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.
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Monday, 1 December 2008

Go Camping Western Australia

Bird song heralds the dawn. In the distance we hear the rumble of the first of the day’s road trains on the highway. A flock of pink and grey galahs swoop down along the river as the sun sends its tendrils out across the red dirt and through the trees to our campsite on the bank of the Gascoyne River.


We are camped 958 kilometres north of Perth where the Gascoyne River crosses the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. This is a designated camping spot popular with travellers going north, and is just one of the free camping places outlined in Sue and Steve Collis’ book “The Guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA”, one of a set of three books that Sue and Steve have written detailing free camping places in Western Australia and Tasmania.


What advice do they have for someone who hasn’t camped before? Sue laughs, “Camp in the backyard first. It’s amazing, some people are just not built for camping, and they just don’t like it. People need to know that’s what they want to do. Take a short trip first would be good advice. A weekend trip to get the feel of it especially before you go north or anywhere like that”.


Steve agrees, “Rather than going out and spending thirty or fifty thousand dollars on a caravan, hire one and get a feel for it first. Some people get out there and they hate it, but on the other hand there are a lot of people that just love it”.


Sue says what she enjoys about camping is the space and getting back to basics. “Sitting around a camp fire, communicating and getting back to basics. How it makes you feel. It’s very relaxing sitting out under the stars. It’s lovely. There’s nothing nicer than getting out there and camping. Give us some space and we’re happy.”


These photos show some of our favourite camping spots around Western Australia. To read this complete article, please see Go Camping Australia magazine Summer 2006 edition.


Monday, 20 October 2008

Images from France, July 2005

In 2005 we were invited to France by a good friend, who showed us some of her favourite places. Here are a few images I would like to share with you.

Butterfly on Lavender at the Nortre Dame de Senanque Abbey, where lavender oil is distilled from the fields of lavender. The smell of the lavender all around you as you walk through the fields is intoxicating and heaven for someone like me who loves lavender.








In Provence we visited the delightful town of La Baux de Provence which clings to the mountain side. We spent several hours here exploring the tiny streets and buying gifts to take home.

 



















 

Catherine de Medici's garden, Chenonceaux Chateau, Loire Valley. We spent a few hours here exploring this beautiful Chateau and garden. The Chateau spans the water and was a safe zone and military hospital during World War 1.
After exploring we tried some local wines in the "cave" and then enjoyed coffee and cake and visited the farm garden.


   








Having seen Monet's fantastic water lily paintings, Monet's Garden at Giverney was on my "must see" list. The garden and the water lilies were stunning.










The amazing and historic walled city of Carcassonne.


and my favourite fountain at Versailles - Bassin d'Apollon


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Echoes of the Axe - The Old Timberline Trail, St John Brook Conservations Park, Nannup, Western Australia


Stillness. The glow of the morning light filters through the trees catching the sparkle of dew drops. The trees lean over the water to look at their perfect reflections. A tiny wren, in a flash of blue and red, lands and then is gone again.

Silence envelopes us where once the bush echoed with the sounds of axe and saw, the falling of the giant trees, the shouts of workers, and the timber trains rumbling over the lines. The jarrah trees have reclaimed their land, wildflowers brighten the undergrowth, and now only birdsong or a kangaroo rustling the bushes breaks the silence.


We are in the St John Brook Conservation Park near Nannup in Western Australia’s south west, walking on the Old Timberline Trail, a moderately easy 20 kilometre walk and cycle trail between Nannup and Cambray Siding. Part of a network of reserves across the state, the Park helps to preserve the riverine ecosystem and biodiversity of sheoak, bull banksia, jarrah and marri trees, swamp peppermint and wonnich scrub which supports around 38 bird species, eleven mammals and many other creatures.


Nannup’s history has been greatly influenced by the railway line and the timber industry. First settled by Europeans in 1857, Nannup was one of the most isolated places in Western Australia until the opening of the railway line in 1909.


The Timberline Trail follows part of an extensive network of disused forestry railway lines that once transported timber hauled by wood fired steam driven locomotives from bush camps to Barrabup Timber Mill and then to Busselton Jetty for export during the early 20th Century.


The Trail can be broken into sections making it ideal for day or overnight walks. The Trail is marked by white triangular signs displaying an axe and interpretive signage along the way gives walkers a historical insight into the timber industry and the life of the timber cutters. The majority of the railway sleepers have been removed but a few can still be seen along the Trail.


To read this complete story, see "Go Camping Australia" magazine, Autumn 2009.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The wildflowers are blooming on the Bibbulmun Track

WESTERN AUSTRALIA, August 2008.

We are just back from an overnighter on the Bibbulmun Track near Collie. For those with a love of wildflowers, this is the best time to be out on the track as you can see from the following photos. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Dryandra - Woodland Wonderland

DRYANDRA WOODLAND, CENTRAL WHEATBELT, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Blinking in the afternoon sunlight the doe gazed at me with big soft brown eyes, her large ears turned in my direction. Her distended belly and a protruding foot and tail showed she was carrying a precious cargo. She reached down and touched the foot. It kicked, twisted and disappeared followed by the tail. The lump jostled with itself and then a head popped out of its furry hole and two ears twitched. Some of the mob had already bounded a short distance away, and not wanting to disturb their afternoon feeding, we continued across the clearing and down the walk trail through the wandoo trees.

The doe was a Western Grey Kangaroo and it is early October and we are in the Dryandra Woodland, two hours south of Perth, and 22 kilometres north west of Narrogin in Western Australia’s central wheatbelt. Rich in bird and animal life and wildflowers, Dryandra is one of the largest remaining woodland areas in the wheatbelt.

It is springtime and we have travelled to Dryandra from our home in Bunbury for a weekend of camping, bushwalking, and for me to photograph wildflowers. It is a perfect weekend location, an easy drive from home. Leaving Bunbury early on Saturday we reach Dryandra within two hours and have already set up camp by mid morning at the Congelin campsite near the Congelin Railway Dam on the western side of Dryandra.

Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has established seven walk trails throughout Dryandra suitable for all levels of fitness and ranging in length from one to 13 kilometres and a 27 kilometre trail for horse riders. The trails focus on different aspects of the area and feature the diversity of vegetation and wildlife. The Ochre Trail describes Nyoongar culture in the Dryandra area and features an ochre pit used by Aboriginal people for decoration.

Dryandra’s woodlands of white-barked wandoo, powderbark, brown mallet and thickets of rock sheoak are a prime habitat for birds and native animals. Springtime is the best time to visit when the woodlands erupt in a profusion of wildflowers including the prolific Poison Bush (Gastrolobium) and the Golden Dryandra (Dryandra nobilis).

To read this entire article, see "Go Camping Australia" magazine, Winter 2007

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Red Rock & Spinifex

KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK, PILBARA, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The only thing that breaks the silence of the piccaninny dawn at Karijini is an orchestra of birdsong and the effect is simply stunning.

By 6.30am we had walked to the rim of the gorge to watch the sun rise. The birdsong was an overture for what we were about to witness on central stage.

Before us we watched the sky turn from pinks and mauves to orange and yellow, and then as the sun’s rays shot over the eastern horizon I turned to see the mountain behind me come alive and light up an incredibly rich, vibrant red. Whilst at my feet the Spinifex heads turned to gold.

We were at Dales Gorge in the heart of Karijini National Park in the Hamersley Ranges in Western Australia’s central Pilbara district.

Western Australia's second biggest national park, Karijini covers 627,445 hectares. Much of the southern half of the park is inaccessible, so visitors concentrate on the spectacular and rugged gorges in the north that plunge hundreds of metres from the Spinifex plains.

It is a wonderful place for walking, sightseeing, photography, camping, swimming and observing nature.

There are a number of gorges and walk trails to explore at Karijini. These range from short, easy walks for people of all ages and fitness levels, tracks for those with moderate fitness, to trails which should only be attempted by fit, experienced, well-equipped bushwalkers.

Fortescue Falls in Dale's Gorge is spring-fed and is the Park’s only permanent waterfall. The Falls tumble over layers of iron-stone rock from the tree lined Fern Pool. A wooden walkway takes you right to the waters edge and the pool is a perfect place to sit in the shade or have a swim to cool off.

The trail following the creek from Fortescue Falls to Circular Pool is not difficult and visitors should allow a day to fully experience the Gorge. Built up over millions of years, the layers of multi-coloured rock of the cliff faces tower over clear rock pools and shady meandering pathways, which are a refreshing retreat from the arid Spinifex plains above you. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful landscape and to marvel at the Snappy Gums whose roots cling to the cliff walls, their white trunks in stark contrast to the red rocks.

The walk finishes at Circular Pool, a deep fern lined pool surrounded by sheer cliffs. Shaded most of the day by the gorge walls, the water is enticing, but icy cold.

To read this complete story, see "Australian Coast and Country" magazine, Autumn 2005

Monday, 21 July 2008

Photos of my world

Western Australia is a beautiful country, with an incredible range of stunning landscapes. I love to get out with my camera and try to capture these images. I hope you enjoy the photos I have posted to show you some of my world.

Sunset on the waterfront at Denham, Shark Bay. The colours were constantly changing - this is just one of the many photos I took that evening.


Big Brook Dam, Pemberton. The reflections of the Karri Trees were perfectly reflected in the still water. An easy walk trail goes around the dam which is popular for swimming during summer.

Charles Knife Gorge, Exmouth, North West Cape. Each view was more spectacular than the next, so we kept stopping the car to take another photo. You can see the ocean in the distance.




Lefroy Brook, Cascades, Pemberton. The path follows beside the Brook. Around each corner is another tranquil place to stop and absorb the peace and quiet.







Skulls Springs, Pilbara. We spent a few days camping by the river, relaxing, fishing and walking. It was simply idyllic.



This majestic salmon gum is in the front paddock of my sister and brother-in-law's property at Bruce Rock in the wheatbelt. This photo earned the back cover spot in the RRR Network News magazine.

The Thrombolites, Lake Clifton, Mandurah. We had driven by on the highway for years, but had never stopped. Then late one afternoon we decide to detour and have a look. We arrived just before sunset, and this photo became a cover photo for an edition of Australian Coast and Country magazine. The light was perfect - an example of being in the right place at the right time!


The best way to explore and experience Western Australia is by getting out on the road and camping out under the stars. This is one of our favourite places on the Gascoyne River along the Great Northern Highway.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Fishing Outback - Pilbara Style

PILBARA, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - July 2006 

They say a true fisherman is always ready to have a go at some fishing anywhere anytime, and so it was that I found myself sitting hard up against a rock wall in a thin sliver of shade trying to get out of the blazing midday sun while the intrepid fishermen, my husband Rod and son Mark, went fishing in Glen Herring Gorge near Marble Bar in Western Australia’s Pilbara.


There was so much radiated heat bouncing off the rock walls of that Gorge that it must have been at least 38 degrees in the waterbag, because my face was a red as the rock, my head ached, the sweat poured out of every pore, the water in my water bottle was warm, and all I wanted to do was find a cool place to sit.
How could they possibly stand out in that heat fishing? Eventually I started to cool down a bit and the ache in my head subsided enough that I began to enjoy the view from my crevice and the light breeze that cooled the sweat running down my face. It was so peaceful that I began to enjoy the solitude while the fishermen fished.


I didn’t know what they thought they were going to catch and Father seemed to be having problems with Son hooking the weed growth in the bottom of the river, so I left them to it and wandered off further up the Gorge with my camera. 


 It was mid July and we had travelled for two days up the Great Northern Highway via Newman and Nullagine to Marble Bar from our home in the south to escape the winter for a few weeks.

To read the rest of the article see Western Angler, February- March 2008



Saturday, 19 July 2008

Everlasting Magic

WESTERN AUSTRALIA - September 2005

Not far along the road the wreaths appeared, sitting on the sandy verge like giant cream cakes, their pink and cream flowers surrounding their green centres in perfect circles. It is early September and we are north of Wubin, just off the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia’s Golden Outback. It is the first time I have seen the unique and distinctive Wreath Leschenaultia (Leschenaultia macrantha) which only grows in a small area of the Mid West and one of the reasons I have journeyed here in the peak of the wildflower season. In easy reach of Perth, the exquisite display of wildflowers, seen along the “Everlasting Trail” is considered to be among the finest in the world, drawing visitors from all over the world every year. The area is also rich in heritage interest.

Boasting up to 12,000 known species, the Western Australian wildflower season spreads over several months starting from July in the north’s Pilbara region till November in the south. Walking through the bush during spring you will see the browns and greens of the bush erupt in a dazzling display of vibrant colour.

A wildflower tour could extend from a few days to several weeks or months, or visitors can stroll through the Kings Park Botanic Gardens in the heart of Perth or visit the annual Wildflower Festival in September/October.

Start by planning your trip around the time of year and how far you want to travel. The wildflower season is dependent on seasonal weather variations and each region has unique wildflower species due to environmental differences such as soil type, fauna, plant systems, geography, and weather. Whilst on the road it is a good idea to visit local visitor centres for the latest information on what is flowering where, as the best locations can vary depending on the season.

Armed with a good map, a wildflower tourist guide, identification books, camera, camping gear and walking boots our tour took us from Perth through Dalwallinu to Jibberding and Paynes Find and then across to Camel Soak. From here we travelled to Perenjori and Yalgoo, and via Mullewa to Canna and Coalseam, returning to Perth via Moora. This tour could spread over a couple of weeks, or like us time-poor enthusiasts, over a three or four day weekend. This drive will take you along gravel roads into remote areas, so I recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle and carrying plenty of water.

To read this complete article see Australian Coast and Country magazine Edition 2, 2008