Weekly Photo Challenge: Home


12 years ago, I was living east of Kansas City, Missouri and driving 20 miles through blizzards nearly everyday to get to and from work. On one particularly frightening evening, I discovered this delightful thing called freezing rain. I grew up in central Minnesota, so freezing rain was a new concept. Precipitation always just came down in the form of snow. So, when a layer of ice accumulated on my windshield that night, I was terrified. I had to roll down my window and drive with my head outside to navigate the last mile to my apartment.

Two days later, when I journeyed down I-70 again to return to work, I was shocked to discover the ice-storm carnage. Multiple semi-trucks littered the ditches, some overturned. Cars were strewn about like an angry giant-child had taken to the freeway. That day, I made the decision to get the heck out the Midwest! I had recently separated from my husband, so I saw no reason to stay in Missouri and subject myself to the weather any longer. If it wasn’t ice-storms and blizzards in the winter, it was tornadoes in the summer. No thanks!

I moved to the Seattle, Washington area. Snow is rare, and I have not yet experienced an ice-storm here. Mostly, it just rains, and I’m okay with that! Rain or shine, the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I know many people who follow my blog may think “home” is more of an Ireland state of mind for me. But, when I saw the photo challenge this week, I knew exactly where I belonged.



I couldn’t resist the title. The word conjures up a fond memory for me. (And where did your mind go just then?!)

I last made it home for Christmas in 2008. My oldest niece and my nephew were both 4 at the time. Just before Christmas Eve dinner, Ella tore down the stairs from my mom’s playroom and through the house screaming. She stopped dramatically in the dining room, brushed the hair from her face, and declared, “Isaac is trying to screw me!”

My siblings and their spouses all looked at her with confusion. Screw? What!

Seconds later, Isaac ran up behind Ella with a devilish grin on his face…and with a giant, orange plastic screwdriver in hand.

Daffodil Backdrop


My friend Sarah and I took a drive past the daffodil fields in Mount Vernon last month. I thought – how can I take pictures of the daffodils in a different way? Everyone takes pictures of the fields…what if? So, I decided to use the daffodils as a backdrop for some rusty items on one of our stops. Perhaps these aren’t shots you’d frame and hang up on your wall, but maybe interesting nonetheless?

The Mystery Remains

If I open the door and step inside, all of the mystery will be over.   I’ll know the darkness hides only a lawnmower, broken chairs, and discarded motor oil containers.  If I remain outside, I can continue to imagine more interesting possibilities: 50 year-old calendars of faded pin-up girls, stacks of dusty books, or maybe coins scattered across a work bench.  Forgotten things, not discarded things.

Not every door needs to be opened.

To Coupeville and Back

Fort Casey

Being 1,800 miles away from home, Andy offered (or did I just say I was going??) to take me to his parent’s house for Mother’s Day.  After lunch and a visit with my wonderful second family, we visited Fort Casey down by the ferry terminal in Coupeville, Washington.   My belly full with a half a pound of the best filet mignon I’ve ever had, I wasn’t in the most energetic of moods. But, determined to work off the food and get a little exercise, I toughed it out and got a few photos.

I’m excited about this next weekend!  Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be in Tacoma, Washington, and I’m going to hear him speak live for the first and probably last time in my life.  It’s not likely that I’ll be able to get any photos at the event, but I’ll be spending the weekend in Seattle, so I’m hoping to fit in some good street photography.  Keeping my fingers and toes crossed, hoping for sunshine!  (A huge novelty in the Pacific Northwest these days!)

Fort Casey in Color

Stopping to smell the dandilions


We spotted a shipwreck on the way home. I liked the details more than the entire ship.


I almost stepped on this little guy...


This has been a lazy day.   There were things I wanted to get done, intended to get done, but I got sucked in by the Janissaries terrorizing the poor Irish in The Stolen Village and gave up on doing anything else. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I don’t take photos everyday.  Oftentimes I’ll take pictures of multiple subjects on a photo walk so that when I am having a lazy day or week, I’ll still have something to post about. 

Today’s photo, for example, comes from a few miles down the road.  I took it last Sunday along with some pictures of flooding and old boats.   The rusty colors in this old, askew post make a good addition to my Rust Canvas collection.   As I was considering it, I thought this might end up bothering David, who loves clean, straight lines.   We shall see…

Boat Textures

Driving down Squalicum Parkway, Jen spotted this boat.  The problem was, the old boat was behind a big fence.  So, how do you capture an image of something when you have a chain link fence in the way?  You put the lens against the square with the most interesting view and click away.  No, you can’t get the whole boat, but there are interesting angles to be found.

Challenged and Inspired

I am thankful for the Canon 40d I’ve been using, and that is because of my friend, David Williams.  For some reason, he’s trusted me with this valuable piece of equipment, and I appreciate it probably more than he’ll ever know.  When I eventually do save my pennies and buy my own DSLR, I’ll miss the 40d a lot. 

Thanks David, for inspiring me and challenging me.  Without you, I wouldn’t understand half of what I do about shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation.  Even composition in general.  You rock, coffee buddy!

Photo Information:  This picture is of a very weathered door and was taken on the grounds of the Northern State Hospital farm. 

Irish Thrall

Dublin, Ireland

I’m still waiting to be released from the thrall of Ireland so life can return to normal.  I feel chained to the place, which is interesting, because I looked up the word “thrall” and found that in Scandinavian culture, during the Viking age, it was the term for slave.  

This is appropriate considering the Viking’s history of harassing the Irish and also somewhat humorous, because I jokingly apologized to my new Irish friends for the follies of my ancestors on several occasions.  Now here I am under the thrall of their culture.

Vague history lesson aside, what this means for me right now is I need to get my head on straight and concentrate on what’s to come.  There will be lots of change this next year, with or without any return trips to the Emerald Isle.  I even found a study abroad program with Whatcom Community College, where I’m taking some prerequisites, that would allow me to study in Cape Town, South Africa in Fall 2011.  That’s an opportunity I’ve been looking for locally for a couple of years.  Can’t get distracted now…


Long past the days of hiding chocolate chip cookies from young children, this old tin now sits semi-concealed along the interurban trail in Bellingham, slowly being devoured by rust.   I took this a while back on a photo walk with Andy.  Sometimes, when I find something I like, I don’t tell him about it until after we leave the location so we don’t end up duplicating each other’s work.  Is that bad?

Interesting Door Art

While exploring Dublin last week, I found this door decorated with oxygen gauges in a back alley.  Interesting choice.  It makes me wonder what I’d find if I went wandering the streets of Seattle.  I was in such a hurry to get from Point A to Point B when I lived there that I never really enjoyed the randomness.  Sounds like a good excuse to hit up the Emerald City this weekend, right?

Rust Canvas

This week I have been playing with my first DSLR, a Canon 40d, thanks to my friend David.  Up until now my Nikon Coolpix 100 has served me well, and it’s taken amazing photographs considering it’s “only a point and shoot”.   But I needed additional capabilities.  The Nikon D300 I want is going to run me around $1,300, so until I save my hard earned dollars to splurge on that, David is allowing me to use his Canon. 

There are several people within our circle of friends who love photography as well, so David had the idea of starting sort of a “fan page” on Facebook for us to post our work.  The page became “Sunny 16 Club”.  (Sunny 16 being a term to describe the right aperture to use on bright sunny days.)  It’s a good opportunity for us to share work and inspire each other.

One of my favorite things to do right now is go on photo walks.  Last night David and I hit up the marina in Bellingham in search of subjects during the “golden hour”.  I was looking for rust, he was looking for still water and perfect skylines.  This picture is of the bow of a ship I found towards the end of the walk.  I loved how the rust seemed to form an abstract painting within these bright blue boundaries.

Camera:  Canon 40d
Location:  Marina; Bellingham, Washington