Water Portraits


A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.” ~ Lucy Larcom

The Water Portraits series started with a technical accident and advanced as I learned more about the hydrology of my new home beneath the Cascade Mountains. A land that receives 95 feet of rain and snow each year. A torrent of precipitation that blankets the peaks, forms glaciers and, as it melts, re-shapes the land as it moves through a jigsaw puzzle of land masses that were fused onto the North American plate in an epoch that formed the Washington we have today.

The first Water Portrait, which is also the first in this sequence, was taken at the foot of Big Four Mountain from a footbridge over the Stillaguamish River. The blue-green waters, tinted by rock pulverized by nearby glaciers, looked and behaved nothing like the muddy rivers that cut through the Ohio Valley where I grew up. Struck by the colors and the lines of silt that had gathered on the edge of the water below me, I took a picture as I wanted to study what I was seeing up close. Processing the image, I discovered that as the slow-moving water traced the river’s edge, the currents dipped and swelled creating a secondary lens that focused and magnified the shapes, forms and colors below and told the story of the land around me. Over the next year, I worked to figure out how to master shooting and post-production techniques that combined the strengths in my equipment and, the water’s lensing effect. The essential question;  could I combine these effects to capture how water records the story of the land as it acts as a unique feature and not merely, a transparent force ?

The works collected in this series aim to document water as a primary feature of the land. Aims to document qualities that arise, as water coordinates with light, geology, weather, the living world and the dead - to transmit the lands story, and all its changes.

*NOTE: Works in this series are only available for purchase via direct sale through Lance and his team. Please visit our Sales Page to begin a conversation on your favorite piece/s.



Waterportrait #1: Stillaguamish River

Water Portrait #1, Stillaguamish River captures the lensing effects of water and its capacity to bringing the colors and forms beneath the water into detailed relief telling the story of the land. Leaving "shadows" of its sinuous currents shaping the river's edge, amplifying flecks of gold colored pyrite, shimmering with the blue -green silt of rock pulverized by mountain glaciers. The first photo in the series, it was this work that set me on a course to understanding the lensing effects of water. How mixing that with shooting technique, could help me understand water as the primary feature of landscape signaling every movement and change in the land in time and over time.

A lens that focused and magnified the shapes, forms and colors below the water and, the land around.

  • Mineral Tides

    Mineral silts tell the story of the nearby hot spring's acidic waters as they dissolve volcanic rock beneath Lassen Volcano.

  • Solar Lens

    Waves created by nearby rapids smooth out collecting the sun as they cancel one another.

  • Once the Earth

    Tree roots float in the current where they once anchored along the banks of the flowing waters.

  • Peripheries

    Water forms the boundary between life and light in the tidal wetland of the Nisqually.

Water Portrait: Firehole Lake

Fossil Filigree

A broken plant head gathers dissolved minerals on its stems as it slowly submerges in the mineral heavy water.

Processing the image, I discovered that as those slow-moving waters moved along the rivers edge, they dipped and swelled, creating a lensing effect.

  • Dissolved Earth

    Mineral rich water builds rock with dissolved iron and calcium.

  • Interference Wells

    Rain droplets on a marsh reveal voids and barriers of life that shape current and flow.

  • Heavy Currents

    Surges of a river current flung from a waterfall collide midair creating new currents that shape the land around.

  • Drawing Down

    Water of the Nooksack River cools the air creating downdrafts that collect leaf fall.

Water Portrait: Reeds, Conboy Lake

Seasons on Sometimes Lake

Marsh reeds flooded by melt waters from Mt. Adams tells the story of the seasons. In summer plants will run riot over the rich soil of the field that is sometimes, a lake.

The essential question---could I combine these effects to capture water as a feature and not, a force?

  • Crosscurrents and the Exploded Forest

    Shallow waves on Spirit Lake indicate a submerged forest that was blasted from the face of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.

  • Volcanic Tides

    Moss collected on the tops of rocks in a hot spring tell the story surging volcanic activity.

  • Prairie Creek

    Stones collected by floods create reefs that let light through and shift as the water deepens.

  • The Shape of Earth and Sky

    Shapes in the water tell the story of submerged boulder where the waters grow deep and reflect the sky.

Water Portrait: Palouse Falls

Rainbow Breath

Falling water at Palouse Falls vaporizes, coloring the air and setting the course for mosses that grown on the volcanic face.

Through the reflective or amplifying power of water on light, on rock, on glaciers, on soil, on living or dead material; every moment of the land is carried and transmitted by water.

  • Weather

    As water cools faster than air, its creates temperature variances that feed blooms of fog.

  • Rusted Leaves

    The iron rich waters of Yellow Spring in Central Ohio encase fallen leaves and oxidize in the spring pool.

  • Carbon Currents

    Black basaltic rock pulverized by Mt Rainier gathers on a sandbar in the Carbon River.

  • Silt , Polish and Traces

    Glacier Flour, silts created when glaciers pulverize rock, traces currents of the Carbon River polishing stones in the river bed.


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