It’s easy to pass by mundane sights you see hundreds of times around the house without thinking twice about them. When weather and a pandemic conspire to keep you at home, familiar sights are seen again, and again.



I don’t mean to say that these sketches are mundane – they’re not. Two weeks ago, thanks to Jean MacKay and a local art center, I sketched wild rose hips while watching Jean on Zoom. With over a hundred other people I watched as Jean drew plants found around her home in New York while giving tips for making quick sketches from nature outdoors (even on cold days!) and finishing them up indoors. It felt surprisingly comfortable to work on my drawing while listening to her relaxed, confident instruction. Drawing entails a different way of seeing and working. It slows you down, which is a nice counterbalance to digital life. In my experience, the eye that photographs is primed for drawing, just as the eye that draws is ready to make photographs. You may think the skills needed to make a drawing or operate a camera are potentially the biggest barriers to creating good work, but learning to see is more important, in my opinion. That skill can be practiced anywhere and anytime, with or without tools. Even around the house!

2. Looking out a window on a stormy afternoon.



4. While the bell waits for me to pass by and give it a nudge, it makes its own music with light and shadow.



It’s been rainy for weeks and weeks. The light is soft and diffuse, a quality I longed for in July but grow tired of now. Whenever the weather clears my eyes are greedy for the sunrise hues that grace the sky behind the black lace limbs of the Douglas fir trees. I find myself looking out windows a lot, as I’ve done all these years. There’s something satisfying about placing my gaze over there, not here, beyond.

6. Two tall Doug firs on a dry morning, seen through a window.



8. A leaf caught under glass in the yard.



10. Looking out the window in December on a rainy day.


Best Wishes to you, and to all living beings on this planet, for 2021. Let it be a year in which getting out of the house is less fraught with danger. Let it be a creative year, a year in which we expand our minds to entertain more possibilities. And a deeply felt Thank You to all the readers who have come here this past year bearing gifts that lift me up and broaden my world.


Five Day Black and While Challenge: Day 5

And so it ends:



Lunatia heros, The Moon Shell

I found this moon snail shell somewhere on the east coast, long ago.

It is big and weighty, and its rough spots

and worn edges give it a solid presence.

The other day someone said a face without freckles is like a night sky without stars.

Smoothly perfect surfaces have their place;

but rough spots tell deep stories.


It’s been a good exercise to create five black and white images good enough to post. Thank you, Sherri, for inviting me to the party. Now it’s time to get back to color – spring pinks and fresh greens are brightening the Pacific Northwest, thanks to unusually warm weather. I’ll post photos of white-flowered cherry trees from a stroll through a botanical garden soon. And then there are the softly subtle desert colors of southeastern Arizona. I have to work on those photos too.  The natural world provides an embarrassment of riches.

Photo: Indoor natural light, on watercolor paper backdrop. Panasonic Lumix G3 camera and 20mm Lumix prime lens, f 2.5, 1/60. Processed using Lightroom and On1 Perfect Effects.


The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is to focus on one object.  Here’s a little silver clown ring with articulated head, arms and legs. While I was out exploring, I set it down on an old wood plank and took a picture. This guy may be out of place but he’s grinning anyway!

More objects people have photographed for the challenge are here.


…your making.  Jake’s Weekly Photo Challenge subject  is “Simplicity”.

The simplicity here isn’t necessarily in the form or content, but in the context. The context seems to be a story that weaves in and out of everyday settings at home and beyond. It’s a simple story that I invite you to narrate.













Shells probably from India; moon shells from East Coast beaches;  bed in a small cottage in Connecticut; cream pitcher made in 1998 and signed HP; boats in New York Harbor; curled skunk cabbage leaf at Mercer Slough, Bellevue, WA; aprons at Hains House, a Baking School and B&B in Olympia, WA;  Tateuchi Viewing Pavilion at Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, WA; aloe leaf in the Volunteer Park Conservatory, Seattle, WA; the flowers are Forget-me-nots.

More responses to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge are at: