Feb 122011

Last Light - San Juan Island, Washington


  Not all wandering is aimless, nor are all who wander aimlessly lost.    

One of my favorite indulgences in life is the spontaneous road trip … surrendering to the impulse, this is the place to be today, getting in the car and simply going.  Sometimes I do it under the disguise of being a photographer, but many times it’s simply about taking the journey.  What I’ve discovered along the way, the reward for honoring the impulse to wander, has been spectacular.    

The following photos are a few of my favorite moments from my adventures over the past couple of years.  I’ve shown you the photos, now it’s time for the rest of the story.   The first blog post in a series of many more to come pays tribute to one of my favorite places to explore and photograph, San Juan Island in Washington State.   

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, Summer 2009    

Dawn's Early Light - Friday Harbor, Washington


This shot was one of the more rewarding gifts from my many spontaneous road trips.  It’s no secret to those who know me at all how much I love the San Juan Island area in Washington State.  Though I live several hours away, I escape to the San Juans as often as I can, every chance I get.  This photo is a result of pretty much driving all night, waiting in line at the ferry terminal at Anacortes for a couple of hours for the first ferry to Friday Harbor, arriving on island in time to grab a latte (can we say quad shot required!), finding the perfect spot to watch the sun rise, setting up the tri-pod (because the quad latte was kicking in!), and waiting for the magic to begin.  I didn’t start out thinking I would drive all night to get to this photo, but man am I glad that I did.    

 San Juan Islands, Summer 2010   

Island Dream - San Juan Islands, Washington


Have you ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong in the right way?  The day this photo was taken was one of those days for me.  I’m a native of the Pacific Northwest, have grown up using the Washington State ferry system to travel from island to island around Puget Sound.  But on this day the unbelievable happened … I got lost … found myself heading for one island in the San Juans while intending to go to another.  The Island I found myself on, while charming, was not where I wanted to be, so I hopped the next available ferry off the Island and found myself heading back to San Juan Island.  I wasn’t planning to go to San Juan Island, had been there several times, loved it, but was ready for a new adventure.  Fate, it seems, had other plans for me this day.  Rolling with the curious series of events, I decided to make the best of the day by spending a little more time with our beloved orcas that live in the Salish Sea.  I started making phone calls only to find that early May in the San Juans is a little too early for most whale watching tours to be running. But luck or fate, it seems, was finally on my side.  My final call led me to the beautiful and tucked away haven of Snug Harbor located on the western shore of San Juan Island.  There I met the charming and friendly captain of the tour boat Island Dream that just happened to be running a second tour that day.  We loaded onto the boat, cruised through Roche Harbor for a quick refueling, then went out to spent some quality time with a group of Transient Orcas.  The photo posted above was one of the final shots captured that day aboard the Island Dream.  The day that started out by going so completely wrong, ended in just the right way.   

The final photo for this blog post is called “It’s A Beautiful Life” which pretty much sums up this adventure I’m on.  The photography is the excuse I use for the journey, however it’s the curiosity of the journey and learning to see an old world through new eyes that is the true reason I wander, aimlessly at times it seems I sure to some, but the true reason for the journey for me all the same.   

San Juan Island, Washington, Summer 2010   

It's A Beautiful Life - San Juan Island, Washington

 Have you ever had one of those moments when everything just clicks?  This shot for me was one moment of pure magic last summer.  Taken while hiking along the western shore of San Juan Island, Washington, I really didn’t realize what I had until I was back home looking at it on the computer screen.  I knew I caught the orca breaching, but with the way I was scrambling over the rocks to get into position, I wasn’t sure how clear and in-focus the orca would be … luck it seems was on my side this day.  Not only was the orca cooperating, but the Olympic Mountains deciding to join the show along with the sail boat and ocean liner coming into frame in the distance were icing on the cake.  Planning is a good thing with photography, but it’s the magical moments like this one that keep me chasing that ever illusive next great photo.  It’s a beautiful life when you get to experience moments like this one captured from the shores of San Juan Island, one that I’m thoroughly enjoying exploring as I continue on my way.  


By for now.  More to follow in the weeks and months ahead.