Celebrating Two Years

Two years ago this week we traveled 70 miles north, leaving a booming Seattle suburb for a quiet, 41-square-mile island of about 20,000 people. We have witnessed all four seasons here twice now. We have zeroed in on an assortment of favorite places – bluffs and beaches for sunset views, shorelines to meander along, coffee shops to linger in, forests to immerse ourselves in. Our lives feel very different than they did before we moved. It’s a good time to celebrate the pleasures of this place.

1. Mt. Erie, the island’s highest point, wrapped in fog. June, 2020.

2. Mt. Erie from the south, with Pass Lake. December, 2019.

3. A trail through old Douglas firs. January, 2019.

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5. Lichen-encrusted branch, Bowman Bay. March 2019.

6. Cap Sante Marina. December 2018.

7. Abandoned building. Anacortes. September, 2018.

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9. Mt. Baker from Cap Sante. October, 2018.
10. Rain over Deception Island; Fidalgo Island is to the right. December, 2019.

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12. Driftwood, grasses and wild roses; Rosario Beach. February 2020.

13. Floating burr-reed (Sparganium angustifolium) (?) and reflections, Little Cranberry Lake. September, 2018.

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15. Evening reflections, Little Cranberry Lake. October 2019.

16. Rain shower, Little Cranberry Lake. February, 2019.

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18. The creek at home. February, 2019.

19. Heart Lake trail. August, 2018.

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21. A fishing boat tied up at Trident Seafoods in Anacortes. November, 2018.

22. Fog on Mt. Erie. December, 2019.

24. Heart Lake. February, 2020.

25. Looking west from Lighthouse Point. December 2018.

26. Bell, shadows and reflections at home. February, 2019.

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72 comments

  1. You now live in such beautiful surroundings, or is it only through your marvelous photos that we see it that way. In any case, what a difference Seattle now is after you left it two years ago.

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  2. The words and images in this post as well as what has been published in previous posts reveal how important this change was. Undoubtedly a good decision and an open path to something better and more peaceful.
    The creativity and sensitivity of the images are the proof. And certainly nature thanks you for being there!
    May life and health allow you to enjoy this choice for many years.

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  3. Happy Birthday for your second year ๐Ÿ™‚ You made a real good celebration with all these beautiful pictures. Apparently you love your new surroundings and it is such a beautiful place to live in. So yes, the best decision you could make ๐Ÿ™‚ Many many wonderful photos! I am glad, that you share these moments with us. You are lucky, we don’t want to move there immediately alltogether ๐Ÿ˜‰ although it is hard not to do so. Many further happy moments to you!

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    • That’s funny about people not moving here immediately. I would be happy to have anyone here on the blog closer, but I know that won’t happen. This is not the most convenient place. Maybe someday you’ll be able to make the long, long plane trip and explore for yourself. Until then, I’m glad you enjoy doing it via photographs. Thank you, Almuth.

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  4. 20,000 people on the entire island! How lovely, yet when viewing the marina from afar, it looks like a lot of folks could be in that one little area! How great that there’s a balance, and so much nature and pure beauty.

    As always you’ve given us a beautiful selection of images/moods, and – since I’ve been working in watercolor – there were several images that made me think, ‘That would be a nice challenge for a painting..’ The mirror-like reflection of the vert/trees was one. I will enjoy viewing all of the images in greater detail when at home – about one minute from now! After ‘burning the tea’ while painting, I knew it was time to leave, clear my head, go to the nearby restaurant and return later.. Time to log off and deal with that pot of burned ‘organic matter.’ The plants might appreciate it?

    The painting, however, is going well!

    Hope the week is a good one.

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    • You’re right about the marina – there are lots of people who come here via boat to hang out for a while. It rarely feels crowded though. And that photo was taken in December so I suppose most of those boats belong to people who do live here. Very boaty. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Any reflection is a super challenge in watercolor. There was a woman who does still lifes with vases and flowers, lots of glass, lots of intricate reflections. Of course, I can’t think of her name. Astounding work though. Whew! Ruin the tea, not the painting, mi amiga! Enjoy the week! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. What a beautiful area to live in and photograph! I remember when you blogged about moving. Hard to believe it’s been two years already. Wonderful photographs.

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    • Thank you, Howard…we had been driving up to the area since we moved to the PNW from New York, and worried at one point that we wouldn’t find a place to live. But we did. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

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  6. Thanks for this two year retrospective. You have developed such a clear sense of place in these two years. It seems important to reflect on that. We have been in our new place for three years and your post makes me think about what I would show to capture this place. Your blog is a good way to begin my day.

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    • I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Jean. I remember when you moved, too. ๐Ÿ™‚
      There were many things I left out – the refinery, the supermarket. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Obviously, it’s a subjective process. I think the choices could be different, depending on many things, even the pervasive mood created by the virus. Maybe that magnifies the appreciation of and need for certain types of images. I was struck by how many scenes with views over the water I wanted to include – yes, it’s an island and yes, I enjoy those views but maybe I’m more drawn to them these days. It would be very interesting to see what you might come up with to illustrate your own sense of the place where you live.

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  7. Happy Two from me to you. And if you extend the rhyme to blue, your first picture is reminiscent of the old cyanotypes. A similar tonality dominates #22, even as traces of other hues creep in. And how about those pretty shades of pink in #11? #12 does a good job conveying the pale shades of winter vegetation.

    The caption in #26 reminds me of the title “Bell, Book, and Candle.” Shadows and reflections are a photographer’s delight. And speaking of reflections, #15 is strange for the unexpected patch of brightness so close to the bottom. Clouds and plants share the water in #13.

    The first part of #23 calls up “Tyger Tyger, burning bright, / In the forests of the night” even if the forest’s darkness was diurnal. And it’s hard to beat curled ferns.

    To #17 central Texas replies white-tailed rather than black-tailed deer. The great blue heron of #20 we have in common.

    How black the water in the winter creek in #18, made more so by the contrast with the snow.

    There’s no deception in #10’s rain: it’s out there for all to see.

    My first glance at #8 made me think I’s have enjoyed working (photographically) those rock layersโ€”but then the caption turned them into an old wooden ship. What alchemy! The library divider in that group is a reminder that Nevil Shute wrote On the Beach, which I read as a teenager.

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    • Oh yes, let’s extend the rhyme, I like it! (I like cyanotypes, too). Thanks for noting the pale shades of winter in #12 – that and the linearity are what I liked. In the very dark #15, I most likely used spot metering taking the photo and then emphasized the contrast between the dark water and the sunlight more in processing. That was a fun association for the Tiger lilies! Ours are way smaller than the garden variety – very delicate and fragile-looking. At least the ones that grow in that park are – it’s pretty dry there.
      White-tailed deer were what I was used to, too, growing up in the northeast. I just delved and learned that our deer IS a different species than the White-tailed. Ours is the Mule deer, for its bigger ears, and locally, the Columbian black-tailed deer is a ssp of the mule deer. Mule deer don’t raise their tails the way White-taileds do, and they run very differently – it’s more prancing, which you can see a little in the photo.
      That ship does look like rock wall! Funny! It’s been there a long time, which is why the trees grew – they have gradually colonized it.
      So many associations, Steve! Have a good week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Love the pure simplicity of #5โ€”or maybe itโ€™s not simplicity; maybe itโ€™s complexity. Iโ€™m responding to the lines; theyโ€™re wonderful, the ones in focus as well as those out of focus. In #8 Iโ€™m taken by your framing of the brave little flower in the sidewalk and the placed-just-so person in front of the beautifully lit boat tarp with just a hint of matching sunset color. I think I remember Rain over Deception Island (#10) from another post. How wonderful that you were there at that very moment and saw the opportunity to make a striking photograph. Again, you capture me with lines, this time in #12. The subtle coloring in the scene seems essential to the photograph. Even though Iโ€™d still like it in black and white, Iโ€™m glad you chose color. Your emphasis of the sky reflection in #13, by locating the reeds way off-center, is unexpectedโ€”and welcome. It was fun to slowly scroll down from the lines of #14 followed by lines in #15. When #15 came completely into view, I forgot all about lines and was moved by the mood. I can hear the frogs and crickets. What a lovely photograph. In #18, youโ€™ve done it again (as you did in #13): successfully put the emphasis not where itโ€™s expected. (Iโ€™d have gone for focus on the creek, which would have yielded a ho-hum photograph.) Yours lets us long to see the creek but satisfies by highlighting the snow on delicate branches. Number 26 is the bell at the end of meditation. Beautiful and perfectly fitting.

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    • Lines, complexity, simplicity – all are good tools to play with, right? You mentioned the colors in #12 – and yes, that’s what I was responding to – all those lines and the subtle gradations of color. That’s a plus that winter offers. Your scrolling experience with the kelp morphing into the trees makes me smile. It’s good when those things happen. I try to make them happen but it doesn’t always work, of course. Hmm, we should both think about making a post that is only about the way images can flow into one another as you scroll. I’m so glad that you feel the bell is a fitting end. Joe did, too. Thank you for your eyes and brain. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • That’s good to hear, thank you so much. Later, I thought it might have been nice to add a crab, some insects…a broader spectrum. Another time! I’m not a wildlife photographer but one can’t help trying. Sometimes it works out well enough that you’re glad you did and even when it doesn’t result in a “good” photo, you’ve preserved a memorable moment.

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    • Thanks, Alison – it’s my pleasure, too. Hardhack – a funny name, right? I remember it being called Steeplebush too, back east. A very similar plant grows in the Adirondacks. Bridal veil, an old-fashioned garden plant, is another kind of Spirea – you’ve probably seen it in gardens.
      My BC plant book says Nuu-chah-nulth people used branching hardhack twigs (break one and you’ll see how brittle but strong they are) to make implements for collecting shells that were used as currency. You sent me on a research dive! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • Oh I do love your research dives – I learn all my plant info from you. Chuckle. Well some of it anyway, though I had heard of spirea. I have pics of lace lichen to go in my next post and will quote you and link to your post. I would otherwise have no clue what it was.

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    • At home photographically is a nice way of putting it, Alex, thank you very much. There’s no question that I’ll continue! I just need to keep the computer in shape and with your help, I think I will. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Thank you, Adrian, and thank you for all your encouragement and sharing of ideas, techniques, and enthusiasm. The lake where #13 & #15 were shot is almost always quite still and because of where it’s situated and the way the trails are right at the water’s edge, you can always find to be wonderful reflections. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  9. It’s such a pleasure to see such eloquent confirmation of your adapting to and embracing your new chosen home ground. We feel the same way about our new life here in New Zealand. I fell in love with it when I first came here on a work trip in 1991, and a kernel of hope was planted that I might be able to live here some day. And, all things considered, there’s no place I’d rather be than here.

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    • I can easily, easily imagine falling in love with New Zealand! We hope we can get there one day. I’m glad to hear that you’re still content to be there. Thanks for commenting!

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    • A bit of clarity reduction and a few other things brought out that misty feeling, which is what I responded to when I took the picture. It takes time to figure out how to use Lightroom to your advantage, i.e. to bring out what you see. When I hear a comment like yours I know the effort is worth it. Thanks for being here, Lenny…I hope you’re enjoying the summer!

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  10. Congratulations on your 2nd anniversary of living in this beautiful place. Itโ€™s a terrific celebration and appreciation youโ€™ve presented here, what a wonderful wealth of images youโ€™ve collected in two years.
    This is my second trip through this album, I really appreciate this as a mental vacation. There isn’t a single solitary shot that doesn’t invite us to linger (well, except #18 maybe), so many of these strike me as illustrations from a book of folktales, like #10’s turtle-hump, with a cloud stopping by to water just that specific island, or #22, where the trees somehow seem to be seen more clearly by looking in the reflections. #18 however, sorry, Iโ€™m erasing from my memory banks, I boycott any snow scenes until late August at the soonest. (just kidding). I’ve seen some otters around the Finger Lakes the last few years, but always swimming, never goofing around in an otter-pile, that’s a great shot.
    Some of the small-scale shots, like the #4 bark study, are very soothing – – a cinnamon- or cacao-colored curl, on a smooth background, or the tiny bouquet in #8, growing from a crack in all that gray sidewalk, and the middle shot in #14, with the pebbles and kelp laid out like a jewelerโ€™s workbench. I like the patch of sunlight in #15, on top of the tree trunks like a faint torch. And #13 is just plain amazing, the reeds growing in a pool of clouds, very very cool. Congrats again! RPT

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    • I trust you can find beauty most anywhere, butI’m happy this gave you that mental vacation. I like the idea of photographs carrying some of the power of folktales, too. I get that snow takes on a very different meaning, depending on one’s recent experience. My struggles with it are in the past (oh, shoveling cars out of giant, plow-created snowbanks, because alternate side parking says you’ve got to move your car – in and around NYC – joy!). A boy showed me those otters – how cool is that? He had strayed from his mom and found them. He was transfixed and had no one to share it with until I came along – lucky me! Keep looking and appreciating and imagining, Robert, I think it’s a gift to get into that space as easily as you do. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. You’ve given us a comprehensive collection that convey a wonderful sense of place. The fact that within a vast continent you have found a clearly defined magical retreat appeals to me, as it so obviously dos to you!

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  12. I’m sure you might have guessed I’d fall for #1 & 2… love those misty, mysterious elements. Seems I’m drawn to them. Perhaps it’s why I love the PNW. What a joy it is to see you embracing your move away from urban living or the ‘pleasures of this place’. Then again for a closer look there’s the bark and 12, 13 and 14 – especially 12 (some sense of mystery there.) I could go on… You’re just so very excellent at the details you zoom in on and for frosting there’s those lovely views out across the Sound. Your post elicits a pleasurable sigh when I come to the end of it. Lovely!!!

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    • Thank you, Gunta! When I began putting images together for the post there were lots of views with water and sky – more than I imagined there would be. That was a reminder for me about how important the views from the shorelines and high spots have become. Have a great weekend!

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      • Saturday is our day to drive to Port Orford for our CSA harvest basket. It’s always a pleasure to get out to see the water and sky. It makes for a nice outing. Hope you’ll be having a pleasant weekend, too! With or without the water and sky… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  13. I have to think you’ve found a richer source of inspiration there than in suburban Seattle, and that your decision has paid lovely dividends.

    But I have to wonder, shouldn’t #22 be called Fog on Mt. Eerie?

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  14. Hi Lynn, Two years flies by, doesn’t it? I enjoyed every thoughtfully composed image. You are lucky to be immersed in nature’s gifts and you have the patient ability to find those moments. The curling fog in the opener is a showstopper…your bark studies with their creamy backgrounds are gorgeous…the reflections on Cranberry is so peaceful as are heart lake trail and the snowy creek shots. They invite me to breathe. Love your critters and also the way you’ve interspersed man made shots of life in your world. Here’s to many more happy years! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It’s not necessarily patience, it’s just the way I most like to spend my time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s good to think that you felt like saying these invited you to breathe. And yes, the “built environment” is important. I included a few photos of people at a parade at first and they disappeared when I made other changes. I thought of you and thought I should put them back – but by then I had already hit “publish.” Next time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you, Jane!

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  15. Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary. We just hit 5 years here and I still know what you mean about feeling different. Our life is much more simple here and social distancing is not that much different than normal. This is a real variety of images depicting the world around you and they are great! I especially like these: #2 – just a sucker for fog and layers, #3 – such an inviting trail and pretty light, #9 – I like that all three boats are different and create a triangle in your composition, #10 – the subtle rain combined with the strong silhouette of the island. Hope you enjoy year 3 just as much!

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    • Denise, I’d forgotten or didn’t realize that you’ve only been in Colorado five years – I do remember that you’re from the east coast or spent time “back east.” What you say about life being not as different is true here as well. It’s good to hear you mention #2, a scene that was extraordinarily beautiful but challenging when it came to processing. There are so many different ways you can go with fog, it’s hard to know where to settle in and say that’s it. The triangle of boats in #9 was nice serendipity – all I had to do was watch, wait and click. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Who knows what the next year will bring, between the virus and politics??? Thanks for your good words. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. Such a fabulous celebration this is, Lynn, containing everything that is brilliant: superb photpgraphy, loving feelings, plants and animals, nature and culture, freshness and warmth, summer and winter, simply all. Impossible to choose a justified favorite in all the beauty. But love is no case for reasoning or justification, and so I dare o choose the foggy Mt.Erie path with the puddles all in soft blue.
    Looks like a good choice of you moving up to the north west.

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    • Great! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to know it feels like I included everything because of course, afterward, I thought, “Oh, I should have included the kids at the parade, etc.” But there’s time for that. How I wish I could show you Mt. Erie in person! Another thing Joe and I like about the west is that it’s more relaxed than the east coast, especially the area in and around New York City. As stimulating as NYC is, there is something healthy about living among people who aren’t always anxious and rushed and competing with one another. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • You make me feel the difference between NY and Anacortes by your words quite clearly. It would be marvellous to see all the miracles “live” and together with you. But your photographs give me a fine second best version.

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  17. All wonderful images, as always, but the one that draws me the most and that I would love to explore is Heart Lake Trail. It kind of makes me think that is the light that is often said we see as we pass on. Looks like the approach to heaven. Of course, if it is the gateway to heaven maybe I shouldn’t be in a hurry to explore. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy second anniversary…plus a few days in my tardiness…of your new home. You really have explored much of it and shared a lot of the beauty there.

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    • Thanks so much, Steve. I like the notion that that one trail looks like the approach to heaven – of course, I did fiddle with the clarity, etc. to emphasize that softness. ๐Ÿ™‚ Heaven is all around us. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Ditto to you, maybe not the glad you moved part because I know it hasn’t been your favorite place to be, but the sharing part, for sure. Take care of yourself…and have a good week!

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