A Sense of Place

Gas Station at Fort Worden, WA

Lime & Orange Sherbet Cottages, Port Hadlock, WA

Housing at Fort Worden, WA







Last weekend I taught a workshop, “Let Pictures Drive the Words,” at the Port Townsend School of the Arts (PTSA) in Washington State. Located within Fort Worden State Park, the 434-acre former military base is a hotbed of creativity and lifelong learning. It has 56,000+ square feet of meeting rooms and under the umbrella of Centrum provides year-round arts programming including music, dance, painting, writing, storytelling, wellness, speakers, and events. In addition to PTSA, in the park you’ll also find the Marine Science Center, Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, School of Woodworking, Madrona Mind-Body Institute, Copper Canyon Press (a small press), Corvidae Press (printmaking), Goddard College, Peninsula College, and Rainshadow Recording. The two miles of shoreline, dense forests, restored Victorian-age officers’ homes and barracks, not to mention the expansive lush green parade grounds and color fields of rhododendrons, make this a perfect destination for a quickie or multi-hour photo shoot.

Barracks Door at Fort Worden, WA

Some buildings I did not photograph because they fell into the category of what I call ‘postcard photos that someone else took better.’ Shame on me, I should have taken them anyway because now that I want to refer to them, they are only in my mind. I can’t believe I have no photos of the parade grounds, but after all – it was just grass. Big grass. Actually, huge grass flanked by majestic officers’ homes standing at attention on one side, paralleled by starched white two-story buildings with balconies. How could I have not shot those photos? Ugh. Thankfully, I can pop in the DVD of “An Officer and a Gentleman,” which was filmed there, for a visual refresher.

Barracks at Fort Worden, WA

During my trip, I had the opportunity to visit Port Hadlock, a few miles from Port Townsend. Although surrounded by natural beauty… huge tall trees reaching through the clouds and bodies of water that seemed to have only one shore… what caught my eye in both locations was the man-made architecture. The buildings sat properly on their own plots of land and in familial relationship to other buildings. The structures resembled human scale Monopoly buildings that had been gingerly positioned onto a giant landscaped board game.


Lemon Sherbet Cottage in Port Hadlock, WA

What I did capture digitally was a feeling.

From the pastel cottages on the waterfront of Port Hadlock to the spotless whites of Fort Worden,

these simple unpretentious images recall an enduring sense of place…

lost in time, wrapped in mist.