Replenishing Paddling

Last weekend I finally had some nice time off out in Mother Nature. It was long awaited – and needed. My love one and I went out paddling in the waters around the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. We didn’t have the best of weather, but it was nevertheless incredibly refreshing for body, mind and soul and – after a longer period of having drained myself too much – filled me with new creative inspiration. This is something everybody working creatively needs to do on a regular basis, and I have previously written about this in the post Replenishing the Creative Well.

Over the last couple of months I have been all over the place, visited four countries I have never been to before, and in between moved to a new apartment in Bergen, Norway – all while doing my regular work. Well, travelling was mostly part of the regular work, but the numbers of pictures from any of my travels will usually amount to almost insurmountable time of editing and photoshoping – no matter how efficient I actually am.

We had a couple of splendid days off the San Juan Islands. The combination of physical activity, being outdoor and not the least not having to think about everyday’s demands, was relaxing, refreshing as I said, and, yes, replenishing. Of course I could not let go of taking pictures, which never was the intention anyway… The weather actually made for good photo opportunities. Blue sky and burning sun isn’t really the dream condition for any photographer, while the changing weather conditions we encountered always make for more interesting possibilities – photographically speaking. If anything, I only missed paddling among some orcas. This is supposedly the time for doing so around the San Juan Island, but none of the big animals showed up for us this time.


121 thoughts on “Replenishing Paddling

  1. Your photos show what a relaxing and peaceful time you experienced. Thank you for sharing the peace through these wonderful photos.


  2. The San Juan Islands are a great place to vacation. Since I live in Washington state we visit the area often around this area. Like you found, weather can be up and down; especially the fog.

  3. I have a very good friend who lives on Camano Island, that’s near the islands you visited. He’s also an artist. I’m not much of a traveler, but at least I know if I ever get the urge to go to the Northwest I have a place to stay. Meanwhile, my paddling is limited to the Mill Pond, which is actually my back yard, but at least it’s paddling! No orcas, though. Just bass, bluegill and some snapping turtles.

    1. I don’t think the good or profound outdoor experience has anything to do with how far away you are. Close to home is just as good as on the other side of the world. The important thing is to get outside wherever you are.

  4. Looks like a wonderful relaxing vacation. Everyone needs time out (from their usual occupation), no matter how much they love their usual occupation.
    I can think of no better way to relax than communing with Nature.
    Shame you missed seeing the whales.

    1. You are indeed right, nothing is like communing with nature. As for the whales, I am not too disappointed, since I have had the luck to watch them many a time. Would be quite an experience to do it close to them in a kayak, though.

  5. There is something about getting away, even if only for a few days, that renews the spirit. Being out in nature especially seems to refresh the soul and awaken the creative muse. Taking photos is all a part of the relaxation.

  6. Like the first one where the horizon is not totally horizontal-it works. Happy for you that you took the time.thank you for sharing your knowledge and inspiration.

    1. I have always enjoyed the skewed horizon – well, at least for the most part of my photographic life. My friends make fun of me for having a limp wrist…

  7. I love this part of the world, and it is very peaceful to be out on the water. Great you had a break from travelling…I know how tiresome that can be.

  8. Being on or near the water has always had a calming effect on me. These photos definitely give of the feel of calmness and serenity. I am glad you had some down time to replenish your creative well.

  9. Beautiful photos Otto, especially the second one. Almost like a mono/colour mix but I don’t think that it is. Your photos taken at water level really pulls onesself into the shot.

  10. The pictures are so beautiful, they just make me “want to be there sailing”. When we are surrounded on all four sides by nature, it soothes our mind, soul and body automatically. I think its important that we must take time out and travel places known for serenity.

    1. The second day was indeed quiet. Almost surprisingly so, since the previous day we had quite a bit of wind. But that’s what a love about nature, the shifting all the time, always new surprises.

  11. These pictures are beautiful. They are just showing how peaceful and beautiful that place is. I hope you had a great time there. You are one lucky man, who visit to most of the beautiful places across the world. 🙂

  12. I particularly love the middle photo, Otto. I think we possibly forget that so much of your travel is really “working” and not entirely leisure. So it’s good to hear that you took time to replenish your creativity! I have never been to the San Juan Islands, and here I am living on the west coast of the United States–and you introduce them to me via Norway! 🙂 D

    1. No matter where we live, there will always be places close by or relative close by that we haven’t had the chance to visit. But it still fun that I can introduce you to one very nice spot along the west coast.

  13. Looks beautiful! As I read where you were it occurred to me what you stated later…you’ve been quite a few places. In these photographs you were probably the closest to my location in California.

    1. Later this month I will be even closer, when I attend the Burning Man in Nevada (besides that I have been a couple of times to California, too).

  14. Just had family that visited the San Juan Islands. Looks lovely. So good to get out into nature, isn’t it? Glad I found your blog today!

  15. I have always liked your term for R&R: replenishing the creative well. We all need this. It recharges us. I grew up in a household that condemned down-time. My mother wanted always for all of us to keep ourselves busy. That being un-busy was laziness. Sloth. I have always disagreed.

    I still owe you a story out of one of your pictures.

  16. Hello! it looks like the mix of sports and nature has been refreshing your creativity 😉
    I do too like this kind of weather for photography! Weather conditions are really the only thing you have to accept, whatever they are, when you are out in the wilderness… and sometimes you get beautiful surprises.

    1. As long as you don’t take weather for granted, but stay open-minded to its variations and possibilities for orchestrating gorgeous pictures, you never come back empty-handed. Surprises are always very rewarding.

  17. Sounds like a lovely (and much needed time). The photos are fabulous. I agree a little adventure to replenish the soul does wonders for the creativity.

  18. Sounds like you had a nice break and a good rest. I think for creativity it is really important to have down time and to be able to recharge. I think for myself the down time and the times where I can slow down and really rest and can enjoy some real quiet is very replensishing. I find after that I’m much more creative and the joy and the ideas come much easier.

    1. That’s the way I feel it, too. Time off doesn’t mean time wasted. On the contrary. Afterwards I am more efficient and more creative, indeed.

  19. Your photos (and blog) are wonderful. So peaceful. And amazing. As a beginner, I do not think that I could take my camera/equipment that close to water. I am impressed. I hope I get there – both having the right equipment and eliminating my fear of water + cameras – one day.

    1. The confidence comes with experience. And you don’t really need any expensive equipment. In this case I just used a simple point-and-shoot camera. If I lost it in the water or tipped the kayak, well, I just took the chance.

  20. Yeah man, I’ve found I can always click a shutter faster than I can edit the shot that comes of it – which is why I try not too, lol. Glad to hear you got out into nature! IMO that should really be a couple days a week thing.

    1. I try to find more efficient ways to edit my photographs – and improve my work flow. But it does take quite some time to edit a shoot, no matter what. Thanks for commenting.

  21. These pictures are beautiful! I used to live in Seattle, love it and those islands are incredible, lush and amazing. Yes, it is good to clear the mind for new inspiration, very nice post Otto.

  22. It’s so important to take weekends off. I can see from your photos just how relaxing a quiet paddle can be. Sorry about the orcas. Maybe next time.

    1. Paddling is relaxing when the weather is nice – but it can also be quite a challenge when the sea gets shopping and the wind more forceful.

      1. you’re right, but my samsung solid is waterproof and stays always on the leash while dslr is not resistant for water. solution is to buy waterproof compact camera but I have no spare €250 at the moment 😦

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