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About Us

Vanessa and Chris Ryan are a married couple whose shared interests include writing, photography, travel and building websites. They are based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

By profession, Chris is a software engineer (mostly Java). Vanessa has had a varied career, including animator, illustrator/graphic artist and teacher. She is currently a homemaker.

Neither are particularly fit and Vanessa has some health problems, but the couple enjoys bushwalking and sightseeing where they can.

Their other shared interests include cooking, watching movies, roleplaying and online computer games. In particular, Chris is interested in open source software development and the latest computer technology. Vanessa enjoys gardening and one day would like to create a website dedicated to the plants and animals found in Southeast Queensland gardens.

The couple have made some other websites which you may be interested in. They can be found at rymich.com.

If you feel you have something to contribute to the growth of their Girraween website, whether it be comments, information or photographs, they would love to hear from you!

You can contact Vanessa and Chris via the Contact Us page.

About this Website

In October 2008, Vanessa and Chris visited Girraween National Park. It was the first time Chris had ever been to the park and it was the second time for Vanessa. They did the Junction and Granite Arch walks. It was a lovely day out and both took a great many photographs of the Spring flowers and granite features.

As the couple looked at their photos afterwards, Vanessa thought that her parents - particularly her mother - might like to see them. Her mother was born and raised in Stanthorpe and loves flowers. Vanessa thought that she would enjoy seeing their photos. As her Mum's health isn't the best, it would be unlikely that she would be able to travel to the park to see the flowers for herself. Vanessa and Chris decided to put together a little slideshow on a DVD for both their parents' enjoyment. The DVD's structure was a bit like a website, so they got to thinking...

The couple did some searching on the internet and discovered that, apart from the official Government website, there was very little out there on Girraween. Both Chris and Vanessa enjoy photography, writing and making websites, so they thought "why not?". There seemed to be a need (if they wanted to find a website about the park, other people surely would too) and it would be a great way of combining their shared interests into a single, worthwhile project that other people might find useful and enjoy. Plus it would be a good excuse for the couple to keep going back to the park for more walks!

It was supposed to be only a small website, but it has taken on a life of its own and it just keeps on growing. Vanessa does the bulk of the work. She suffers from depression and, in 2004, she had to give up her job because of it. Creating the website has become an extremely fulfilling passtime for her. In the process, she is learning a lot about building websites and even more about the natural world.

Chris does what he can to help. He enjoys the days spent at Girraween taking photographs and doesn't mind doing the technical stuff needed for running a website. Chris put together a computer that the couple donated for use in the park's Information Centre, so that visitors to the park could have access to the website while they were there.

A few months after the website went live on the internet, the couple received an email from Girraween's Public Contact Ranger - Jolene McLellan. Jo offered her assistance and, since then, a number of other people have also donated their time and photographs to the site. Without their help, the site would have nowhere near the substantial content that it has today. See the Thanks To... page for their names.

Computer in the park's Visitor Information Centre

The computer in the park's Visitor Information Centre.
Since its launch in 2008, the website has been continually growing and evolving. The site is still very much a work in progress - the more the couple work on it, the more they find to do. It's been a long, slow process building the site, but like doing anything worthwhile, Chris and Vanessa know that it will take time. They like to think that it's time well spent.

About our Photographs

Chris and Vanessa have both been interested in photography for many years. Vanessa did photography as part of her Arts Degree.

Chris originally used a Canon EOS 30D. He swapped between three lenses - a wide angle (10-20mm), a telephoto (75-300mm) and an all purpose lens (28-300mm). He's now moved on to using a Canon EOS 6D with a 28-135mm lens.

Vanessa originally used a Canon Powershot SX100 IS. She found it extremely versatile and loved the macro function. The only problem she found with it is that sometimes the lens angle just isn't wide enough for Girraween's big landscapes! She's now using a Panasonic FZ 200. The new camera is about twice the weight of the old compact but it's still much lighter and easier to handle than a DSLR. She's found the macro function isn't quite as good as the old Powershot, but it has a much better zoom and wide angle so it's a fair trade-off.

The couple are very grateful for the photographs donated for use on this website by other people. Chris and Vanessa couldn't possibly photograph everything in the park and these wonderful photos help to fill out many gaps. Please see the Thanks To... page for the list of photographers' names.

You can read more about our photographs here.

In the Media

      Yes, we're getting famous! You can read more about us here...

© Vanessa and Chris Ryan, 2009 | Copyright Details and Disclaimer
Last updated: 18th February 2014