Lynne Edwards, 62, moved to Bellingham with her husband, Jim, in 2007 where, she says, "the beautiful Northwest has much to offer a photographer."
She's one of the participating artists in Whatcom Art Guild's annual Art by the Lake show and sale, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10-11, at Bloedel Donovan's Community Building.
For more on her, see reflectionsbylynne.com. For more on the show, see whatcomartguild.org.
Question: What have been some of your career paths?
Answer: I lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay area for more than 25 years, where my focus was organizational development, planning and quality management. I had my own consulting business and taught these subjects at the University of California, Berkeley.
My husband, Jim, and I retired in 2002; we moved north of San Francisco to a coastal town called Sea Ranch. We bought an art gallery and framing store and became immersed in the art community on the Sonoma Coast. This allowed me to take the time to teach myself about photography.
Q: How did you become interested in photography?
A: I was told a number of years ago that I had "an eye" for photography, but I never really had the time until after 2002. I am self-taught; I've read a lot and taken a few courses in photography.
Q: What are your interests?
A: My primary photographic interest is wildlife, but I also love to capture the "life-lines" of other cultures. My goal in photography is to capture the essence and emotion of what I see.
Human faces, like animal faces, can tell us so much if we only take enough time to read them. I once took a weekend class from photographer Marion Patterson, who had studied with Ansel Adams. She taught me that the best way to obtain a good photograph is to sit down in the environment in which you want to photograph: do not take a picture, but just "be" for as long as it takes to find the beauty around you. Once you find the essence of what is around you, you find the photograph that you want. I try to utilize that principle as much as possible.
Q: When did you start being a serious photographer?
A: When we retired in 2002 I began to purchase good camera equipment and practice what I was learning. I made the transition from slides to digital in 2005 and have never looked back.
My husband and I love nature, animals and being in their environment, so all of our travels are geared to photographing and experiencing wildlife. Most of our journeys have taken us "up close and personal" with various types of wildlife.
For example, snorkeling with humpback whales of the Dominican Republic; walking the wilderness and waterways of Katmai, Alaska, to be within a few feet of a grizzly bear and her cubs; hiking the rain forest of Uganda to photograph mountain gorillas; or traveling some of the roughest waterways in the world, Drake Passage in South America, to experience incredible bird and marine life of the Antarctic.
These journeys have allowed me to photograph the animals and scenery of these remarkable places, and to capture what I see as nature's beauty.
Q: Any secret techniques?
A: When we travel we go with only a few other photographers and can sit and wait as long as we want to observe behavior. For example, in Kenya we waited for five hours for a female leopard to come out of a tree to feed her cubs. The wait was well worth the moment.
Regardless of what I am photographing, I try and capture the emotions that I sense from the animal. When I see some of our beautiful animals in their wild and natural habitat, I cannot contain my emotions. Recently, in India, I saw my first Bengal tiger in the wild. I could not stop the tears and got so emotional that I actually could not photograph for a few minutes.
I think my emotions stem from the awe-striking reality that I have been blessed to be present in their natural environment, but it also stems from the cold fact that many of the animals that I have seen will not be here for my grandchildren to experience.
Q: What organizations are you involved with in Whatcom County?
A: When we moved to Washington, I looked for organizations that I could join for art and photography. I am currently a member of the Bellingham Photography Club, Allied Arts of Whatcom County and Whatcom Art Guild (WAG). I am most active in the Art Guild, and have served on its board of directors for four years and am co-director of the Whatcom Art Market in Fairhaven.
WAG is an amazing organization of more than 130 artists from all types of media and all levels of accomplishments. WAG's goals are to encourage and promote the visual arts in the community and they do that in several ways: (1) provide two shows per year for members to display and sell their art; (2) seek various venues throughout the community where members' art can hang; (3) conduct various auctions and raffles as fundraisers, and scholarship money for Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College; and (4) have successfully run an art coop in Fairhaven - the Whatcom Art Market - for three years, which has more than 50 WAG artists displaying their art for sale.
I also have my art in the Whatcom Art Market in Fairhaven, Artisans Northwest on Cornwall Avenue and Hamann's Gallery in Barkley Village.