Welcome to Life Images by Jill

LIFE IMAGES BY JILL............."Stepping into the light" and bringing together the stories and images of our world........
Through my writing and photography I seek to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.


Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........
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. I have a day job, but my passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography. For now my day job supports me until I can pursue my passions full time.
I am a member of South Side Quills in Bunbury, the Fellowship of Australian Writers Western Australia, Photography Group of Bunbury and the Western Australian Photographic Federation.

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, 14 April 2014

Secret Garden Affairs and photographing cupcakes!

I am late blogging this Monday. We have had a busy few days starting with my Saturday morning when I went to photograph cup cakes for a lady who is starting up a new home based business making cupcakes. Her son is producing her brochure and starting up a Facebook-blog. 

Visitors to my blog will know that I have been playing around with food photography for a couple of years. I did some childrens' recipe pics a couple of years ago for a friend who had a blog for young mums. 

But these cupcakes were my first official paid food photography work! Very exciting. I would be interested to know what you think of the result....the brief was to photograph the different sample varieties she had made with packaging.  The room wasn't particularly well lit, so I was glad I brought along my lightbox to photograph the cup cakes in.  Minor post-processing in Lighroom for exposure, sharpening and straightening.

The rest of our Saturday and Sunday morning was taken up with looking after our grandsons, so I did a bit of Easter chocolate making with them. Please don't judge me on THIS food photography!....

 Then Sunday afternoon it was off to Perth to see my husband's mother who is in a care facility, and then to friends for the night.  Monday morning we had an appointment, after which we went to lunch at one of my favourite cafe's in Angelo Street in South Perth - the Secret Garden.  Here is their link - The Secret Garden Cafe

Which happens to be next door to a gorgeous little plant nursery and garden decoration and gift shop called Garden Affair. I lovely place to browse especially if you are looking for a garden theme gift. Don't you just love this umbrella?  Here is their link - Garden Affair

We also visited the State Library to see the 2013 WA Press Photographer of the Year Awards exhibition showcasing major news events, sporting moments and feature stories. It was wonderful to see such high quality press photography expecially the compelling portrait images....as you would expect....  Here is a quick snap, thought I better not get too close....  If you happen to be in Perth, the exhibition is on till 12 May and entry is free.

I hope you have enjoyed this little look into my weekend.  Have a wonderful week. I look forward to hearing from you. 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Playing with food - a food photography journey

I have been playing around with food photography for a couple of years now, practising at home, scrolling through foodie blogs and Flickr pages, and reading books. My husband says he always knows when I have been playing around with food photography on my day off because I cook him something a bit different for dinner.  I don’t exactly know how it all started….I think I can blame the Digital Photography School - Digital Photography School - and my Flickr friend “Lindyannajones” for her “still life” series where she invited people to post still life images for critique. 

One of my early attempts - 

 A couple of weeks ago I made these two dishes…………A Mediterranean pastry and a Pumpkin and Caramalised Onion Quiche - delicious.

The little Mediterranean tarts were an easy little recipe which came from a "Taste" book -Taste - they have some great looking recipes and fabulous food photography which is what attracted me to the book. 
Cut piece of frozen puff pastry sheet into 4 squares. Place on a piece of baking paper on a tray. Spread ricotta over the pastry. Top with thinly sliced roasted pumpkin, olives, pine nuts, fetta, fresh or sundried tomatoes, chives, parsley. (whatever you like really). Bake at 220C for 12-15 minutes or until golden. (But be careful, mine burnt a little around the edges!)

Last year I was asked to help at a food photography morning workshop run by our Photography Group, and I am going to be assisting at another one in May, but ever since I started practising food photography I have not actually attended a food photography course. 

A couple of weeks ago I rectified this by going to a one day “Introduction to Food Photography” workshop  in Perth with a friend from the Photography Group.  It was held at “Shoot” Workshops (Shoot Workshops) in Perth and run by award winning Perth photographer Bob Litchfield (Bob Litchfield)

I expected that there was a LOT that I needed to learn. But actually I was pleasantly surprised to know that I actually knew quite a LOT already! 
A few basic tips –

  • Hunger makes food sell. The image will help sell the food. It needs to be clean, eye catching, look fresh, accurate, vibrant, enticing, and make potential diners want to eat.
  • Work quickly to retain freshness but be creative and capture the essence of the food. Work one on one with the chief as they know how the food should look.
  • Try different angles. Limit depth of field to draw the eye to the subject. Sideline less interesting aspects of the food. You don’t need to photograph the whole plate.
  • Don’t clutter the image, keep utensils, mats etc minimal and supporting role only.
  • Use a tripod. 

The course made me feel a lot better about my skills and abilities. But photographing what you decide to cook is a bit different to photographing the food that the client wants you to photograph. 

I had a little taste of this a couple of years ago when a friend of mine wanted some food shots for a project she was working on 

 The sample food images we were shown at the workshop were mostly Chinese food – you know the type of thing you might see going into an Asian takeaway where they have pictures up showing you what you can buy.  

So because of this Bob advocated plain white background, white plates, minimal distracting background elements, and close up CLOSE UP images of the food. 

There is definitely a place for this type of food photography especially for “product” photography, and looking through my images I do often take very close up pictures of food.  

However I believe if you are photographing for a cook book or magazine I believe you need to include elements that tell the story of the food, the surroundings, how you might serve it, and something that shows the history of the dish perhaps.  I think story telling through images attracts potential cooks to buy the cook book or magazine. 

What I really wanted to learn about was lighting.  I prefer to use natural light, but you don’t always have suitable natural light for instance if you are in a restaurant kitchen. So a portable lighting system is a must.  But how much are you willing to spend? The lights we used at the workshop were over $2000.00 each!!!! I certainly cannot justify that, so I need to do a bit more research on a portable lighting set that is not going to break my budget.

Last week I was contacted by a lady that wanted a photographer to take images of cupcakes for her new business.  I am not a fancy cupcake maker, but in preparation for the photo shoot I made some cupcakes so I could photograph them.  And because she is probably wanting individual images of cupcakes decorated in different themes for her brochure, web site, etc, I can see that the white plate and the white background is probably going to work well.

But first the cupcakes in the tin.  For the recipe I went back to my old high-school cookery book - The Golden Wattle Cookbook - a staple for Australian wives and mothers from way back. My mother had one - I think it was dated in the 1930s or 40s. Yes you can still buy them. 

 The photo above was taken with kitchen and window lighting, whereas the ones below were taking in my lightbox (light tent – mini studio) (small and portable) ...please do not judge me by my basic decorating….as I said I am not a fancy cupcake maker! What do you think?  These couple of pics cropped themselves when I did the mosaic in PicMonkey. You can actually see more of them in the original and I can't work out how to adjust it.

Please send me good vibes for a successful cupcake photo shoot this coming weekend!

There is also another type of light box which you can easily make with a piece of Perspex, a workshop fluro light and a box.  The light comes from underneath the items.  It is fun to play around with. 

But lightboxes are not just for food....

 I hope you have enjoyed this post about food photography and that I have inspired you to give it a try - you never know where it might take you. Do you take photos of food? Are you putting together a cookbook? What about when travelling? Food tells you a lot about cultures and traditions.

You might also like my previous blog posts - 

 Persimmons and pasta - learning manual settings

You can also see more of my food photography pics on my Flickr page - My Food pics on Flickr

There are lots of great food photography sites on the net. A couple of my favourite sites are - 

www.dariomilanophotography.com –  Dario is in Sydney Australia – and see Dario’s tips and critiques on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FoodPixels?hc_location=stream

My all-time favourite is Tartelette - www.tarteletteblog.com

Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

Monday, 31 March 2014

Have camera - will take LOTS of travel pics

We love to travel and I take lots of photos – LOTS-of-photos…. I only have to look back at my photos to be transported back there to that time and place to relive those experiences.  

 You only have to look at my latest touring blog posts about our trip to South Australia last year to see what I mean - On the road through South Australia

Photo albums or photo books are a great way to have a permanent record of your trip. They can become coffee table books to be picked up and thumbed through and shared. Have you ever made a photo book? Yes they can be expensive, but infinitely rewarding. (hmm…note to self – start making photo book of our South Australia trip last year!). There are quite a few on-line services where you can make photo books.

But what good are photos sitting on a computer hard-drive? And worse still maybe be lost in a computer crash. A good reason to back up your hard drive. Do you back up? How often do you back up? I should do it every month, but in reality it might be 2 or 6 months or even 12 months – not good enough! We are often reminded that “it is not if a hard drive will crash, it is when”. (another note to self – time to back up again!) 

 Along with our travel, photo taking and blogging, I casually write freelance travel articles in my spare time. So in a way some of my images are preserved when a magazine is published. "Naturally Outstanding" (see above) is an article I wrote about Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley published in On The Road magazine.
But articles like this are only current in the month the magazine is put on the newsagents’ shelves. It’s not like a book that may stand the test of time in a library.  And as I discovered on a trip to Australia’s capital, Canberra, a few years ago, these type of magazines are not kept in our National Library archives.  The old saying ‘today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper’ is very true. 

A few of months ago I was contacted by Hema Maps. They are a highly respected large mapping and travel guide company in Australia.  They had found me on the web when they were looking for an image of Camel Soak camping area near Perenjori to use in their new "4WD and Camping Escapes, Perth and South West" guide.

 From this small and unexpected beginning I am excited to say that they bought five of my images for the Fifth edition of their “The Kimberley Atlas and Guide”.   Here is a link -  Hema maps

 This one you see below here, which I took of Boab Trees near Parry’s Lagoon between Kununurra and Wyndham is one of my favourites from our Kimberley trip in 2009


I am so thrilled that Hema have used some of my photos in their new Kimberley Guide and I hope that I will be able to sell them more of my images for future guides and maps they have on their drawing boards.
My images are going to be looked at by countless travellers from all over Australia as they plan and travel through the Kimberley.  How exciting is that! 

 Here are my other four images they chose - sunset from Kungkalanayi Lookout and walking through Piccaninny Creek in Purnululu, Marglu Billabong and the Old Halls Creek Road south of Wyndham.

 My name is in tiny print in the book, but if you happen to see a Kimberley Guide, I would love you to scroll through and take a look. 
Do you buy Hema guides and maps? There guides are excellent with great maps, GPS points for places of interest and camp sites, history, travel tips etc  Here is a link to find out more – Hema Maps

 Also last year the Bruce Rock Shire in the Western Australian wheatbelt bought some of my images for their new-look web site - Bruce Rock Shire - and one of my images is now on a banner in the Bruce Rock Shire offices.  Anyone who goes into their offices will see my image of my brother-in-law’s header harvesting his wheat crop. The green bin being towed at the side with the wheat pouring into it from the header is called a "chaser bin" - they fill while still moving and harvesting.

Another lucky sale that just came up out of the blue – or I should say out of Google or Flickr or my blog. Whichever way, because I am out there posting images I am making a few sales. Better than the images languishing on my hard drive don’t you think?

 Of course if you are posting images on line make sure you reduce the size and resolution and add your watermark (name) over the top of the image. That way potential uses will have to contact you to get high resolution images. Naming and tagging images will also help them find you when they are searching on the web. This can be done through programs like Photoshop Elements or web based editing like PicMonkey.  The collage on this post was done through PicMonkey. 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you don't my little "brag" today. I will be back to my South Australia trip blogging very soon. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like - 
On The Road in the Kimberley
Following the path of John Holland and the Propsectors - Holland Track
Camping in the beauty that are Western Australia's National Parks 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

South Australia trip - Part 8 - Exploring Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges National Park

Last week I continued our South Australian trip and blogged about our overnight camp in Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. If you missed it, you can click here – South Australia trip Part 7 - Brachina Gorge
Re-fuelled by that enormous burger in Hawker, and after replenishing our supplies, we climbed back into our 4WD and headed north again into the Flinders Ranges National Park to Wilpena Pound. 

Wilpena is very popular with people visiting the Flinders Ranges and as we arrived latish in the day we couldn’t get a powered site, but we were not really worried as we have solar panels that charge up our camper batteries.  We could select our own site, which were not so crammed together as the powered sites (another bonus) and chose one sheltered by some trees and overlooking a rehabilitation area. Nice. We could see kangaroos grazing amongst the trees only about 30 metres from our camper. We put up our full annex as we booked in for 3 nights – it gives us a bit more private space and the wind had come up strong during the afternoon. 

 We woke up next day to a fine clear morning, and put a load of washing into the washing machine before breakfast, and got organised to go for a bush walk. We had studied our guide the night before and worked out what we wanted to do while we were here.
There are 18 walk and hiking trails in the Flinders Ranges, some of which are easily accessed from the Wilpena Pound camp ground. Once the washing was on the line we drove to the Arkaroo Rock Hike about 17km south of Wilpena. Here there is a 3km return walk to see some Adnyamathanha aboriginal rock paintings under a rock overhang which are best seen in morning light. These ochre and charcoal drawings depict aspects of Ura Muda (dreaming) for Ikara (Wilpena). They have been enclosed in a wire enclosure to protect them from graffiti. Sad that this has had to be done, but at least they are now being protected and preserved. The Adnyamathanha people are the traditional custodians of the Flinders Ranges. 
Hubbie likes taking photos of lizards - you can see one in the collage below...

After lunch, we followed a 116km scenic loop drive through the Ranges which brought us to some lookouts with magnificent views and we checked out a few of the bush camping sites. 

 We also visited Aroona Hut built in 1925 from typical pine and pug construction. The Australian landscape artist, Sir Hans Heysen’s used to often come to paint. You can see his inspiration in the magnificent river gums and the Flinders Ranges.

Parts of the long distance Heysen walk trail meanders through the Flinders Ranges. 

On the way back from camp we saw lots of emus with chicks in the grasslands by the roadside.
Our second night was very cold and the wind was up so we put on our thermals and were in bed by 8.30pm. A bit different to the heat we’d had on the Oodnadatta Track! 

 Next morning we rose early and were on the 7.8km return Wangara Lookout Hike by 8am. This trail starts near the Wilpena camp ground. It was a lovely cool morning for walking. The first part is easy going and it was very pleasant walking on the flat trail beside the creek under the Red River Gums and I was delighted to be able to take some wildflower photos. 

The trail takes you to the old stone-built Hills Homestead built in the early 1900s by early settlers, the Hill's family. As well as the history of farming in the area you can learn about the creation of the Flinders through aboriginal dream-time stories.

From here there is a rocky path to the lookout. There is a lower lookout 300 metres from the homestead, and an upper lookout 300 metres further up. Both lookouts give you magnificent views over the Wilpena Pound, known as Ikara by the Adnyamathanha people.  The Pound itself is a huge natural amphitheatre 11km long and 5km wide. Surrounded by ranges, the highest point is St Mary Peak, 1170 metres high and the highest peak in South Australia. 
My photos certainly don't come close to portraying the grandeur of Wilpena Pound. 

A shuttle bus can take you the first 2km along the trail if you wish, but it is an easy walk. We decided that we didn’t need to do the more strenuous St Mary Peak walk to see the Pound and views of the Flinders Ranges. 22km and 9 hours, you would need a reasonable level of fitness to do this hike. 

After lunch we drove out to Stokes Hill lookout about 20km north east of Wilpena where you have magnificent 360 views over the rolling green hillsides at the base of the Flinders Ranges. We took quite a few photos in the changing light.  Surprisingly I thought it looked a little like an English countryside postcard.  Here there is a base relief sculpture which gives you a good perspective of the Ranges. 

Along the way we stopped at Cazneaux Tree. This magnificent River Red Gum was first made famous by photographer Harold Cazneaux, who won first prize at an International Photographic Exhibition in 1937 with his photograph of the tree, which he entitled “The Spirit of Endurance”. You can see my pic below! 

 On the way back we viewed the Artists of the Flinders Art Exhibition at the old Wipena Woolshed. (Sadly all the paintings I would have bought had already been purchased – not that I would have known how we were going to transport a painting for the rest of our trip!)
I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at Wilpena Pound. You could spend months exploring the Flinders Ranges. Unfortunately we only had time to scratch the surface.  However we really enjoyed our short stay and could have easily stayed longer to do more of the walks. From here we will head south to Burra via Hawker, Quorn, Cradock and Carrieton, and then to Clare wine region, and the next part of our trip through South Australia. 

 Some info: ………..

  • The Flinders Ranges National Park is one of South Australia’s iconic destinations. It covers 95,000 hectares of the central Flinders Ranges, approximately 450km north of Adelaide. 
  • Camp sites at Wilpena Pound are suitable for tents, camper trailers, motorhomes and caravans.  You can buy basic supplies, drinks, snacks, and souvenirs from the shop adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre.
  • You can enjoy a meal at the Wilpena Pound Resort restuarant.
  •  Walks and hikes range from 500 metres to 31km, including guided walks and challenging overnight treks. Please refer to brochures and information boards regarding distances, level of fitness required and degree of difficulty.
  • The long distant Heysen walking trail stretches 1200km from the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsular in the south to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. The 900km Mawson mountain bike trail runs from Adelaide through the Flinders to Blinman. 
  • Best time to visit: April to October 
  • Park pass and camping fees apply. 
  • Pets not permitted. 
  • Another caravan and camping park close by to Wipena is Rawnsley Park Station - www.rawnsleypark.com.au 
  • For more information about the Flinders Ranges please click here www.parks.sa.gov.au 
  • www.wilpenapound.com.au 
  • Flinders Ranges - An Adventurer’s Guide by Ron and Viv Moon is an excellent guide book - www.guidebooks.com.au 
This is one of our wattles - truly the most recognizable of all Australian flowers. 

 If you missed any of my previous posts about our South Australia trip you can catch up by clicking on the links below -

Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.
I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday  
Travel Photo Mondays  
Our World Tuesday  
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday    
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been