The Long and Short of it

Wide views of breath-taking landscapes, close-ups that focus on the details: I’ll take both when it comes to photography.

Broad views at the edges where land transitions to water are commonplace, now that I live on an island again.

1. Clouds over the Olympics. 12/22/18

 

I remember how refreshing it was when I worked in lower Manhattan, to walk over to the edge of that island after a day at the office, and gaze at the Hudson River. Then I moved to a suburban environment where I didn’t see those broad views as often. I missed the feeling of release that I felt when taking in the world from a wider perspective.

There’s no doubt too, that narrower views which zero in on an intimate part of the landscape have always excited me, and they figure prominently in my work. Since I was a little girl, I took notice of the details around me, and easily lost myself in them.

2. Mushroom, leaves, grass and twigs: a backyard still life. 12/27/18

 

Of course I’m aware of the middle distance too, but it seems that the polarity of near and distant reflects some inner gestalt, deep inside me. This group of photographs swings back and forth between the two ends of the visual spectrum, within the limits of a narrow geographical range and time frame.  Come along with me and take a look:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. The broken plates of ancient rocks at my feet, the Olympic Mountains in the distance, and the mesmerizing sound of lapping waves keep me riveted. Washington Park, Fidalgo Island, Washington.  12/22/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. Gentle waves lap at my feet again, but this distant view reveals the edge of the San Juan Islands instead of the mountains. Three Harlequin ducks perch on rocks rich with intertidal life, and overhead, an eagle’s high-pitched “kereee” cuts sharply through the air. Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park, Washington. 12/14/18

 

5. On this late afternoon walk I only had a long lens and I was struck by the beauty of the distant view, so I used the phone to record the scene as the sun descended. North Beach, Deception Pass State Park. 11/06/18

 

6. A pair of mushrooms, fallen leaves, and a bed of moss – it’s a world unto itself, and all you need to do is bend down and look. Behind my home on Fidalgo Island. 11/17/18

 

7. A wild garden composition of weathered wood, Licorice fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) and the rosette of leaves of a Fringe cup (Tellima grandiflora) graces a rocky outcrop. I see bits of rust-colored bark from a Madrona tree (Arbutus menziesii) and one of its bright red berries, too. The tiny, succulent blue-green leaves of Broad-leaved stonecrop (Sedum spathufolium) are tucked into a corner, and moss, lichens and fallen leaves complete the picture. Pass Island, Deception Pass State Park. 11/06/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. A Sword fern (Polystichum munitum) has found a strange home in a rocky cliff. It’s obviously struggling in this location but the scene is compelling, with the tight squeeze of plant and crevice, and the warm colors of lichens and dried fern fronds complementing green leaves and cool, blue-gray stone.  North Beach, Deception Pass State Park. 12/12/18

 

9. Fog obscures the details and beckons me forward, up the hill to Goose Rock. This forest of Western Redcedar, Douglas fir and Western hemlock is set with an understory of Sword ferns, like bouquets from another, more ancient time.  Deception Pass State park. 11/22/18

 

10. A giant has fallen in the woods. Along its flanks mushrooms sprout, and underneath it there are even more, sprouting up suddenly from wandering networks of mycelium that connect the forest underground, throughout the moist, rich soil. Soon moss will take hold on top of the log and Red huckleberry bushes will root there. Perhaps a hemlock tree will find a home on the log too, and eventually its roots will pass the wood and feel their way down into the soil. These ecosystems are called nursery logs, and they’re critical players in the forest symphony. Goose Rock Trail, Deception Pass State Park. 11/22/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11. On the wooded path it’s getting dark but across the water, afternoon sun picks out the details on an island named Ben Ure. Later, I learn that Mr. Ure was a smuggler of migrants from China in the late 1880’s. It’s said that he tied people in burlap bags to transport them in boats, and if something went wrong, he threw the bags overboard. Powerful currents at Deception Pass swept the victims away to wash up on the San Juan Islands; by then, surely they were dead. Immigration has always presented dangers, but we could do much better at reducing the hardship.  Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, Deception Pass State Park. 12/30/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12. A Western Redcedar’s roots are bared beside a rocky trail. Bits of dead cedar leaves have collected in the crevices after a dry summer, and a single Licorice fern frond has come to rest here too. Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, Deception Pass State Park. 12/30/18

 

13. A petite Licorice fern frond dangles from a mossy rock at Mt. Erie, the highest place on Fidalgo Island. 11/25/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

14. Calm waters reflect the silvery grays of a December afternoon. Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park. 12/14/18

 

15. Up on Mount Erie, the view stretches for miles across lakes, farmland, and forests, then out past the Salish Sea to the rugged Olympic Mountain Range, 40 miles away. Fidalgo Island. 11/25/18

 

16. A thin film of oil, or perhaps bacteria, floats on a shallow pool of water in the forest, offering up obscure reflections of the trees and blue sky above. Little Cranberry Lake, Anacortes Community Forest Lands, Fidalgo Island. 10/22/18

 

17. A bevy of amber-colored mushrooms and one wavy-edged gray one nestle in the evergreen leaves of Bearberry, also called Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Lighthouse Point, Deception Pass State Park.  11/20/18

 

18. The handsome Sword fern is ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest, adapting to a variety of conditions.  It’s evergreen leaves turn an orangey rust color as they die. In spring, a batch of new fronds will unwind from tightly coiled fiddleheads. Goose Rock Trail, Deception Pass State Park.  11/22/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

19. Lush even in winter, hardy Salal (Gaultheria shallon) spills onto the trail at the feet of forest giants. Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, Deception Pass State Park.  12/30/18

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20. Stretching up for every bit of light they can get, Western Redcedars and Western hemlocks cast deep shade on the forest floor. In the middle story, Red huckleberry bushes are almost invisible; having lost their leaves, their fine twigs form a green haze.  There’s magic in this juxtaposition of immense tree trunks and finely cut leaves and twigs. Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, Deception Pass State Park. 12/30/18

 

21. A bit of root calligraphy rises through the thin soil of a mossy bluff on Fidalgo island, high over the Salish Sea. Lighthouse Point, Deception Pass State Park.  01/01/19

 

22. Delicate lichens fluff up and come to life after a rain. There are two different lichens on this little twig – and you’d likely find more if you examined the length of it. Lighthouse Point, Deception Pass State Park.  12/10/18

 

23. I’m drawn to this old Madrona tree with its multi-colored bark that wrinkles just like my own skin. Lighthouse Point, Deception Pass State Park  01/01/19

 

24. As the sun sets over the water, the torn edge of the Olympic Mountains is in silhouette and the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon glimmers in the soft purple of the evening sky. Dog-walkers are transfixed, waves collapse rhythmically against the shore, and contentment reigns for a minute or two. West Beach, Deception Pass State Park.  11/10/18

 

Once again, I’ve posted more photographs than I feel I should. It’s hard to whittle them down to a more manageable batch. I hope that rather than feel overwhelmed, you have simply entered into the beauty and enjoyed it.


81 comments

  1. Your photography is amazing! You may feel like it is too many, but you always leave me wanting more! My particular favourites today were 5, 11 (The smuggling history was so interesting) and 24.

    Like

  2. So many gorgeous photos to welcome in the new year, Lynn. I love all the sword fern photos, especially #8 and #18, the red cedar roots, the stunning colors of the Madrona tree. And the landscapes and mushrooms and the lichen. Well… it seems I love them all. 🙂

    Like

  3. We are lucky that you, who lives on Fidalgo Island in the midst of such natural beauty, can also take excellent photos for the rest of us to enjoy, admire, and emulate. An amazing first post for 2019!

    Like

    • Thank you for stopping by and commenting; I really appreciate it. With people like you to serve as examples, I am slowly improving. It doesn’t hurt to be in such a great location, but I love dry places, like California, too. It’s fun to connect different but similar plants, like the Manzanita & Madrone. I just read about them in Wikipedia – it’s fascinating. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stunning images. It’s not every photographer that can capture beautiful landscapes and close-ups with the same eye for detail and composition.

    You truly capture the essence of the island in all its moods and seasons.

    Like

      • I can’t seem to find the comment button on your posts, and just wanted to say those Cormorant photos are great. And you’ll smile when I tell you that we have 3 or 4 species here, and so far I haven’t learned to tell them apart, unless I’m really, really close to one. 🙂

        Like

  5. Oh what a beautiful collection. My faves are 3 and 4, 22 and 23. Here in Canada we call madronas arbutus – I love both names, and their wonderful multi-coloured peeling bark.
    Happy New Year Lynn.
    Alison

    Like

    • I’ve heard that it’s Arbutus in Canada. Maybe I’ll do a post just on that tree – they are unlike anything else, and have so many great features. I remembered today that one of my mother’s favorites springtime flowers, back east where I grew up, was called Trailing arbutus. It’s no longer in that genus – like so many plants and animals, it’s been moved and given a different name. But there’s a kind of poetic linkage there, with my learning to love our own Arbutus.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There are no favorites this time. If I absolutely HAD to pick one, it would be #23. Took my breath away as it scrolled into view. The vibrant color and textures are simply amazing.

    Like

    • 🙂 Thank you, Gunta! I was just saying (above) that I may do a Madrone post at some point. They’re such amazing trees, and there are loads of them here on the island. I’m going to work on that.

      Like

      • Did I tell you we planted one on the bank behind the house just a week ago? I am totally in awe of them, but that specimen you posted takes the prize hands down! I very much look forward to what you might come up with in a Madrone post!

        Like

  7. I’m so glad you post all the photos you do! What a happy way to start my day~ Fresh coffee, and all your gorgeous images.
    How is it, living on an island? Do you ever feel cut off? I’ve probably mentioned that I wrestle with the decision of where to settle, because here, there are over 30,000 acres in my county alone set aside for people to wander in. I look around Seattle and think, it’s just highway and houses, now. But the images you share show the nature I long for. For all the land available to explore here, it just doesn’t move my soul the way the Pacific Northwest did when I lived there before. Your images show me that, on your island at least, it is still there.

    Like

    • Great, I like imagining you with morning coffee, scrolling down…. 🙂
      Actually this island is not at all cut off, but is very firmly connected to the mainland my a big bridge. The bridge is less than ten minutes from my door. Some people might not even realize they’re driving onto an island, but I do feel it, especially because I spend so much time on its edges. There’s the convenience of accessing services here but the beauty is intact, too. (On the San Juans you have to boat or fly in, a whole other way of life). I do remember your struggle about moving, and believe me, it’s nothing like Seattle up here. This island in particular has large amounts of land set aside – forests with old growth, shorelines, lakes. A look at Google earth (just google Fidalgo Island) might help you visualize it. Things change as you drive north, and this county (Skagit) is a lot more rural than some others, with abundant agricultural land, which I also enjoy seeing..

      Like

  8. What Louis said.
    Plus, your words speak very well, sometimes sounding like poetry. e.g.,

    A bit of root calligraphy
    rises through the thin soil
    of a mossy bluff on Fidalgo island,
    high over the Salish Sea.
    . . . . .

    Also, many photographs feel like poems to me, a person who often depends on words to see. One in particular (the fern that “found a strange home in a rocky cliff”) even brought to mind the first time I was asked to read a poem that made me think:

    A SORT OF SONG
    by William Carlos Williams

    Let the snake wait under
    his weed
    and the writing
    be of words, slow and quick, sharp
    to strike, quiet to wait,
    sleepless.
    — through metaphor to reconcile
    the people and the stones.
    Compose. (No ideas
    but in things) Invent!
    Saxifrage is my flower that splits
    the rocks. 

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much – I should be familiar with that poem but I’m not, except for the parenthetical statement – that one I’ve heard, and always liked. So now I see where ti comes from. Putting the caption to one of the photos in poem form is nice! I want my photographs to function as poems – I can’t articulate quite what that means, but I know it has to do with being more than a documentation of something seen. Maybe the photos strive to be “slow and quick, sharp to strike, quiet to wait…” maybe they’re made for reconciling people and stones – or Madrones. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I want my photographs to function as poems – I can’t articulate quite what that means, but I know it has to do with being more than a documentation of something seen.”

        My thoughts and feeling exactly.
        Attempting to put the two together.
        In the way that only my poems can
        go together (go to gather) with my
        images….

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Another wonderful and wonderous collection Lynn. It’s nice to see some ‘long of it’ from you. I am drawn to the silhouettes 5 & 11 as that is one of the themes/projects I am working on. I like the surprise sunlit land in 11.

    Like

    • Thank for your comments, Denise. Since moving here, I have many more opportunities to take the longer view, and it’s not the most comfortable way to work for me, so it’s a good challenge. Silhouettes – they’re great, aren’t they? I have a slew of them I can call up with that keyword in LR. It will be fun to see your project – looking forward to it! Have a good weekend.

      Like

  10. Nope, don’t whittle them down, these all deserve to be here of course, I enjoyed this album thoroughly. #8 I admire that you photographed the sword fern with its dead fronds, wedged in some pretty unforgiving-looking stone, and along with the lichens, the picture has got so much more of a story, than the usual mono-green, picture-perfect fern pictures. And I love this idea of root calligraphy in 12 and 21 – could be Chinese characters, maybe Tagalog or the characters they use on Java (the island, not the programming language), so beautiful, you can enjoy the documents from foreign countries, purely as a design.
    #16’s “obscure reflections” are interesting, very much like an old-time mirror, when the tin or silver has oxidized – I don’t spend a lot of time gazing in mirrors, but always take a look in the old, tarnished ones, expecting maybe a ghost sometime will be looking out. #5 and #11, it’s nice to have the trees in the foreground reduced to silhouettes, and then you appreciate the nice glimpse of green in the distance, although that’s a horrifying tale in the caption about the migrant smuggler. I’d just read in a history of Amsterdam (where religious tolerance had its limits), about Anabaptists being sewn into burlap sacks, and thrown in the harbor, I hope this Ben Ure came to a horrible end, but I expect he was elected governor or something. #13 is somber but elegant, #23 I’d have thought was an aerial view of colored sands in the desert.
    #6 reminds me, that this year, I need to spend more time enjoying the view, down at ground level. Terrific album, great start to the year! 🙂

    Like

    • It’s a pleasure to read your thoughts….especially the comments about the sword fern growing in that rock, and the obscure reflections. Calligraphy or dancing fragments – I see lots of both in nature. I had a friend who’s from the Philippines and I used to listen to her speaking Tagalog, but it blew past me that there’s a script for that language other than Roman-style. I just googled it – wow, does that script flow! And wiggle! 🙂 You’re always introducing me to one thing or anther. It’s very difficult to find out more about the evil Ben Ure, and it’s possible the story is not true. A better researcher than I am needs to set the record straight. In any case, if you ever get out this way, you may be happy to know that you can rent a cabin on that island — but you have to get there by boat, your own or a hired one, and bring your water. 🙂 Have a good weekend!

      Like

  11. LOL!!! >>> what are you on??? Send me some ASAP!!!!! 🙂 Its very good to hear about your photography. In you, I feel I’ve found a very talented and articulate soul, a definite source of riches. Here, I’m more for your closer in shots. So, all the ones that get to me: 2; 4 the light on those rocks; 5; 8 ohhh!; 11 ohhh!; 12 ohhh!; 18 ohhh!; 22; 23 ohhhhhh!!! >>> I thought it was rock! Think I’ll have to go and have a sit down … or a second breakfast…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 I think I’m on newness, with regular sniffs and snorts of beauty and fresh air. :: – )) Your comment falls on eager ears; thank you. Be careful about that second breakfast though – maybe just make that one continental? 😉

      Like

  12. Lots of winners in this set. It is interesting how many nature photographers go for the grand landscape and miss the little marvels at their feet – or vice versa. I suppose life can be that way too.

    Like

  13. Beautiful landscapes, still-lifes and atmospheric wood pictures. Every foto is so beautiful!! I love nr. 5, 11, 13, the rootpictures, the mushrooms, ferns and lichen..all of them 🙂 You captured everything so well, I can feel it here, the love for nature, for all the little things breathing. THANKS a lot!!!

    Like

  14. Not too many at all, Lynn. It’s a wonderful nature meditation for me…thanks. I love that you enjoy many viewpoints, close and far. The madrone reminds me of an elephants side, your mushrooms and ferns are exquisite and your landscapes convey the overcast, wintry beauty of the coast. Wishing you a wonderful 2019- looking forward to seeing where your lens takes you.

    Like

  15. Hey Lynn! I really enjoyed reading this. As far as I’m concerned, you can never include too many photos in your posts. I do understand that desire to strike a balance, though. I’ll look forward to the visual feast of your next post with greedy anticipation.

    Like

  16. beautiful photos…colour and compositions are strong…we know ‘forest bathin’ is good for our health…just looking at your post is healing…thank you for showing me…smilies ~ hedy ☺️

    Like

  17. 8 and 9 give me shivers.
    That sword of fern clinging
    to that incredibly lichen-festooned
    stone escarpment.
    And that foggy forest,
    so full of forms…
    (where are the Ewoks?)

    Beauty. Everywhere one looks around here.

    Like

    • This region has its share of shiver-producing sights, it really does. After all, this is home of Sasquatch (very loosely speaking), Hendrix and Grunge. There’s a darkness coupled with beauty here, a sense that it’s all bigger than we are. Good stuff to be around, and it seeps in.

      Like

  18. Lovely views, both near and far. I confess that I’m the limited one, here; it’s hard to take in so much in one post. But that’s me, not you. Most often, I’ll look at only a few, and then come back. I do think in this group the madrone bark is my favorite. I’ve always thought of bark in terms of texture, not color, but both certainly are in play with that tree.

    Like

    • I appreciate your honesty and I recognize that it’s a lot to take in – maybe you study things more closely than some people. I’m thinking about a post on just one plant, like the Madrone, or a certain fern, etc. Madrones are amazing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: natural bridges, continued – ~ wander.essence ~


Leave a Reply to albert Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s