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".

Welcome!

Welcome!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Cathedral Gorge, Purnululu, Western Australia


Cathedral Gorge is well named. Entering its immense towering cavern is like entering a magnificent natural cathedral, a place steeped in time and history. The red and orange sandstone walls tower above you, and the white sand crunches softly underfoot. Tiny tracks from night time animals can be seen going across the sand to the central pool which sits still and undisturbed like a mirror. Bird calls echo. It is a place for hushed voices and to sit quietly with your own thoughts. If you come early in the morning, as we did, you can enjoy the peace undisturbed. It has the atmosphere of a holy place, a sanctuary. It is my favourite gorge in Purnululu. You can feel the spirituality. Peace.




Cathedral Gorge is just one of the magnificent gorges within the Purnululu National Park (also known as the Bungle Bungles) in the Kimberley region in Western Australia’s far north west. Given World Heritage listing in 2003, Purnululu is one of Western Australia’s newest and most spectacular National Parks. 




In the Kija Aboriginal language purnululu means sandstone. The Aboriginal people inhabited the region for thousands of years, however Purnululu was known only to a few Europeans until the mid 1980s. 


The distinctive black and orange bands of the bee-hive shaped rock domes of Purnululu are actually more delicate than you might imagine. Once the rough outer layer is removed, the soft white sandstone is exposed, making the domes very fragile.  




How it received the name Bungle Bungles remains an intriguing mystery with several explanations including the corruption of the Aboriginal name Purnululu, or derived from the name of a common Kimberley grass, bundle bundle grass, or the ranges proximity to the old Bungle Bungle cattle station. 




Purnululu is located off the Great Northern Highway, 250km south of Kununurra, west of the WA/Northern Territory border. There is a 53 kilometre unsealed road only accessible by 4WD and offroad campers from the Highway, through Mabel Downs Station to the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DEPAW) Rangers / Visitor Centre and roads are unsealed throughout the Park. You should allow approximately 2-3 hours for the 53 km drive in (approximately 5 hours total travel time from Kununurra). 4WD recommended as the road can be very rough and you will need to negotiate several wet creek crossings. 



There are 3 campgrounds - Kurrajong and Walardi are management by the Dept of Parks and Wildlife, and Bellburn Creek is a commercial operation.  Please register at the Visitor Centre when you arrive. 
There are numerous walks in the Park ranging from half an hour and easy difficulty, to an challenging overnight trek. Please be aware of your own ability before you set out, wear a hat, sturdy walking boots, and carry plenty of water. It gets very hot in the gorges, and they recommended 1 litre per person per hour. 
The Park is only open in the dry season - usually April to November. 

For more information - DPAW-Purnululu

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Cathedral Gorge in Purnululu. 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!



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On the Road in the Kimberley

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Beaches like these

Western Australia must surely have some of the most beautiful beaches and sunsets. When the winter hits the south, thousands of people travel north to bask in the warm winter sun of the north west dry season. And with beaches like these can you blame them. 

If you are lucky to be able to go off road you can visit beaches where you can walk and not see another person. How amazing is that?  The beach you see below is 80 Mile Beach south of Broome. (this is a popular tourist destination and has a great caravan park, so you might have to drive down the beach to find your own special spot on the sand). 
Those are shells you can see in the foreground. 

The other beaches are north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsular. 



How's this for a campsite with a view? 



Just me and a beach. The others went fishing. I even went nicky swimming on the other side of the rocks from the fishermen as there was no-one about and we had the beach totally to ourselves. What freedom!




Barefoot absolutely mandatory. 



And the sun setting over the Indian Ocean after another spectacular north west winter day. 




Sorry this is such a short blog today, but I hope you enjoyed the pics. Thank you so much for taking time to 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 
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 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Finding a Camp in the Great Western Australian Outback

I love the first morning on the road on a camping trip - watching the sun come up over the road ahead of us.  After weeks of planning and days of packing and organising to get ready it is a magical moment full of expectations about the trip ahead.


I know camping is not for everyone, and I like flash hotels too, but some of the things I enjoy most about camping you can't get at a hotel - watching the sun set through the trees, sitting around the campfire with a blanket of stars overhead while we toast marshmallows and chat about our day and the days ahead, and waking up in the morning to the bird song. The camp below is favourite of ours on the Gascoyne River on the Great Northern Highway south of Newman.  Just look at that reflection.


However one of the things I always want to know ahead of time, especially if we are fee camping, is where I am going to camp. We like to be setting up camp no later than 4.30 in the afternoon (maybe later on extended summer days). But if we are in a new area and don't know where we are going to camp I start to get restless.  When we were travelling between Tom Price and Mt Augustus on a gravel road in 2014 we just had to pull off the track in an open space to camp. It ended up being a beautiful peaceful camp and as you can see I still managed to have time to hang out the socks to dry.



Over the years we have discovered a number of fabulous free camps, either from maps and books, or advised by friends.  The one you see below is Bilyuin Pool on the Ashburton Downs Road 74 kms north of Meekatharra on the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia was recommended to us by our son. I like riverside camps. 


 There are a number of ways you can find these free camps. Maps, guide books, local knowledge, or talking to friends or people you meet on the road.

One of these guides we have found invaluable over the years is the Free-Camping series by Sue and Steve Collis. We always take these little books with us when we travel. There are others, just look up free camping on the net - for instance Free camping Australia.  The Camps 8 book is another good one.  You can also subscribe to their website or check our their Facebook page - Camps Australia Wide. The GPS locations in their book if you travel with something like a Hema Navigator are invaluable.  I know there are also phone apps if you are into phone apps.


Main Roads Western Australia encourage rest stops every two hours when you are travelling the vast distances of our State. They say fatigue is the silent killer on Western Australian roads and so to encourage drivers to camp overnight or to take a rest stop they have developed a series of 24-48 hour rest areas across 17 major routes, providing a few basic facilities like tables, shelters, toilets and large areas where caravans, camper vans and trailers can pull over and set up overnight or just stop for lunch.

You can find out more about these rest stops, including a downloadable map, on their website - Main Roads Rest Areas

This is the rest area at Minilya on the North West Coastal Highway north of Carnarvon. These free camping areas are very popular with travellers, not only to break up their trip, but  also to save money by sometimes not booking into caravan parks. Accommodation costs can build up over the course of a touring holiday so free camping is a great way to extend your budget. These days when many caravans have their own built in toilets and showers and solar panels, free camping is not such an issue. Camping with others also offers some feeling of security and the chance to talk to fellow travellers.




Some towns have also taken on board the free camping culture, offering free camping in their towns to travellers who are fully self sufficient - ie water, toilet, power - like this one in Kulin in the Western Australian eastern wheatbelt. What a great initiative to encourage travellers to stay in their town overnight and perhaps spend some money in their town.  In case you are wondering, the "horse" is on the Tin Horse Highway just out of Kulin.


Do you enjoy free camping? What do you enjoy most about free camping? Perhaps you would like to tell us in the comments. 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
  

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Camp food
Free camping on the Great Central Road, Australia

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Escape the Kitchen

With so many of us time poor these days it is fabulous to find somewhere that will cook delicious nutritious mid-price-range meals for you to take home. Last week I was invited by former restaurateurs Bree & Dale Wiley to go down to Escape the Kitchen in Dunsborough to take photos for their new website.


 Despite the rain that morning it was a lovely drive through the trees to their small rural property just out of Dunsborough in south west Western Australia.  The road took me along a shady country road that I had never been along before despite having visited the Dunsborough-Yallingup area many times over the years.


Bree and Dale welcomed me like old friends and they were a joy to work with.  One of the things I really enjoyed was working closely with a professional chef and his partner to create the food shots they were looking for. We collaborated all the way through. They just didn't leave it to me because I was the photographer. Bree & Dale were easy to work with and knew what they wanted - a clean, no fuss look.  They wanted the food to look like it would when the customer took it home.


Escape the Kitchen came about when many people bemoaned that Bree & Dale no longer owned their restaurant and they were no longer able to enjoy the food that Dale created in his kitchen. And with so many people time poor these days, Bree & Dale realised there was a nitch they could fill, creating delicious nutritious take away food at a reasonable price. They built a commercial kitchen on their property, and Escape the Kitchen was born.

Bree & Dale are currently creating their website with a technical friend, and they searched on the net for a food photographer. They found me! Bree and I chatted on the phone and within a week I was in their kitchen in Dunsborough.

Hearty winter fare..........  


Or perhaps a light salad.......I can vouch that the Caesar salad was delicious! 

Or something for the sweet tooth.



We photographed a lot of dishes but I thoroughly enjoyed photographing Dale's chef created food and collaborating on the styling with Bree. Oops don't mind the fingers! 




How's the sauce drizzle?



Dale and Bree also cater for functions and weddings. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Escape the Kitchen website when it is completed. I'll let you know!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Are you time poor? Do you long for take away food that is delicious and nutritious? 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  (sadly Mosaic Monday has closed)


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


Monday, 20 June 2016

How do we want to be remembered.....

This morning as I write the day is cloudy and threatening rain. I've started to prune my roses and I picked the last three rose buds. My washing is hanging limp on the clothes line and it is unlikely to get dry today, but my orange and lemon trees are looking fabulous offering up their winter bounty. There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh oranges picked from a tree in your own backyard.


 Inside we have had our main living room and bedroom painted, plus all our doors and door frames, and on Wednesday the carpet layer is coming to lay new carpet in those rooms. After thirty years our house needed a lift. We were going to paint when we moved in 20 years ago....oh well, we have finally gotten around to it... no rush. 

In the process of getting ready for the painters and carpet-layers we had to pack up our lifetime of book collecting, photos, pictures, travel collectables, music cds, china and glassware, so we could move cupboards and furniture out of our lounge room. There is furniture and boxes stacked all over the place. Some of the china belonged to my mother and mother-in-law.  As I packed I started to wonder why do we collect all these "things"? Are they what really defines us? 


Are they really important to us? Perhaps in a way what we read, what we collect, what music we listen to, does say something about us. But is this what people will remember?

On Saturday in the West Australian newspaper I read a very tragic story about a well known Western Australian business man who took his own life last year. Sadly he didn't seek help from those that loved him. His wife, son and daughter are still struggling to come to terms with what happened, and they have so many unanswered questions. Their memories of the good times with their husband and father are all they have left to hold on to. I wonder how he wanted to be remembered - by his life and achievements, or will the fact that he ended his own life override all else that was good about him?

I wondered how I would like to be remembered? Will it be for where I worked or the grades I got a school?  I don't think so, so why am I keeping those old school reports? Or the dragon boat racing I did for over 20 years, or the Flamenco I am trying to master right now? Probably not.
I am sure it will not be for the books I read, the things collected on holidays, or the "good" china I have collecting dust in my china cabinet. I've made a pact with myself to not buy any more, and to start using the "good stuff". Why have it if it just sits in a cupboard? I'm also going to sort through my "stuff" as I put it back into my cupboards, and see what there is that has no use to me anymore. I think we need to "clear out" from time to time, don't you? Twenty years in this house, so a clear out is overdue.

Perhaps I would want to be remembered by those I have helped, by those who I may have made some small difference to their lives, to those that I have sympathised with or listened to without judgement. Not given a solution, but just been there to listen when they have needed me.

Perhaps also through the photos I take with my camera, a few of which find their way onto my wall, or into a magazine, but mostly that pile up in files on my computer. In a way my blog is recording some of my life for my family to look back on in later years. But will they?  Last year I started making photo books of our trips away, but will anyone actually look at them or treasure them? Why would "my" memories mean anything to them? Hopefully the shared memories will.
1986 on the Tropic of Capricorn, Western Australia

Shared memories - I think this is how I would want to be remembered, by the good times, and yes the difficult times too, spent together making memories with family, friends, children and grandchildren. Will my grandchildren remember the fun times we spent together, the places we went and the things we did together? Will they remember that we made biscuits together and ate them hot from the oven? I hope so.


It is winter here and the sun is hidden behind the clouds, perhaps the reason for my reflections this morning that I have been tossing around like a piece of old newspaper. It is nearly lunch time. Would you like to stop by for a chat and share a bowl of winter warming soup? You can find the recipe over on my blog post - Winter soup warmers 

I'd love to hear from you in the comments how you would like to be remembered.



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 

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

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Photographing Wildflowers

I was stunned and thrilled a couple of months ago when I had a phone call from freelance journalist Robert Ditessa who was writing an article about photographing wildflowers for Australian Photography magazine and wanted to feature me along with two other wildflower photographers in his article. 

I was stunned that he had discovered me among all the other photographers photographing wildflowers in Australia, and stunned that he considered I was worthy enough. Although I have sold wildflower photos and written a few magazine articles about photographing wildflowers, including one for Australian Photography magazine in January 2008, I didn't consider myself a professional. I think however that Rob was looking for someone who could speak in layman terms to would-be wildflower photographers.  

What an amazing opportunity and thrill it was for me to be featured in a national photography magazine.

I have been passionate about photographing wildflowers since my first wildflower drive in September 20015 with my new Canon Powershot Pro 1 digital camera. I had taken wildflower images previously with my film camera, but had never really been happy with them. This changed when I bought the Powershot Pro 1 as it had a professional quality lens and "super macro" setting which was ideal for wildflowers. A new world opened up to me and wildflower photography quickly became my passion. The image below of everlastings taken in late afternoon light on that trip is still one of my all time favourites.

  Rob sent me the questions via email, and I emailed my answers back to him, along with a selection of wildflower images. The article was published in the June 2016 edition of Australian Photography magazine. Here is a copy of the opening page.


 One of my images was on the opening page. I took this image last year in the Dryandra Woodland Conservation Reserve in Western Australia's wheatbelt. Once again taken in late afternoon light.  

Aperture Priority is ideal for photographing wildflowers, and a great place to start when starting out. Set the aperture and the camera will look after the rest.  Remember the larger the aperture, ie f2.6, the shallower the depth of field with your subject in focus over a lovely soft blurred background and bokeh (Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light") ie those spots of light in the background you can see in the image below. 

 With more experience I encourage you to learn how to use full manual controls, setting your ISO, light balance, shutter speed and aperture..... but don't feel overwhelmed, learn about aperture priority first.  

Dryandra, Canon 60D, 100mm macro, f4, ISO 125, 1/400sec

My kit today is simple. A Canon EOS 60D DSLR with a Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM Macro lens. This lens allows me 1.1 magnification, shallow depth of field and beautiful background blur without having to get too close.  

However it is possible to shoot wildflowers with a compact camera, especially if it has manual settings such as Aperture Priority. Look for the little "flower" symbol on your camera dial. Don't go out and buy an expensive macro lens when you start out. Experiment first with what you have and learn to use your manual camera settings. If you don't have a macro lens, you can use an extension tube or a 'close up' filter which are both less expensive options which work well when you are starting out. 

Crooked Brook Reserve, Dardanup. Canon EOS 60D, 100mm, ISO 125, f5, 1/500sec
I don't use a flash or any lighting in the field as I believe the light it produces is too harsh and removes all the subtleties of natural light and colour, but you can use a reflector to throw more light onto your subject if you need to. I usually carry a tripod, but very rarely use it, preferring the freedom of being able to move around my subject and take images from lots of different angles. If you are using a tripod you can plug a remote release cable into your camera to help eliminate additional camera shake.  Bumping up the ISO in shade or low light also helps, but remember that increasing the ISO will increase "noise" in your image. 

I also encourage you to use the viewfinder on your camera, not the LCD screen, as physically holding the camera against your face, and tucking your elbows into your sides will steady the camera, and in my opinion you will also have better control over your picture taking. 
 
Manea Park, Canon 60D, f5, 1/80 secs, ISO 200

I love taking wildflower images, and long for the spring when the wildflowers will be blooming in profusion. It is winter now, but you can still find a few wildflowers in the Australian bush at any time of year.  Not able to get out into the bush? Even in our urban environments you can still find wildflowers in nature reserves, bush buffer zones or botanical gardens. Kings Park Botanic Gardens in Perth, Western Australia, is a fabulous place to photograph wildflowers, especially during spring. 

Being out in the bush is so rejuvenating and you never know what you might discover. 

 If I don't have my DSLR with me, my handy little "go everywhere with me" Canon G11 using aperture priority gives an acceptable result when it is my only option, although sometimes I find it difficult to get it to focus where I want it to!  I took the photos below with my G11 this morning in our little bushland reserve near our home.  

 

Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australian: Part 2 Perth and the SouthwestAn important part of my bush walking kit is a good pair of hiking boots, spare batteries, extra memory cards and a good comfortable waterproof backpack with padded areas to protect gear. It is also handy to carry a good map or locally produced guide (wildflower locations can vary seasonally) and a reference book for identifying flowers. If you are in Western Australia a particular guide I have found very useful over the years are Eddy Wajon's set of 4 books - Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia. These are available at many visitor centres and bookshops or online.  The books are split into 4 regions of Western Australia. 



I hope you have enjoyed this little look at wildflower photography. I will blog again later with more tips. In the meantime you might like to look at my previous posts about wildflower photographyHow to take great wildflower photos
or go to my Index tab at the top of my blog and scroll down to the Garden and Wildflowers list to find the links. 

 For more information on wildflowers in Western Australia please click here - Explore Western Australia's wildflowers

Taken with my Canon G11 compact camera
 
Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy taking wildflower photos? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. 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 

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