I get asked about this quite often. Here's the story I wrote about it a couple of years ago:
How It All Started
Someone I hadn’t seen in a few years asked me the other day, ‘How did you get into photography?” So it started me thinking… maybe you would like to know the story, too.
I’ve been interested in photography and pictures since I was a teenager, taking photography classes in high school (Newport High). I still have some of the old black & white negatives that we developed ourselves in the darkroom at school. I have boxes of old slides and photographs of my family, taken long before I was born, and documenting my life since I was a baby.
There have been times in my life when I was actively photographing and documenting my life and travels, and other times where the cameras were stored, kept in the dark for whatever reasons, I suppose because at the time I didn’t feel that the events of my life were worth documenting. Maybe I was just uninspired.
Anyway, I’ve always admired the work of other photographers and have seemed to possess a natural talent for the art of photography. I have always received very positive comments on my photos, even though I’ve always felt I had little or no technical knowledge of current photography techniques.
The summer of 2003 was very eventful for me. I married the man of my dreams on the 4th of July. I was having some serious troubles at my full-time job. Eric’s two boys were with us for the summer, which for a childless person can be very stressful. Eric and I had planned a trip to southeast Alaska in August, partly to take the boys back to their mom in Sitka, and mostly because I had never been to Alaska and Eric wanted to introduce me to the places where he grew up.
Two days before we were set to fly to Sitka, something amazing happened to me.
It was Thursday, August 14th, just another gorgeous summer morning. I noticed my camera sitting on the kitchen table when I left for work that morning around 7:15, but I remember thinking, “I won’t need it”. So I left it.
I got about half a mile from our house in Toledo, crossing the bridge at Olalla Slough on SE 10th Street. Something in the slough caught my eye. The sun was just coming up, there was fog on the slough, and what had caught my attention were two large white birds. I had never seen white birds there before. They were the size of Great Blue Herons, which I’ve seen everywhere. But these were pure white. It was such a beautiful scene. So I drove past it. And I found I could not resist it. It took me all of about 15 seconds to make my decision. I turned the car around and went back to our house to get the camera.
I drove back to the park on the slough and got two shots of these birds before I inadvertently spooked them and they flew to a spot on the slough farther away from me. I took two more shots of them there.
That was a turning point in my life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized where my priorities really were. It was more important to me to turn around, go back home, get the camera, stop at the park and take those pictures than it was for me to be at work on time. It was like a two-by-four had whopped me upside the head. It started me thinking, which snowballed into quitting the job I had grown to hate and starting up my own business doing what I love.
It’s been an interesting trip so far, I have learned so much along the way. One of the biggest things I’ve come to realize is that I have so much more to learn. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. But I just keep plugging along and learning all I can to improve my photography skills and my business skills. My husband has been a godsend - supportive, creative and so very willing to help me achieve my dreams.
The large white birds I saw that day were Great Egrets. I’ve since learned they are fairly common in this area, but that day they were a sign for me that I should be doing something that I love.
Here is one of the pictures I took that fateful morning.
April 14, 2004