Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sagebrush and Snow

This post: Images from two hiking trips I've done the past two weekends.

(Above)  from the sagebrush country of Central Washington; and (below) from a snowshoe trip up into the snowy high country near Mt. Rainier.

Both landscapes were Perfect Places to Be (in my opinion,) but oh so visually different.

Happy Holidays, and Peace!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Every month my Tibetan friends gather at their Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Seattle and offer prayers for the well-being of others, for long life for their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and for peace.

Peace. With all that has been going on in our world recently,  prayers for peace sounded good to me.

As you can see here, I generally "participate" in the monthly prayers by taking pictures -- for eight years now, photography has been my ongoing contribution to the Tibetan community here. Heck, for my entire adult life photography has been my voice.

At Saturday's prayers, however, there came a point when I put my cameras down, closed my eyes, and silently became one with my friends' aspirations.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

White Friday

I did a hike to a place called Sibley Pass in the North Cascades on October 17, before snow began to fall in the high country. It was a gorgeous, almost-balmy day as several friends and I trekked up out of a basin and climbed onto a ridgetop where we took in amazing views, dramatic and severe-looking peaks in every direction.

As perfect as that October day was, I found myself wondering what that landscape would look like in Winter. And without even realizing it, I guess I began planning a return trip.

A week ago, the day after Thanksgiving -- the day that the marketing world calls Black Friday -- two friends and I went back to Sibley Pass.

Above are two images from the October hike, and below are pictures from the most recent trip -- a day we trekked in so much snow I took to calling it White Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Six Days

I was in Ohio last week,  spending time with my mom, and one of the things we usually do when I visit is make a trip to Amish country.  There are several country stores in that area that Mom likes, and there is also a little Amish diner where we have lunch -- $4.95 for an egg salad sandwich and potato chips.  I happened upon the pictures you see above.

A mere six days later I was back home in the Pacific Northwest and made the pictures you see below. Several friends and I had snowshoed up into the Mt. Stuart range in Central Washington, hiking a trail that took us up, up, up above treeline, where views extended at least 100 miles.

It's a bit unreal to me that, in the space of less than a week, I was in two places, so very unlike one another. Neither place was better than the other. They were simply different.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Call of the Wild

I assume that most people have heard about "Ski Bums" and "Climbing Bums" -- individuals who, when the weather is right,  or a good-for-nothing friend calls on the phone and says "Let's Go!",  blow off responsibilities like school or jobs to head up into the mountains for a Play Day.

Well, if Webster's Dictionary or Wikipedia ever coin the term "Snowshoe Bum,"  I'm pretty sure I could be first in line to qualify.  Not that I live in an old VW van,  or squeak by on a meager income from a trust fund,  or any of those stereotypical ski/climbing bum lifestyles.


But don't tempt me, because there are days when I lean toward that kind of dirtbag-ish path.

I mean, check out these pictures I shot two days ago on a snowshoe outing in the North Cascades and tell me if you blame me for throwing my winter gear in the car and heading for the hills on a weekday, a day when most responsible folks were punching the clock.

The weather was right.

The snow was right.

Oh wow, dude. I was so there!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Click to Play!

So today I thought I'd give you a chance to have a little participatory,  video game-like fun with some of my recent pictures -- wide,  panoramic images that BEG to be viewed at a size larger than what you'll initially see here.

I'll keep this text short and sweet, to give you time to play. Click on the photographs to see them at a larger size.

You will be looking at the recent "Blood Moon" and the Seattle skyline viewed from Bainbridge Island...and a number of wide shots of my hiking buddy, Neil, on a trip we did a couple of weeks ago at Mt. Rainier...while the bottom two photographs are from hikes we did this summer in the North Cascades.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Preserving a Culture

Though being a parent in today's complicated and conflicted world is no easy matter, one thing we in America don't have to worry much about is whether our kids will learn our language and culture. We have an educational system in place, and, providing moms or dads get their kiddos off to school each day, Billy or Becky will learn their ABC's and, later, the history of our country.

Not so for parents in Tibet -- where China is in control -- or even for Tibetans who have fled into exile in other nations. Tibetan language and culture will slowly die out unless this generation of Tibetans steps up and tutors the next.

I've been photographing Tibetans in Seattle for eight years now and the pictures I've posted above are from the Tibetan community's  Language and Culture class, held each Sunday in a rented classroom and taught by volunteer parents and elders. Tibetan kids go to regular school Monday thru Friday,  and to Tibetan school Sunday.

A fundraising banquet was held Saturday evening, proceeds going to the school. Below you'll see some behind-the-scenes moments as the kids practiced (and played, because, after all, they are kids) before taking the stage and performing for their proud parents and community.

One Tibetan teacher addressed the banquet crowd and said: "We will not be erased."

For my Tibetan friends in Seattle, educating the next generation is personal.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Mountain Life

For those of us in the American West who own hiking boots or mountain bikes or skis, it is a generally-accepted fact of life that there is no such thing as a bad day in the mountains.

If you don't believe it, I offer five photographs today as proof.

Most weeks I spend at least one day getting high -- hiking up, up, up into the mountains, I mean. More often than not I go with a friend or two or three, and we just have a hell of a time -- talking or not-talking,  but always enjoying the peace of the woods and the wild places.

Just being.

I shot the above photograph on one of two hikes a friend and I did last weekend in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon. The pictures below presented themselves yesterday as three buds and I trekked in Central Washington near Lake Wenatchee.

This is a wonderful part of the world where I live, and I will never, ever,  not feel fortunate for the life I have.