I Want A REAL Tree…

What do you do when your roomie wants a real Christmas tree and you feel indifferent?  You call your friends, buy some hot apple cider, and then drive into the country to find a real tree, of course. 

Here is the proper way to locate the perfect tree and cut it down yourself. 

First you find a U-Cut tree farm with a great view.

Wander through the farm until you find a tree you can’t live without.  Give it a big hug.

Ask Andy to give you a quick lesson in saw basics.

Feel empowered.

Before you get too involved in the cutting, it’s important to have someone hold your glasses.

Put a little muscle into it.  That tree isn’t going to cut itself down. 

After it’s down, have Andy  help you walk the tree back to the truck.    Rick will be texting people about it.

Drink hot cider while the boys finish the job.


Meet Rocky.  I spent the afternoon at the Nolan home with him and his sister, Ginger.    These little dogs were so cute, I couldn’t resist making one of the pictures from today’s photo shoot my picture of the day.

This was my first real photo shoot with animals, and it was both an adventure and learning experience.  First of all, Rocky and Ginger were very well-behaved.  However, it was a challenge getting both of them to look the same direction at the same time.  Also, using a flash made their eyes green.  Photoshop does wonders, of course, but I’m wondering if anyone out there has experience photographing animals and if they have any advice for further projects?   Diffuser to use?  Compact portable lighting?

Visit Harris Avenue Cafe

2010 was tough, but a creative gold mine.  I took thousands of photographs this past summer and fall!   I was scheduled to display my work at Harris Avenue Cafe this month, so I had to narrow it down to my 10 favorites.   This was quite the challenge.

After much debate and buying a $5 Home Depot hammer, I nailed my 10 framed choices to their walls.  So, if you happen to be up in Bellingham, Washington…and in the Fairhaven area…and if you happen to be hungry, you should visit Harris Avenue Cafe!   I personally recommend the Eggs Toulouse with smoked salmon.  

Here are the 10 I am displaying.  Which is your favorite and why?  I ask because, as a photographer, I’m always curious as to what moves people. 

8×10 Print; $50

Bellingham, Washington

8×10 Print; $50
Bellingham, Washington

11×14 Print;  $75
Whatcom County

12×18 Print;  $85
Bellingham, Washington

12×18 Print; $85
Mount Vernon, Washington

Twisted II
11×14 Print; $75
Bellingham, Washington

Vanishing Point
11×14 Print;  $75
Dublin, Ireland

8×10 Print; $50
Bellingham, Washington

Closed Door
11×14 Print; $75
Whatcom County

On Edge
11×14 Print; $75
Sedro Woolley, Washington; Northern State Hospital

You can purchase prints from my website at jolenehanson.com.   If you are interested in any of the above photos, which are already framed and matted, visit my website for contact information.   I am willing to print, frame, and mat any photo of your choice from my galleries.  Canvas prints are also an option (much less expensive if you purchase from me directly than from the website).  

I love doing this stuff!

Barbed Embrace

11 months down, 1 to go.

How do I kick off the final month of 2010?   I thought this barbed wire seemed appropriate.  Let me explain.

I had high hopes for 2010.   I was enrolled in college courses again and working towards nursing school.  I was focused.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.   And then a single relationship shipwrecked my plans.  

This isn’t a post to belittle the person who broke my heart, because that broken heart was a gift.    I had fooled myself into thinking I had my life together, and that my path was straight.  The truth was, I was lost at sea and whether it was that man or someone else, I was sailing into a storm.    When it passed, and pieces of me were scattered across the beach that’s my life, I found that in my rebuilding I wasn’t at all who I thought I was.  

So, 2010 was what I’d like to call a “Barbed Embrace”.   While I was supported by wonderful people, and I learned a lot both spiritually and emotionally, it still hurt.  A lot.  And while I can’t wait to leave this year behind, I can’t forget what the pain and rebuilding taught me.  

There’s beauty, even in our suffering.


Thankful, Day 2:  Rick.  A.k.a. Slow, Rickshaw, Rickles. 

Rick, I am thankful for your persistent Monday night calls three years ago trying to convince me to eat one of your spaghetti dinners.  I enjoyed your signature moves on stage at the Upfront Theater while the performances lasted. 

For some reason, my angst with life was displaced, and I was unreasonably angry with you at the beginning of the year.   I see clearly now, that you have a good heart.  I know you can come over and enjoy a good bottle of Chianti, and I can spill my secrets to you.   You are like a brother to me – when I miss my three brothers back home so much.  I have a hard time opening up to anyone, and it took me a while to appreciate who you are and where you came from.  But, Rick, you are one of the things that makes Bellingham GOOD.   I never have to put on a facade or pretend to be anything other than what I am. 

Rick, you are one in a million.  Thank you for being exactly, precisely 100% who you are at all times.


As I’ve stated previously, 2010 has personally been a tough year.  Between learning how to study again and taking tests, a bad break-up, and discovering how much my property value dipped with the economy, I feel exhausted.  If that weren’t enough, the pre-election attack ads threatened my last nerve.  Following that political sepsis that poisoned the nation slowly throughout the past couple months, leaving me nauseated with click of the TV remote, I decided it was time for healing.

For the rest of this month, to celebrate Thanksgiving and all the blessings in my life, my daily post will be about something for which I am thankful.  I think healing can only come when we choose to see the positive and live our lives in a way that helps support each other rather than tear down. 

Because she is closest to home (literally), my first “thankful” post is dedicated to my roommate, Jessica. 

Jess is a strong, beautiful Italian woman who (as insiders know) obtained something our group calls “LUF” status.  I can’t share what that acronym means in this blog, but it has to do with her ability to be blatantly honest with everyone around her, telling it like it is.  You can trust Jess absolutely with anything, and I needed her positive energy in the house when she moved in last June.  Jess can power through any bad or uncomfortable situation in life and make the most of it.   For her unique outlook on life and her strength, I am thankful.  

These blue chairs are for you, Jess!  🙂

Hot Glow

I was going to post this shot later in the week, but I found this picture and the hot glowing details so fascinating that I just couldn’t wait. 

With no electricity, the stone fireplace centered in the old Shaw Island cabin was the only source of heat this weekend.  A half circle of wooden rocking chairs formed around it, and my friends and I shared stories and Jam Jar wine as the rain fell outside.   Not a bad way to spend a November day in the Pacific Northwest!

What’s in a Name?

Sometimes I find colors or textures I like, and those things make a good picture, but I don’t necessarily know what to name that picture.  Naming also becomes complicated when considering the large number of leaf and vine pictures that I’ve accumulated.  

So, what’s in a name?  And what would be a good one for this picture?

Camera:  Canon 40d
Location:  Vacant Fair Trade Haven in Fairhaven;  Bellingham, Washington.

Revenge of Attack Squirrel: Feeding Time

Sitting under a tree on the far side of Whatcom Falls parking lot on Saturday, we found a woman feeding Cheetos to the squirrels from her car.   Apparently, her windows being open, the squirrels had jumped in and started terrorizing her.  Throwing Cheetos on the ground lured them back out.  See, they do attack!

Just Relax II

Driving by yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the nursery on State Street in Bellingham got a new paint job.  I couldn’t quite get the same angle as my original post, Just Relax, because of a truck parked in the way. 

I’m not sure what to think yet.  Do I prefer the original or the new color?  Either way, the place has a lot of character.

Death to Jack

What a way to go…

Hmmm, what to do with all of those carved up pumpkins after Halloween?   You could toss them in the trash, add them to the mulch pile, throw them off your deck into the neighbor’s yard (not my problem!), or impale it on the side of a building downtown Bellingham.  It’s up to you, really.

Chasing Waterfalls

It seems like every photographer has a smooth waterfall picture in their portfolio.   Andy has a few on his walls. Until now I didn’t really care, but then as we walked through Whatcom Falls Park yesterday on our group photo walk, I decided I wanted my own.  

David‘s advice, after lending me the Canon 40d I’m currently using, was leave the setting on auto then aim, focus, and look at what the shutter speed, aperture, ISO are.  That will help teach you what to use when you want to go manual.  That ended up being good advice, and I haven’t been in auto for quite some time. 

With this water fall, I manually set the shutter speed, but kept an eye on the auto settings for everything else.  Eventually, I figured it out, and this is what I ended up with.    The shutter was set at 0.6 seconds, the F-stop at 22, and ISO at 160.  The problem I noticed immediately with leaving the shutter open longer is that more light gets in, washing out the photo.  Lowering the ISO and increasing the F-stop look care of that.   Did I do this correctly?  I’m an amateur, so without taking a class I don’t really know.  But, the pictures looks like what I had envisioned.

One last thing (and I hate ever admitting that Andy is right), you MUST use some type of tripod when leaving the shutter open for a longer period of time.  There’s just know way you can be steady enough, and the parts of the photo you want crisp will be blurry.