Hello Koalas with the Voigtländer Nokton 40mm 1:1.2 and Sony α7R

This is the sixth of a series of articles showcasing pictures taken on the Voigtländer Nokton 40mm 1:1.2. These pictures were taken at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney during the “Hello Koalas” porcelain sculpture exhibition.

Can you imagine a world without koalas? It is confronting to think that one of our most iconic and adored native animals could be on the verge of disappearing forever. 

Confronting though it may be, koala numbers are certainly in decline. Since 2012 koalas have been listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and a 2019 report by the Australian Koala Foundation classifies the species as “functionally extinct”. While it is difficult to know the exact number of koalas in the wild, there are certainly many threats to their survival including deforestation and habitat loss, disease and the effects of climate change such as extreme heat and drought.

Raising awareness about the plight of the koala is the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail. The trail aims to promote koala conservation as well as conservation of other threatened animal and plant species. The idea was developed by Arts and Health Australia Pty Ltd (AHA), and was established in 2014 with a permanent home in Port Macquarie. 

According to AHA a key objective of the trail is “to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our koalas from the loss of habitat and food due to property development and urbanisation, road strikes, dog attacks in backyards, climate change and drought, and diseases such as Chlamydia.”

In addition to raising awareness, the project is also a celebration of the iconic koala, which is loved by Australians and tourists alike.

Last October the fun and colourful koala sculptures visited Sydney for the first time and were exhibited at the Royal Botanic Garden. The trail will include 20 different koala sculptures, each measuring one metre tall, which have been hand-painted by Australian artists. A number of new, bespoke sculptures have been created for this special visit.

The Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail has 20 unique koalas situated throughout the gardens – I tried visiting as many as I could, capturing them on the Voigtländer Nokton 40mm 1:1.2.

This following selection of goals give a good indication of the len’s ability to capture the subjects in a variety of situations, some of them quite challenging for a photographer in terms of light distribution and balance.

For more information on the Nokton 40mm lens, check out my initial impressions article and other articles in the series:

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Posted by Chris Tham

Chris Tham is a co-founder of Visual Voyager Pty Ltd, the Principal Voigtländer Ambassador for Mainline Photographics and a Workshop Instructor for Mainline Photo Academy. She brings over 35 years of experience as a photographer to her role, starting with a Yashica rangefinder belonging to her dad, joining the Photography Club in school, and developing her own photos. More recently, Chris has been taking photos during her travels, and as a result has experienced some of the most interesting places in the world. Chris focuses on nature, street, and urban architecture subjects in her photography.