2020 brought a lot of changes my way, as it did for all of us. It hastened my retirement from portrait photography and it put the brakes to all travel (and travel photography). One of the only photographic opportunities left to me was Lake Sammamish, a beautiful lake in the Pacific Northwest where we make our home. Fortunately, I had recently discovered the Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) technique and so when things shut down, I concentrated on experimenting with ICM on Lake Sammamish. 

I discovered that with a slow shutter and a moving camera, a mound can become a mountain, a mountain can become a range, a range can merge seamlessly with the lake which can become an undiscovered sea. I could create new worlds, unknowable lands, mysterious islands, all out of Lake Sammamish and a distant mountain or two.

With all of the tumult that 2020 brought, Lake Sammamish and ICM brought escape. I could soften the world around me, ease some of the harshness, and create undiscoverable lands. Plus, the experience of being outside at dawn and witnessing the hope of a new day is restorative in a primal way.

The lake at dawn is never the same from morning to morning. The varieties of colors in a sunrise never fail to amaze me. From brilliant reds to soft pinks to vibrant oranges and golds, the colors are so glorious that I use only minimal processing in Lightroom. I’ve discovered that the positions of the clouds at dawn can have a great impact on the resulting images. If there is just one point of light coming through a cloudy sky, you can draw with that point of light, making your own hills, your own mountain range. A larger streak of light through clouds can become a waterfall of gold. A bank of low-lying fog over the distant Cascade Mountains brings something new to experiment with. When the lake rose after heavy rains in January, all of the docks were underwater, providing a new angle - an image with an uninterrupted shoreline!

My hope is that the world will be returning to normal in the near future, and I will be able to take my ICM experimentation on the road. Until then, I'll continue to be grateful for the lake and the explorations I can do with it and a slow moving camera.