Women rowing
Art, Blogging, Inspiration, Photography, Sports

The Gamble

I am not a gambler.  In fact, the betting window would be closed and the race long over before I even identified all of the variables or made my first graph.  The horses would have died of old age before I analyzed all of the data. ...The truth is, the world is not always predictable or quantifiable. Yes friends, I said it. You can’t measure or calculate everything.  And it turns out that some of the most rewarding things in life come after a massive leap of faith into the unknown.

Alaska wilderness
Grief, Relationships

Do It For A Friend

As I was driving home from work tonight, Corey Hart’s Never Surrender came on. You probably will only know this song if you were embroiled in teenage angst or young adult drama in the mid-1980s. It was the theme song for that.   I remember it because I recorded it on cassette tape and sent it to my best friend, naively hoping it might help to wake her up...

little girls 1967
Family, Relationships

Don’t Cry Over a Chipped Tooth

My daughter missed her dentist appointment this week.  In general, she is a very responsible teenager. I only bring it up because every time I hear the word dentist, I can’t help but run my tongue over the edge of my top right front tooth.  You see, I have a chip in my top right front tooth.  It is not...

Dad with girls 1967
Family, Grief, Life Lessons, Relationships

Lean In

I was sitting on a plastic couch in a hospital waiting room sobbing in that heart wrenching way you do when you are racked with grief. I had just finished the making those difficult phone call to friends and family, when one of my sisters sat down beside me. She put her arm around me as I wept. She gave me a squeeze and said, “Hey. Come on. Lean in.” 

Field recently plowed in Skagit County Washington
Life Lessons, Photography

A Different Light

Last Sunday morning at 0530, I found myself next to an empty field on the outskirts of Concrete, Washington.  No, I was not deposited there after an alien abduction.  Also I am too old to pull an all-nighter (debauchery-filled or otherwise) so I was not in the clothes I wore the day before, if you know what I mean.  No, I was there intentionally.  In fact, I had intended to be there in late September or early October but life, as it sometimes does, got away from me.  I was hoping to photograph one of the elk herds in the area. 

oars on the water
Inspiration, Photography, Relationships

Picture Meaningful

I like really old stuff. I have so much antique glassware my husband recently told me he thought we might have to fortify the foundation of our house. Hyperbole not withstanding, I have a lot. I like drinking out of glasses my grandparents drank out of. I like eating off of plates that were used to celebrate holidays and births generations ago. Though inanimate, I feel like my 100 year old cordials hold in their shiny molecules the sum of their history of wakes and weddings, birthdays and baptisms, conflicts and congratulations. This is my lofty goal for my photographs...

Rusting Crane on the Snohomish River
Art, Inspiration, Life Long Learning, Photography

Confessions of a Closet Artist

Confession time. I was a science major. There, I said. It’s out.  What a relief!  Does that mean I am not also an artist?  Well frankly, I sure thought so.  In fact, I could make you a chart quantifying my non-artistic characteristics. (My friends are shaking their collective heads right now both in exasperation and agreement- I really will make you a chart. It will be a work of art.) I thought people were basically artists or scientists.  And every other “ist” was just a branch of those two categories.  Clearly, I spent too much time on Linnaeus. In my overly dichotomous mind, I am a scientist. I definitely see the world through that lens. Even when I am literally looking through my lens, ...

Great Blue Heron in black and white walking in water
Inspiration, Life Lessons, Photography

Seeing in Silence

I am a morning person.  I love the stillness of the morning.  I love the way the groggy silence envelops me. Everything slows down.  Without the noise that fills every other space in the rest of my day, I can see so much more clearly. I can hear my own voice so much more loudly.  My favorite mornings are the cold fall mornings when the earth is on the verge of waking up.  The air is crisp and cold. A veil of fog hangs from branches pelting my cheeks. My breath billows and clings...

Stroke Seat and Coxswain brothers rowing
Inspiration, Life Lessons, Photography

Learn… to Let Go

When my daughter started rowing four years ago, I had a lot to learn. And of course, the ink wasn’t even dry on the check for rowing camp before I was grabbing my camera and heading for the shore. Needless to say that even shooting wildlife, I was used to a much slower subjects. Everything is a sloth next to a junior rower. Though I felt really comfortable working with my gear, there was just so much I didn't know about shooting a race on water and it seemed like I was in the middle of figuring one thing out when the boats zoomed by - picture the aquatic version of a roadrunner cartoon...

Snohomish Valley at dawn in the fog
Inspiration, Life Lessons, Photography

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

The truth is I probably get a good shot about 1 in 5 times. (And that might be generous.) I recently got a new computer and transferred over 23000 Images. That means I’ve shot over 100,000. This doesn’t include the years BD (Before Digital). I fail far more often than I am successful. And failing is a skill we need to learn to do better. We live in this instant, reward-based culture. We give up too easily. Some things take a lifetime to perfect. The fact is life isn’t instant or reward-based. We learn from failure. We learn the skill better ultimately. I’m a better photographer for having to figure out what I didn’t do correctly. I’m a better person for my failures. I learned perseverance. I learned compassion. I learned how to solve problems. (According to my dad, I got character.) Don’t get me wrong, I love a trophy and an A+ but I only value the ones I got the hard way. The ones born of struggle hang on the walls of my heart and mind. ...

Nesting Great Blue Heron Everett Waterfront
Inspiration, Life Lessons, Photography

Open to the Unexpected 

One Sunday morning - ok practically the middle of the night- I convinced my husband to accompany me on a quest to shoot the sunrise over the Port of Everett. I knew the exact spot. I had glimpsed in passing these abandoned pilings of piers unused for decades. They had an almost romantic quality. I could see grizzled men tying up tenders and wrangling flotillas of logs. In my mind, the sun would rise slowly over my back revealing the shore bathed in golden sunlight. The tide of course would be halfway out exposing fragile creatures scurrying for cover. The glossy texture of the lazy tide would contrast perfectly with the grit of rock and barnacles. Predatory shorebirds would swoop and soar in the tableau....

Girls cuddling
Inspiration, Photography, Relationships

Ordinary Magic

We are bombarded with images.  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook deliver cute, scary, heartwarming, devastating, lush, and stark to our mental doorsteps every day.  Don't get me wrong, I love a photographic documentary of a puppy raised with a lion cub who become lifelong friends as much as the next person.  I just think that we are exposed to ordinary magic every day and we miss it because we are just not present. 

Graveyard Glendalough Ireland
Inspiration, Photography, Relationships

Connecting Through Images

I suppose like all photographers I began very young.  My first memory was of my dad lying on the ground in Volunteer Park in Seattle shooting up and to an awkward angle as brilliantly colored cyclist raced wildly around the corner on the knife-blade edges of racing slicks.  I was fascinated and I was hooked.I carried around a cheap point and click for years wasting who knows how much on cartridge film ...