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!

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
 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Autumn - Season of Change

I had a lovely surprise last Thursday at breakfast when my husband asked me if I would like to go down to the Golden Valley Tree Park in Balingup. We had visited in early May last year - I blogged about it here - Autumn in Golden Valley Tree Park.
I thought I had missed it this year. It was so glorious seeing the trees turning on their autumn colours that I was very keen to visit again with my camera. Our trees in Australia are evergreen, and so we only see autumn leaf colours on imported tree varieties in gardens and parks. 

The view from our picnic table
We were a month later than the previous year, but it was a crisp clear autumn day and even though the trees at the park were past their prime, autumn colour wise, I spent a wonderful few hours walking through the park and picnicking under a beautiful London Plane Tree. Being a week day, unlike our previous visit, we virtually had the park to ourselves.

The area that comprises the park was first settled in 1898 by Frank and Margaret Cleverland.  Their home was built of bricks made from clay dug from nearby Yungerup Spring. The original 20 plantings of exotic species by Olwyn Cleverland during 1930-1940's has grown to an impressive world collection of over 250 species, represented by over 1000 individual specimens. The Park, which is heritage listed, is maintained by volunteers and sponsorship. From its first plantings over 100 years ago the the Golden Valley Tree Park is now the largest arboretum in Western Australia.

Sitting along the Pear Walk
There are places to walk, and places to sit, and with views like this who wouldn't. 


 The park is split into two sections: the World Collection spread over 35 hectares and the 25 hectare Australian Collection. The easy walk trails are clearly marked and most of the trees are labelled so you can identify them. There are also several interpretive panels relating parts of the park's history. 

 
Cleveland Oak

 Within the World Collection there are 3 walks - the 10 minute easy Sequoia walk which has disabled access, the Pear Walk (30 minutes) and the Oak Grove walk (45 minutes). But really you should allow much more time than this to enjoy the park properly, several hours are least. Bring a picnic and take time to enjoy your day.



We will go back in spring when the wildflowers are out to enjoy the Australian Collection. 

The Golden Valley Tree Park is only a few kilometres south of Balingup in south west Western Australia, and is clearly marked from the South Western Highway.
  • Entry is free but a donation will help the work of their volunteers
  • The Park is open seven days a week. Camping is not permitted
  • Toilets, wood barbeques, picnic tables and gazebo shelter provided
  • Walk tracks are clearly labelled
  • Many of the trees are labelled in the field. Maps and lists are provided at the information shelters
  • You can also access by an easy 2km walk along the Bibbulmun Track southwards from Balingup.
I hope you have enjoyed this little look at the Golden Valley Tree Park in Balingup. If you would like to see more, please go to my previous post - Autumn in Golden Valley Tree Park or check their site on the web - Golden Valley Tree Park (includes a downloadable map).
- or "google" images - you might even see some more of my images there! 

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 

Wouldn't you just love to lay in this carpet of leaves?
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, 29 May 2016

Seagulls in the sunset

Today on my blog I am sharing just a few little seagull images from my trip a couple of weeks ago to Coral Bay, along with some quotes from Richard Bach's book, Johnathon Livingston Seagull, with images by Russell Munson, first published in 1972.


"It's a reminder, this little fable, that the path for us to follow is already written within, that's it's for each of us to find out own loves, and live them brightly for ourselves."
You can read more on the official blog here -  Richard Bach, Jonathon Livingston Seagull
 

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 

And of course remember that this can happen at any time of life if you are open and believe in yourself.



"You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way."

 "Overcome space, and all we have left is here. Overcome time, and all we have left is now."

There always seems to be seagulls along the beach at Coral Bay, but in the evenings as the sun slowly starts to melt into the Indian Ocean the flock gathers together.


You can try if you wish, to make them fly, but they only flap a few metres before returning to the sand.


 Perhaps they too are enjoying the magnificent sunset.


I hope you search for and follow your own true path.  It is already there within in if you open your mind and heart to it. I think we owe it to ourselves, and to those we love. And if they truly love you they will support you as you follow your dreams. At any time of life. Just believe and do.

And a clip, Skybird, from Neil Diamond's 1973 album - Jonathon Livingston Seagull. 




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


In case you missed it last week - Coral Bay - Another Day in Paradise