Passions — a blog

On the Bleeding Heart Carpet

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Bleeding Heart

Spring has to be my favorite time of the year. We put the cold, snow, wind, and heavy rains behind us and welcome the return of green plants all around us.

Here in our little corner of paradise we’re blessed with a massive carpet of our native bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) on large expanses of our woodland floor. I’ve been checking on the emergence of the foliage and flower buds for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday I found the first almost-open flowers, which means than within a week or so we’ll have a glorious flower show. Continue reading

Plum Perfect Garden Portraits

Spring finally arrived in Bellingham after our February freeze left us all hankering for warm sun, flowers, and green foliage. That means I’m taking my camera outside for portraits again.


County

Last week I welcomed Kayla Bryson, this year’s Miss Whatcom County, to the studio for her official portraits. I’ve been photographing the young women who participate in the Miss Whatcom County pageant for several years, but this is the first time we’ve gone out in our portrait garden for part of the session.

One of Kayla’s outfits was a soft pink dress with lots of layers. When I saw it I quickly decided the right place for her portrait was under our purple-leaf plum, which is just beginning to bloom. The pink plum blossoms perfectly complemented Kayla’s dress, and the sun streaming through the branches highlighted her hair. Continue reading

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve

Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest w/ Sword Fern understory
Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest with Sword Fern understory

Last Saturday morning Brian and I decided to explore the new trail system on the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve overlooking Lake Whatcom near Sudden Valley. I’d never hiked there, and Brian hadn’t been there for a long time.

The trail system is newly expanded, thanks to the work of Washington Trails Association. The property is a Whatcom County Park, made possible in part by the efforts of the Whatcom Land Trust. It’s part of what’s known to some as the “reconveyance,” which put large tracts of forest into county ownership to provide both recreation and protection for the Lake Whatcom Watershed. We were there to recreate. Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Snow-crusted Mountain Hemlocks overlooking Swift Creek valley
View from Artist Ridge to the Swift Creek valley and Baker Lake

I’ve long felt that what I choose to do on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the year to come.

This year Brian and I checked the weather forecast the decided it would be a great day for a snowshoe hike up to Artist Point. I’ve been going up there every winter since 1990-1991 and I never get tired of it. As Brian reminded me yesterday while we were hiking, it’s different every time. Continue reading

Color My Fall

Vine Maples and Thimbleberries
Vine maples and thimbleberries near Leavenworth, Washington

We’re in that glorious transition time, the period between summer’s greens and winter’s soft palette of browns and grays. As the days grow shorter and fog blankets the ground on many mornings, a lot of us like to get out and celebrate the turning of the leaves. Fall color is all around us now in varying degrees. Where do you like to go to enjoy the show?

While New England and Appalachia can rightly claim the best fall color on the continent, we Pacific Northwesterners can enjoy brilliant autumn hues without making the long journey across the continent. Continue reading

Sheep Lake & Sourdough Gap Wildflowers

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This past weekend, July 20-22, 2018, I hiked up to Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap with a bunch of friends on the Washington Native Plant Society annual backpack. It’s a short hike to the lake, just an easy 1.8 miles from the trailhead at Chinook Pass. Go for the flowers, not solitude, as it’s a popular place. My impression was that the flowers were a bit pre-peak, but still lots of things in full bloom. We checked plants off a list of some 170 species, although we didn’t find all of them.

This video slideshow features some of my favorite images from the trip. These were photographed with my Canon 5D Mark III, a Canon 100mm macro lens, a 16-35mm wide-angle lens, and a 24-105mm lens. It’s a short hike, so I carried a lot of gear.

Getting to Family Portrait Joy

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Family portrait

I love sharing happy moments with my clients when they see their finished portraits for the first time. A few days ago I met with Karen to help her choose the appropriate frame for this portrait I made of her family in their back yard earlier this year. It has a lot of meaning to her, incorporating her kids, grandkids, and the 1947 Buick that had been her late husband’s pride and joy and will be passed down to her son. She was nearly overcome with joy when she saw the finished portrait with all the retouching and finishing work complete. I’ll deliver it to her home and put it on the wall for her when framing is done.

But let’s go back to the beginning. Continue reading

2018 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

If it’s February, it must be time for the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (NWFGS) in Seattle. This year is the show’s 30th anniversary and the theme for the display gardens is “It’s a Garden Party.” The video slideshow runs about 13 minutes. Relax and enjoy.

Cake and Cheers for 30 Years
Cake and Cheers for 30 Years

I’ve been attending the NWFGS for nearly 20 years. It’s always a treat to see what the garden designers come up with. There’s color, fragrance, cool plants, water, texture, and structures — all coming together to pleasure your senses. Continue reading