TEN YEARS: A Look Back at August 2012

Ten years ago I launched a note into the ether –

two photos

and a few words about the still days of August when

summer holds its breath.

Where would my words and images land? Not knowing, I waited.

Then, small scribbles in digital space – a few comments, a few likes

and the little black marks suggested, “Continue.”

The sun set and rose, set and rose,

the moon, too. The earth turned.

I sent more missives into a net

that’s too wide and fine to perceive.

(Funny thing about the notes I launch into that net – they’re all about

physical things that I see, hear, touch, and smell

but the physical substance of the notes themselves? That’s beyond my ken.

A nice contradiction).

As the black marks and bright images flew across space

friendships blossomed and ten years later

here we are. The “we”

means everything.

Thank you.

*

1. August 2012: I photographed Seattle’s premier landmark, the Space Needle, through a 1984 Alexander Leiberman sculpture called ‘Olympic Illiad.’

TEN YEARS: WHY LOOK BACK?

Fellow photographer and blogger Alex Kunz has been creating monthly “Throwback” posts for years. It’s his fault.

As I considered making a “Throwback” post of my own, it dawned on me that ten years ago this month I posted for the first time on WordPress. Blogging was new then, and my home was as well. I had moved to the Pacific Northwest from New York City six months earlier, in February. While we settled into a cozy apartment in a Seattle suburb and looked for work, we played tourist to acclimate ourselves. It seemed to us that the culture of the Pacific Northwest was as different from New York as the natural environment was. Walking around with our eyebrows raised and our mouths turned up into smiles, we chalked up one contrast after another. No one cut us off on the highways and the onramps were not pitched battles. What? One could almost relax behind the wheel! When we asked for maintenance on our apartment our request was honored, not ignored. Grocery store clerks smiled disarmingly and asked us what our plans for the weekend were, just to make conversation. Weird! Our New York defensiveness, a self-preservation tactic carefully honed over decades, rose up with a “What’s it to you?” that we barely kept from voicing out loud. It was as if we had exchanged bumper cars for sailboats. Life was so strangely smooth.

We adapted. Seattle’s summer “heat” felt cool and comfortable after New York and the sense of a daily struggle just to exist gradually faded. Every month there were new things to do. August was busy – we rode the ferry across the sound from Seattle to Bremerton, explored a rail trail in our valley, and drove up to Deception Pass State Park to explore a driftwood-strewn beach. We went to the Seattle Art Museum and checked out the city’s architecture and public art. We hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascades, visited a Japanese garden in Seattle, and took walks in local parks. Whew!

Of course, a camera was always at my side. It was a Sony NEX-3, advertised then as the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera, with the quality of a DSLR but not the weight or size. I was a rank beginner with a kit lens and I’d never heard of RAW format. I had only a rudimentary understanding of the camera but I was enjoying it. The little black box wasn’t a burden to carry and was capable enough for what I wanted to do. I could record the beauty around me and experiment with settings. It was thrilling to have control over aperture and exposure, even if I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing!

So here’s a throwback to August 2012. The photos were made that month but I’ve reprocessed them – why not? I’ve learned a thing or two in ten years. The old jpeg files may not have the range that RAW files have but they can usually be persuaded to look a little better.

*

AT HOME

That summer I discovered a deserted railway bed near our apartment where I could pick wildflowers. Even Butterfly bush (Buddleia) grew there! One August morning I arranged them in an old, dented silver pitcher, brought them outside, and began to experiment.

2.
3. Placing a sheet of watercolor paper under the vase, I photographed the shadow of a California poppy with a wide aperture. My experiments with depth of field weren’t always accurately focused but it was exciting to see what could be done when you have something better than a point-and-shoot camera.
4. I brought out a frame that had glass in it but no picture. Held inside the frame, the shadows and reflections became the picture.
5. In the frame or not? Ambiguity rules.

ON THE FERRY

7. We got off the ferry and walked into Bremerton, where I photographed swirls of water in a fountain.

DECEPTION PASS

One day we explored Rosario Beach, part of a sprawling state park named for the deceptive, turbulent channel of water separating Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. A large, weathered wood sculpture commands the space. Immense driftwood logs rest on a beach of smooth, round rocks, and tidepools harbor marine life. Reveling in the scenery, I had no idea that six years later we would move to a cottage less than ten minutes away from this spot.

8. The Maiden of Deception Pass tells a Samish story of Ko-kwal-alwoot, who went to retrieve something she dropped in the water and was befriended by a water spirit. Ultimately she had to leave her family and live in the water with the spirit – otherwise, food from the waters that the tribe depended on would disappear. She returned for brief visits many times but in the end, she stayed in the water realm. Her thankful tribe never lacked food.
9.
10.

LODGE LAKE TRAIL

Lodge Lake Trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,653 mi (4,270 km) wilderness trail running from the California/Mexico border to the Washington/Canada border. The Lodge Lake Trail begins just off I-90, Washington’s busiest east-west highway but soon the traffic fades and mountain scenery emerges in the distance – depending on the weather.

11. Hikers in morning fog at Snoqualmie Pass, elev. about 3,000 ft (920m).

*

*

14. The forest produced classic Pacific Northwest scenes like this one that day.

SEATTLE

We’d seen Pike Place Market several times so one day, we headed to the Experience Music Project. As a Frank Gehry fan, I had a great time finding interesting compositions outside of the building he designed – there didn’t seem to be any reason to go inside!

15. Then called the Experience Music Project, it’s now the Museum of Pop Culture. The building’s stainless steel and painted aluminum skin is so brilliant that it throws colored reflections onto the concrete.
16.

17,

*

*

19. A sculpture called Grass Blades by John Fleming is at the Seattle Center, where the Space Needle and Frank Gehry’s building take pride of place.

KUBOTA GARDEN

Almost hidden in a residential section of southeast Seattle, Kubota Garden was the all-consuming project of Fujitaro Kubota (1879-1973). Beginning in 1927, Kubota slowly added more land for his dream project, a traditional Japanese garden that would contain primarily native plants. After being interred in a camp in Idaho with his family throughout WWII, he began again, creating ponds, waterfalls, and a moon bridge. Eight years after he died the garden became a Seattle landmark and Kubota’s labor of love is a now peaceful public park.

20.
21.
22.
23. Like the creek that runs through Kubota Garden, the experience of creating posts has been a lively river of inspiration, a place where I can send my work into the world, knowing that people everywhere are free to enjoy it.

***


68 comments

  1. Very interesting, Lynn. Some pics I can detect as beinig from you (3 as an example).
    Regarding the Grass Blades : I think some sculptures live from their proportions.
    I can remember a book “Picasso in concrete”. An artist asked Picasso if he allows him to build some of his sculptures much much bigger than the originals. As far as I know Picasso allowed this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Gerhard, that sculpture would not have such a big impact if it was much smaller. It’s good to know that you can recognize my style in some of these old photos. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Like

  2. Congratulations on your blogiversary. Funny how the passing of a decade can in hindsight seem like the blink of an eye.

    “physical things that I see, hear, touch, and smell” – I get you, but how can you be sure the “things” are “physical”?

    Anyhow, enough of such musing…

    Each of your images is truly a delight in its own way.

    I am, however, particularly struck by #1 – many thanks for airing that off again, for I was not lucky enough to have made your acquaintance on its first outing.

    Another highlight for me is the tracery of negative illumination where the poppy stems have stolen the light from the paper in #3.

    Here’s to a very happy and productive next decade of blogging…

    Wishing you all the very best, Lynn.

    ▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪
    ▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Graham, you have to ask, to delve, to think…and that’s great! I trust you’ll go along with my statement about sensations in the “physical” world vs. things that are online, in the web, etc. but it’s always good to remind people (including moi!) that things aren’t necessarily what they seem.
      So glad you like #1 – I don’t have much architectural inspiration up here so I don’t do that kind of thing very often anymore.
      I’m glad you saw something interesting in the poppies, too, and thank you very much for the good wishes. Hmmm, another decade! My eyebrows just reached the ceiling…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats, Lynn! You were great from the start!!! 🌹
    And how youi images have changed! I wouldn’t have recognized you in them !
    7, 8, 16. 19, 22, and the last one, because there you are already announcing your future development., are my faves.
    How nice to have met you! Ule told me about you. some months ago.
    Cheers for another 10 years! 🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations to your 10th blogging anniversary dear Lynn 🙂🙂🙂 !!! And like always this post is decorated with the most wonderful, creative and artistic photos. Wow! As always it is too late. I will come again. Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynn! You have *absolutely* found your calling! Your ability to combine the eloquently written word with the view thru your lens lands in the lap of your lucky readers/followers as a gift! So glad for our random connection way back when, our loose connection over the many years since, and for EM bringing us back together in all the ways she and Emerson have in 2022!! It’s a remarkable world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Comprehensive, yes, and as usual for me, maybe too many images, too many words. But thank you, Alex, for inspiring me and others along the way and for being so generous. Glad you like the first photo – if I lived closer to a big city I would do more of that. A good deal of what’s going on there is that I was feeling very enthusiastic about the move to the west coast, something you can relate to. 😉

      Like

  6. Firstly, congratulations on ten years of blogging 🙂 I’m just coming up to two so I’m super impressed by ten! Secondly, what a wonderful collection of images. They may be ten years old but they are all excellent and worthy of this second outing – especially as I didn’t see them first time around! Hard to pick favourites but your MoPOP ones stood out for me. I loved photographing that building when we were in Seattle a few years ago (and we DID go in too!) but I hadn’t thought of experimenting with B&W processing on those shots so thanks for that inspiration. Thanks too for including and captioning the shot of Grass Blades – I have a sort of abstract image of it but could never remember what it was! Other favourites include numbers 7. 9 and 22 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Petra. It’s cool that you’re drawn to the MoPOP photos. I’d like to play around with architecture more, but there isn’t very much that’s interesting in the way of buildings where I live now. (I’m not complaining!) I didn’t know you visited Seattle…so we shared the attraction to it and that’s understandable. If you posted any photos of this area, please let me know. I’d love to see them. As for the Grass Blades – I had to google that! 😉
      Thanks very much and have a good weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done lasting for 10 years! I’ve done about 7, and find it’s tough to stay motivated and keep coming back with good material. You’re clearly successful on both fronts.

    I’m partial to the B/W’s in this set, especially #14 foggy forest, and #20 white leaves as it looks like something I’d do in infrared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dave, it’s cool that you’re drawn to the black and whites and it’s especially fun to go back and see which images work that way and figure out what looks best. I appreciate the good words, too, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! I too began blogging 10 years ago, and like you had a catalyst — in my case leading up to the fundraising trek in Iceland. There’s always something we do, to mark a watershed crossed, a new stage in life. Funny old world — you & I were unknowingly near-neighbours in the east (T.O. and NYC), and here we are, near-neighbours in the west. Be happy, be active, follow your curiosity; thanks for all you share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been thinking about you and missing your posts and finally, I took the time to check…and you’re still posting but nothing comes to my inbox anymore! I’ll have to follow you again. I’m curious about what you were raising funds for on that trip…and I still expect to meet you one of these days. We can compare east/west and US/CAN. 🙂 Thanks very much for the encouraging words, Penny – have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh please do resubscribe! no point worrying what happened, just get on with it… The trek was a fundraiser for the Arthritis Society of Canada, they had many years of organizing fundraising marathons (no interest to me) but then came up with this trek in Iceland, which i’d long wanted to revisit, so I signed up, trained & off i went — that got me blogging and good grief here I still am! – indeed let’s look forward to finally really meeting some day, meanwhile all this virtual meeting & that’s good too

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Dates are to be celebrated when we feel they are milestones and have helped us to grow and evolve. Ten years of “feeding” a blog is a long time, especially in a field where ephemerality predominates and many give up right away, either for lack of quality, or for lack of persistence and not just being focused on immediate feedback.
    I enjoyed learning about his life journey, the photographic experiments and I liked this final analogy, which compares the movement of the river as a way of “send your work to the world”.
    Congratulations on these ten years of work and inspiration and good health to continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ephemerality rules these days, doesn’t it? But blogging was a very important creative outlet when my days were filled with work and now that I can devote myself full-time to creative work, I’m happy. The river analogy came to me as I put the post together. I liked having that photo last but I needed to say something to tie up the post. And there it was, right in front of me. Thanks so much for being here, Dulce. I do hope to meet you in person one day….

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The architecture suits you really well Lynn and I would love to see more of it (maybe I have to dive down your blog from the beginning years?). But as Graham noted before, you are a brillant photographer of mother natures architechture, so I won’t complain either 😉 Your introduction is very nice, the way you desribed your start here in the web, in the ether. I haven’t thought about it that way before, but it is so true and I am glad it developed like that! Otherwise we wouldn’t have met in the real world 🙂 I love all pictures here, but your play with the bunch of wildflowers and the frame is ingenious! (Do I see Senecio vulgaris?) Thank you for being here and sending more notes in the ether. I always love to come back to you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Architecture is really nice to work with but there’s not much of the kind that inspires me around here. Of course, we don’t complain but we take the opportunity when we find it. This blog has been so enriching, with friendships like yours, inspiration, and encouragement. I’m glad you like the flower and frame photos. I don’t think there’s Senecio in there – there’s Tanacetum vulgare and the other yellow flower is…hmm…I can’t remember! Thank you for being such a good friend! Have a good weekend….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well this was a delight, especially your description of the beginning. I too have been blogging almost since it’s infancy (first post 24 April 2010) and had no clue about cameras or photography and like you had never heard of RAW files. I’ve also gone back and reworked a few of the early photos in LR though I have so much new material that it always takes a back seat.
    I love your experiments with the wild flowers, esp #5. And the swirling waters in #7.
    And I especially enjoyed your description of being new to the PNW. Never having lived on the east coast (I imagine Toronto is somewhat comparable) I had no idea that things here that we take for granted are so different. It’s always been the PNW or the Yukon for me.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re probably right about Toronto though I haven’t been there. The contrast between NYC and Seattle – or the NYC metro area and the Seattle metro area – is sharp, in our eyes. One of the things we miss being here is the expressiveness, the no-holds-barred aspect of New Yorkers. The ethnic mix is quite different, too, and I’m sure that’s part of why people seem more subdued to us here. Of course, we miss NY pizza, Jewish deli food, South Indian food (it’s almost all N. Indian/Pakistani here), Caribbean food, museums….but it’s so much easier to live here and one doesn’t have to fight hours of traffic to get to truly beautiful, quiet places. Thanks for being here and adding your honest reactions, Alison, I’ve appreciated it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What a smash-bang colorful way to start this post. It’s amazing to me how you were able to line up the Space Needle with the opening in the sculpture. Thanks for the link to your first post, though I know I could have gotten there through your archives. I think I would recognize your voice and your photographs if I hadn’t known it was your post. Your treatment of the second photo there in sepia tones brings the warm day to me even more than I think full color would have. Your experimentation paid off with #3 in this post. The colors are great, and the shadow perfect. Thank you for bringing us the Frank Gehry building in your special way. The Grass Blades (#19) are probably interesting in person, but you’ve made a photographic work out of them. Cool. You did more experimenting with #20, didn’t you. It also works– very well. Love the look of the Kubota Garden creek’s surface. The reflections and blur of motion are wonderful. Congratulations on the past ten years of posted photographs, Lynn, and here’s a toast to the next ten.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice, thank you for the extra time, Linda. Thanks for going back to the first post, too. Honestly, I thought I had changed more than I seem to have, according to that first post! 😉 I was in a constant state of inspiration that first year and I enjoyed playing with the architecture and outdoor sculpture in Seattle a lot. You’re right about #20, the black and white from the Japanese garden, but I’d have to go back to LR history to see what I did. Thanks for the toast – hey, that’s a good idea, maybe I’ll have a glass! 😉

      Like

  13. Happy ten-year anniversary! Anyone who does something for a decade would surely have honed their craft, but the act of sticking to something is the gift in itself, sometimes. This was a great stroll down memory lane. Here’s to many more years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Lynn, Happy 10th! I enjoyed your reminisces and images very much. Your narrative always builds in a satisfying way. Your opening image is a vibrant way to begin and those following pair well with your storytelling. Your abstract foam on the water in #7 is a stunner as is the monochrome foggy trees in #14…classic, indeed. Your photography, to me, has developed into even deeper introspection and an even closer, more detailed look into your natural and non-natural surroundings. As shown here, you always “see” so beautifully.
    And PS, as you may remember, I celebrated my 10th this year, too. Another synchronicity. 😀 Ten years… astonishing and an accomplishment that we still keep going! Brava, friend. 👏🏻🥳

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to admit, I’d forgotten – but I figured out that your 10-year anniversary was way back in January so I’ll give myself a partial pass. 😉 This is such a generous, insightful comment. I really enjoy our virtual friendship – it’s the kind of relationship that steadies me out here in the ether. So why wouldn’t we keep going? There’s so much to learn, so much to enjoy. Take care and thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Even if I haven’t accompanied you for the whole ten years, it was maybe the last five, I would like to congratulate you on your blog birthday, dear Lynn.  The success of this venture doesn’t surprise me, whoever got here once, certainly couldn’t get away again.
    Although it would be possible to go back to the beginning of your posts and read from the beginning on my own, it is still something special that the compilation of the images is yours: in the first case I would certainly also see a development, but here you demonstrate to us, what you think are the images most clearly representing what you wanted to show us.
    But again, it’s not “just” the pictures.  It’s so incredibly tangible and alive to read as you move from NY to the Northwest, how you are stunned to discover the friendliness of your new surroundings, and to witness your learning of “a thing or two” in photography.
    Your games with the bouquet and the frame appeal to me.  The landscape and the indigenous people of the region in seem to have been important to you from the beginning and have remained so to this day.  Even if you rarely do architecture and street photography anymore, I can see a talented hand for it ten years ago.  The artist with an eye for pictures has been around for much, much longer!  And your last photo in the post is a wonderful symbol that there is no beginning and no end, luckily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This started out as a look back at what I was doing in August, 2012 but when I realized that was the month I began the blog I wanted to mention that, too. It’s fun to look back and I think I’ll do that again. Reworking old photos can be rewarding, too. Most rewarding is hearing that the text was worth reading! 🙂 I guess increasing age makes us think about time and how our lives have played out. I hope it’s not too much of a cliche to include these bits of memoir because that’s where I am these days. I like writing about my past and how things evolved, so I’m grateful that you’re a generous listener. And more than that, a real friend.

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  16. A wonderful idea to share this retrospective. ‘We’ have enjoyed seeing your art and reading your words some of this 10 years. I’ve seen you become a beautifully seasoned artist expressing a unique vision. Your thoughts and images are always presented with thoughtfulness, and self-expressed authenticity. Keep it up, please and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Denise, thank you so much. We go back a little, don’t we? It’s been good to know you and to see your corner of the world, through your lens. Authenticity and thoughtfulness are good words to read here – thank you for that. No doubt, I’ll keep going! You too!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Congratz, Lynn! 10 Years of posting your beautiful photo’s and interesting stories around and about them. I must admit that the dyslexic in me didn’t read all the well considered words; but to compensate that, the visual thinker in me looked at every shot a bit deeper than just the surface. And that’s where I met you; a beautiful, committed person. Thanks for those 10 years! Keep going; see you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your English is excellent but still, it’s not your first language and you’re a visual kinda guy so I get it about reading the whole post. I appreciate the honesty!! Basically I was just saying that I thought I would do a “Throwback” post like Alex does and then realized it was ten years since I began here. So I gathered photos from that first month ten years ago and reprocessed them. We were new to the area so we were constantly taking trips around the region. Now we’re just boring old stay-at-homes. 😉
      Anyway, you’re too kind…it’s really nice to read this comment. I’m so glad I was able to meet you…it would be great to get back to the Netherlands and do it again…who knows, maybe someday?

      Liked by 1 person


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