Faith & Amazing People


I hate when you get a hair cut and no matter how much the hairdresser blow dries your neck, and even if you go home and strip down naked and brush yourself completely off with a towel… it always feels like you are wearing a turtleneck made of human hair.

This post is not about hair cuts, or wearing clothing made of human hair.  It is a brief thought on faith.  My thoughts on faith.  If this essay were about Catholic faith and takled about the saints, most specifically St. Francis of Assisi then yes, we could talk about turtlenecks of human hair.   St. Francis had a thing for wearing garments made of human hair.  That was his way of saying “I love you” to God. 

I am nervous to write about faith since I have spent my whole life doubting God exists.  I grew up secular, not a hint of religion in our family.  On top of that – my grandfather – the most influential person in my life, was a scientist.  He had a very pragmatic view of the world, in his mind if it could not be proven scientifically, it did not exist.


Like every other person on earth, excluding some monks living on a mountain in Bhutan.  Check that – all the people living in Bhutan.  The rest of us fear death. Which is totally ok.  It’s scary to think about not existing.  Apparently religion helps you live with that fear.   Believing that a) God will take care of you or b) God has created this awesome after life place for you to go to, where you get to meet all your deceased family and friends.  And you can eat all the pasta you want and not get fat.  (I stole that from Albert Brooks).

I have no idea why I am here, or where I am going.  Like my grandfather, I have not been able to grasp the concept of a singular God.  Maybe religion is not for all of us.  For me, faith feels bigger than a singular God.  Faith, spirituality seem different, and less likely to get people to start a war.

My faith is people.  Faith in the fact that no matter who you pray to or even if you do pray, that there are some amazing, giving, loving, caring, compassionate people in the world.  There doesn’t seem to be one religion that owns all the awesome people.  

bandonsunsetThese amazing people run into burning buildings, jump into rivers to save kittens, or simply smile and acknowledge a homeless person. Maybe for all these people this is their way to say “I love you” to God.   I don’t know.  Do you know?  



Creative Camp for Adults


My love of photography started young, and like many of you, studying National Geographic issues for hours.   My Dad sent me my first camera when I was 15.  I remember riding my bike 13 miles to the Pahoa, Hawaii post office to get it.

Coast waterfall, Hug Point State Park, Oregon.

That was 40 years ago and I recently reengaged with photography.  Learning digital cameras and new techniques has been challenging.  Youtube and all the creative learning websites provide an ocean of opportunity.  But nothing beats face to face learning so I signed up for a May photographic workshop with Hudson Henry.  It was a financial and social leap for me – I’m a poor introvert!

Photo workshop friend at the Peter Iredale wreck.  Warrenton, Oregon.

It was a great experience.  Like camp for creative adults.  I learned so much from Hudson and from the other 9 participants who all brought a different vision and skill set.  We had folks from as far away as the Yukon in Canada and South Carolina.  We became friends and learned and laughed together.  We got up early and stayed up late to capture sunset and blue hour. 

Offshore rocks. Cannon Beach, Oregon (Canon 5D Mark III)

If you have been hesitant to take a leap like this, I strongly encourage you to take a chance.  If you already have I would love to hear about it.  Thank you for stopping by…



Ode to winter road tripping

img_0960It’s Friday in the Pacific NW and time to hit the road before the holiday rush gets too crazy. Winter travel is the perfect time to enjoy Oregon and Washington.  Less people, big waves at the coast, inland the wind swept trees create a moody landscape,  and everything has the watery glow that reflects our rainy disposition.

Don’t let winter weather keep you home bound.  Grab the coat, bundle up and put your face into the wind and enjoy the precious hours.  Is there any time better than now?



Goodbye November, 2016

spainportugal3-816-editIt’s winter in Oregon now.  Not officially – the calendar has its own rules and the official start of winter is still 21 days away.  But storms are rolling into the Pacific Northwest.  Last week we had 3-4 inches of rain.  The mountain passes require traction devices.  Our local outdoor store, REI, is sending me emails reminding me to buy snowshoes and winter parka’s.

Instead I nourish my winter soul with a walk down this lane in Obidos, Portugal.  This is what morning looks like in Obidos.  In a few hours this quiet lane will be filled with hundreds of tourists.  Obidos is a beautiful walled town – wonderfully preserved with gorgeous light and color.  A photographer’s dream.

I love early mornings when I travel.  I love to see foreign places wake up… delivery trucks and street cleaners are so much more romantic away from home.  On a rainy Portland day – dark and dreary – I am going to pause and step into this picture.  Remember the hours I wandered the blissfully quiet streets of Obidos.



Thanksgiving means never having to say calories


Betty makes her annual appearance at our Thanksgiving.  She always provides sage advice on all things pie, turkey and gravy related.


A small turkey makes all the difference and it was good!



Its not Thanksgiving without the Brown n’ Serve rolls.  The rolls were the object of our only mishap… thanks to yours truly.  I took out the rolls without proper hand protection and as the pan was burning my hand – I yelped in pain and the hot tray and rolls went flying!

But Mom made the day with her smile….


That’s called burying the best part of the day at the bottom of this blog post.  Thanks for scrolling down and celebrating my mom!



Sense of Place Series – Introduction


What is the essence of a place? What makes your town, your state, your country unique to you and those who live or visit?  This sense of place fascinates me and I find myself exploring this idea in the way I look at the world. You could say capturing place is my creative muse.

As I write this I sit in a Stumptown Coffee House in Portland, Oregon, USA, in the early morning hour before the work day.  Perhaps this time and place is routine for some, but I cherish this moment to explore the sense of place right here.

At this hour it is delivery trucks, runners, and the early shift change at the hospital two blocks away.  Overalls and scrubs, running tights and the occasional dog, all line up for their morning coffee. The baristas all have a story that speaks to this place – most hold two jobs – one that pays the bills, the other that feeds their passion.

Like many of us who love travel, I love the idea of exploring a new place and discovering and learning something new and exciting.  But we don’t need to travel far or even travel at all to explore sense of place.


This is the first post of what I hope is a long exploration of sense of place – here in Portland – my home town, in the great state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, the western United States and if I am lucky – farther afield.

I invite you to explore your home town with the same curiosity.  I would love to hear what makes your town unique and what is the “sense of place” where you are right now.

Thank you for reading and for joining me on this journey.


The Fence

Today’s blog I am going to talk about The Fence!  Not that fence.  Today’s fence is the one protecting us from ourselves.

Let me confess right now that I am an Instagram fan.  I love sharing my photographs and learning from other photographers.  It is one of my favorite pastimes while riding the bus, waiting in line, sitting alone in a restaurant or coffee shop.  I really like when my photographs are “liked”. So I recognize that I am part of the problem.

Transparency moment – I really like to follow rules.  And I get unhappy when others do not do so. Second transparency moment – I too have broken a rule or two trying to capture that perfect photograph.

But the ocean is different.  Too often I see photographers taking reckless chances.  I grew up in Hawaii where you learn to have a very healthy respect for the water.  I have learned not to venture too close – especially with something as unpredictable as the ocean.

The picture below demonstrates how dangerous and thoughtless we can be when trying to get that perfect shot.  This was taken at Cape Kiwanda – one of the most photographed and beautiful spots in Oregon.  But every year someone dies on these cliffs.  They call them “sneaker waves” and they can come capekiwandadangewr-1and rip someone off a cliff without warning.  (Note: thankfully the photographer above ended up being ok.)

Over the past 8 months, locals, concerned Oregonians and the Oregon State Parks are contemplating a bigger and more forceful fence at Cape Kiwanda.  I have mixed feelings about this – as my good friend Ray always says (when referring to that “other” fence) – build a bigger fence, they build a bigger ladder.

My last words… be careful out there.  No amazing photographic moment is worth your life.  Sometimes it is ok to admire the ocean and not take a picture.


Above is another moment and shot taken at Thor’s Well in Oregon – a very popular Instagram and photography spot.  Again everyone was ok but I am sad to tell you that I later learned that the gentleman on the right was the tour leader for a group of amateur photographers.  Certainly not teaching his group the first rule of photography – be careful! Respect nature!