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.



Monday 22 April 2013

Exploring the Western Australian wheatbelt

Every year and sometimes two or three times a year, we take a trip east to the Western Australian wheat-belt - to Bruce Rock to be precise - in the central wheat-belt. My sister's family farm a cropping property there. Our visit has been an annual family trip at Easter for years. Both my father and mother came from the wheatbelt although they moved to the city before my sister and I were born. My sister marrying a Bruce Rock farmer over thirty years ago brought our family back to the wheat-belt. I love its beautiful salmon gum and gimlet trees and its wide open spaces and when I visit I feel in some ways that a part of me is coming home.

 Over the last few trips I have convinced my family that we should travel up by different routes to look at different places along the way, instead of going our usual route - Bunbury, Collie, Williams, Narrogin, Wickepin, Yealearing, Corrigin, Bilbarin, Bruce Rock - a four hour drive. Of course going a different way takes longer, but the journey is what is important don't you think?

This year we toured via York and the Old Goldfields Road.  The York to Goldfields Heritage Trail commences at York, 97km east of Perth and follows as closely as possible the route to the Coolgardie goldfields established by explorer Charles Cooke Hunt. It features some of his dams and wells which Hunt and his party constructed while cutting the trail during four expeditions between 1864 and 1866. For the thousands of gold seekers who trekked to the goldfields, Hunt's track and wells provided an invaluable lifelife. 

Since reading about Hunt a few years ago, I have been fascinated by this man and his work, and over the last few years we have visited a number of his wells. Travelling the Old Goldfields Road would add to my knowledge. (Writing about Hunt will be another story coming soon!)

From Williams we headed north on the Williams to York Road. Near Dryandra Conservation Reserve we found this little fellow - an young echidna - crossing the road.  He tucked his head under himself and bristled his quills. The hard gravel road surface was not providing a hiding place! I took a few quick shots and then let him trundle on his way. 

We stopped for a quick lunch in historic York. Established in 1836, York is now a popular weekend destination and also an alternative community for Perth workers who are happy to commute. There are many historic buildings. In the collage below you can see the Town Hall, the old flour mill, the convent school build in 1873 and the York main street. York could easily take up a whole story on it's own....another time.....

And onto the Old Goldfields Road. In the mosaic below you can see Youndegin Inn - first established as a police outpost in 1866. With the discovery of the Yilgarn goldfields it became the Youndegin Arms Inn and later a staging post for Cobb & Co coaches, declining in the 1890s after the establishment of the railway line 15km to the north. 
Nearby is one of Hunt's wells, constructed between 1864 and 1866. 
You can also see below one of the historical information boards which can be found along the trail, and the picnic area near Hunt's well at Doodlakine.

We continued on to Merredin before turning south to Bruce Rock. Just south of Merredin is another of Hunt's wells at Totadgin Rock.  From the top of the rock you have views over the wheatbelt and there is a marked trail with information panels making it an interesting place for a walk in autumn or spring when it is not too hot. There are gnama holes (natural depressions) on the rock that collect water during rain and which were an important source of water for animals, early residents and explorers. Hunt's well at Totadgin is a good example of dry stone well construction. There are granite rocks like Totadgin scattered all over the wheatbelt.

Bruce Rock is a progressive neat town. They have recently held their Centennial Celebrations and installed a mosaic walk along the main street containing mosaic tiles made by families and groups within their community. The mosaics are a creative, colourful and interesting addition to the town. My sister's mosaic can be seen here in the bottom left hand corner - Shearing & Co.

The farm of course is the highlight for us, for our boys, and now our grandsons. What a great way to spend a morning or late afternoon walking over the paddocks and the big rock at the back of the home-block farm house. When our boys were younger they used to take off with their all-boy cousins and we would only see them at meal times!

 Up on the rock is their collection of old farm equipment - don't you just love rust! The old scarifier made a great climbing frame!

and how about an improvised drum kit for a young man - you can make as much noise as you like out here! I've processed this in Elements to give it a raw rock star look.

Although you might scare off the Pink & Grey Galahs! 

The paddocks may be bare now, but after we left seeding went into full swing, and next time we visit the paddocks will be green growing crops of wheat, barley and canola. 

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about the central Western Australian wheatbelt.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Is there a place you visit often - do you travel different ways? 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday and Our World Tuesday and Travel Photo Thursday.  Please click on the links to see posts from other contributors around the world. 

You might also like to read more about the wheatbelt by clicking on a couple of my other posts here -

Western Australian central wheatbelt
Wheatbelt Central - Bruce Rock Caravan Park Camp food - Western Australian wheatbelt granite outcrops
Drayandra woodland in the early morning light

Sunday 14 April 2013

Persimmons and pasta - learning manual camera settings

It has been a few weeks since I have posted any food photos - but I have been taking photos! 

I have been doing a photography course for the last eight weeks and learnt the joys of using completely "manual" settings on my camera. Somewhere along the line I have missed out on the "technical" side of photography - and now is the time to learn!Until now for my food photography I have been using Aperture Priority, including setting white balance and ISO. Now I am also setting the "shutter speed"

Manual settings are a whole new ball game - so much more to think about and consider and juggle to get a correct exposure. Lots to learn! Someone said once you learn to photograph with "manual" settings you will never go back to "automatic" again. I think they are right. (although you can't beat automatic for a quick snap!)

Below are some of my first attempts at food photography with all manual settings.
I am sure the ladies in my dance class thought I had gone quite mad when I exclaimed over this clutch of duck eggs and I said I wanted to take them home to photograph them!

How about some pasta photographed from above...........  

and some Quesadillas. Such a simple recipe - Melt some butter in a pan. Put a tortilla in the pan, throw on some grated cheese and chopped spinach leaves and chives. (you can also put chopped onion and chilli if you like) Top with another tortilla. Fry each side 30 seconds or so until lightly browned.  Lift out onto paper towell. Service with guacamole and sweet chilli sauce or salsa.  Easy and yummy!
I was chasing the dappled morning light on my patio for this one. 

And who can resist this persimmons  - here you can see early morning back lighting (top) and side lighting (bottom). Don't you wish you could bottle that gorgeous light!

And I have rediscovered my old attachable flash unit which I can use to "bounce" light. It hasn't been out of it's box since my film camera days....I took out the corroded batteries, and my husband cleaned up the bits inside, and hey-presto it worked! 

See here used on Persimmons photographed on my kitchen bench top, and then on a black tile.  Light from the flash bounced onto the ceiling.

and finally - rice bowl - minimalistic. This year I have joined the Photography Group of Bunbury. Every month there is a theme, and members present images for critique and judging. I won "gold" with this image. Photographed in my light box.

 How about you? Do you use manual camera settings?
If you search for "Digital Photography School" on the net there are lots of great tutorials, including a 4 part series on manual settings - click here to go to part 1 - aperture-priority-and-shutter-priority-exposure-lesson-1

I hope you have enjoyed stopping by. I love hearing from you and look forward to reading your comments. Thank you.
I am linking into Mosaic Monday at Little Red House and Our World Tuesday. Please click on the links to see wonderful images from contributors around the world. 

Have a wonderful, joyous and blessed week, wherever you are and whatever you do.

You might also like - 

 My food photography on Flickr    
Photographing Food on Black 
 Summer is here