Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Seeking 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. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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".



Saturday, 10 December 2016

How to make and photograph Blueberry Pancakes

A few years ago a friend gifted me a blueberry plant, and this year we've had a nice little pick from i. I've been guilty of eating them straight off the bush. But I thought what better way to celebrate the blueberries summer goodness than with Blueberry Pancakes with cream and lemon curd.

 I saw a recipe in a foodie magazine, but I adapted it slightly. It is such an easy recipe and the lemon curd adds a little zing. So here is my recipe for how to make Blueberry Pancakes with lemon curd.

First off just make your pancakes using your favourite recipe. I used my pikelet recipe. 
So easy to remember - 4 tablespoons of self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg, and half a cup of milk. Do you see the formula? 4, 2, 1, and a 1/2.

 For the lemon curd recipe, I used a variation of my lemon meringue pie filling recipe, but used about half these amounts - 

2/3 cup lemon juice, 
3/4 cup white sugar, 
1/3 cup cornflour, and 
1 cup water. 

Combine all in a saucepan and stir till smooth. Stir constantly over a medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and quickly mix in 55 grams (2oz) butter or margarine till completely melted. Cool. 

To serve stack your pancakes in individual serving plates. Dollop on some lemon curd, a spoonful or so of thickened cream, and blueberries. Dust lightly with icing sugar. Yum!

 In case you were wondering the food images you see here were taken in RAW and the settings I used were - F 5.6, ISO 100, 1/13 sec exposure, 100mm macro lens, DSLR camera mounted on a tripod with a plug in shutter release. A little processing in Lightroom.  I chose a blue checked tea-towel to team in with the blue edging of the plates and the blue blueberries.  Take shots vertically and horizontally, review and move things about a little, and don't be afraid to crop the plate!

 As you can see below I just set the blueberry pancakes up on my kitchen bench which has a fairly neutral top. I set up a white card opposite the light to bounce light back in on the opposite side. The bounce card is white "foam core" card which you can buy in a framing shop.

Recently I finally bought myself a light for photography - you can see it set up above. I LOVE natural window light and that is my preference, but there are times as a food photographer where you might not have natural light. I have been looking and researching for a long time and finally came up with this LED light which I think will suit my purposes. It is a Edgelight LED light. 

This is a continuous light which is what I was looking for, as you can see straight away what your set up looks like lit. It has variable brightness adjustments and adjustable temperature from amber tungsten 3200k to white daylight 5600k. The light itself is thin, and the lights instead of being directed outwards, are directed inwards and diffused through the front, which means there is no harsh light on the product, and can also be used for portrait photography without the subject having to squint into a bright light. It comes packed flat in a portable padded carry bag. In addition you will need to purchase a light stand to mount the light. It runs on batteries or can be plugged into mains power.  

 The one I bought is a 52cm round panel which cost nearly $1,000.00 Australian, so not cheap. But there are smaller cheaper options. There are different styles available, and even one that can be mounted on to the top of a DSLR camera. I bought mine in Perth, but here is a link so you can look into it further - Protog - Edgelight
and here are a couple of little videos I found on the web - YouTube - Flapjack LED light 
and   You tube - Behind the Scenes

On the same day I made the blueberry pancakes I made these ones topped with crushed nuts and cream, and drizzled with caramel sauce. I had fun trying to drizzle the caramel sauce and take the picture at the same time. A remote shutter release will help you with this. The advantage of a remote shutter release is that there is no movement of the camera when you press the shutter, which is important if taking images in low light with a slower shutter speed.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this post. Do you like blueberries? Do you have a favourite blueberry recipe? Perhaps you'd like to share it in the comments. 

Natural light outside under my patio
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 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard

Sunday, 4 December 2016

How to make a paper wreath

Hi everyone this is my first official craft "how to make....." post. Come on in and join me making a beautiful paper wreath. It can be for Christmas or just to hang on your wall. Or your wreath could be used for a decoration on your table.

I saw a blog about making paper wreaths recently, so I set about making one and ended up making four to sell at my friend's gallery Christmas fare.  The wreath you see above was my favourite - made from a very colourful children's book which was on a second hand sales stall. 

You can make these paper wreaths from old books - Reader's Digest condensed books are ideal (you can often buy them in second hand stores), magazines, sheet music, or even an old atlas.  Use something with a stiff paper. If you don't like the idea of cutting up books, think of it as upcycling and giving it new life.  Craft paper will work well too, but I think paper with pattern or colour on both sides works best.

Ok let's dive in - here's how to make a paper wreath -

You will need - paper or old book to cut up, a cutter, craft glue, hot glue gun, cardboard, a small amount of paint, scissors, lacquer suitable for paper, a piece of string to hand your finished wreath.

Step 1 - cut your pages. I measured my pieces - 14cm ( 5 1/2 inches) x 11cm (4 1/4 inches).  I cut a cardboard template and used a good sharp paper cutter and a cutting mat. The bigger the pieces of paper, the bigger your completed wreath will be.

Step 2 - Glue one of the short edges. A glue stick is fine for this.

Step 3 - Holding your paper on the diagonal, fold the unglued short side inwards

Step 4 - 5 - Wrap the glued edge over and around to the back and stick down.

 Step 6 - 7 - easy! Make about 60-70 cones. A great little thing to do sitting in front of the TV in the evening.

 Step 8 - 9 - cut a circle out of the cardboard. My circle measures 14cm (5 1/2 inches) across. At this point it is probably a good idea to paint the back of the cardboard whatever colour you like - mine were gold, or glue some coloured paper onto the back. 

Now start gluing the cones on in a circle to make your wreath. I used craft glue, but you could use a hot glue gun. Start by dividing the circle into four, then fill in the gaps. The further out you start the bigger your completed wreath will be, and you might need to make more cones.

Step 10 - keep going around in a circle gluing on the cones, building it up as you go. Try to keep as even as possible. You will probably need to flatten the bottom of the cones. As you get in to the centre you will also need to cut off the tips of the cones so they fit into the middle better.

Step 11 - Finished! When you have finished spray with a couple of coats of lacquer to protect the paper.  Thread some string on the back for hanging.

I made four wreaths - one from a Reader's Digest condensed book, one from a magazine, one from a colourful children's book, and one from an old Atlas.  Think of it as up-cylcing! If you don't like the idea of cutting up books, use craft paper.

So how do my wreaths look? Do you think you will give them a go? Let me know if you do. Is there a Christmas craft that you enjoy? Perhaps you'd like to tell us about it in your comments.

And this is where the inspiration came for these wreaths - RedAgape
Thank you so much Mandy for sharing.   In Mandy's tutorial she used double sided tape to make the cones, and then stapled the bottom of the cones down. I didn't think this was really necessary. 
Mandy lives in Millthorpe, a heritage town, just outside of Orange in New South Wales, Australia. There are lots of craft ideas on Mandy's web page if you'd like to take a look.

Made from old school Atlas
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 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Rottnest Island short break, Western Australia

A great place to visit for a short break from Perth is Rottnest Island. Located only 19km off the coast, it is only a 25 minute fast ferry ride from Fremantle, and within minutes of stepping onto the jetty at Rottnest you will be ready to relax and soak up the white sandy beaches, secluded bays, unique wildlife, fascinating history, and fun for all the family. We visited in early November and the weather, though not hot enough for swimming for us, was perfect for exploring.

After history as a prison island, the official opening of Rottnest Island as a tourist destination was in 1911, it was classified as an A-class reserve in 1917, and Rottnest has gradually transformed itself into the relaxed holiday destination it is today. 

The Rottnest Island Express recommend these 5 reasons Rottnest Island is a must see destination - 
  • Unique wildlife - including nearly 18,000 Quokkas
  • Choice of Day Tours - bike, snorkel, adventure boat tours and more
  • Fascinating history - a rich cultural heritage
  • Breathtaking natural beauty - over 60 sandy beaches and 20 secluded bays
  • Fun for the family - lots of activities for the family to enjoy
But first we went to the Information Centre (conveniently located just off the end of the jetty) to gather some maps and information, then we wandered down to our accommodation where our luggage had been already delivered for us from the boat. I must note here that tourists cannot bring vehicles onto the island. The mode of transport is on foot or pushbike. You can bring your own bike on the boat, hire one from the ferry service or from Rottnest Island Pedal and Flipper after you get there.

Rottnest accommodation options include beach side cottages, The Karma Resort, Hotel Rottnest, the Kingstown Barracks, or the campground where you can hire a cabin or bring your own tent.  Something to suit all budgets. We chose a Premium view cottage which was right across from the beach and was very neat and comfortable. These come in a four, six or eight bed configuration with a small kitchen, BBQ, bathroom, and living room with tv.  You can see our view, over the main beach, up there in the first picture.

Once we were booked in it was time to relax and start exploring. This was my first visit to Rottnest and it was everything that I expected and more. It was wonderfully relaxing, especially after the last ferry had returned to the mainland in the late afternoon, but I will suggest you visit mid week if you want this relaxed feel, not on weekends or school holidays, when it is very busy.  We spent our first afternoon just strolling around the settlement, and relaxing at our cottage. 

The next day we bought a ticket on the hop-on hop-off bus which takes you around the island. The Island is 11km in length and 4.5kms at its widest point. If you hire a bike you are free to explore at will, but the hop-on hop-off bus is also really convenient with stops  dotted around the island at beaches and must-see spots, with regular pick-ups. Just hop off where-ever you like, explore, then hop back onto the next bus, and explore some more. 

On a day ticket you can go around the island as many times as you like. The bus leaves from the center of the settlement where you can collect a timetable. Just make sure of the time of the last service of the day, as we were caught out and had to walk back to our cottage from the Lighthouse. I certainly deserved a glass of wine after that!
There are several walk trails and also a range of tours you can organise on the island. 

In the foreground here you can see the wildflower - the Rottnest Island Daisy - Trachymene coerulea - just beautiful this time of year.

Below you can see some of those beautiful beaches and bays - just look at the colour of that water! As well as bikes (for all ages, plus mobility tricycles, and child trailers), you can hire dive and snorkeling equipment, body boards, paddle boards or surfboards from Rottnest Island Pedal and Flipper. 

The waters around Rottnest provide a home for New Zealand Fur Seals and Australian Sea Lions. Out at the west end at Cathedral Rocks (one of the bus stops) you can see a population of New Zealand Fur Seals. A short walk further on at Cape Vlamingh you might see whales during their migration season. The lookout is a great place to take some time to just sit.

As you move about the Island you will see the Island's native mammal, the Quokka. Rottnest is free from predators and so Quokkas have become prolific on the island, whereas there are only a few small colonies left on the mainland. They are nocturnal but I think they have learned that humans mean food so you will see them any time of day, especially around the settlement. But please don't feed them or touch them, as human food is not good for quokkas and we can pass on diseases to them. If you click on the link you can see more about the quokka including a little video. Rottnest Island Quokkas
How cute are they?

When we were on our hop-on hop-off bus tour, we stopped off at the Wadjemup Lighthouse located roughly in the centre of the island at the highest point. Tours are run several times of day, please refer to your Rottnest Island Guide and Map (available from the information centre) for times.  On the tour we learned some of the lighthouse's fascinating history and were also able to climb up the centre of the lighthouse to the viewing platform at the top which gave us fantastic 360 views over the island. 

Construction of the Wadjemup Lighthouse began in 1842, built from Rottnest Island limestone by Aboriginal prisoners. The majority of the work was completed by 1849, but the light was not officially lit until 1851. The lighthouse is recognised as the first stone lighthouse constructed and lit in Western Australia. The height of the tower was 16 metres. Seven ships were wrecked on reefs around the Island between 1878 and 1891 and a new lighthouse was built, 30.4 metres tall at the base of the lantern house. It was officially opened in 1896. The lighthouse was electrified in 1936 and became automated in 1990. It still remains an important navigation aid for ships coming into Fremantle Port. 

In this picture above you can see another important aspect of the lighthouse history. Rottnest played an important role in Australia's coastal defence during the two World Wars. The building you can see in the foreground were quarters for personnel from the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service who worked as signalers at the nearby Signal Station. From Signal Ridge the 9.2 inch guns located at Oliver Hill can still be seen to the south east, and you walk to these gun emplacements. 

Bathurst Lighthouse on the north corner of the island, which you can see below, was completed in 1900. It is an easy walk from the settlement, and then onto Geordie Bay where I recommend you stop for a coffee at the cafe - it is much more relaxing than the settlement cafes.

 Rottnest Island was surveyed in 1830 and a town site, to be known as Kingstown, was proposed. Originally it was thought that a thriving community and farming would be established on Rottnest, but history will show otherwise.

Today you can explore a number of buildings which remain from its colonial past and the longest continually occupied street in Western Australia, mainly built by Aboriginal prisoners. The first Superintendent's house was built in 1841. You can pick up a map and guide from the Information Centre, or as we did, join a free one hour tour. Refer to your Rottnest guide for times. These tours are conducted by volunteers who are very much a part of Rottnest today. 
You can find out about guided walks by clicking here - Island tours

 One thing I found very interesting on the tour was that windows in the same house could all be different - 4 panes of glass, 6 panes, 8 panes etc. The reason for this was that the windows were made by convict labour in Fremantle Prison on the mainland. They had brought their skills with them from England where they had been taught by different craftsmen, hence different styles. 

 If you are wondering about the ochre coloured paint on the buildings -
The original limestone buildings of Rottnest Island were whitewashed and this created an extreme glare. To remove the glare, buildings were progressively painted with an ochre colour that was created by putting rusty nails in the white wash paint.  From Rottnest Island history

One of the most disturbing part of Rottnest history for me, is its time as an Aboriginal prison. They were incarcerated here far from their home on the mainland, forced to mix with different tribes, were tied in chains, and lived under appalling, crowded and unsanitary conditions with limited food. On Sundays they were let loose to hunt for food on the Island. 

On the tour and also during our visit to the museum, we learnt more about this history. Between 1838 and 1932 about 3700 Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned on Rottnest. One in 10 died from influenza or measles and 10 were executed. In 1856 a fire destroyed the original prison which was replaced by what is referred to as the Quod, built 1863-64. The Aboriginal finally prison closed in 1932. Over time the building has undergone extensive alterations and the cells now house accommodation. I know I wouldn't be able to stay there. 

Between 1881 and 1901 there was a Boys Reformatory next to the Quad. An example of sentence was a boy of 13 imprisoned for 3 months for stealing cakes. 

During the World Wars Rottnest was used as an internment camp. 
You can learn a little more about the history here - Rottnest Island History

 The Quod today - 

There are two churches on the Island were you can find peace. The Chapel built in 1860 by Aboriginal labour, and the more recent Holy Trinity Catholic Church opened in 1975. 
You can see both churches below. Compare the simple lines of the Chapel at the top with its more ornate modern counterpart. The Chapel was originally built as a school but quickly became a focal point for the Island's community. 

One thing I did love about the new church is that you are given permission to play the bells between 3 and 4.30pm each day. I went and did this twice. They have book of music and you play on a simple keyboard. I don't know how it sounded to those listening across the settlement, but I enjoyed it. Unfortunately key # 8 - C - didn't work, which didn't help.

And of course there are plenty of dining options whatever your budget, ranging from the bakery to beautiful meals at the hotel. Seafood is a specialty but how good do those cakes look that you can see below? There is also a well stocked supermarket and we also brought over an esky (cool box) with a few goodies.

Travelling with children?  There are beach activities, family fun park and mini golf, cinema, snorkel and bike hire, Aqua fun park, school holiday activities, miles of beautiful white sand and clear blue water.  And a 9 hole golf course for adults.

 And wildflowers during the spring. We missed the main wildflower season but we did see this new wildflower to add to my catalogue - the Rottnest Island Daisy - Trachymene coerulea. If you scroll back up you can see them in the foreground of the picture with the bike with the ocean in the background. Beautiful

 I hope you have enjoyed my little look at Rottnest today. There is lots more I could tell you. If you would like further information please click on any of the links below.  I hope you have a chance to visit one day. Do you have a favourite beach destination?

Further information:

Rottnest Island Express departs from Pier 2, Barrack St Jetty, Perth - B Shed, Victoria Quay, Fremantle - and Northport, Rouse Head, North Fremantle. You can park your car at Northport. 

Rottnest Island tourism links - 
Rottnest Island Authority 
Holiday in Australia - Rottnest 

Disclaimer: Jill travelled to Rottnest and stayed on the island at her own cost. She did not receive any discounts or freebies in return for blogging about Rottnest, and all the opinions expressed here are her own. 

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 
Life Thru the Lens 

The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard
Sky Watch Friday 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Celebrating Diwali - the Festival of Light

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend Diwali - the Festival of Light - presented by the South West Indian Group in Bunbury in Western Australia's south west. I was there as a member of Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company who had been invited to perform. It was a fabulous evening of entertainment, culture, colour, music, vibrancy and energy, plus delicious food from Spice Journey.  The Bollywood theme was highly featured and enjoyed by the audience.

So today I am sharing some of the photos I took. Please excuse the quality as I was using a zoom lens in low light, I had to increase the ISO so I could hand hold my camera, and we were sitting about half way back in a packed room of guests, but I am sure the photos will give you an idea of the vibrancy of the performances. Unfortunately I don't have any images of our dance! 

(From Wikipedia): Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs and some Buddhists to mark different historical events and stories but they all symbolise the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.

The mythical stories told for Diwali vary regionally and within the traditions of Hinduism. Yet, they all point to joy and the celebration of Diwali with lights to be a reminder of the importance of knowledge, self inquiry, self-improvement, knowing and seeking the good and the right path. It is a metaphor for resisting evil, for dispelling darkness and for compassion to others. Diwali is the celebration of this inner light over spiritual darkness, of knowledge over ignorance and right over wrong. It is a festive restatement of the Hindu belief that the good ultimately triumphs over evil.  

Pushpanjali- an offering of flowers
South Indian Tamil Dance- Vijay children's group
Charishnu - a fusion dance of classical Indian dance styles
Zumba Fitness Group with Bollywood music

 Bollywood - Bhangra Rulez

Aboriginal Noongar group performing with didgeridoo
Bollywood girls
Dangerous Delights Fire Dancers

Audience joining in at the end of the show - you can see two of our flamenco dancers on the right hand side

Sol y Sombra performed a flamenco version of Ravel's Bolero at Diwali. This dance was choreographed for our 25th anniversary show in 2015, and was rechoreographed for the Eisteddfod in June where we won our section - the Over 25s Theatrical Dance. We were invited back to dance at the Eisteddfod Gala night, which was a great honour. It was great to be performing this piece again, this time at Diwali.

Soly y Sombra Spanish Dance Company at the Eisteddfod in June 2016

 I hope you have enjoyed this little look at at the Diwali 2016 Festival of Lights. For more information on the South West Indian Group please click here - SW Indian Group

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!
The Weekly Postcard