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. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
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.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
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".



Monday, 30 November 2015

Lost your mojo? Want to learn something new? Take on a project.

Do you ever feel that you have lost your mojo for a pursuit that you love and you need a boost to rekindle your passion, or you would like to try something new?  I think it has happened to many of us.  Do you have a yearning to learn something new? Try something different? It could be the beginning of a wonderful new path in your life towards a passion you don't even realise you have yet. Be open and take a chance. And don't let me hear you say you are too old! never! 

A project can be a great way to start.  Recently our photography group ran a fun 12x12 project. The task was to photograph 12 set topics in a 12 hour period over a particular weekend.  The topics were: 

1. moving subject, with background blur
2. repetitive shape (must be edited to black and white)
3. let's eat
4. things that float
5. sports action
6. 3 (Three)
7. minimalist
8. human hand/s
9. creepy crawlies
10. closer than a metre
11. makes my heart sing
12. my most amazing photo

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Free camping at McDermid Rock, Western Australia

Hi everyone, looking for a wildflower drive? You don't mind bush-camping and a bit of gravel, but don't want to be too "off-road"? Read on. 

I am back this week with the next part of our recent wildflower trip out east of Hyden in Western Australia. If you missed the first part, Camping at Dryandra, you can catch up here - Camping in the Dryandra Woodland, Western Australia

From Dryandra we headed east through the wheat-belt to Hyden and then out along the Hyden to Norseman Road. We have been along this road a few times now, and if you don't mind gravel it is a good short cut going to or coming back from the Nullarbor and the eastern states. 

I blogged about it here in 2013 - Granite & Woodlines Discovery Trail, Hyden to Norseman


Monday, 16 November 2015

Remembering beautiful Paris

In the light of the tragedies this past weekend in Paris, the effects of which have reverberated around the world, I am posting a few images from our trip to Paris in July 2005.  Beautiful Paris. 

But first take a minute to watch this beautiful video 
 I don't understand the words - but the feeling is real - a feeling of hope for peace for all - it brings tears to my eyes
Translate - Why not believe it? One day in our world, Opéra Garnier, Frenchman Patrick Bruel, Younes a Moroccan-born Muslim and Israel's Idan Raichel

 paix et la liberté

Petit Pont

Street scene, Plantes quarter

Fountain in Bercy

inside The Pantheon

Flame of Remembrance, Arc de Triomphe
Dinner in Montmarte
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel at Louvre

And with these images comes a prayer for peace around the world and my thoughts go out to my French friends both living here or abroad and those in Paris. 
Oblisk from Tuileries Garden at sunset
Please scroll down for more.  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 will be back with our recent wildflower trip in Western Australia next 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
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

On the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month, we will remember them

 We will remember them. The tragedies of war are not just those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives, but those who came home damaged in mind, body and spirit.

If you live in Western Australia, or touring through, I encourage you to visit the National Anzac Centre in Albany. You will see the faces, and read the words, and you will come away with a new appreciation of the human cost of war.
The writing on this post have been borrowed from the National Anzac Centre. 

National Anzac Centre, Albany

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

 We will remember them.

I cannot listen to The Last Post without tears coming to my eyes. 
The Last Post

You might also like: where you will read the significance of the names on the placques in the collage above to our family. .

Thank you for stopping by. Does 11 November remembrance have a significance to you and your family?


Monday, 9 November 2015

Summer is on its way in Western Australia - & making lemon butter

I hope your week has started well. This is not originally what I planned to bring you today, but I have been caught in the "summer is on its way" feeling.  And how could I not be? The Jacaranda trees in my area are in full bloom, the Banksias are sending up what I call their Christmas candles, there is a yellow pea flower blooming along my morning walk, surf-club is in full swing down at the back beach, and it's a lovely time to enjoy coffee with a friend at one of our waterside cafes. I love living here so close to water, even if I do have to walk or drive to get to it. We have the river, estuary, inlet and ocean only ten minutes away.

 Here some more pics of that Banksia tree. These flowers are about 12 inches or 30 centimeters long. Don't you think they look like candles?

Summer is coming to my garden too.
The green kangaroo paws have put up their long flower stems over the last week or so, the agapanthus is shooting up it's blue flower heads, the hydrangea is putting out its first flowers, my lovely double creamy yellow gerbera is full blown, the lavender is putting up new shoots, the roses are blooming, as is the honeysuckle, and my pink native rose, and the yellow daisies that border my garden have erupted in a riot of yellow this past week. 

 In my back garden the grape vine has promising bunches of grapes, the apricot tree is covered in paper bags to keep off the fruit-fly and the birds, the parsley plant has gone to seed, the lemon tree is loaded and the tomato plants are starting to flower.

What to do with all those lemons?  Make lemon butter of course! And what is not to like about lemon butter!

Here is the recipe I use: 

Lemon butter or Lemon Curd

500 grams (1lb) sugar, 250 grams (1/2 lb) butter, 4 eggs, juice of 3 lemons.
Grate rind of lemons and mix with juice and other ingredients in a china or glass bowl. Stand over boiling water on stove. Stir until consistency of honey, but do not allow to boil. 
This takes about half an hour. Bottle and cover immediately. Makes about 3 jars. Store in the fridge. 
Enjoy on fresh baked scones or just slather on bread.

Do you make lemon butter? You should try it. It is fairly easy to make.
But there are a few tricky questions
How much lemon juice is in 3 lemons? I never know when a recipe has this sort of instruction. My lemons are very large and produce a lot of juice. 
It is also difficult when you are cooking to know when you have reached the right consistency. "like honey" I guess is a good guide. I find the lemon butter does thicken a bit more after it has been refrigerated.
The most tricky part is resisting eating it straight from the jar! It is so delicious.

Here is a little photography hint for those budding food photographers out there. If your lighting is a bit dull, try adding some "fill in light" on the front of your set up. You can do this with a white bounce card, or a light. I have just purchased a Metz Mecalight LED-480 led light which works perfectly for small set ups. You can see the result below. You don't need an expensive light for small set ups. I've also used a fluorescent camping light which has worked well in these situations.
If you use tripod in low light you can also increase the exposure (ie slow down the shutter speed) when you take your pic or lighten the exposure in post processing after.  

You can see with and without a light below. Big difference. This was taken on my patio. 

 Lastly a few flowers just because.

Some summery yellow daisies sitting in a piece of my grandmother's cruet set and processed with a texture. 

 And a close up of that beautiful gerbera in my garden.

 Do you make lemon butter? What is your favourite lemon recipe? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I hope to be back next week with the next part of our recent spring wildflower trip. I working on identifying as many of the wildflowers as I can for you. 

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
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard

 You might also like:
Hello sunshine yellow and lemony delights 
Hydrangeas and Melting Moments in my garden 
Summer is here  
The trees are blooming for Christmas 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Camping in the Dryandra Woodland, Western Australian wheatbelt

Wattle at Dryandra
Firstly, I want to say thank you to all my lovely readers who took the time to comment on my last post Finding myself 50 plus plus. I think I struck a cord with many and your thoughful comments really helped my realise that I was not alone. Thank you. 

So today something more bright and cheerful!

In late September-early October we took a wildflower drive out through the eastern wheatbelt and beyond to the Great Western Woodland south of the Kalgoorlie goldfields. 
I brought you some images of spring in the wheatbelt here - Spring in the Western Australian wheatbelt

I promised to bring you more, so today I am backtracking to the start of that trip and our first night in the Dryandra woodland 22 kilometres north-west of Narrogin. As it is only about two hours drive from home we finished packing on Saturday morning, and left home after an early lunch. 

We reached Dryandra about 3pm after stopping along the way a couple of times to take photos of wildflowers - well we were on a wildflower drive after all :) 

We were surprised when we reached Dryandra that the campground was very full, but as it was the first day of the long weekend, and only being a couple of hours from Perth, and a great place to camp in spring, I guess we should have expected it. However we managed to find a good spot to set up, after a bit of maneuvering (manhandling) to get our camper trailer in. We had the kettle onto boil for a cuppa as soon as we had set up our camp.

 Bush camping in the wheatbelt is limited, and Dryandra is one I can recommend for families, retirees, bushwalkers, photographers, or just having a time-out weekend, as we have camped here a few times over the last few years.  The partly shaded Congelin Dam campground, located near the Congelin Railway Dam on the western side of Dryandra, is suitable for caravans, camper trailers, tents and there are group camping areas. The campground has been upgraded since we last visited in 2012. There are two camp kitchens, and long-drop toilets.

An easy 1.6 kilometre walk trail conveniently starts at the Congelin campground and follows the old Pinjarra to Narrogin railway line constructed in 1925. The walk trails are signposted with information boards telling you about the history and ecology of Dryandra including historic sites like the old water tank stand and railway dam.
 Below you can see the dam and the old rail formation. 

Dryandra Woodland is one of the largest remaining woodland areas in the vast Western Australian central wheatbelt.  This 28,000 hectare reserve managed by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is a valuable conservation area.

With less than 10% of the Wheatbelt’s original native vegetation remaining, nature reserves and rock outcrops provide a valuable habitat for wildlife and flora, as well as being wonderful places to picnic and bushwalk, especially during spring when the wildflowers when the woodlands erupt in a profusion of wildflowers. 

Look out for the dragon orchids (you can see one in the centre here) along the Congelin Siding walk trail. 
Also below you can see, clock wise from top LH corner - Silky Petrophile, White Candles, Hibbertia, sorry I don't know what this one is but I loved the late afternoon light!, the blue Dampiera, Dryandra, Cone Flower, and Poison Bush.

 Another image of the Pink Coneflower - Isopogon crithmifolious - known as coneflowers because of the grey cones which remain on the shrub after flowering.

Pink Coneflower
One plant you will see in profusion is the yellow and gold Poison Bush (Gastrolobium). The Poison Bush is a member of the pea family and contains a toxic substance that when synthesised is called ‘1080’. The poison bush has no effect on native animals, but 1080 is used in baits to control feral animals such as foxes and feral cats.

There are picnic areas spread throughout Dryandra and seven walk trails suitable for all levels of fitness, ranging from one to thirteen kilometres and a 25-kilometre audio drive. The trails feature diverse vegetation including white-barked wandoo, powderbark, brown mallet and rock sheoak woodlands.  The Ochre Trail describes Noongar culture and features an ochre pit used by Aboriginal people for decoration. 

Here is one of the Dryandra species from which the woodland takes its name. There are twelve different dryandra species growing in Dryandra. 

Extensive clearing of bushland throughout the wheatbelt for farming and introduction of exotic plants, disease and predators such as the fox have severely affected native plants and animals. The Western Shield project, “Return to Dryandra” is re-introducing endangered species to the wild through breeding programs and fox-baiting. Dryandra’s woodlands protect 100 bird and 24 mammal species, including thirteen species of native ground-dwelling mammals such as the woylie, tammar wallaby and the numbat. 

 A night tour at the Barna Mia Sanctuary enables visitors to observe threatened species at close range. Please refer to the information boards about bookings and tour times. We are yet to do this tour, but I am told it is a great one to take children to, though you need to sit quietly. It is on my list for next time.

Below here you can see a numbat (you have to be very lucky to see this one), a Western Grey Kangaroo with Joey, a Bobtail lizard and an Echidna. 

Some more of Dryandra's wildflowers - from top LH corner - this blue one might be a Squill I am not sure, Dryandra, a field of tiny yellow flowers, Smokebush, Hakea, Wattle.

Not only wildflowers, I also enjoy taking pictures of textures. You might even find a tee-pee!

During the evening you are likely to see possums in the campground, but please do not encourage them by feeding them, or leave anything laying about when you go to bed and zip up your tents. 
If you don’t want to camp there are eight former Forest Department cottages at the Lions Dryandra Village which can cater up to twelve people, whilst the group huts can cater for up to 56 people.  Please refer to their website for bookings. 

There is also a new campground, Gnaala Mia, not far from Dryandra, with 30 campsites, completed in June 2015 and signposted along the Williams-York Road. There are sites suitable for caravans, camper trailers and tents, and a campkitchen with hotplates, bench and table.

Gnaala Mia campground

Dryandra is only a few hours from major centres, making it an easy to get to destination for a restful weekend getaway. 


Where is it?: Approx two hours south east of Perth via the Albany Highway, and 22 kilometres north-west of Narrogin. Some of the roads are gravel, but were in very good condition when we visited.
Position:  -32.84489 116.88991
Best time to visit: Late winter and spring. Summer not recommended. 
Campgrounds - Congelin Dam campground and Gnaala Mia campground. 
Facilities:  Eco toilet, camp kitchen, picnic tables and fire rings. No power. Please bring all your own supplies, water and firewood, be aware of fire restrictions and take away your rubbish.   
Check Information boards for walk trail distances, estimated walk times and degree of difficulty.  
Campground rates at the time of writing:

Adults $7.50/night; Concession card holders $5.50/night; Children 6-15 years $2.50/night.
Pets : Not permitted due to wildlife conservation and  possible poison baiting

Useful Websites: 

Dryandra Tourism: www.dryandratourism.org.au 
Lions Dryandra Village: www.dryandravillage.org.au 
WA Dept of Parks & Wildlife - DPAW Park Stay - Then "camp finder" tab and search for "Dryandra".


I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Dryandra. You might also like - 

Dryandra woodland in the early morning light - October 2012

Tour Western Australia - Entering the wheatbelt - Week 18/52

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
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard
Weekend Travel Inspirations