Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
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".



Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wet weather street photography

It is spring in Australia, my favourite time of year especially when I can get out with my camera and go bush walking so I can take photos of wildflowers. But the sunny days are interspersed with rainy days, and the farmers certainly need the rain to finish off their summer grain crops. 

 When it is raining, don't think you have to hibernate inside. Think of it as a great opportunity to practice street photography. If the rain is just a drizzle, a city or town can be a great place to explore with your camera, especially if you can walk under over-hanging verandas. I find my small Canon G11, whilst it doesn't have all the latest features, is a great camera for street photography as it is unobtrusive, and I enjoy not having to carry around my heavy DSLR camera. But please remember to use a water proof camera bag and wipe down your camera with a cloth.

Street photography is a whole genre of its own which is an absorbing topic, and which I need to spend more time exploring.  But before you begin you should find out the regulations pertaining to street photography where you live. From my research, in Australia, USA and UK, the street is a public place where you can take photos of people. But, I am not an expert, so please take the time to find out for yourself the laws in your area or where you are going to travel. 

I love candid black and white street photography of people. But in truth I am really not all that comfortable about taking photos of people I don't know in the street. I find it a little obtrusive into their privacy. I'm not sure if I would be happy with someone taking photos of me in the street! I know it is something I need to work on. If someone questions you because they have seen you take their photo. Smile, be polite, tell them that you didn't mean to make them feel uncomfortable, show them the photo, and offer to delete it. 

As long as the image is not posed, it is considered street photography. 
Some of the great things about street photography is that you don't need an expensive camera, lighting set ups or beautiful models.

I took this one in Sydney in February. I wasn't sure what was unfolding in the street below our hotel balcony.

 But of course, street photography doesn't have to include people. Buildings, windows, doorways, or the pavement itself present the opportunity for great abstract shapes, or small close ups. This is a great way to explore street photography, particularly when you are starting out, or if you are uncomfortable with taking candid photos of people you don't know in the street. 

Street photography is a lot about spontaneity and "seeing" an image - an instinctive feeling by the photographer of what is going to make a image. But, as with all things, it does take practice. 

  If you have street art in your town, these can also be a great source for close up photography.  Please scroll down to the links below where I've blogged about our local street art previously. 

And pockets of greenery

Don't forget to look where you are walking and don't overlook the little things.

 Reflections in windows, on surfaces, or in puddles are another great source for images

 If you are fortunate, as we are in our city, stop into a cafe at end of your walk or to escape the rain. Don't pass it up - they are another great place to find subjects.

Street photography is also a great way to capture culture when we travel. But I'll have to leave that for another post. This one was taken in a market in Mauritius in May. 

  There are lots of resources of the web about street photography - here are four which may be of interest -

10 things Henri Cartier Bresson can teach you about street photography 
Vivian Maier - Gallery - 1926-2009 
Masters of Street Photography 
Digital Photography School - Ultimate Guide to street photography - includes information on the more technical side of street photography and a list of eminent street photographers.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy street photography? Have you any tips for the newbie street photographer? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your 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. 

 You might also like - 
Bunbury street art 2015 
Australia Day and Re-discover Street Art 2016 
Penang travel tips for the first timer
Lost your mojo? Try a photography project 
Don't overlook the little things

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 in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Puzzle this! - Amaze'n, Margaret River, Western Australia

It's been school holidays here the last couple of weeks, and we have had a few sleep-overs and day stays with our grandsons - aged nearly 9 and nearly 11. Last week we took them to Amaze'n, which is just south of Margaret River in the south west of Western Australia. Amaze'n is a great place to spend the day with children and is great for adults too! There are several mazes, as well as a 18 hole mini-golf course, and other games to play, such as a giant chess game, and indoor puzzles. And beautiful gardens to stroll around. You can bring your lunch, cook your BBQ, and sit at the picnic tables in the shady gardens, or buy lunch at the Cafe. And so everyone can be included, all paths are pusher and wheelchair friendly.

The centre piece is the 3 metre high giant hedge Maze which was planted in 1994, spread over half a hectare and with 1.5 kilometres of paths. We let our grandsons take the lead. I had no idea where I was, so I am glad they were leading the way.

The aim of maze is to get to the middle where there is a lookout tower. There are bench seats to find, or sit on, along the way, and an emergency exit, if you can find it, for a way out if you get lost. One of the games you can play is to find all 9 of the different benches. 

After conquering the giant hedge maze we went over to the "turn left" maze. For this maze to get to the exit you can only turn left or go straight ahead. Once they had worked it out the boys had fun seeing how fast they could get around it.
I think this would be a great way to set out a vegetable garden! 

 The maze you see below, sorry the photo doesn't show it very well, is the brick paved hill  maze which is on bricks set around a small hill. 

Next we headed over to the giant chess board which is set up under shady trees.  Nice on a hot day.

 While our eldest grandson and his Pop played chess, I went over to the stepping stone maze with our youngest grandson. This maze is a great one for getting the brain working. You must only step in the sequence of white red black to get to the middle. It took me a while but I eventually made it! 

 And the Labyrinth which the boys also decided to do as a time trial.... oh well, good exercise!

 Then it was time for lunch, after which the boys played a sometimes frustrating game of mini-golf on the challenging 18 hole course. 

On the way home we stopped in at Millers Icecream just out of Cowaramup for a delicious icecream. Made from milk from their own cows, and hand made into icecream by third generation dairy farmers, there is a delicious array of icecream flavours! 
To finish off the boys played in the playground - and once again made it a time-trial obstacle course!  I'm glad I didn't have to participate in that one!

My verdict? The boys had a great day at Amaze'n, though I thought the admission was rather expensive, but you can spend the whole day there, and there are activities for older kids too. They have a family entrance price, which I guess when you divide it by 4, it really is not too bad for a whole day. I thought the price of the mini golf should have been included in the entrance fee to the maze, and that they should provide more toilet facilities.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do your children or grandchildren have favourite places they like to visit on the school holidays? Perhaps you can tell us about them in your 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. 

For more information, please go to these web sites: I have not been paid anything to promote them:
Amaze'n, Margaret River 
Millers Icecream, Cowaramup 

You might also like these Western Australian travel ideas from my blog:

10 things to do in Yallingup without going to the beach 
A walk through Ambergate Reserve, Western Australia 
What do Gerald Durrell and Nannup have in common? 

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 in Reflection

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Monday, 2 October 2017

Camping at Potter's Gorge, Wellington Dam, Western Australia

In April this year we went camping for the first time at Potter's Gorge near Wellington Dam, west of Collie, in the south west of Western Australia.  Amazingly in all the 40 years we have lived here, we had never camped at Wellington Dam before. We had looked over the recently upgraded minimal cost camping ground during a day visit to the dam a month earlier, and decided we would go back with our caravan. Located only 45 minutes from home it was ideal for a mid week short break and we were set up in time for morning tea.

Potters Gorge campground is attractively nestled in jarrah woodland on the shores of Wellington Dam, within the Wellington National Park. This is a very popular camp site for locals, families, travellers, school and scouting groups as it is only 51 kilometres (45 minutes) from Bunbury and 28 kilometres (25 minutes) from Collie, making it an excellent place for a short getaway. 

Potters Gorges is a wonderful place to enjoy camping in a bushland setting, but if you desire a quiet camp then I recommend you do not come on weekends, public holidays or school holidays, as the campground is very popular during these times.

Run by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the recently upgraded campsite consists of 54 gravel sites suitable for caravans, camper trailers and motor homes. There is a group camping area, day use area, sheltered basic camp kitchen with tables and free gas BBQs, unpotable water (please boil before use), flushing eco toilets and dump point. All sites have a table and fire ring, but please bring your own firewood and check seasonal fire ban restrictions.  Please note: There is no power or showers.
 There is also a BMX track if your youngsters bring their bikes. A wheel-chair accessible cement path takes you for a short distance along the water edge from the campground.

There is plenty of do here during your stay. If you enjoy bushwalking there are several well marked walk trails, varying from two kilometre return from the campground to the dam wall, to the twelve kilometre return walk from the dam wall to Honeymoon Pool. Other trails can be completed as loop trails, taking you through a variety of bushland, jarrah, marri, banksia, blackbutt and peppermint forests, granite outcrops, and along the river.  

 Update - A few of my lovely readers have mentioned the peppermint forests and how enchanting they sound. I probably should have said that the forest is a mixture of
jarrah, marri, banksia, blackbutt and peppermint trees. Not a peppermint forest of just peppermint trees. The peppermint tree - Agonis flexuosa - is probably not what you imagine if you are not Australian. It does have a peppermint smell when you crush the leaves, but not the chocolate and peppermint type peppermint - but an Australian earthy peppermint. So hard to explain. Anyway, here are some pics I took for you today down at our little bush block corner.. They actually are a rather straggly tree which can grow quite big.
Here is a Facts sheet I found on the net - Western Australian Peppermint Tree

 Take note of the times and degree of difficulty on signage before you set out as some walks are relatively easy, but others are challenging with steeps ascents or descents, as the landscape is hilly with steep gullies falling sharply to the Collie River.  You can pick up a trail map from the dam cafe.

After lunch on our first day we decided to do the five kilometre return Kurliiny Tjenangitj walk trail which takes you up a steep climb to a lookout over the jarrah forest and the Collie River. It is well worth the climb, but I suggest walking poles to assist on the steep sections - it's very steep both up and down!
Please be aware you may sometimes share trails with mountain bikes on the Munda Biddi cycle trail.

Below is an example of the trail signage. To access the walk we drove from Potter's Gorge, past the dam wall, then along the one way Lennard Drive to Honeymoon Pool. This is also a camping area, with direct access to the river, but it is better suited to tents.  From here we walked along the river and then turned up the climb.

 You can see on the map above the sign that says "you are here" which is the lookout.   And below you can see views from the lookout and the walk down. It was a reasonably difficult climb up the steep sections, so we were glad we took water and some snacks with us to eat when we got to the lookout.

 The next day we combined two of the walks, making an eleven kilometre loop. We walked in an anti-clockwise direction, starting at Potters Gorge along the Sika trail, and then branching onto the Jabitj trail for the return walk along the river. We stopped for lunch along the river, where interpretive signage told us about traditional uses of plants by the Noongar Wilmah people. 

 Here are some views along the Sika trail which takes you through jarrah forest. Some of this trail has challenging ascents and descents and part of it is also used as a mountain bike trail.  Below you can see some trail signage, and also the pipeline supplying irrigation water to farmland.

 And along the river

 Other activities you can enjoy whilst camping at Potters Gorge are swimming, canoeing, boating and water skiing in designated areas, marroning in season, and fishing (license required).  Please take note of signage concerning these.

Other activities include a 4Wheel-Drive track for daylight hours, mountain bike trails, bird watching and wildflower photography.  You might even see a kangaroo!  
Our stay was during autumn, so there were only a few wildflowers. I need to go back again now that spring is here.   

 Of course you don't have to do any of this. You can just sit with your feet up, read a book, relax and enjoy the quietness.  But please don't forget the treats. 

The Kiosk near the dam wall, only a one kilometre (20-30 minutes) walk from Potters Gorge, is open 9am-4pm Thursday to Sunday with light lunches, hot and cold drinks and icecreams. You can also collect a map of the walk trails here.  When there has been good winter rains the dam overflows. This picture was taken in September 2014.

Potters Gorge is ideally located for a day trip to the Ferguson Valley’s wineries, restaurants and galleries.  You can also explore the walk trails of Wellington Discovery Forest.

  You can also learn about the history of the Wellington Dam which provides water for irrigation.   The building of the dam in 1932 was part a public works program providing jobs for thousands of people during the 1930s Depression. They lived in a tiny settlement of tents pitched in the bush during construction. 

If you are tenting, I recommend Honeymoon Pool camp area.  This area has boardwalk access to the river for swimming or canoeing.  Accommodation is also available at the Wellington Mills Cottages.

 Wellington Dam is also ideal for a day trip if you live in the area. There are several picnic areas, at the Potter's Gorge day use area, at the dam wall, and also at Honeymoon Pool.

Location:  51 km (45 minutes) to Bunbury, 28 km (25 minutes) to Collie, 195 km (2 hours) from Perth. 
Best time to visit - autumn or spring 
Facilities: Gravel sites, picnic tables, fire rings, basic camp kitchen, gas BBQs, non-potable water, flushing eco toilets, dump point. No power. Bring all supplies.
Campfires permitted seasonally – please bring your own firewood and extinguish when you leave. Generators only between 8am-9pm and not between 1-5pm. Rubbish can be left in the skip bins provided. 
Wheelchair access to toilets: Yes
Rates at time of writing: Per night: Adult: $10, Concession $6.60, Child 6-15 years $2.20. Fees are collected by caretaker each evening.
Pets: Not allowed as this is a National Park

More Information: 
Collie River Valley – then search for Wellington and scroll down to Wellington National Park
WA Dept Parks & Wildlife – then search for Wellington National Park

 Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a campsite you have newly discovered? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your 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. 

You might also like these posts from around the same area - 
April Randoms - including Wellington Dam 
How Green was my valley - Ferguson Valley 
Down in the woods today - Gnomesville 
Crooked Brook Forest Walk - Dardanup
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 in Reflection

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Monday, 25 September 2017

September days

This past week seems to have flown by, with a burst of winter weather, a flower designers show, bush walking, meetings, an artist talk, supporting a friend at a fund-raising event, editing a couple of stories, a flamenco dance workshop, spending time with grandchildren, and not forgetting lunch with friends. 

So for this week, I thought I would take the pressure off myself, and just share a few pics.

Here is the rain. We are in spring, but this past few days we have had three rain fronts cross the coast. We are not complaining as the farmers need the rain, but you wouldn't have wanted to be out boating. 

We managed to catch a little sun and went to a local nature park to look for wild orchids. 
These are one of the donkey orchid family. Can you see why they are called donkey orchids? 

Clockwise from left top corner..... Hibberia, white spider orchids, donkey orchids, enamel orchids, and a new one for my collection - a hammer orchid. This is a tiny orchid, but my eagle-eye orchid-hunter husband discovered it. I'm not sure whether it is the Warty Hammer Orchid - Drakaea livida, or King-in-his-carriage - Drakaea glyptodon.

Red and green Mangles Kangaroo Paw - Anigozanthos manglesii.

 I went to a photographer's artist talk by John Austin at the Bunbury Art Gallery Survey 1994-2017. John specialises in silver gelatin prints captured on film with large format cameras, and encompassing photojournalism, stark and revealing portraiture and atmospheric landscapes.

Last Thursday was the opening of the annual Blooming Art Exhibition at the Bunbury Art Gallery, put on by the Flower Designers Club of Bunbury.
What amazing creativity with living floral art they have.  Here are just a few pics. 

Detail of an orchid spray......

This flower bed was put together by the group for the theme of "bed-time".

And here are a few of the displays. Every year eight community members are invited to choose an art work from the City Art Collection, and then represent this picture with flowers. Along the lower part of this collage you can see three of these pieces. I was privileged to be invited to be a part of this in 2014.  Blooming Art 2014

Congratulations to the winner of the 'Viewer's Choice ' award for the Blooming Art Section at the Exhibition.......Tina Dagostino. A beautiful Interpretation of her chosen artwork from the City of Bunbury Art Collection.

 Last Wednesday we had our last Flamenco class for this term, as it is now school holidays for the next two weeks. One of our long term members is leaving to take up a teaching position in a remote community, so some of us went out to dinner to wish her well. We will miss her. Our Sol-y-Sombra dance group are like family to us.

Over the weekend, Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company were privileged to be able to attend in Bunbury two workshops with famed Spanish Flamenco dancer - Miguel Angel Espino. What an inspiration these workshops were for us all. Thank you Lynn for bringing Miguel to Bunbury for us so that we could have this opportunity. At Miguel's request, I cannot share you photos of him at the workshops but you can watch this You Tube video if you go to the link. Youtube-Miguel

 And a couple of pics from the workshops - 

And coffee and cake with friends! 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little peek at my week. What have you been up to? Perhaps you would like to tell us 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. 

You might also like -
 Blooming Art 2014
Harmony through flowers - Blooming Art 2015 
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 in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too!