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".

Welcome!

Welcome!
Please click on the image to go to my Red Bubble Store.

Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 - a year in pictures

Here we are at the end of 2012. What a year it has been.
It is so hard to pick my favourite images from a whole year of photography. But looking back my photography does tell the story of my year.

I thought I had better start with a food pic as I have continued this year to learn and practice food photography. I love using natural light. Food photography is such an absorbing craft, and not as easy as it would appear! I hope that one day I will get a start as a food photographer.
I like these two images because the iced tea looks so cool and refreshing (you can see the condensation on the side of the glass) and I managed to get myself in the pic - oh to be just sitting and relaxing with a book and a cold drink! Happy languid summer days!

I thank most sincerely my Flickr friends for their ongoing support and encouragement - especially for my food photography. Without you I wouldn't have found the way forward. Food photography has become a passion. If you would like to see some more of my food photography, please click on the link here - My food photography on Flickr


Last Christmas my husband gave me an underwater housing for my small camera. Our trip to Coral Bay in May was the first chance I had really had to play around with it. I am not an experienced snorkeler, but what fun I had snorkeling over the Ningaloo Reef with my camera.
Here is a little mosaic for my second "showcase". I like the effect of the swimmer in the LH pic with the lines of different colour going through the image and the view both above and under the ocean. The bottom right photo of my son was published in an article I wrote for Go Camping magazine about Western Australian beaches.


This year I have spent a lot of my photography time playing with light, chasing light, seeing light, and adjusting camera settings to try to capture the light. I find myself looking at light, how it plays across the elements of the scene, and I want to capture it in my camera.
Whether it be dealing with changing light on my patio for a food shot, photographing a flower, getting up early to capture morning light, a moment between two people, or having my camera ready when I see a magnificent sunset on my way home from work - I have tried to see and "capture the light".


We also did some travel - and I have had quite a good year being published in Go Camping Australia magazine and On The Road magazine.  Doing travel writing certainly gets you out and looking for new places to travel to, and improves your photography and writing!

I have had a wonderful year being a member of South Side Quills in Bunbury and have learnt so much from them. I thank them for their friendship and support and the knowledge they give freely. Next year we are going to be working on publishing an anthology.

Below you can see some travel pics - from top left to right -
Busselton Jetty, wheatbelt roads, walking in Yalgorup National Park, walking along the Timberline Trail at Nannup, Perth skyline from Kings Park, harvest at Bruce Rock, a gum tree where we scattered some of my Mum's ashes at her childhood home Bilbarin, the Bibbulmun Track hut at Grimwade, and tulips at the Nannup Flower Festival.


We took a camping trip through the north eastern wheatbelt for the first time and climbed some of the granite outcrops - Billiburning, Beringbooding, Elachbutting, Baladjie, Weowani, Karalee, Kokerbin - and to Dryandra.


We also travelled to our National Capital, Canberra, for the first time. We visited many of the national sites like the National War Memorial, Parliament House (both old and new), the National Art Gallery,  National Library and National Archives. It was wonderful to see our National collections. We also reconnected with some of my husband's cousins that he hadn't seen for years.  At the National War Memorial we placed poppy's next to the names of family members who didn't return from the first and second World Wars. My great uncle who died at Gallipoli and my husbands uncle who died in Burma. The National War Memorial and Museum is an amazing place to visit if you are ever in Canberra.


We took a day trip out to the Snowy Mountains and dipped our hands in the Snowy River (Banjo Patterson's Man from Snowy River fame). We will have to go back in winter when there is snow.


 2012 was also a year of learning about Textures with Kim's Beyond Layers e-course. Kim has certainly opened up a new world of creative possibilities to me. Thanks Kim. Please click on the link to learn more about Kim's fabulous courses - Kim Klassen Cafe


and the joys of discovering the effects of Rad Lab


 We had a flight over Bunbury bought for us by our son - 


And also attended the very happy occasion of a family wedding - our youngest nephew and his beautiful bride . . . 


My mother passed away ... In many ways it was a blessed release. She is now resting peacefully and will forever remain in our hearts.


A year wouldn't be complete without wildflowers ..... I was thrilled to be asked to guest post about wildflower photography on Jo Castro's fabulous travel and lifestyle site - ZigaZag - you can go to the link here - How to take great flower photos


And I started taking lessons in Spanish Flamenco dancing with the Sol-y-Sombra-Spanish-Dance-Company-School-of-Dance  I love the music, vibrancy, energy and colour and no, none of these ladies are me!


 And a reminder to cherish every moment - as it is a gift.

I always carry my small camera with me these days - you never know when a magic image will present itself. As I left work late one afternoon I saw the beginnings of the most magnificent sunset. So instead of going straight home I drove to the beach, took off my shoes, and walked on the beach to take some photos. It was indeed a true gift.


 Our year finished with the birth of my sister's first grand child - a son for my eldest nephew and his beautiful wife. He was born on 27 December.
After the loss of my mother, this darling little boy is indeed a treasured gift from heaven. We welcome him to our family and wish them much love and happiness in the coming years. (I thank my nephew for allowing me to post his baby's photo here)
       

What a year it has been! Sadness, joy and new discoveries. I wonder what 2013 will bring. 
Did you have a good year? Have you plans for 2013?

Thank you dear friends and readers for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little dip into my past year. I look forward to hearing from you and value your comments. You are what keeps my blog alive. Thank you. Have a wonderful 2013.  

To learn more please click on these links -
 My food photography on Flickr

I am linking up with Mosaic Monday. To see the fabulous work of Mary and other wonderful contributors please click on the link hereMosaic Monday at Little Red House

You might also like - 


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas wishes from Australia

 Christmas is nearly here and time for Christmas baking. In Australia, those of us who are descendants of English ancestors still cling to the Christmas traditions of roast dinner and plum pudding with all the trimmings, despite Christmas day often being in the high 30 degrees C! Not an ounce of snow in sight! The weather man is predicting the high 30sC all week! I remember as a child my mum cooking Christmas dinner in a wood stove in those sort of conditions. One of these days I hope to experience a white Christmas!

I have struggled a little gathering the Christmas spirit this year, as I think about my mother who will be missing from the table for the first time this year and my mother-in-law who is retreating into her past life.
But we must keep the traditions and joy of Christmas, so finally I have done a bit of Christmas baking. Strained Glass Christmas cake, little puddings and fruit mince pies. Please serve the fruit mince pies with brandy cream - home made of course!


 And making the Coffee Log Roll for my husbands birthday last week - his favourite desert - there is brandy in this cream too!


 As Christmas approaches and I think back over the joys and sorrows of the past year, I come to Christmas with a mixture of emotions. We had joy and happiness for the wedding of our youngest nephew and as we await the birth of our eldest nephew's first child - my sister and brother-in-law's first grandchild. Congratulations too for my brother-in-law's 60th birthday, and his father's 90th birthday.
Happiness for time spent with grandchildren, children, family and friends, and renewing friendships with some of my husband's cousins who he hadn't seen for years. Good health, for the most part, and travels to places new to us in our magnificent country.  We have much to be grateful for.

But great sorrow and grief for the passing of my mother in July. Admiration, respect and love for my father. Grateful too for the love, support and importance of family and close friends. Thankful for time spent with my sister.  And love for my daughter-in-law who lost her mother in 2008 - far too young. I know she misses her, especially at Christmas. Regret that one of our grandchildren just remembers her, and the other youngest never met her - how much they all have missed.
Sadness that my mother-in-law is now entering another world where her memories of us will fade as she retreats into her earlier life. 
Sorrow too for those around the world that have been affected by death, hardship and wars.

A couple of weeks ago I went with my Dad and husband to a memorial service for those who have lost loved ones over the past year. It was a beautiful service. They had a huge Christmas tree at the back of the church decorated with beautiful glass Christmas baubles made Melting Pot Glass Studio in Margaret River, Western Australia. All those attending were able to take one home in memory of their loved one.


A reminder to treasure every day, for everyday is a gift - that is why it is called the "present".


Every new morning is a new open page along the pathway of life.


I wish you joy and happiness and love at Christmas - hug the ones you love, treasure every minute, and make the most of every day.

What are your family Christmas traditions? Are you missing someone from your table this year?

Thank you dear blogger friends for dropping by, sharing, encouraging and commenting. I value your presence and look forward to hearing from you. 

Below I share with you a few words from Norman Vincent Peale -

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, 
everything is softer and more beautiful.

I am linking up today with Mosaic Monday - please click on the link to see the work of Mary and other wonderful photographers across the world - Mosaic Monday

Click on the link to go to Melting Pot Studio at Margaret River - Melting Pot Glass

You might also like - please click on the links to go to -

Wishing you all a happy Christmas

The trees are blooming for Christmas

I wish you enough

Monday, 17 December 2012

Summer December flowers, Western Australia

It is December, and summer is here, although with last week's torrential rain and thunderstorms it didn't feel like it. This pic I took through the windscreen of the car parked at the beach - a fence, grassy sand-dune, ocean and sky! I rather liked the pattern on the window.


But it is summer, so I share with you some summer colour from around my garden -


and some native flowers that I have growing in my garden - the reds, greens and yellows have a Christmassy feel


and our summer crops - the last lemons are clinging to the tree, the grapes are starting to fill out, the tomatoes are ripening, and the apricots whilst still green are starting to colour and will be ready to pick for Christmas - then it will be time again to preserve some and make apricot jam. Have you tried fresh apricot slices in a tossed summer salad - delicious!


Lavender is my favourite garden flower. I have photographed it many many times.
One of my lavender bushes is covered in flowers. The bees are loving it. 
I was standing in the kitchen late one afternoon a week or so ago, looking out the window while I was cooking dinner, and when I saw this magic light, I turned off the stove, and ran outside to photograph it.  Natural late afternoon light, back lit from setting sun.



This is the moon flower - the flowers only flower for one night, so you need to be looking out for when it is going to open. Beautiful isn't it? I lit the flower with a torch to capture this image.
Epiphyllum Oxypetalum or Dutchman’s-Pipe Cactus, is a large floral variety of cactus native from Mexico to Brazil.


  This past year I have been learning Flamenco Spanish dancing at the Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company in Bunbury. We have classes once a week in the dance room at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery. Flamenco is not easy to learn, and I practise a lot! It certainly keeps the mind and body active learning the intricate steps and patterns, hearing the music, and coordinating hands, arms and feet and trying to remember to smile! On Saturday evening we held a performance at the Red Mill Store in Bunbury for family and friends. It was my first performance - nerve racking.

It was a wonderful evening. I especially thank Nicole and the wonderful dancers at Sol y Sombra for their support, encouragement and friendship. And hugs also to my fellow beginner dancer Emila - we made it and we did ok! I am looking forward to when classes start again next year already!

No - none of these ladies in the pic below is me! I took this image from the side lines. Next time I will have to organise a spot for me to take pics during the dances I am not in.! (smile.....)
sometimes a dancer....always a photographer.....!...


To learn more about Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company please click on the link here - Sol-y-Sombra-Spanish-Dance-Company-School-of-Dance

Now that the dance performance is over, I now need to start doing my Christmas cooking!

Have a wonderful week. How are your Christmas preparations going? Have you learnt a new skill this past year?

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

You may also like - please click on the links to go to.....
December Summer Colour
The trees are blooming for Christmas
Her beauty only lasts one night
Spanish Flamenco dancing

Monday, 10 December 2012

From beach to wheatbelt - Western Australia

We have had two completely different weekends the last two weekends. One at the beach and one in the Wheatbelt.  Two completely different locations, one under an hour from our home, on the coast, and one 4 hours from home, inland. Western Australia is a land of contrasts!

They may have been at different locations, but they both embraced the love and importance of family through shared experiences and emotions.  For isn't the love and closeness of family the most important thing of all in this life?

Two weekends ago we took our Grandsons down to Busselton - a place that has been favourite a summer holiday place for families for years. My husband's family used to holiday in the caravan park near the jetty every summer.

The Busselton jetty is 1.8 kilometres long -  the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.  Construction began in 1865, and the jetty was extended several times, and was used to service shipping until the Port closed in 1973. Cyclone Alby in 1978 blew one arm of the jetty away, and a community group was formed to raise funds for restoration and maintenance.

The jetty is popular for fishing, swimming or just walking. We took our grandchildren on the train ride out to the end to the Underwater Observatory.  At the Observatory steps take you down under the jetty, but unfortunately the water clarity was not fantastic due to a summer storm during the week.  We had fish and chips for lunch under the huge Morton Bay Fig Tree on the shore, and an icecream afterwards. A good day out.


There was a sailing regatta on Geographe Bay. As you can see, it was a sparkling day on the water at Busselton! 


In the image below I have played around with a bit of selective colouring -

This is my grandson - 4yr old Mister "I will do what I want". Hence walking away. My husband has just reminded me that the "coming back" is because he got a splinter in this hand off the jetty, which is why he is holding up his hand to us. Nice to know we evidently have our uses. (smile)

I thought that the bright blue of his jacket stood out well against the black and white. And the grey tones have added an "alone" look. (although it was a sunny day!) Desaturated in a layer to B&W, then brought back the colour in the jacket with a layer mask.


This last weekend we went with my Dad out to Corrigin in the central Western Australian wheatbelt to lay the ashes of my mother at the cemetery. Mum passed away peacefully at home on 19 July 2012.

Her family moved from the small railway siding town of Bilbarin to Corrigin in 1937 when Mum was 13. She met my Dad in Corrigin, and she worked at the Post Office and lived in Corrigin until she was married. Her parents are buried in the Corrigin cemetery and it was Mum's wish that her ashes were taken back there.  We then went on to Bilbarin where Mum spent her childhood, and we scattered a few of her ashes under a huge gum tree which overlooks where their house once was, now part of a farmers paddock. We had a picnic afternoon tea, and then went on to my sister's house at Bruce Rock for an evening with family, and on Sunday morning went out to see some of the harvest before returning home.

I hope my mother is now resting peacefully. Below you can see the tree with the paddock beyond. The verse is part of a poem Mum had written in her memoirs. It is the first verse of a song she learnt at school and sang with her class on the stage of the Corrigin Town Hall at a concert. It must have had a lot of meaning to Mum for her to have remembered it and written it down in her memoirs. We read it at her funeral, and when we scattered her ashes. 

Post-script - a dear friend has just sent me a link to the words and music for Comrades of Mine from a music score - "Six Australian Bush Ballads" 1922 - Words by Richard Baylis. Music by William G James.   Six Australian Bush Ballads
I am looking forward to having a friend play it for me on piano.



I used to make Melting Moments with my Mum. It is a happy memory I have from my childhood, pressing the top of the biscuits with a fork to make the pattern, so I made them for the afternoon tea picnic.


And below is the beautiful Mottlecah - Eucalptus macrocarpa. It is an unusual plant with huge silvery oval shaped leaves, and grows throughout the wheatbelt. I hadn't seen one flowering in the wild before. We found this one in a little patch of re-plant bush at Bilbarin. In the picture below you can see the cap coming off to expose the flower.


Harvesting barley on my brother-in-law's property at Bruce Rock.



Thank you for joining me. I look forward to hearing from you.
What are your memories of childhood?

Have a wonderful week. I am linking up with the wonderful contributors at Mosaic Monday - please click on the link here to see there work - Mosaic Monday at Little Red House

You might also like - please click on the links -

Central WA Wheatbelt

Busselton Jetty


Monday, 3 December 2012

Summer is here!

Summer is here and with it come the fruits and vegetables of summer and time for preserving and making salads.

I have been making Zucchini Pickle (you might call it Relish) every summer for abut 30 years.  It is a recipe that my friend Kathy gave me. It is fairly quick and easy to make. Zucchini Pickle is my husband's favourite pickle so I make it every year around this time of year when zucchini's are plentiful and cheap. He likes to give his fishing mate a jar every Christmas - it is his favourite too!

Zucchini pickle is great for having with summer salads and cold meats, or in a sandwich, or just on fresh bread with cheese or cold meat. It is also wonderful for giving to friends or family as a homemade gift.  It has some fabulous spices in the recipe - you can see them ready to go in the mosaic, and the finished product waiting for their lids. Don't you just love the yellow colour!





 You will need:

1lb (450g) brown onions, chopped and sliced finely
4lb (1.8kg) zucchini sliced finely (about 6 zucchini)
2 pints (12000ml) white vinegar 
2lb (900gm) white sugar
2 tablspn mustard powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
t tblspn salt
1 tblspn tumeric
1 teaspn white pepper
1 cup plain flour (you could probably use cornflour or a gluten free flour)

 Don't use the really big zucchinis as the skin is too tough. 
Slice the zucchinis lengthwise and cut out the seeds. Then slice the zucchinis finely. No need to peel, but I take off any damaged skin. A food processer helps with the slicing.

Put the onions, zucchini and half the vinegar into a large pan. Cook until tender. Mix the dry ingredients with the rest of the vinegar and mix into the pan. Add the sugar. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring constantly. 

Most important to stir constantly! Otherwise it will stick and burn if you don't stir constantly!
Bottle and cover immediately. 



Summer has begun, and our tomatoes are starting to ripen in our garden. Here are some radishes, and little tomatoes. The green bunch of tomatoes tore off the vine accidentally when I tried to pluck a ripe one - oops!

I was chasing the light the morning I photographed this last week, or should I say trying to find somewhere that wasn't so bright! I should have gotten up 2 hours earlier! The sun seems to be coming up around 5.30am now! When the sun went momentarily behind a cloud around lunch time, and I grabbed this shot. Clouds are a great diffuser - especially in the harsh Australian summer sun!



I saw three slightly different variations of the salad shown below in three places last week - Tartelette - www.tarteletteblog.com; The Red Bistro - www.theredbristro.com; and in my fabulous new cook book - Ed Halmagyi's The Food Clock - The Food Clock (fabulous food pics!).
So I guess it was telling me something - that I would need to make and photograph it.

The salad includes, mixed salad leaves, radishes, fennel, pomegranate, red onion, green apple, walnuts, feta. With a drizzle of vinaigrette over it, or your favourite salad dressing, just before serving.

The salad certainly has some lovely summer colours. And Christmassy too with the red and green! Photographed here in natural morning light on my patio. The bowl is "Depression" glass from my mother-in-law's china cabinet. She always used to use this bowl for salads.


And just something a little different - Just playing around with colour and radishes and a different slant on things! Do you like the effect? 
Colour enhancement courtesy of RadLab


Thank you for stopping by. What is your favourite summer salad?
I look forward to hearing from you. Have a fabulous week.

I am linking up to Mary and all the fabulous photographers at Mosaic Monday at Little Red House - please click on the link here to visit - Mosaic Monday

You might also like - please click on the link here -
Summer tomatoes