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. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Wednesday 26 September 2012

Wheatbelt Central - Bruce Rock Caravan Park, Western Australia

Below is an excerpt from my campsite report printed in October 2012 edition of On The Road magazine. My sister's family farm is in the Bruce Rock area, so it is somewhere we have travelled to and explored for over 30 years. We always look for a different place to visit and explore while we are there.

Located in the heart of the Western Australian central Wheatbelt, 254 kilometres east of Perth, Bruce Rock is an ideal base from which to explore the Wheatbelt. 

The Bruce Rock Caravan Park, which is managed by the Bruce Rock Shire, is conveniently located in Dunstall Street next to the swimming pool and only a short walk from the main street. The Park has 20 powered sites and six backpacker huts, lawn, shade, and full amenities including laundry and campers’ kitchen.

The backpacker huts can accommodate one or two people, but you need to bring your own linen and blankets.  There are no cooking facilities in the huts, but you can use the spacious campers’ kitchen which has ample food preparation space, two stoves, microwave and a sink.  There is also a barbecue and outdoor eating area. 

Bruce Rock was originally known as Nunagin, but confusion with other towns in the area led to it being renamed Bruce Rock. The actual Bruce’s Rock is a low granite outcrop located two kilometres to the east of the town.  The rock was named after a sandalwood cutter, John Rufus Bruce, who set up his camp near a soak at the base of the rock in the mid 1800’s. Near the picnic site you can see two old stone wells built in the early 1900’s.  A walk over the rock will give you good views of the surrounding countryside.  The last Aboriginal Corroboree in this district is said to have been held here.  

The area was first used for sheep in 1863, although it wasn’t settled till after 1900.  Multiple winner of the Tidy Towns competition, Bruce Rock’s wide veranda-lined main street retains impressions of its past, whilst displaying an innovative spirit which is bringing new growth to the town.  Grain is Bruce Rock’s major industry and in early summer you will see huge headers harvesting the grain. 

The image below was taken at my sister and brother-in-law's family farm in Bruce Rock. 

Bruce Rock main street

A few things to do at Bruce Rock
  • In November the town hosts the annual Vietnam Veterans Back to the Bush Reunion.
  • Agricultural Show in October
  • See crops being harvested in November-December
  • A 1200 seat amphitheatre hosts evenings of entertainment under the stars
  • The Recreation Centre caters for a variety of sports from lawn bowls to football
  • Bruce's Rock just out of town is a great place for a picnic. See two old stone wells built in the early 1900s.
  • Kokerbin Rock, the third largest monolith in Australia is about 40km north west of Bruce Rock - a great place for bush walking, panoramic views, picnicking, photography, and camping
  • Granite rocks are a feature of the wheatbelt, and Totadgin Rock Nature Reserve on the Bruce Rock-Merredin Road is another granite rock where you can go bushwalking. 
  • Bandee Salt Lakes near Doodlakine
  • Smallest bank in Australia at Shackleton
  • Merredin - Old Railway Station Museum, Heritage Trail, remains of former field army field hospital, No4 Kalgoorlie Pipe Line pump station. 

 To contact the Bruce Rock Caravan Park:  telephone the Shire offices on 08 9061 1377 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

To read this complete campsite report please see October 2012 edition of On The Road magazine

You might also like - click on the link here - Camp amongst the wildflowers  

Sunday 23 September 2012

Cumquats - from tree to marmalade

Have you ever had cumquats? I had not till just recently. My sister has a tree in her new house, so she sent me a few kilo to make Marmalade. So I hunted through my favorite little preserves recipe book - "Australia's Home Made Jams & Preserves" (complied by CSR) - and I found a cumquat marmalade recipe. It was called "Old Government House Cumquat Marmalade" and the notation said the recipe came from the National Trust of Australia, New South Wales - so it must be a very old recipe.

I had never tasted cumquats before, let alone made something from them, or photographed them. They are a very small fruit which is very bitter. They have seeds, and I was determined to take them all out before making the marmalade. My son and his family came over for dinner, and he and I spent a couple of hours after dinner standing in the kitchen cutting up the fruit and taking out the seeds (at least you don't have to peel them!). What a job! But it did make the marmalade making easier, as I didn't have to scoop out the seeds from the boiling marmalade while it was cooking..

The recipe said one cup of sugar per one cup of fruit - as I said it is a very bitter fruit - but I put one cup less, and it turned out sweetish, but not too sweet, and with a slight bitter bite. I also added a couple of green apples - the extra pectin from the apples helps with the setting.

So here is a little mosaic - don't you think the colour of the marmalade is glorious in the afternoon light streaming through my kitchen window. In the picture on the top right, you can see the recipe book.

And below is a texture version - Of course I had to photograph the fruit in this cue little bucket before I did anything else with them.
I wanted to show you the before and after - I used the before image on the left (natural light straight out of camera) to process with texture (on the right) for Kim's latest - Day 64 of her Beyond Layer's e-course.
I used her "Jay" texture twice - one at "multiply" at 100% and once at "vivid light" 54%.
I have never used "vivid light" before and rather like the effect. It adds an extra glow. What do you think?

I think this is my favourite of the set - The cumquats ready to be cooked, taken in morning light on my patio - I like the lovely early morning glow and the dappled shade coming through the trees.

The earliest fruits and vegetables were introduced into Australia by Governor Phillip who, along with the First Fleet in 1788, brought the seeds of various fruit trees from Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. Early records show that from the start of settlements, the establishment of fruit trees was a priority. Some 200 fruit trees were brought from England on the ship "Gorgon', a ship in the Third Fleet.

Here is the recipe -
Old Government House Cumquat Marmalade 
- from the National Trust of Australia, New South Wales

Cumquats, water, sugar
Wash the fruit well and slice finely, removing the seeds (I just cut each fruit into quarters of sixths)
Breley cover fruit with water and leave to soak overnight. In the morning bring to boil and cook till tender.
(I also added 2 green apples, peeled and sliced thinly)
Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of fruit stirring til sugar is dissolved.  
(I had 9 cups of fruit and used 8 cups of sugar)
Boil rapidly. Test with a small quantity of marmalade on a saucer to test for setting.
Bottle in sterile jars and cover immediately.

Making jams and preserves is a family tradition of ours. Do you make jams and preserves?
Have you tried cumquats?

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House - to see the work of Mary and other wonderful contributors from across the world, please click on the link - here - Mosaic Monday

You might also like - click on the link here - Spring jam making

Monday 17 September 2012

Western Australian wildflowers

It is spring and the time for the Western Australian bush to come alive with spring wildflowers.
Generally you will always find something flowering somewhere in the Australian bush, but during spring our bush puts out its full colour pallet. Influenced by rain and sunshine and boasting up to 12,000 known species, the Western Australian wildflower season spreads over several months starting from July in the north till November in the south 

On Sunday we finally had the chance to go walking in one of our favourite patches of bush, Manea Park, near Bunbury. 

In the collage below you can see some of our native orchids. The south west of Western Australia has more than 350 terrestrial orchid species. And when you are walking through the bush you really have to look carefully to find these beautiful little orchids. 

I wouldn't pretend to know that exact name of each of these because in each family there are many varieties, so I will give you the family name - from left to right - 
Donkey orchid, Queen of Sheba, Cowslip, White Spider orchid, Bee orchid, Pink Fairy, Enamel orchid, Jug orchid, Silky blue orchid, Shell orchid.

Another image of the Queen of Sheba. Beautiful isn't she! It is so amazing that for such a brilliantly coloured orchid, you can walk right by her if you are not looking in the right direction. Also being a sun orchid, they are likely to be closed on cloudy days. There are three known forms - one found Lancelin to Dongara, this one you see which grows Perth to Albany, and a third which grows between the Stirling Ranges and Esperance.

And some other wildflowers we saw today at Manea Park.
from top left - Dampera, Hibbertia, Pink Rainbow, Fringe Lily, Pepper and Salt, one of the Pea family, (bottom left) Blue Squill, another of the Pea family, Hovea, Blue Squill

 A view along the pathway at Manea Park... There is a bench so you can stop and sit a while....

Later on in the day after we came home, I walked up to a little patch of bush near our home. Sadly introduced foreign invasive grasses and huge populations of freesias are taking over and choking out the native wildflowers. As much as I love freesias (I picked a bunch and brought them home), they shouldn't be there. And it saddens me to see the grasses spreading further and further into our patch of bush.

I feel like I have to photograph the native wildflowers in our patch of bush before it is too late. Here are some of them I photographed yesterday....

from left to right - Wattle, Western Australia's floral emblem the red Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Donkey orchid, Purple Tassels, White Tassels, Pink Fairy orchid, Running Postman, Hibbertia, Rush Cottonheads, White Spider orchid, Cowslip orchid, and Milkmaids.

This little one is a favourite of mine - Wild Violets - 

And a view along the pathway... you can see the invasive grass in this image....our bushland shouldn't be like this - this is not part of our bush ecology. Every summer they burn the grass in the undergrowth, but every year it seems to come back stronger and more widespread. I fear it is too late to do anything about it now and after a while there will be no more native wildflowers. Even some of the banksia trees are starting to die - they say that is because of climate change.

But - it is still lovely to have this patch of bush near our home in suburbia. Do you have a patch of bush near you that you enjoy?

I hope you enjoyed this little wildflower walk.  Have a wonderful week, and take a walk in a patch of bush near you sometime soon! 
Your comments are precious to me, and I look forward to hearing from you. 

A couple of good books are Eddy Wajon's 3 part series - Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia (Wajon Publishing), the Department of Environment & Conservation bush books, and Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia by Bob Liddlelow (R &R Publications)

I am linking up to Mary and other wonderful contributors at Mosaic Monday - click on the link here to see their work - Mosaic Monday at Little Red House

Monday 10 September 2012

Weekend in Perth, Western Australia

On Saturday I was privileged to attend a one day workshop in our State capital, Perth, with one of Australia's leading panoramic landscape photographers - Ken Duncan. He has worked on projects all over the world, including on major film sets. But this passion is Australian landscapes, working with World Vision, and currently with Australian indigenous people. What a wonderful inspiring speaker Ken was - I was thrilled to be able to hear a master photographer speak.  And how much I still have to learn! 
(Scroll down to the bottom of this post to find the link to Ken's website)

Whenever we go to Perth it seems it is to visit family or friends or for business reasons - however this weekend we had a little time to explore Perth as a "tourist" and I realized how long it has been since we have done that. We only had a day, but I managed to capture a few images to share with you. I think we need to do this again some time soon!

In the mosaic below you can see - from top left - a view over beautiful Queens Gardens which was not far from our hotel (and incidentally where we had our wedding photos taken years ago!), statue of Peter Pan in Queens Gardens - a replica of one in Kensington Gardens London given to the children of Perth in 1927, a view along the Esplanade on the Swan River foreshore (these are hotels and apartments looking over the park to the river), walking along the Swan River - at the end of the path is the Barrack Street jetty where the ferrys leave from and where there are restaurants (on Sunday morning there were lots of people out and about along the river, walking, jogging, bike riding, having breakfast, fishing or just sitting enjoying the view), children's playground in Kings Park Perth (it was such a beautiful day the park was packed with picnickers), a Rosella feeding on Flame Tree blossom (can you see him?), vegetable gardens in the Perth Cultural precinct (amazing to see beds of vegetables and fruit trees in the centre of Perth - they are encouraging home gardens), Kangaroo Paw wildflowers in Kings Park (it is the time of the wildflower festival), another view in Queens Gardens, a table made from strips of plywood, on display in the Art Galleries Your Collection 1800-today exhibition, and the cover of one of Ken Duncan's books.

Below are some more sights around Perth - from top left - Government House (where the WA Governor lives), an old church in St George's Tce (it is for sale - I think street people have been squatting there), the Perth railway station, looking across the Swan River to South Perth, the Bell Tower (home of the 12 Swan Bells - one of the world's largest musical instruments), view from the ferry going across the Swan River (we had a late breakfast at the "Bell House" on the South Perth jetty that you can see in this picture), the Supreme Court, St George's Cathedral, Kangaroos in St George's Tce!, happy football fans, the view from our hotel, St George's Tce on a quiet Sunday morning, an art work made from Western Australian mineral rocks, view of Perth from Kings Park, view from the ferry going across the Swan River from South Perth to the city.

The happy football fans are my nephew and his wife, and our youngest son Mark who had just been to see their football team, The West Coast Eagles, win one of the final rounds of the Australian football season.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and take some time to visit your capital city as a tourist.

Here is another pic - we went out to dinner at Burswood and then took a stroll around the Casino - no didn't spend any money or try to win any - just interesting looking. And then we had sat and had a drink at a place just off the lobby and people watched.  I only had my mobile phone with me, it's new, (as I didn't know if cameras were allowed in the casino) and I have never taken a phone photo before, let alone upload one - but here is is - where we were sitting is a very high "atrium" type ceiling, you can see the lifts going up and down as they are inside the building but outside the wall (if you know what I mean), and there were these big "sails" - I rather like the effect. What do you think?

If you would like to know something about Ken Duncan, please go to his web site - Ken Duncan

To learn more about Perth click on the link - Experience Perth

I am linking up with Mosaic Monday. Click on the link to see the work of Mary and other wonderful contributors - Mosaic Monday

Have you been to Perth Western Australia or Perth UK or Perth Tasmania?
I look forward to hearing from you.

And finally a beautiful sunset we saw on our way home - taken through the car window as we drove along.
Ken says, if you see something and it tells you to photograph it, then do it!

Monday 3 September 2012

Carrots, minestrone & flowers!

An interesting mix for today. 

I have been searching for some old soup plates for my food photography. A couple of weekends ago we went to the Nannup Flower and Garden Festival, and in the Nannup antique shop (what a glorious place) I found tucked away along the back wall these old French plates - Sarreguemines. The proprietor said they were from the 1850s, but my research tells me more likely early 1900s - but do I care? not a bit! I love them!
I have 4 plates and all 4 have a different designs - perfect!
Seen here photographed with pea & ham soup in natural kitchen light.

I made minestrone and served with herb scones last weekend, served in my French plates. I've made herb scones for years, they are a perfect accompaniment for soup on a cold winter's evening.  I use whatever herbs I have in my garden - parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (sounds like a song...) and this time I also added sun dried tomatoes to make them a bit more Italian to go with the soup.

Photographed in natural light on my back patio on a cloudy morning. I would have really liked some light and shade, but it was a completely cloudy day, so I worked with that!
I couldn't decide which image I like the best, so here is a collage.
Perhaps you can tell me which image you like? thanks!

And a mosaic of baby carrots - photographed in natural light - cloudy morning. There is those French plates again, and my serving spoon courtesy of my mother-in-law.
The baked carrot recipe came from Fast Ed's new cookbook "The Food Clock".  First you brown them in a pan a bit, but I think 20 minutes in the oven was a bit too long.  You were supposed to cook sage with it, but my plant has disappeared! so I used rosemary - just as good.

 Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Bunbury annual Floral Art Exhibition "Blooming Art 2012" on show in the beautiful Chapel Gallery at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery. Congratulations to the winners, and the organizers, and Floral Designers Club exhibition chairwoman, Eileen Wenn. That's Eileen's prize winning arrangement on the top left, and her necklace on the top right.
The arrangement you see second from the left by Sue Larkin - Best Contemporary Design, Best in Show & Best Use of Colour - congratulations Sue - stunning work

Below is from Kim's Beyond Layers Day 60 - creating a "scripted image" layer. Here I am showing you the original unedited image, and with the "scripted" image next to it. I also added a sepia photo filter.We are learning some great techniques in Kim's e-course.

 Have a wonderful week. I am linking up with Mary at Little Red House and other wonderful artists at Mosaic Monday. Click on the link here to see their work - Mosaic Monday

Finally how about a jar of smiles for when life is not treating you so well....

If you would like to see some more of my food photography, I would love you to come over to my Flickr site -  Jill's Food on Flickr

Thank you for taking the time to come to my blog. Your comments are valuable to me and I look forward to hearing from you.  Have a wonderful week.