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Wandering Near & Far

Ring Necked Duck, Adult Breeding. Washington State.

It has been a few weeks since my last trip away to eastern Washington, and today’s images are a combination of recent past trips that had not yet made it into my earlier postings.

Gadwall, Washington State.

A few days ago, I got to wander the trails around the beautiful lake and along the banks of Haynie Creek at the Fenton Nature Preserve near Custer Washington, just a few short minutes south of the BC border. Giant cedars, hooded mergansers, trillium, wood ducks, and star flowers were everywhere.

Stealth Mode! Washington State,

It had been years since I last visited this beautiful seventy-eight acre property that the Whatcom Land Trust purchased from Ray and Betty Fenton back in 2006. So long in fact, that I went to the wrong property and arrived at the nearby Jensen Family Forest Park. Jenson opened as a Whatcom County Park that same year and the Whatcom Land Trust holds a perpetual conservation easement over this twenty-two acre forest.

Western Scrub Jay, Washington State.

My friend Greg Green, who I was meeting, texted to say he had arrived. I looked around and saw no one. Hmmm!  “Which parking lot are you at” I asked?  “There is only one,” replied Greg.  Then I looked up at the Jensen sign, rolled my eyes, and sighed… “Be there in five” I texted.

Greg is a renowned photographer and a lifelong ecologist.  When not in the field, Greg teaches natural history and marine mammal ecology at Western Washington University.  Greg’s images can be found here. I was meeting with Greg to scout out a location for the upcoming (tonight as this posting comes out) two-day photography workshop Wildlens of Whatcom Land Trust. Since this was a scouting trip, we didn’t bring cameras and gear, depending on eyes and memory to seek out potential photo opportunities for the class and to teach how to look small and local.

Whatcom Falls Park. Washington State.

Pretty happy to be working with Greg, as he is so good, technically proficient, and has been behind the camera for most of his life.  Hikes with Greg are never a race as he routinely turns over logs looking for salamanders and scans for life with his binoculars. While I have always had a camera nearby, it has really only been a few years since I could spend real time with photos and images. While I learned much in that time, I suspect I’ll learn even more listening and watching Greg in this class. Can’t wait!

In the class, we will be talking about how you need to prepare for any photography outing, and to have your equipment ready and at hand for when the next amazing image presents itself.  And, of course, not doing what you teach is a lesson on its own!  Last week, so many got to enjoy the spectacular, vibrant, and rare northern lights. Friends sent out postings from Arizona, Virginia, and everywhere here in the Pacific Northwest.  I watched the lights as well, but my camera equipment was stored away in the closet next to my sleeping granddaughter.  No way I was waking her up… so time to just enjoy the flickering colors and be happy that so many could finally check this off their bucket list.

Tonight, I’ll try to learn as much as I teach.  From Greg, but also from others in the class. New perspectives, new ideas and artistic compositions, and hopefully seeing the Fenton property tomorrow through the eyes of others. There is always something new to explore and understand! Look for new photos from Fenton down the road.

Brothers! British Columbia.

This is my last blog post for a few weeks.  My wife Stephanie and I are off to Greece, Spain, Portugal and then Iceland.  In addition to some needed time together and R&R, I will be looking for Iberian Brown Bears in northern Spain (rare to see so I am hoping my luck with bears holds strong) and fox and puffins in Iceland. And of course, wonderful landscapes everywhere, and wandering near and far from local parks here in Whatcom County to the Saronic Gulf Islands of the Aegean, the Cantabrian Mountains in Northern Spain, and Westfjords Iceland.








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