Perth’s Not So Secret Garden – Part 1

The Photo Walk – Part 1

Photo Tips ~ Shop ~ Environment ~ Links ~ Directions

Here in Perth we are blessed with a wealth of little known magical locations to explore & photograph right in the middle of our inner & outer suburbs.

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

Perth’s “Secret Garden” is one such place, located in a relatively small wetland area in the City of Stirling you could easily drive past this place without ever guessing what was hidden on the other side of a seemingly impenetrable wall of 20′ high bamboo.

Here is Part 1 of our Photo Walk around “Perth’s Secret Garden”

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

Even knowing where it was we still took a while to work out how to get inside, but when we did we were totally blown away.

The entrance is over a makeshift bridge which crosses a small stream at one end of the wetland. The stream, which runs along the length of the “Secret Garden”, was pretty full when we went there in February and I’ve heard that the whole area can be very wet underfoot in the winter months.

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

What gives the “Secret Garden” it’s incredible fairy tale / fantasy world feeling is the way the flora and much of the ground has been completely overgrown by a beautifully smooth green blanket of creeping vines.

You really have to see it to believe it  😮

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

Although the area covered by the creeping vines isn’t that large there are many twisting paths, vine-covered arches and dark little nooks to explore, it’s an adventurers dream come true 🙂

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

From what we have read the “Secret Garden” can get a bit busy on the weekends so if you really want to get the best experience I would recommend visiting during the week as we did. When we arrived it was completely empty allowing for us to capture some great, people free, images 😎

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

People have mentioned that they have seen a lot of rubbish littered around the “Secret Garden” from the increased number of visitors but we saw very little so I can only assume that someone is cleaning it up regularly 👍

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

Perth’s “Secret Garden” is certainly a photographers dream and a great place to practice new techniques or look for interesting compositions 🙂

The combinations of light & dark certainly pose a challenge (see Photo Tips below) but if you’re up for it then it’s worth a trip.

Get creative, anyone can turn up and snap a few shots but you can get some truly magical images from such a wonderous location.

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

On the other side of the dark & twisting paths the terrain changes completely, in Part 2 of “The Not So Secret Garden” we explore what lies beyond this vine covered fantasy garden …

Cheers,
Dave

Photo Tips

All images in this article I took on my Canon 5D MKII with an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and processed in Lightroom CC & ON1 Photo 10.5

I’ll post more detailed tips for taking great photos in the “Secret Garden” as a future part of this set of posts but here are a few quick tips to get you started:

Get Out of Auto Mode
To get good photos in a place like the “Secret Garden” you will need to dump all those auto modes your camera seduces you with and switch to full manual or aperture priority mode.

Shoot RAW
If your camera supports RAW format images then you will have much more flexibility when post processing your images. RAW images are like the old 35mm negatives, whereas jpeg’s created by your camera are more like Polaroids.

Expose to the Right
What this means is always set your exposure for the brightest area in the scene as overexposed highlights are generally unrecoverable unlike underexposed shadows.

Keep Your ISO as Low as Possible
The balance between Shutter Speed, Aperture & ISO is always a judgement call. For landscapes a good process to follow is

  • Set your required aperture for the depth of field
  • Determine the required shutter speed depending on the lense you are using and whether or not you are using a tripod
  • Select the lowest ISO to achieve the required shutter speed while minimising noise

Get Good Photo Editing Software
When shooting in manual or aperture priority mode you will need to post process your images to get the most out of them. Software tools such as Adobe Lightroom & On1 Photo 10.5 are affordable and essential for getting the best out of your photos.

Free trials are available for both Adobe LightroomAdobe Photoshop & ON1 Photo 10.5 at the following links:

The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia
The Secret Garden, Perth, Western Australia

“Secret Garden” Clothing & Photo Products

We’re planning whole range of clothing & products featuring our “Secret Garden” images starting with our Redbubble Scarf which can be purchased here.

MAD About WA inspired Secret Garden 2 Scarf from Lake Careniup, Perth designed by Dave Catley and available from our MADCAT RedBubble Store
MAD About WA inspired Secret Garden 2 Scarf from Lake Careniup, Perth designed by Dave Catley and available from our MADCAT RedBubble Store

Environmental Issues

When visiting natural environments such as this please be respectful of the flora and fauna, take your litter home and treat the environment with respect.

Leave No Trace
Take Nothing but Pictures
Leave Nothing but Footprints
Kill Nothing but Time
Keep Nothing But Memories
Burn Nothing but Calories

Original Quotes
“Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”
~ Quote: Chief Seattle (Dkhw’Duw’Absh chief, c. 1786 – June 7, 1866)
“This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.”
~ Quote: Chief Seattle (Dkhw’Duw’Absh chief, c. 1786 – June 7, 1866)
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.”
~ Australian Aboriginal Proverb

Directions

Don’t tell anyone I told you but the “Secret Garden” can be found at Lake Careniup, part of the wetlands system in Gwelup, City of Stirling.

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