Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Through my writing and photography I seek to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. I have a day job, but my passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography. For now my day job supports me until I can pursue my passions full time.

I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.

If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab. Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Autumn arrives in Western Australia

Autumn has arrived in the south west of Western Australia. Although our Australian native trees are evergreen you can see autumn colour starting to appear in the imported tree varieties that are dotted throughout our towns and countryside.

On the weekend I celebrated the arrival of autumn by joining a water-colour workshop run by Marguerite Aberle at Lyndendale Gallery on Crooked Brook Road just out of Dardanup, about a half hour drive from my home. I had been promising myself to attend one of Marguerite's workshops for a couple of years, and what a joy it was to finally attend. The theme for the workshop was autumn colours.
Marguerite is passionate about her art and her generosity of spirit and encouragement made me feel welcome and ignited my artistic streak that has bubbled away underneath my work-day life.  I hadn't picked up a paintbrush for years, and know I have a lot to learn, and I am looking forward to another workshop with Marguerite so I can continue to explore water colours.  You can learn more about Marguerite and see some of her beautiful work by clicking here - Marguerite Aberle

It really was a wonderful morning joining with other like minded ladies in the beautiful Lyndendale environment. One cannot help but be inspired! 
For this workshop we were making gift cards with an autumn theme.
You can see some of my tentative humble creations below here and above on middle and lower right pics. I look forward to bringing more to you when I meet up with Marguerite again soon to complete the project, and as time goes on.

Another signal to the start of autumn, for me at least, is the arrival of quinces.  This is a old fruit that is not often seen in modern orchards or backyards. The tree you see in the image below is at historic King Cottage in Bunbury where my writer's group now meet. I have been expectantly watching the fruiting of this tree over the last couple of months.

Quinces are a fruit of contrasts. The raw fruit is rock hard. You cannot eat it raw, although according to my friend who has a tree on their family property, the parrots love them. My dear friend bought me some bags of quinces over the weekend, and I stewed some straight away, and will be making quince paste very soon. The aroma of stewing quinces is intoxicating. They magically turn from hard yellow to soft succulent ruby pink.


You can eat them stewed like this or put them into a pie. For stewing just peel, core, and slice into eights. You can either stew them in a saucepan with a little sugar and water, or in the oven as I have done. The oven method takes longer but gives a richer taste.

For about 4-5 quinces - peel, core and quarter the quinces (or thinner slices if large quinces).
Put in an oven-proof dish,
with juice and zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange,  (although only 1 lemon works fine)
2 cinnamon sticks,  (1 cinnamon stick is fine)
1 and a quarter cups of raw sugar (less if you prefer)
and about 500 mls water. (just to cover - quantity dependent on the number and size of the quinces you have). 
Cover with a piece of damp baking paper. Bake at 160-170 C for 2-3 hours. 

The longer and slower the cooking, the pinker they become.

So delicious. I adore them! Have you ever tried quinces? If not, I do hope you buy some quinces if you ever see them in your market.
And like "The Owl and the Pussycat" don't forget to eat with a runcible spoon!
You might also like -  And slices of quince which they ate with with runcible spoon

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Agent Mystery Case
What's It Wednesday

Monday, 23 March 2015

Continuing my 52-2 project

My regular readers may remember that in 2014 I completed a 365 project - one photo a day for a year. If you go to the link you can see my 2014 year in pictures - 365 project  It was a huge undertaking, but I found it hard to stop when the year ended so I embarked on a new project - 52-2. This is a project conducted through the Western Australian Photographic Federation and is encouraged by our local Photography Group of Bunbury. You can read more about it here - WAPF - 52-2 project

The brief for the project is to take two photos a week - one colour and one mono for 52 weeks. It is actually a great way to get into the habit of experimenting with mono images. I introduced my project to you on a blog post in early February - A new photography project for 2015 and I thought today I would bring you an update

But first there is one thing about mono images I thought I would mention here. You can take mono images "in camera" but then they will always be mono. Whereas if you take them in colour you can convert them to mono in post processing, and you will still have the original colour image as well.
Also mono is not just black and white. Mono can be shades of the same colour - ie yellow for instance!

Some of these images you may have seen before on my posts. 

Below you can see - February - 
bush fire ravaged land, a beautiful frangipani flower in my garden,  grapes ready for the wine harvest pick, the Busselton around the jetty swim, ingredients ready for breakfast, eggs in an old baking mould, arches at the University of Western Australia and flamenco dancers from Sol y Sombra at the Bunbury Multicultural Festival.

March - so far -
coffee at the Goose Restaurant in Busselton, at a flamenco dancing workshop, those lovely hydrangeas from my post last week, Laksa, and a geometric pattern.

This geometric pattern was a result of me playing around for a photography group topic - shapes. Patterns and shapes are all around us. You can create all sorts of interesting images from shapes. Can you guess what this is? 
Update Friday 27 March - I am very happy to say I was awarded a "silver" at the Bunbury Photography Group last night for this image.
 Licorice Allsorts! yum! I love them! do you?

Shapes are all around us. This image I won  a "highly commended" award in the mono section of the photography group end of year awards last year.  Just a simple image of steps going up the Bunbury tower lookout which I took with my camera one lunch time last year. 

Architecture in particular gives us opportunity for taking photos of shapes - look up!

Bunbury Tower
That is all I have for you today. My week and weekend has gotten away from me as we were away for the weekend and I am still catching up.  But thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Agent Mystery Case
What's It Wednesday


Monday, 16 March 2015

Melting Moments & Hydrangeas in the garden

Do you sometimes have a day when you set out to do something, and then it ends of as something completely different? That's how my day was today.

Inspired by a recent photo I had seen of afternoon tea in a lavender garden I made a batch of Melting Moments from my Mum's recipe that I used to help her make when I was a child. It is a happy memory I have from my childhood, pressing the top of the biscuits with a fork to make the pattern.

While the biscuits were in the oven I set up the chairs and table in the garden. 
It's nice to use pretty cups sometimes don't you think?

And a comfy chair and a magazine to read.

 Along the way I was caught up by my spray of hydrangeas I had picked from my front garden.  I don't usually do soft, but today was different. I will let the hydrangeas tell the story. I've put them in a jug that belonged to my Mum.

A shallow depth of field using an Aperture like F/4 is perfect for a shot like this to blur out the background.  If you're camera is set to Auto look for the flower symbol. Aperture priority is a great place to start when experimenting with manual settings. Look for Av on your camera dial. Just remember a small number like F/4 equals a shallow depth of field.

In this shot the light cloud cover acted as a wonderful natural diffuser. On Aperture Priority the camera sets the shutter speed so it might decide you need a longer shutter speed to get the shot in low light, so use a tripod, and a shutter release cable (if you have one) to steady the shot.

And a bit of treatment in post-processing. 

 And finally...I have my new computer, and a new Photoshop Elements 13 - so I have edited the photo with a texture from Kim Klassen - "Downton Abbey - Violet". I am enjoying Season 5 of Downton Abbey - are you? 
I haven't done much texturising of images over the last 6 months or so - perhaps I will start playing around with it again. There is so much wonderful inspiration over at Kim Klassen - why don't you go over and have a look.

 It is just a short post from me today, but I hope you have enjoyed it. Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Agent Mystery Case
What's It Wednesday

You might also like - 

Hello sunshine yellow & lemony delights
And slices of quince that they ate with a runcible spoon
Photographing food in the Ferguson Valley

Sunday, 8 March 2015

10 things to do in Yallingup without going to the beach! - Western Australia

Some people would think it would be impossible to go to Yallingup without going to the beach. But trust me you can.

The Yallingup-Margaret River region in Western Australia's south west corner is well known internationally for the great surf.

In fact in April  "The top 32 ranked male and top 18 ranked female surfers in the world will descend upon the Margaret River Region to surf its world-class waves in April for the Drug Aware Margaret River Surf Pro. The event is expected to see thousands of spectators flock to Surfer’s Point in Prevelly to watch the world’s best surfer’s take on the famous Margaret River Mainbreak". Click here to read more -  Margaret River Surf

But what if you are not into surfing? I know I’m not. I never did master being comfortable in big waves. Give me a quiet sheltered cove like Meelup Beach any day.  

Please click on "read more" to keep reading and seeing more

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Sol-y-Sombra and Flamenco at the Multi-Culutral Festival Bunbury

This last weekend in Western Australia we have had a Labour Day long weekend - 28 February to 2 March.

One of the events over the weekend where I live was the Multi-Cultural Festival held on Saturday evening. This is a family based free event showcasing cultural dances from around the world representing the fabulous mix of cultures who live in our region. There was also a fusion of wonderful international tastes sold at the various food stalls around the event.

I am involved with the Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company and School of Dance. This year they danced the "Fire Dance" at the festival.  Below is my favourite image from the night. This is our teacher Nicole. Don't you just love the swirl of those "fire" shawls?

Please click on "read more" to keep reading and seeing more!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A forest of sunflowers

Today I have some creative writing for you - a writing group exercise this week.
My grandmother did have a huge vegetable garden, and there was a man that lived over the lane we used to visit, but I don't remember his name, and I don't remember any sunflowers, so this story is partly true and partly fictional.

A Forest of Sunflowers

There is a forest of sunflowers at the bottom of my grandmother’s garden, up against the back picket fence between the chook pen and the outhouse under the weeping trees.

The sunflowers are so tall that when we stand amongst them we can only just see over the top. We crouch down on the dusty dry red dirt amongst their stiff scratchy stalks. The sunflower heads are so big they form a canopy shading us from the hot sun and casting a yellow glow over us. Sometimes we take a book with us and read it sitting amongst the sunflowers. It’s our secret world where anything is possible.  As we doze in the sun the world of the Faraway Tree comes to life under the sunflowers.

Please click on "read more" to keep reading!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Playing around with food and light

It's been a little while since I posted about food photography, so today is the day!                                                          If you are a newbie food photographer with only basic equipment you might struggle with light. I know I did. I                                                            You should study the light around your home as you will probably find that the light changes around your house throughout the day. My patio is great in the mornings, and my kitchen window is great around midday or later on if I am looking for backlighting.
Please click on "read more" to read more!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Busselton Jetty swim 2015

What does one do on a beautiful summer's Sunday morning in Busselton? Swim 3.6 kilometres around the Busselton Jetty with 2000 other people? Of course! but did I? No not me! I stood on the jetty and watched - I wouldn't want to get my camera wet would I?

But seriously this is what 2000 competitors, male and female, ranging from their teens to their eighties did on Sunday morning 8 February. It was the twentieth time the Around the Busselton Jetty swimming race had been held. Each year the race grows in numbers of competitors.
Please click on "read more" to read more!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A new photo project for 2015

So we are already a month into 2015! How are you all going with your New Year Resolutions? I must admit I don't make any. But I do start to make a few plans, and there are a few big plans waiting in the wings for me for 2015, but resolutions? no.

I can hardly believe I am saying this, but I have embarked on a new photographic project for 2015.  Those that follow me on my blog probably know about my 365 Project in 2014 - one photo a day every day for a year. It was a challenge - a huge challenge at times. When I reached the end of the 2014 and the successful completion of the 365 project I said thank goodness for that, it is over.  But do you know what? I couldn't stop taking photos every day just in case I decided to do a fool thing and do another 365 project! And then fate stepped in. A week or so ago I woke up about 12.15 midnight, and realised that I hadn't taken a photo the previous day.  The first I had missed in over 380 days. Now I could have gotten up out of bed and taken a photo, but no, the day was past. It was a relief really. 

Please click on "read more" to read more!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Australia Day - 26 January - on the beach

26 January is Australia Day and the day we celebrate everything Australian, our history, the future, way of life, mateship and cultural diversity. 

I'd love you to waltzing matilda over to my post from last year to look at a more humouress look at what Australianism is - Celebrating Australia and Waltzing Matilda

Why do we celebrate Australia Day on 26 January?  This is the day in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip landed in Sydney Cove with the First Fleet (eleven convict ships) from Great Britain. They raised the Union Jack to symbolise British occupation of the eastern half of the continent claimed by Captain James Cook on 22 August in 1770. We should also remember on this day that Australia's first inhabitants, the traditional indigenous owners, have a slightly different view of this event. You can learn more by clicking here - Australia Day History 

Please click on "read more" to read more!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bunbury street art on a Sunday morning, Western Australia

So what does one do in Bunbury on a Sunday morning?

  • Go to the beach
  • Take a walk
  • Have breakfast in a cafe
  • View the street art
  • Go to the art gallery

Or as we did on this last Sunday all of the above!

Please click on "read more" to read more!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

St Werburgh's Chapel, Mt Barker, Western Australia

Years ago we visited St Weburgh's Chapel not far out of Mt Barker and north of Albany on Western Australia's south coast.
I wanted to visit again, and this last weekend we took a side trip to Mt Barker and St Werburgh's on our way to Denmark.

St Werburgh's Chapel is nestled in a small grove of trees on a hill surrounded by farming land and overlooking Hay River. It is one of the few church buildings in Western Australia which have been built by a landowner on their own estate.  

Dedicated to Saint Werburgh (English Abbess 7th century AD) the chapel was built from clay pug and completed in 1873.

Please click on "read more" to read more!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

And that's a wrap - 2014 and my 365 Project

And so 2014 is at an end. What a year it has been. When I started my 365 project back on 1 January 2014 I could not have imagined where the year would take me. It has been interesting to look back over my year in pictures. At times the project has been challenging and I didn't think I would be able to maintain taking at least one photo every day, but I have and it has been immensely enjoyable and very rewarding. During times when life has been a little tough, my camera has been my solace, and a welcome distraction. 

To read more please click on "read more"

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A little bit of Christmas baking

It's nearly Christmas. Do you go all out and do a lot of Christmas baking? Or only a little?

In truth Christmas in the Australian summer is not the best time for baking, so I usually target a cooler day to cook.

Looking for a simple Christmas cookie recipe? Try these Ginger Stars.

To find the recipe, please click on "read more" to read more!

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

And so it is only just over a week and a bit to Christmas. Our last "homework" for our writer's group was to write a memory from Christmas.  And this is what came to me..... I thought I would share it with you.

Christmas comes but once a year
It brings with it joys and tears

As I go through the motions of gift buying, decorations and planning menus..... 
Please click on "read more" to read "The Ghosts Of Christmas Past" ....