I’ve worked in the Skagit Valley in northwestern Washington state for over ten years. It’s an indescribably beautiful spot of the world including lush fields framed by the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, nestled within rivers, bays and estuaries. It is breathtaking throughout the year.
I confess that in my early days as a commuter I didn’t look forward to April when the Skagit Valley welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to the annual Tulip Festival. If you are simply trying to get from point A to Point B in the valley (perhaps driving to and from your day job) it can be challenging. When I began photographing the tulips I let the frustration slip away and now I’m excited to see the blooms make their way to the surface.
At first I didn’t consider myself a “floral photographer”, but I quickly realized my perspective was terribly limited. As a photographer the tulips and fields offer infinite photographic and artistic possibilities. The range of color and texture seems endless. The changing time of day and weather creates countless environments and backdrops. The variety of techniques one can explore and experiment with is like being dropped into an upper level art class.
As with all my photography, shooting tulips brings me joy. Working in the fields in the early morning, or as dusk falls; quietly focusing on the flowers, the colors; the artistry of nature; in that moment I enjoy a little peace. Trying to capture the moment and discover a way to uniquely share what I’m seeing and experiencing challenges me as a photographer and an artist.