Friday, April 24, 2015

Diary of Days

A couple of mornings this week I walked into the kitchen with the intention of making tea, but instead happened upon the pictures you see here.

--Amazing and angular Spring light was streaming in the window, creating striking shadows of Leah's Christmas Cactus plant,  and the hand-crocheted curtain she made.

--Another day,  sunshine illuminated bits of surf-smoothed glass we've gathered on walks on the beach over the years.  My mate has put that glass in a vase, and to me she has made art.

I wrote her a note. "I see your heart," I said.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seeing Snow

One of the little-known benefits of owning hiking boots is that they can be conveyances that allow me to travel back in time.

Don't believe me?  Do you think I'm pulling your leg? Well just check out these pictures from the hike my friends and I did in Central Washington Sunday.  We began at a fairly low elevation near the Teanaway River where wildflowers were blooming and temperatures were Spring-like, shirtsleeves warm. A couple of hours later we'd climbed up, up, up into fresh snow…and WINTER!

See, time travel?

The new snow  -- and there must have been about a foot that had fallen recently on the peak we climbed -- was great to see because all winter long folks here in Washington have been lamenting a low snow pack in our mountains.  We need snow here, both as a kind of insurance policy against summertime wildfires, and as meltwater in coming months to feed rivers and streams that are part of an intricate web of irrigation systems for agriculture.

Next time you eat an apple grown in Washington or drink beer made from our hops, think snow. It is an essential part of the food this state's farmland produces for the rest of the nation.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Snail's Pace

I guess I kind of knew it would happen eventually.

Month after month this winter my friends and I have headed off nearly every weekend for a hike, and,  trip after trip, all we have experienced is Perfection.  Great weather. Good trail conditions. Fun times by the bucketful.

I suspected that, one day, the law of averages would catch up with our posse and we'd have a dud of a hike... or at least a just-average,  meh hike.  And that's what happened Sunday.

Though we always put quite a bit of forethought into various possible trip destinations -- we study maps and hiking guidebooks, and we get online and read trip reports other hikers have posted -- in the end, the choice of where we'll go is always a bit of a crap shoot. We just never know exactly what we'll find…and that not-knowing, of course,  is a huge part of "adventure."

The trail we did Sunday proved to be a cornucopia of difficulty and the only consistent thing about the conditions we experienced was inconsistency.   We'd hike 20 yards of bare but often rocky trail, followed by a 20 yard snow slog -- sometimes fairly deep stuff where we'd posthole up to our knees. In short order we'd invariably come to a winter storm blowdown: a huge tree,  blocking the way,  and we'd have to do a laborious,  tree bark scramble.  This rough trail/posthole-in-snow-slog/blowdown-climb proved to be our outdoor adventure scenario for the whole day. It makes me tired just writing about it.

The good news was that, even had we wanted to hike fast, the trail conditions slowed our group to a snail's pace. Thus I saw details around me, little things, that I might normally have walked right past.

Somebody should invent a really tiny digital camera,  just the right size for a snail, because I'm thinking that those slow-moving creatures might well have what it takes to be great photographers.

Friday, April 3, 2015


We photographers can get a little out-there when we talk about where in the mental cosmos our pictures come from...and, looking at the images I'm posting today, can you really blame us?

I mean, I was on two different hikes this week in visually dissimilar parts of the state -- one hike was up at an elevation of over seven thousand feet in the Cascades, while the other was at absolute sea level on Dungeness Spit -- but these two VERY similar photographs presented themselves.  Mind you, I did not intend to make "Figures in a Landscape"  images…they just happened.

This Coincidence of Content is not only puzzling to me, but also very cool.
I kind of revel in the mystery of why and how some of my pictures get made.

Sometimes, I make an exposure, knowing exactly what I'm doing.
Other times, the image-making process is serendipity,  hocus-pocus, or just plan,  gut-level, push-the-button when the-spirit says NOW!