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".



Monday, 25 September 2017

September days

This past week seems to have flown by, with a burst of winter weather, a flower designers show, bush walking, meetings, an artist talk, supporting a friend at a fund-raising event, editing a couple of stories, a flamenco dance workshop, spending time with grandchildren, and not forgetting lunch with friends. 

So for this week, I thought I would take the pressure off myself, and just share a few pics.

Here is the rain. We are in spring, but this past few days we have had three rain fronts cross the coast. We are not complaining as the farmers need the rain, but you wouldn't have wanted to be out boating. 

We managed to catch a little sun and went to a local nature park to look for wild orchids. 
These are one of the donkey orchid family. Can you see why they are called donkey orchids? 

Clockwise from left top corner..... Hibberia, white spider orchids, donkey orchids, enamel orchids, and a new one for my collection - a hammer orchid. This is a tiny orchid, but my eagle-eye orchid-hunter husband discovered it. I'm not sure whether it is the Warty Hammer Orchid - Drakaea livida, or King-in-his-carriage - Drakaea glyptodon.

I went to a photographer's artist talk by John Austin at the Bunbury Art Gallery Survey 1994-2017. 

Last Thursday was the opening of the annual Blooming Art Exhibition at the Bunbury Art Gallery, put on by the Flower Designers Club of Bunbury.
What amazing creativity with flowers they have.  Here are just a few pics. 

This flower bed was put together by the group for the theme of "bed-time".

And here are a few of the displays. Every year eight community members are invited to choose an art work from the City Art Collection, and then represent this picture with flowers. Along the lower part of this collage you can see three of these pieces.

Last Wednesday we had our last Flamenco class for this term, as it is now school holidays for the next two weeks. One of our long term members is leaving to take up a teaching position in a remote community, so some of us went out to dinner to wish her well. We will miss her. Our Sol-y-Sombra dance group are like family to us.

Over the weekend, Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company were privileged to be able to attend in Bunbury two workshops with famed Spanish Flamenco dancer - Miguel Angel Espino. What an inspiration these workshops were for us all. Thank you Lynn for bringing Miguel to Bunbury for us so that we could have this opportunity. At Miguel's request, I cannot share you photos of him at the workshops but you can watch this You Tube video if you go to the link. Youtube-Miguel

 And a couple of pics from the workshops - 

And coffee and cake with friends! 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little peek at my week. What have you been up to? Perhaps you would like to tell us in the comments. 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!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Kennedy Ranges, Western Australia

This week I am very happy to be guest posting over on Jo Castro's (Lifestyle Fifty) partner blog Zig-a-Zag. Jo's Zig-a-Zag blog specialises in Western Australian travel, and Jo invited me to do a guest post for her. 

I have travelled over a lot of Western Australia, so I chose to blog about a place I only visited for the first time a couple of years ago - the spectacular, and relatively easy to get to, Kennedy Ranges - located in Western Australia's Pilbara region. 

You can read below the opening paragraph - but please click on the link to visit me and Jo over at Zig-a-Zag and learn more about the Kennedy Ranges.  

One thing that appealed to us immediately about the Kennedy Ranges campground is its perfect location within a stone’s throw of the Ranges – and trust me there were a lot of stones! Nestled on the eastern side of the ranges in the shadow of towering red rock ramparts soaring one hundred metres above the surrounding Lyons River valley plains.  Located in Western Australia’s southern Pilbara region, our first visit was in 2015 and with all the travel we had done across Western Australia, I wondered why we had never been to this amazing place before.  

Please click here to read more -  Zigazag.com/Kennedy Ranges, Western Australia 

and of course there are wildflowers.......... this is the Mulla Mulla which is very common in the Pilbara.

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you this week over on Zig-A-Zag. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

My campsite report on camping in the Kennedy Ranges was published in September-October 2016 edition of the Australian travel magazine - On The Road. 

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

Please hop over to Zig-a-Zag to comment. Thanks! Zigazag

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid-west

We have just come back from a week in the mid-west of Western Australia where I was able to indulge my passion for wildflower photography. Although this season isn't as good for wildflowers as it was last year - see my post last year here - Once in 40 year wildflower extraviganza - the wildflowers were still putting on a show particularly if you travelled up the coast from Perth to Geraldton.  This most recent trip took us to Lesueur National Park, 30 kilometres east of Jurien, then over to the private reserve, Western Flora, 22 kilometres north of Eneabba on the Brand Highway, inland to Perenjori and Dalwallinu, and then south to the Dryandra Woodland north of Narrogin.  We camped along the way, sometimes in caravan parks, and sometimes just out in the bush. 

 I didn't intend our trip to be a wild orchid hunt, but it became that in a way, as we searched for orchids we hadn't seen before. Wild orchids are often very small, hide under bushes, and blend into their backgrounds, but my husband is a really great orchid spotter to have along. I love adding photos of specimens to my photo library which are new to me. 

However, I am not a Botanist, and there are around 400 species of native orchids in Western Australia, so I can't absolutely identify some of the orchids I will share with you, other than their family name. 

This is one of the spider orchids, which we found hiding in the shadows at the Cockleshell Gully picnic area in Lesueur National Park.

Named after Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, a natural history artist aboard the French ship Naturaliste during its 1801 expedition, Lesueur National Park covers 26,987 hectares and has a wide range of geological formations, landscapes and soil types. It is a biodiversity hotspot boasting an exceptionally diverse range of flora, with more than 900 species, comprising 10 per cent of the state's known flora, including seven species of declared rare flora, making it an important reserve for flora conservation. Much of Lesueur is covered by low heath, known as Kwongan by Aboriginal people - low scrub that a man can see over. You can find out more about Lesueur National Park here - DPAW-Lesueur

These are Cowslip orchids - Caladenia flava. Cowslips are an extremely common orchid which are widespread over most of the south west of Western Australia, and are often found in colonies.  The flowers have a distinctive colour and shape, however they can vary from red to brownish markings, to very pale with almost no markings. 

From our beach campsite at Sandy Cape just north of Jurien, we travelled eastward to Eneabba, and then up the Brand Highway to the private reserve, Western Flora. Set on 160 acres, they have a very nice caravan park here, with bush walk trails throughout the property, and guided walks in the late afternoon. 

These are Red Beaks - Pyrorchis nigricans. These orchids are extremely widespread and you often see them in colonies. You can see in the last image the flat leaf on the ground, known as Elephant Ears, from which the stem grows, but which don't always produce flowers.

This is the Arrowsmith Spider Orchid - Caledenia crebra. I actually had a little difficulty photographing this one as it was right under the low straggly branches of a bush, and this was the only angle I could get.  The Arrowsmith was a new orchid for my collection.

And some more orchids from our walks along the bush trails of Western Flora. Clockwise from top left, Spider Orchid, Blue China orchid, Donkey Orchids, Cowslips, and in the centre one of the Leak Orchid varieties.

And perhaps my biggest disappointment from my visit to Western Flora, the Shirt Orchid, also known as the Bell Sun Orchid - Thelymitra campanulata. Why disappointment? This was the first time I had ever seen this orchid, and I didn't see it open. Because it is a sun orchid, they rarely open if it is cloudy. By the time I had been told about the whereabouts of this orchid, we had complete cloud cover, and although I visited several times, as its location was quite near the caravan park, I never saw it open. The petals have prominent striping, much like a shirt - hence the name.

Our next night was spent bush camping at Bunjil Rocks, just 1km in from Bunjil Siding, 42km south of Perenjori. This place had been recommended to us and we spent a lovely quiet night camping here, and exploring over and around the rocks. There were quite a few Lemon Scented Sun Orchids in the rock gardens on the rock, but unfortunately because of the cloud cover, and they are sun orchids, they wouldn't come out to play. But it was a lovely place to camp.

The next day we headed south, stopping at the Miamoon Reserve, 27km west of Dalwallinu. This is a recommended location for orchid hunters, and we weren't disappointed. It is a good idea when you are wildflower hunting to go into local Visitor Information Centres to gather information on what is flowering where, as locations can vary seasonally. So armed with a map, we headed out to Mia Moon Reserve which is located over and around a granite rock - perfect for orchids. 

There must have been a town at Miamoon at one time, as you can see the remains of the old cricket pitch, and the site of the Miamoon school from 1935-1950.

There were lots of Donkey Orchids, and the Leak Orchids had finished, but what I most wanted to find were these..... 
The Bee Orchid - Diuris laxiflora - a new one for my collection. These are very small versions of the donkey orchids with similar colouring, but with distinctive dark markings on the labellum.

 You can compare them with these donkey orchids also found at Miamoon. Can you see the difference?

I was also delighted to find the Lemon-scented Sun Orchid, also known as the Vanilla Orchid - Thelymitra antennifera - open at Miamoon. Don't you just love their little faces. I think they look like they are wearing sunglasses and that they are smiling!

We also found the Snail Orchid and a white form of the Spider Orchid family.

After an overnight stop at Goomalling, we headed on down to the Dryandra Woodland, 38km north of Narrogin, arriving early afternoon. This is a favourite place of mine during spring.  You can found out more about Dryandra here - DPAW-Dryandra Woodland

In the past we have always camped at the Congelin Dam campground, but this time we decided to try out the fairly new Gnaala-Mia-Campground.  There is a fairly easy 3km loop walk trail you can do right from the campsite, which made for an fairly easy stroll for wildflower hunting.

This is the Sugar Orchid - Ericksonella saccharata - several of which were right near our camp, and which we saw lots of along the walk trail

The next morning before we left for home we went over to the Congelin Dam rail trail, as we know a place among the Shea-oak trees where there are usually lots of orchids this time of year. You need to make sure you wear long sleeves and long pants and a douse of insect repellent though, as the mosquitoes are veracious! 

These are some of what we saw - clockwise from top left - Dragon Orchid, a creamy spider orchid, another spider orchid, the Jug orchid, another spider, the snail orchid, cowslips, donkey orchids and the Blue China Orchid in the centre. 

And not forgetting the Lemon Scented Sun Orchid

And these clusters of gorgeous tiny red spider orchids which I need to have identified -

Of course wildflower hunting is not just about orchids. There are thousands of varieties of wildflowers in Western Australia, and we saw many more varieties on our little wildflower jaunt last week, so there will be more posts to come where I will share some more of the wonderful array of Western Australian wildflowers.

A couple of good identification books are -
Eddy Wajon's series of 4 books - Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia
Guide to Native Orchids of South Western Australia by Bob Liddlelow
Dept of Parks & Wildlife Bush Books pocket guides

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little look at some of Western Australian wild orchids.  This morning I have just discovered that some orchids have started flowering in our little bush block near where we live.  So time to go out there with my camera. Do you have a favourite place for searching for wildflowers? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments.

You might also like -
Crooked Brook Forest Walk 
The Old Timberline Trail, Nannup 
Meeting a Bilby in the Dryandra Woodland 

 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!

Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Crooked Brook Forest walk, Dardanup, Western Australia

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend and had a chance to get out in the fresh air and do something enjoyable in the great outdoors. On Sunday we went for a walk along one of the walk trails at the Crooked Brook Forest Reserve, which is nestled in jarrah woodlands, about 10 km from Dardanup off Crooked Brook Road, and 25km (or 20 minutes) from Bunbury, in Western Australia's south west. 

I always enjoy getting out into the bush away from the stresses of life, especially on a sunny winter or spring day.  There really is something regenerating about it don't you agree. 

I was surprised when I discovered that we hadn't been to Crooked Brook for a few years despite it only being about 20 minutes from our home.  We had our grandson with us, and despite him not particularly wanting to go with us, he enjoyed running along the pathways and discovering things in the bush. 

Like tadpoles in the creek and this beetle for instance....

There are circuit four walks at Crooked Brook. The sealed easy 600 metre Forest Path is wheelchair and pusher friendly and takes you along the brook to a billabong and is suitable for all ages. There is seating along the way so you can rest or just sit and enjoy your surroundings, and interpretive signage telling about some of the plants you will find. 

The other walks include the easy 1.5km Jarrah Walk, the moderate 3km Wildflower Walk which takes you to a lookout over the valley, and the moderate undulating 10km walk for those who are used to longer trails and have reasonable fitness. Allow three hours for this walk. I like that all the walks are circuit walks and that they all start and finish at the carpark.  Before you start on the walk trails, you might like to check the signage at the information shelter near the carpark, giving you details about degree of difficulty and length of time expected for completing the walks.

We decided to do the Jarrah walk. Although a little early in the season for wildflowers, there were touches of colour through the bush, and great swaths of yellow wattle. 
The wattle is one of the dominate flowers of Australia this time of year, no wonder the wattle is the flower emblem of Australia! 
Here are some other flowers we saw along the way. I am sorry I am not a botanist so I can't absolutely identify all of them. 

Reds clockwise from top left hand corner  -  Hairy Jug Flower - Adenanthos barbiger;  Mangles Kangaroo Paw - Anigozanthos manglesii; one of the pea family; and one of the Darwinias. The bee was enjoying it! 

Here is another look at the Darwinia...

Yellows - clockwise from top left hand corner. From my research I think this first one is one of the Stackhousia family; then we have one of the Hibbertias, there are a few varieties; and then along the bottom one of the Dryandra varieties, seen here just opening and opened.

Whites - clockwise from top left hand corner - white colour along the trail; Musky Beard Heath - Leucopogon apiculatus; Prickly Hakea - Hakea amplexicaulis; and the bottom left hand corner is either a Grevillea or a Hakea....sorry I am not sure which.... I know it was very spiky!

Here we have... clockwise from top left hand corner - Jug Orchid - Pterostylis recurva; Blue Squill - Chamaescilla corymbosa; one of the Myrtles; and Pink Fairy orchid - Caladenia latifolia.

Did I mention about the prickles on some Australian plants? Look at these beauties.....

An interesting plant of the Crooked Brook Forest trails is the Pineapple Bush - Dasypogon hookeri - which seems to grow in profusion here to a height of half to 3 metres tall.

Crooked Brook is promoted as a ‘Forest for all People’ and it certainly is particularly with the wheelchair and pusher friendly Forest Path.  The Crooked Brook Forest Association of volunteers has worked tirelessly on the area since 1994 and continues its work in collaboration with the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Spring when the wildflowers are in bloom is the best time to visit. Facilities at Crooked Brook include a picnic shelter, bbqs, new Eco-toilets, and a 'Flintstone' log car for the children.  Please wear a hat, good walking boots and carry water with you when walking along the trails and I also recommend insect repellent as we found the mosquitoes particular bad this trip.

Crooked Brook Forest is on the doorstep of the beautiful Ferguson Valley where there are galleries, wineries, and restaurants to enjoy, and even a Gnomesville!

For more information please head over to: Crooked Brook Forest

You might also like:

How Green was my Valley - Ferguson Valley
Down in the Woods Today - Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley
Dardanup Art Spectacular and Art Trail

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed my little visit to Crooked Brook Forest. Do you have a favourite walk trail particularly during spring? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments.
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!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too!