carnaby Black-Cockatoos (below). Australian Geographic even featured my photograph on their Instagram account. Rottnest Island was also a wonderful experience and I was able to capture the gorgeous quokkas, New Zealand fur seals, and an Eastern Osprey nest stack with the family.
How incredible. What's next?
My next adventure in a couple of months will see me head to Tasmania, where I'll be going on the Three Capes Walk, a 4-day, 48 kilometre trek. I'll also be spending a few days at Bruny Island and Cradle Mountain National Park. Hopefully there will be many photographs of native flora and fauna I've never been able to capture before.
Deborah's advice for people looking to get into photography
Join a local photography club. Clubs are a wonderful way to express your creativity, explore your interests and grow in skill. These clubs are great because they cater for everyone, from beginners to expert level. They're a wonderful place to meet people, too. Seek inspiration everywhere. Whether it's nature, street photography, macros, landscapes, flowers or bees in the village, there's always something to capture. It's a great hobby to explore and you're always learning. Share your photos on social media. Instagram is such a wonderful medium to connect with other like-minded people.
There's also groups on Facebook people can join and share imagery. I'm part of a few different groups: the Canon Camera Users Group, Bird Identification page and Birds of Australia - a site where fellow 'mad bird people' share and compare their photos. Clockwise from left: a crackle of Carnaby Black-Cockatoos; a Dainty Swallowtail butterfly; an army of soldier crabs.
See more of Deborah's incredible photography on her social media.