2013 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

On the Road to Oz
On the Road to Oz

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show, held in Seattle each February, is one of the world’s greatest garden shows. Here in the northwest it’s an event we look forward to each winter as the days begin to lengthen, buds swell, and the earliest flowers in our gardens begin to bloom.

The warm and dry environment of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, all decked out with fabulous display gardens, welcomes gardeners from across the country to this annual extravaganza of garden theater. This year’s theme is “The Silver Screen Takes Root…Gardens Go Hollywood” and the garden designers did a good job interpreting this very broad and fun concept.

The first garden you encounter on the way into the show takes you on a journey to Oz, with Dorothy, the Tin Man, and a daffodil-filled golden brick road.

Continue reading

Observe and Control the Light

Photographers, and artists of all kinds, learn to see light. We look at where it’s coming from, how it plays on our subjects, and how much contrast it yields.

I made this series of images last week during the field demonstration part of my pocket camera wildflower photography class at the North Cascades Institute while my students watched me work. They looked at the images immediately on my iPad so they could compare what they saw from where they stood with what I was getting as I moved around my subject and then used a couple of diffusers on a close-up.

Photographer's Shadow: Front Light
Photographer’s Shadow: Front Light

We were at the Bridge Creek trailhead, where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Washington Highway 20. These Giant Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) were just a few feet from the edge of the parking lot. It was about 9:15 in the morning under a cloudless blue sky, so the sun was about 30° above the horizon and more than halfway to its peak. In short, the sunlight was strong, high, and bright. In the first photo you can see my shadow as I stood with my back to the sun. Continue reading

Chuckanut Falls

I’m a sucker for waterfalls. There’s just something about the patterns of flowing water that draw me in. They’re not a subject that’s been lucrative but I can’t resist photographing them anyway.

Chuckanut Falls
Chuckanut Falls

This is Chuckanut Falls, on a tributary to Chuckanut Creek in Arroyo Park just south of Bellingham. There’s a new trail, just built in the last year, leading to the falls. The falls trail takes off from the trail heading up from the Interurban Trail toward Lost Lake. The signed junction is just downhill from the top end of California Street. Continue reading

Fragrance Forest Panoramas

I continue to be drawn to Chuckanut Mountain trails for my winter hikes. Last weekend I headed up the Fragrance Lake Trail from Larrabee State Park. There’s a lookout over the bay just over a mile from the trailhead and Fragrance Lake itself is only about 2.2 miles with less than 1000 feet of elevation gain. I carried my Canon G12 pocket camera and a small tripod. Continue reading

Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2012

As sure as February rolls around so does the Northwest Flower & Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. It’s a time to oogle the display gardens, shop for cool new plants, and visit with friends. This year’s show ends ended on Sunday, February 12.


"Twistin' the Night Away" display garden
Twistin’ the Night Away display garden

The cavernous fourth floor exhibit hall comes to life with more than twenty exquitely designed and constructed display gardens. The one above was called “Twistin’ the Night Away” and featured a corkscrew willow graphic as a backdrop to an arbor-framed patio. Each of the garden designers worked within the Floral Symphony show theme, coming up with some musical connection. Continue reading

Lost Lake Details

Last Sunday we Bellinghamsters enjoyed one of several fantastic sunny and relatively warm February days. It was time for another calf-burning loop hike in the Chuckanuts. It had only been a month since I’d been to Lost Lake but I decided to make a return visit. I started hiking from the North Chuckanut trailhead around 9 am, giving myself plenty of time to explore at the lake. This time I hiked the loop clockwise, visiting Lost Lake first and returning via the Chinscraper and Chuckanut Ridge trails. See the Chuckanut trails map, and carry it with you if you go. Continue reading

Colorful Las Vegas

I spent four nights in Las Vegas last week attending John Hartman’s photography marketing bootcamp. The program was fantastic and now I have a ton of work to do implementing what I learned.

But one can’t go to Las Vegas and not spend some time wandering around photographing the over-the-top hotels and casinos. ( You just need to develop the skill where you dodge all the pushy casino people. They will come up to you as you take pictures because you look like fresh meat! So dodge the “ Details of the vegas promo offer for new members” shouts and and pleas to view this here or check this offer there, focus on your photography!  I traveled light and just carried my Canon G12 pocket camera. I took a tripod with me, but didn’t carry it out on the strip so everything I shot was hand-held. Continue reading