As a photographer I’m sometimes asked what it is about the Pacific Northwest that intrigues me so. What is it about this area that keeps me so enthralled that I find myself returning over and over to familiar places to shoot when there is so much more out in the world to see and explore.
It’s a valid question, one I’ve given considerable thought to. I guess for me, as an artist, I have to shoot what I love if I’m going to love what I shoot. I’ve traveled this country from one end to the other and all I can say with absolute certainty is, that for as much as I’ve enjoyed visiting other areas, they will never have the hold on me that the Pacific Northwest region retains.
This love affair with the land began at an early age for me. As a child I grew up hiking and camping in the rugged wilderness of the Northern Cascade Mountains. I spent my early years wading through mountain streams so cold and so clear they make you shiver just looking at them. I’ve fallen asleep listening to the wind in the pine while that same mountain stream thunders down the valley. I’ve met the morning with the twilight dawn glistening off of the mist in the valley as the world sprang to life in the early hours. It’s those memories and more the connection I feel to this land that appeals to me, that always calls me home.
My love for the Pacific Northwest has only grown as the years have passed. As my passion for photography has developed and grown, I’ve learned to see this world in a very new way. I’ve learned to see the unexpected, to hear the world and look for the source to capture with my camera. I’ve come to appreciate just how amazingly beautiful and diverse this region is, from the jagged and wild coast line of the Pacific Ocean, to the misty enchanted rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula, to the breathtakingly beautiful San Juan Islands, to the soaring mountain peaks of the majestic Cascade Mountain range, to the abundant tranquility of the region’s world class farmland, all of it draws me in and calls me home. Every journey out with my camera is an opportunity to see and experience something new in this land I call home, all of it an opportunity to evolve and learn and grow.
I return again and again to what I know because with every experience I learn just a little bit more than I knew before, and even more I’ve learned to value and appreciate the moments as they appear. I’ve watched with awe as the eagle has flown, heard it’s keening, piercing call as it spiraled through the air. I’ve watched the magnificent orca swim through the cold blue waters of the Salish Sea, breaching and playing and living free. I’ve sat in absolute silence and peace in the wild coastal forests of British Columbia on a misty Canadian morning as the orca passed by in the twilight dawn and just listened to these amazing creatures breathe. It’s moments like this and so many more that call me back and bring me home to center.
I’ve wandered this land the majority of my adult life, seeking out the strength and serenity that being truly connected to the land brings to me. I guess it’s the feeling that comes with knowing right down to the heart of your soul that you’re home and where you were always meant to be. I’ve found my home though I doubt I’ll ever be the type to ever stay put in one place for very long. There’s too much to see, to explore, to experience for me to ever be content staying in just one place.
Of one thing I am certain though … for as much as I surrender to the call to wander and explore this world, it’s my connection to the Pacific Northwest that will always draw me back. It’s the reason I return again and again to shoot the old and familiar places, why I’ll always return I suspect. For me the old places are always new, always changing, distinctly unique to the place I call my home.