Esther Beaton


An Aussie Christmas Story

Galah in Christmas Bush, December, Sydney, NSW
Galah eating Christmas Bush blossoms in December (Christmas time). Sydney, NSW

Early one morning, I spotted some galahs feeding in my neighbour’s Christmas Bush. It was just after dawn, too early to disturb anyone, But you know what it’s like when you have to get the shot, right? Nothing is going to stop you, certainly nothing as mundane as getting permission to trespass in your neighbour’s yard.

So I grabbed my tripod and my 300 mm f2.8 long lens and hopped the fence. I was using my special stalking technique to approach the birds as close as possible, slinking along the side of the house. I was right under the bathroom window when I got caught.

Now imagine what it was like for the neighbour. You’re a big, burly oyster farmer, getting ready for your day and doing all sorts of private things in your bathroom, when you look out your window and inches from your nose is this woman hefting a huge big lens and staring back at you. “Oh, hello” you say, and she answers back “Um, hi, I’m just taking photos of galahs.” Fortunately Brooklyn oyster farmers are a casual mob and very accommodating to suspicious females lurking in their bushes. “No worries”, he says and continues showering. And I got the shot.

(BTW, non-Australians might not get the joke until I explain something. “Galah” is a term used here to mean a jabbering old codger, a kind of loveable fool.)

Regardless of the back story, I love how this photo commemorates our Aussie Christmas: an iconic bird, a symbolic flowering bush, and the fertile redness of the Down Under summertime.

Do you try to bring a little Australian flavour into your Christmas season?

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