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.
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Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".

Welcome!

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Monday, 22 August 2016

The Wildflowers are blooming in Western Australia - Part 1 - Kimberley region

We might feel like we are in the depths of winter here in the South West of Western Australia, but it is wildflower time. Followers to my blog might know that photographing wildflowers is a passion of mine, so this is my favourite time of year. Usually I have to wait till September to get out and about taking photos of wildflowers, but I was lucky that my wildflower experience started in July this year when we travelled north to the Kimberley during the north-west's warm and sunny winter dry season.


The wildflowers were blooming and followed us down the coast as we made our way home two weeks ago. Well....it was thrilling for me....not so much for my travel companions my husband (who actually is a fantastic orchid finder) and my son (not my thing! came the muttering from the back seat). But they did survive. I took hundreds of wildflower photos, which I haven't had time to process yet as we only arrived home last Monday, so I will restrict this post to some of the more wide ranging, iconic, spectacular, flowers I had never seen before or just my favourites.


I am particularly lucky in Western Australia in that we have up to 12,000 known species of wildflowers including eight bio-diversity hotspots. The flowering period spreads over several months starting from July in the north till November in the south. However you will always find something flowering in the Western Australia bush somewhere.  

Our wildflower experience started on the first day of our trip at The Granites just north of Mount Magnet on the Great Northern Highway. Despite the rain I was out photographing this prickly character, the Flannel Bush - Solanum lasiophyllum.
  
 
From Broome we travelled north up the dirt Broome to Cape Leveque Road to go camping with friends. It was up in this region, the Dampier Peninsular, that we came across the Splendid Batchelors Buttons - Gomphrena canescens. You can see them also at the beginning of my post. I love them singularly and on mass.

 
If you saw last week's post - The Boab Tree - about the Kimberley's iconic tree, the Boab - Adansonia gregorii - you would have seen this photo of the Boab flower. If not, you can click on the link to check out my post.  I had never seen a Boab flower before, but a few trees were flowering in Broome.


One of my favourites since our first trip north 30 years ago - the Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus. Widespread in arid and semi-arid areas, there are about 100 species in the genus Ptilotus, all but one occurring only in Australia. Here photographed backlit at Purnululu. Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu


You will see the bright yellow flowers of the Kapok Bush - Cochlospermum fraseri - flowering from April to September throughout the Kimberley, particular in rocky sandstone areas. The large scented flowers are up to seven centimetres in diameter, and the swollen green fruits burst open to release silky seeds. It was the first time I had ever seen the inside of the fruit, see below, which we found on the hill overlooking beautiful Marglu Billabong south of Wyndham. 



The beautiful water lillies of Marglu Billabong. There is a bird-hide here. I've borrowed the two bird pics from my husband. The one on the left is a Brolga - Grus rubicunda - which is found across tropical northern Australia as well as southwards to north and east central regions, inhabiting large open wetlands, grassy plains, coastal mudflats and irrigated croplands. There courtship dance involves an elaborate dance. You can find out more here - Birdlife Australia.



And yes in the second picture can you see a crocodile in the background behind the White Egret. This is a salt-water crocodile. Yes, they do eat people, so definitely one you don't want to get near, and the reason why the bird-hide is enclosed in heavy-duty wire mesh. In case you can't see that croc....


Back to wildflowers...

Below is the Sticky Kurrajong - Brachychiton viscidulus - also known as the Kimberley Rose, or by the Aboroginal names darlab or djalad. We saw many of these along the Gibb River Road and also at Mt Elizabeth Station. Flowering from April to December the spectacular red flowers appear after the leaves have dropped. There are male and female flowers on the same plant, attracting large numbers of nectar-feeding birds. They usually grow in sandy area on hills and amongst sandstone and basalt rocks.  



 I confess I had never heard of the flower below before this trip - the Bat Wing Coral Tree - Erythrina vespertilio. The pea shaped scarlet flowers are produced along 30cm racemes and appear when the tree is mainly leafless during winter and spring.  There was a huge tree near the access gate we went through on the way to Mornington Wilderness camp about 90 kilometres south of the Gibb River Road. There was a flock of Red-Collared Lorikeet - Trichoglossus rubritorquis - chattering noisily as they enjoyed the blossom.

I love the unexpected nature of wildflower photography as you never quite know what you will find and it is thrilling to find varieties you haven’t seen or photographed before, especially the rarer species.




And below is Rosella - Hibiscus sabdariffa -  a species of Hibiscus. The petals of this plant, which are very high in Vitamin C, can be made into jam. They have a delicious sour-sweet taste. This was another plant that I had never seen before, though I had tasted the jam made by a local friend - delicious! I would love to see if I can grow this at home. We saw these plants near the Barnett River just off the Gibb River Road and at Mt Elizabeth Station. More info on the Rosella plant here - Green Harvest


I hope you have enjoyed these few wildflowers of the Kimberley. So much red! But then that is the colour of the Kimberley dirt. I have many more wildflower photos to share with you soon. In the meantime you might like to visit a couple of my posts (see the links below) where I give you a few tips about photographing wildflowers. But my most important tip is - get out there with your camera! 


Taking wildflower photos doesn’t need to be complicated. Slow down, think about your camera settings, choose the best specimen, and think about composition, orientation and how you want your photo to look. Are you going to get in close or take a wider view? Do both, and take photos from various angles. Set your aperture according to how much depth of field do you want. Remember small numbers ie F4.6 equals shallow depth of field with a soft blurred background.

Photographing Wildflowers 
How to take great wildflower photos 


On Thursday 25 August my writer's group, the South Side Quills, is launching their first anthology, The Runaway Quill, at the Bunbury Library. (Selling for $20). One of my pieces is about photographing wildflowers, and my photos appear on the front and back covers. 

You can read more about the South Side Quills by reading member, Ingrid Rickersey's post, on Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty blog by clicking here - Dedicated Writer's Reap Rewards  



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!


Life Thru the Lens 

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard