I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer thus far!
This will be the eighth and final article of my photographic series depicting the natural beauty of Puget Sound – and Bainbridge Island in particular. At risk of sounding like an unpaid volunteer for the local chamber of commerce (which I probably am anyway), I have loved living on this gem of an island every day since moving here in September 1988. While I admittedly haven’t taken any private polls, I suspect most readers feel the same way.
I mentioned last time that with autumn not too far off, I would feature images of fall colors to demonstrate how New England by no means has a monopoly on stunning fall foliage. There’s been a slight change of plans, however, as I am instead going to highlight some of the wondrous sunrises and sunsets that we experience year-round on Bainbridge Island.
When I first moved to Bainbridge Island, I lived with my family for a dozen years or so in the Wing Point area on high-bank waterfront property with a dead-on view of Seattle and Mount Rainer. Needless to say, we enjoyed many a spectacular sunrise! I considered the possibility that in my twilight years, I would maybe relocate to the other side of the island and regularly enjoy a westerly view of the sun setting behind the Olympics. Instead, my wife Carol and I split the difference and now reside on the south side of Eagle Harbor near the head of the bay. Though the Olympics are shielded from our view, we are frequently blessed with knock-your-socks-off sunsets. But the fact of the matter is, regardless of where you live on Bainbridge Island, an amazing sunrise or sunset is just minutes away by car. One of my favorite go-to places is near the old creosote plant at the entrance to Eagle Harbor. Just west of the plant at Pritchard Park, great sunsets with the Olympics as a backdrop can be had on a clear evening, while killer sunrises above the Seattle skyline and the Cascades are frequently available just east of that location.
“PORT BLAKELY SUNRISE”
Our first sunrise image depicts Port Blakely, a sleepy, picturesque harbor tucked away in the southeastern portion of the island. As described in an earlier article, Port Blakely has a fascinating history. In April 1864, Captain William Renton, a lumber and shipping merchant originally from San Francisco, opened his sawmill business in Port Blakely. It was such a booming success that the Hall Brothers, a local shipbuilding company, moved there in 1880 and launched its first vessel – a 365-ton, three-masted schooner named Maria Smith – in May 1881. And at the zenith of its heyday, there was even a small town that included a post office, company store, livery stable, 75-room hotel, and a jail. Changing economic circumstances eventually took their toll, resulting in the closure and demolition of the mill in 1922. Over the past century, however, Mother Nature has done an incredible job of reclaiming Port Blakely.
This image was captured in April shortly before sunrise at my go-to spot on the east side of the creosote plant. The partial ferry in silhouette is the 6:10 a.m. sailing from Seattle which had just made the turn and was about to pull into Eagle Harbor. I especially like the clarity of the three broadcasting towers on top of Queen Anne and the ridgeline of the Cascades. The fact that it was a haze-free morning certainly didn’t hurt.So why, you ask, do sunrise skies often have a orange-reddish color? Since science was my worst subject, I will turn to the internet for answers. When the sun is low on the horizon during sunrises, the sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere. Shorter wavelength colors (blues and violets) get scattered out. (“Scattering” occurs when small particles, droplets or molecules in the atmosphere cause light to change directions.) This leaves more of the longer wavelength colors like yellow, orange, and red, which is why sunrises often take on such colors. (If this doesn’t suffice and you really want more clarification, click here.)
This last sunrise photo depicts what you would have seen if you were one of the few souls on the 4:45 a.m. sailing to Seattle on June 10, 2019 (although talk about a great seat selection!). It’s also a good example of how you often don’t know exactly what to expect on any given morning, especially when a low, diffusing cloud layer is present. I had to use a slow shutter due to the low light conditions, which accounts for the relative smoothness of Puget Sound. In my mind, though, the effect adds to the overall dreamy mood of the image.
“EAGLE HARBOR SUNSET”
Okay, let’s switch to sunsets and return to Pritchard Park for a pair of images. But first, a small confession. Another reason it’s one of my favorite go-to spots? Because that’s where Carol, in a champagne-induced weak moment, agreed to marry me.
To my knowledge, Pritchard Park is the only location on the east side of Bainbridge Island where the Olympics are even visible. As far as mountain ranges go, the Olympics aren’t all that high with no peak exceeding 8,000 feet. Though formed approximately 35 million years ago by a massive tectonic plate event, the Olympics are a relatively new discovery. The first outsider to view them was Juan Perez, a Spanish navigator who sighted the mountains in 1774. Fourteen years later in 1788, an English voyager, John Meares, gave 7,965-foot-high Mount Olympus its name because akin to the famous peak in Greece, it looked to him like a place fit for the gods.
This above image was captured with my wide angle lens, which I utilized because I wanted to include the sunset, its reflection across Eagle Harbor, the interesting clouds in the darkening blue sky, and yes, the contrail of the jet in the top right quarter. The wedge of beach and gentle lapping waters completed the composition.
So what’s the difference between the above shot and the one just before it? Time-wise, about eight minutes. That’s how long it took for the sun to set behind the Olympics so I could safely zoom in closer with my telephoto lens and highlight the oranges and yellows above the peaks. The pastel blue sky and white wispy clouds were a nice complement.
No, I did not personally witness every incredible sunset on Bainbridge Island in 2021. I certainly saw my fair share, however, and as far as I’m concerned, the sunset in the above image – captured on August 15th at 8:07 p.m. – took first place honors. There is something to be said about being in the right place at the right time, and my vantage point for this shot was about 50 yards from our home on the south side of Eagle Harbor. While I don’t put too much stock on the titles I give my images, “Azure Gold” for this one seemed to fit pretty well. I was one happy cloudaholic that evening.
CONCLUSION: I hope you have enjoyed my “Island Images” series these past eight months. All told, there have been a total of 48 images – but this puts only a dent in all the island images that I’ve accumulated in recent years. If you would like to see more, as well as other Pacific Northwest images, please feel free to visit either Bergh Images, my brick-and-mortar gallery directly across the street from Streamliner Diner, or my website at https://berghimages.com/.
Island Images Volume #7
Island Images Volume #6
Island Images Volume #5
Island Images Volume #4
Island Images Volume #3
Island Images Volume #2
Island Images with Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh
ABOUT ANDREW BERGH: Local artist Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh is a long-time Bainbridge Islander (33+ years), whose successful transition from law to photography began in 2010. After displaying his unique and evocative images at different venues, including the Bainbridge Island Studio Tours, the Saturday Farmers Market, and various local businesses, Andy took the big plunge in September 2018 when he opened his own gallery – Bergh Images – in downtown Winslow. His prints are offered in different mediums, including metal, canvas, and fine art acrylic prints; matted prints; and custom-framed black and white prints. Andy has an online presence at https://berghimages.com/, which also features his entertaining travel blog. The gallery is open every day but Monday, with Andy and his wife Carol regularly participating in the monthly First Friday Art Walks sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association.
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