What There Is

In the spirit of working with what’s available, here is a group of photos I’ve tossed together from the road trip through Oregon and northern California that we took a few months ago. After days of being immersed in the randomness of my possessions – open a drawer, dig into a closet, unleash the chaos – my mind may be incapable of knitting together a coherent story or explanation for these images. Most were taken in small towns, and a few are from what used to be a small town. Perhaps there is a thread of nostalgia that connects them. Perhaps not. I’m OK either way. After all, like everything else, these images are part of the vast, beautiful, spacious world we live in where every thing is a world in itself, even as it plays a part in the greater mystery.










































These photos were made at four locations in northern California: the picturesque agricultural town of Ferndale, the historic mountain mining town of Weaverville, the remote coastal hamlet of Shelter Cove, and a ghost town called Helena, near Weaverville. I made liberal use of effects when processing most of these images, primarily with Color Efex Pro.

Shelter Cove: #1

Helena: #2, #3, #14

Ferndale: #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #11, #12, #13, #15, #18, #19, #20

Weaverville: #10, #16, #17






  1. This is a great amalgam of interesting photos, Lynn. I’m picking #14 as my favorite. It’s an amalgam of patterns, colors and shapes all it’s own. #12 is a close second. A car in its element. A great shot!


    • You must know I was thinking of you when we wandered into this auto repair shop in town. The repairman told Joe this is the same style John Dillinger drove, and that Dillinger wrote Ford to compliment him on how fast the car went. Maybe you’ve heard that story. There were other little gems in that space, it was wonderful. The whole town is. I processed #14 for a flat, detailed look, very different from the repair shop. Thank you Ken!


  2. I see an inner string connecting this beautiful images. First of all your vision, of course, but also the down to earth life they capture and some kind of nostalgia they are filled with. As you say they are part of a greater mystery.


  3. Coherent narrative? Oh yes: I can read your love for the still and simple in these beautiful photographies. And my heart-capturing favourite is 18, it seems the heart of the series. By position at a kind of peak or by its vividness and charms maybe?


    • That was such a beautiful, timeless moment in the coffee shop, when mom and daughter worked/played together. They have a functioning old cash register for cash transactions, as you can see, and a very modern wireless system for credit. It was really cool. Also, interesting books, old sofas, lots of light, and in the back of the shop a man builds traditional native kayaks. They are very impressive. I’m sure you would enjoy seeing the high level of craftsmanship that goes into these kayaks.
      I can easily agree that #18 is the heart of the series, it seems to bring it all together. Thank you, Ule, I always appreciate your insight.


  4. These are great. (And it all looks like someone from upstate NY wouldn’t feel too out of place.) The little girl in #11, with the brass register, is such a nice warm shot. I wasn’t a math wiz in grade school, and was having trouble comprehending fractions, until my mother thought to have me use coins & bills, and make change for an imaginary store. I loved running a register, making change, and picked up the math in no time (the penny dropped as they say).
    I also like that slightly off-kilter-looking Weaverville Cemetery, and the window reflections in #8, which almost looks like they have a diorama village in the shop window.
    And I wouldn’t mind borrowing that Model A or whatever that old car is, for a little spin, maybe even a quick bank job if it’s fast enough!


    • You could be right about a vague similarity to upstate NY. I went crazy when I saw the little girl working the register, so intent on it. Your mom understood what was going on and did what any aware teacher should have known to do, it seems so obvious. I’m glad she intervened. Thanks for your thoughts Robert, and Happy Sunday!


  5. What wonderful images. We will be traveling from Michigan to the Canadian Rockies and the northern tier of states later this summer. You just added to my excitement. 🙂 We avoid interstates and love going through the small towns.


    • I do too. Another great find was a very old cemetery with some amazing stories told in the markers, and an absolute joy of a tiny natural history museum lovingly curated in a spare corner of a Benedictine monastery, on a hill outside a small town in Oregon. I hope you have a great time and see many small wonders.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve beautifully captured the flavor of the north-western California with the bygone days bleeding gracefully into the present. My impression of this area has been that many of the folks from the original hippy culture moved here when the San Francisco scene went mainstream. There seems to be a spirit of resilience and self-reliance that seeps through the rural areas here. Or, it could just be my overwrought imagination since I’ve never looked this closely at any of these places before. Sorry, there are no favorites. Or perhaps what I really mean is that they’re all favorites this time around. 😀


    • That sounds right, Gunta, a lot of migration up from SF by people who value a lifestyle that’s closer to the land. Resilience and self-reliance, yes. Go to Ferndale – it’s a treasure! I think you said you passed through Weaverville, and if you do again, check out the museums, they’re wonderful. We also happened on a little community fair in a churchyard, complete with a boy on a bike that was rigged up to blend smoothies in a container strapped to it, and many free seeds and plants being given away. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a really wonderful set of pictures, Lynn. I can’t say that I like all of them, but I do like the vast majority, and especially those showing people. You have a wonderful eye. A 🙂


  8. Sometimes not necessary to put the things in words. I normally face this problem. This mostly comes from the limitation of the language. Perhaps its impossible to write the observations in such a manner that reader can feel the same what the observer has felt in original. We can appreciate the images and can have our own ideas. Its your blog.. and your feelings are original.


    • Yes, it can be hard to convey our experience, and pictures can be a very subjective experience, but I don’t think that should discourage anyone – it is always worth the effort to cross that gap and try to communicate your feelings. Thanks for being here!


  9. I’m late – a busy few days! A wonderfully diverse gallery of images, Lynn. You have a great eye for capturing the mundane. I particularly like No 8 – for the sharpness of the reflection ( you know me, I love reflections), and No 10 for the quality, sharpness and arrangement of a set of objects. It’s a still life I suppose it one was to attempt to categorize it. great variety.


    • Thank you, Andy, it was fun putting this together, and even more fun taking the photos, as you’d guess. In #8 I think I did put a little extra clarity on the reflected part, but on #10, the still life, I think I did the opposite and softened it a bit. That was in a little museum up in Weaverville that tells the story of the miners who lived there long ago. Thank you for your comments, always appreciated, and never late in my estimation!


  10. I really like the pictures from Helena! We don’t have any ghost towns here, I always find it curious to see other people’s pictures! I hope your move is going well, Lynn. Take it easy! 🙂


    • They are SO popular in the American west – there are many websites detailing where to find them. That’s how I learned about that one. It was sad to see a handsome brick building across the street covered with graffiti – why can’t people respect things more? But that’s the way it is! Thanks for thinking of me Camilla – it’s one step forward and – not two steps back, but one step in place, as I rest from the emotional effort of going through stuff. More and more I realize that when I’m tired, it’s likely more emotional than physical! 😉 As long as I am aware of that and pace myself, it’a all good.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve been immersed in people’s stories, so I’m not surprised you would see that. Wouldn’t it be fun to give these to groups of people, especially kids, and have them write a story connected to the images?


  11. How I love the idea of presenting a collection “where every thing is a world in itself, even as it plays a part in the greater mystery.” It allowed me to examine each photo and wonder about the life lived within, underneath, and on the surface.


    • You saw that! I could have cropped the photo but I liked the context he was in – a country road near a small town. He was just another person out enjoying the day, nothing all that special, and it was nice to be in a place where someone with physical challenges doesn’t particularly stand out. Thank you Shimon.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, I really like this collection. #10 is the one that got me the most. Those gray and ivory values, and the rounded shapes. And the dusted red in the background.


    • That’s an interesting pair of images to choose for sure, and it does kind of sum it all up. I highly recommend Ferndale, CA if you ever get north of San Francisco. It’s indescribable, you really do feel like you’ve time traveled, without any trace of irony or self-consciousness. It’s NOT a museum town, it’s a very real place, and it’s not drowning in sentimentality, it just is what it is. We were surprised!! The cows lived next door to our airbnb and these two young-uns decided to get playful one morning. Best airbnb I ever stayed in, BTW.


    • He and his friend had just completed a multi-day hike along this remote coast, and the first thing they said was, “Do you have a beer?” 🙂 We didn’t, but they made their way to their car, and there’s a small restaurant nearby so I’m sure they went straight there. It was a nice moment, seeing them come up the beach, like ambassadors for another way of life.


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