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 29 October 2018

The Phantom of the Opera is here!

 I felt very privileged a couple of weeks ago to be invited to take photos at a dress rehearsal of the South West Opera Company's  production of Phantom of the Opera, at the Bunbury Entertainment Centre.

The production was amazing and very professionally performed and produced. I have seen The Phantom twice before performed by a professional cast, and I believe that the South West Opera Company's production by predominantly amateur performers, was equal to any I had seen before. I cannot praise it enough. I was in the audience the closing night, but I loved the experience of taking these photos and seeing a little of behind the scenes and having a sneak peak preview of the show. 

I've not done a lot of this type of photography before, so it was a great opportunity.  For those interested in knowing technical details - I didn't use a tripod and I couldn't use a flash, so I used an ISO of 1600 (to increase the camera's sensitivity to light), and an aperture - F stop - of around F5 (to increase the size of the lens opening and hence let in more light). All images taken in RAW and processed in Lightroom where you can smooth out "noise".  It was difficult to get sharp images when the dancers were moving, but easier with the solo singing parts. In all it was a fabulous experience for me.

My sincere thanks go to the South West Opera Company for the opportunity. 
Director - Andy King, Musical Director - Marguerite Monagle,  Design and Costumes - Deb Prentice, Assistant Director/Choreography - Mary-Ellen Sutherland.

Act 1 - 1901 - the auction in the Paris Opera House. 

Act 1 - We are taken back to 1861 -  When The Paris Opera was it its height -  rehearsal for a production of Hannibal.  You can see my Spanish Flamenco teacher, Nicole Kostezky, on point in the centre of the second photo.
 Christine (Nerida Mangano) and Raoul (Ashley Hastie) 

 One of the ballet scenes - Zara Beattle and Josh Donovan

Another of our Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Flamenco principle dancers Susanna Maratea as Madame Giry

The wonderful team of Firmin (Nathan Gardiner) and Andre (Rob Hill) - the new managers of the Paris Opera

 Carlotto (Jeanean Halket) with Andre and Firmin while Madame Giry and Meg (Breanna Cooke) look on

 Andre, Raoul, Firmin, Carlotta and Piangi (Mitch James) read a "note" from The Phantom.

The Phantom (Rob Littlewood) and Christine (Nerida Mangano)

Act 2 - The grand Masquerade Ball

The Phantom suddenly appears at the Masquerade and delivers the score of a new opera that he has written

Christine and the orchestra, conducted by Marguerite Monagle.

 In the final scene, Meg (Breanna Cooke) finds The Phantom's mask.

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed these few photos from Phantom of the Opera. Do you enjoy live stage productions? 
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 - 
 Spanish Flamenco dancing with Sol y Sombra
Ole - Celebration of 25 years of Spanish dance 
South West Multicultural Festival 
Celebrating Diwali Festival of Light 

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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If you are a blogger you can link up to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global right here!

Sunday 21 October 2018

October garden

Hi everyone, just a few photos from around my garden this week. It is spring here in Australia and it feels like, to me at least, that it has been a weird start to spring, cold and wet days, and then a burst of warm weather. But perhaps the change in seasons is always like this. We are into the last two weeks of October and tonight we have the fire on - it should be warming up by now. Though I know I shouldn't complain as I know the heat is coming. But I must say I think our garden is enjoying the rain, cooler days and sunshine.

In our back garden our apricot tree is rocketing away with new fruit - we've had to put the net up to keep the parrots off, we have blueberries ripening - so fantastic to eat straight off the bush, the lemon tree is flowering even though there is still some of last season's fruit on the tree, the tomatoes are putting out baby tomatoes, and the grape vine is forming grapes. 
 I made French Marmalade and Lemon Butter with some of those lemons. The marmalade has carrots in it and is delicious - not a sour marmalade like some of them can be.

My new quince tree has flowers! I adore quinces, so I am looking forward with anticipation to my first piece of fruit. I can even see the start of tiny quinces!

In my front garden there are flowers - the green kangaroo paws are reaching up their green heads on long stalks, the Bird of Paradise is putting out a couple of final flowers, the lavender is flowering, the pelargoniums are looking fantastic, new buds are bursting on my roses, and this yellow native is making a bright ground cover.
 The kangaroo paws are native to Western Australia.  The type I have is a tall green kangaroo paw - Anigozanthos flavidus 'Green' - which grows up to 2 metres tall. It flowers throughout the summer. 

Kangaroo paws belong to the genus Anigozanthos, which has 11 species. The closely related Black Kangaroo Paw is called Macropidia fulginosa. 
 Anigozanthos and Macropidia occur naturally only in the southwest of Western Australia. They occur in a variety of habitats and soil types    Australian National Herbarium

 My Port Wine Magnolia is looking beautiful, but the little birds haven't built there this year.

On Friday I was invited to photograph a beautiful garden in the Ferguson Valley for the coming Ferguson Valley Open Gardens weekend - 10-11th November. More on that in the next couple of weeks. 

And I met a baby lamb only 10 days old, one of a set of triplets kicked out by the other two, and still learning to suck. It was good to hear yesterday that she is now doing well.

Just a short post from me today - life has been hectic this last week and I need to catch up. But 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.  

Next week I will be back to share another photography project I've been working on. See you then! 
You might also like -
Oranges and lemons
Go away winter 
Wet weather street photography 

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. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Monday 15 October 2018


I had a little incident last weekend that threw me a little off-kilter just when I was feeling really good about my life and my creative life in particular. I was happily going along, enjoying my creative life, being involved in a few photography projects, feeling good about myself and what I was achieving. And them "bam!". It is amazing how one little comment or incident can really throw you and how hard it is to pick yourself up again. Since then I have been feeling a little low, and in a reflective mood. I know I can tend to wallow, and know it will pass, but until then it is hard to pick myself up. But I know I will. I have much to be grateful for in my life. I know. 

I've just randomly opened my "workshops" note book and there on the page staring at me from am Art and Business workshop I went to in August with Andrew Fraser from 6-2-3-Zero -

"Horrible days doesn't equal horrible life. Don't let it define your life.
Don't self sabotage - just walk away and come back later" 

Thank you for the reminder Andrew! That was exactly what I was doing - self-sabotaging.

I don't know where this written piece below came from originally, but a friend shared it on her Facebook page today, and so I thought I would share it here, as it really ran true with me. I know how easy it is to be caught up in what others want, expect, think, say, instead of being true to ourselves. It can be very disabling.

I once asked a very successful woman to share her secret with me. She smiled and said to me..
"I started succeeding when I started leaving small fights for small fighters.
I stopped fighting those who gossiped about me...
I stopped fighting for attention...
I stopped fighting to meet peoples expectation of me...
I stopped fighting for my rights with inconsiderate people..
I stopped fighting to please everyone...
I stopped fighting to prove they were wrong about me....
I left such fights for those who have nothing else to fight...

And I started fighting for
my vision,
my dreams,
my ideas and
my destiny.

The day I gave up on small fights is the day I started becoming successful & so much more content."
Some fights are not worth your time..... Choose what you fight for wisely.

Sometimes it is hard to push aside the curtains and sift through the haze to find out who we are and what our dreams are.  They are your dreams. They don't belong to anyone else. Just you. And you are special and deserve to follow those dreams.

I have been reading a book this last week called "Under Story" by Inga Simpson. Inga lives in a cottage in forest in south-east Queensland, Australia. In each chapter she describes the trees of the Canopy, Middlestory, and Understory of her forest garden. I know many of the Australian trees she describes.

Interwoven into this is a memoir of the dream her partner and her had to open a writer's retreat. Along the way they were hit by the Global Financial Crisis and lost almost everything and were left with a huge debt. Inga's partner also left her. Inga eventually starts over, found her own path as a writer, and has successfully published several books, won awards, and offers writing mentorship.

I think underpinning all this is finding your "under story" and your path. Who are you?  What makes you happy? Our own happiness is so important not only to ourselves but to those around us. 

What is your understory? Where is your happy place?

Mine is my creative life.  Not always on the surface as I go about my life as a wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer, and numerous other "me's". But it is always under the surface. As a photographer I am always seeing the way light plays. My happy place is walking in the Australian bush with my camera. It is the place that takes me away from the stresses of life. 

Years ago I wanted to be a botanical artist, but without the encouragement to do so, I didn't keep up the practise. Perhaps this is something I can go back to. Now I represent the Australian bush through my photography, paper flower making, and in the last couple of years through eco-printing on cloth and paper. The eco-printing is an absorbing and fascinating art as you never know what you are going to end up with. 

I still have a lot to learn, and my eco-prints don't always work how I would like, but I was very happy with this recent print on Georgette silk printed with eucalypt leaves from near where my mother used to live as a girl in the Western Australian wheatbelt.  The cloth was original dyed with avocado skins and then the leaves printed over. I love the orange prints from the leaves and the unopened flower heads.

I think having something we love doing which we can retreat to helps us during those dark times that I am sure come to all of us at some stage.  So please do follow your dreams. 

And remember even in the dark shadows of the understory we can find light and colour. It's there. We just have to look for it. 

Recently I was discussing with some friends that people only seem to share on social media the good things in their life. We share on social media looking for affirmation and likes. And become upset if people don't respond. Such a pressure, particularly on young people, to appear perfect. We make ourselves out to have everything, are involved in lots of things, have a fantastic life and that we are always happy. But that isn't real life is it? There are dark times too. And I think sharing these can help others. I hope so any way.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I didn't really know where my blog post was going today, but I hope it made sense and that there was something in it that connected with you.  Perhaps you would like to share with us your "understory". Where is your happy place?

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: 
A walk in the bush with my 50mm lens 
Blessings and inspiration 
Exploring your creative side in retirment 

I am linking up the 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. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can join Wednesday Around at Communal Global right here!