wild wild western washington

THE CASCADES are a range of mountains that cut a wild and wide slash through the state of Washington from top to bottom. That part of the state between the Pacific Ocean and those mountains is Western Washington; that part between the mountains and the rest of the United States is Eastern Washington.

It is Western Washington that everyone thinks of when they think “Washington”: clouds and rain, Seattle and lattes, bumbershoots and grunge, and more rain. The moist air from the ocean hits the mountains and rises to form clouds, which return most of that moisture as rain, causing our side of the mountains to be lush and green.


Wild: photo of Seattle skyline with Mt Rainier in background.

The city and port of Seattle as seen from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill, a neighborhood to the north of the city.The park is popular with tourists and locals; on a clear day—and we still have a few of them, despite the exhaust of gazillions of automobiles—you can see Mount Rainier behind the Space Needle. Here the top of “the mountain” appears to be floating above the horizon, not unlike a Japanese Zen painting.

Due to the height of the Cascades (10,000 feet and higher), few of the rain-bearing clouds find their way past them. Consequently, Eastern Washington is considerably drier, with large arid areas and even some desert.

Few people watching movies with Seattle as a backdrop are aware of the diversity of climates and environments in the state.

This diversity creates vast amounts of beauty, and the state is popular with artists and photographers. The latter includes Jamie and Judy Wild, the couple responsible for the images on this page.

For several years, I worked as a cashier at a local restaurant. I was able to set aside my curmudgeonliness and smile with the best of them and greet hundreds of customers a day.

This included regulars Jamie and Judy. I knew them as nice folk with whom I exchanged greetings, and then they went about their business being customers.

Wild: photo of Fall in the Japanese Garden in Seattle's Arboretum.

Autumn color in the Japanese Garden, Washington Park Arboretum, just off of I-520 enter Seattle from the east. And yes, we have Fall out here, but our colors often seem softer, like God was a water-colorist who liked a wet palette. Whereas the colors associated with leaves in the Northeast are harder, some even having an almost metallic look to them.

Last week, Berni and I were at our regular Saturday morning hangout, meeting friends for coffee and conversation. She asked, “Aren’t those the photographers you know from the restaurant sitting over there?”

“What photographers?”

“You know—the ones from P’s! You waited on them all the time, spoke with them.”

Wild: photo of the Moon Bridge in the Kubota Garden in Seattle.

A glimpse of the high arch of the Moon Bridge in the Kubota Garden in Seattle surrounded by blossoming rhododendrons. The Moon Bridge is one of two red bridges in the garden. It was built in the 1970s. According to a free tour map, the bridge symbolizes the difficulty of living a good life, as it is “hard to walk up and hard to walk down.”

I glanced around, didn’t see anyone I recognized as photographers. But I did see the Wilds and said, “Hey, look! Isn’t that what’s-their-names from the restaurant?”

“Duh,” Berni cleverly replied. “They’re the photographers!”

I didn’t know . . .

Wild: photo of driftwood on Kalaloch Beach.

Storm-tossed wood and debris along Kalaloch Beach at Olympic National Park. The beach is protected by three national wildlife refuges and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The refuges manage the islands visible above high tide waters for 135 miles along the coast. Large nesting colonies of birds need these rocky outposts. The Kalaloch area also allows hiking and camping.

So we went over to chat, and lo and behold I discovered that the two of them were talented photographers. I asked if they had a website and here we are with me plugging their site!

So, all the photos on this page are of Western Washington. They were taken by Judy and Jamie Wild. The Wilds also shoot Eastern Washington and Oregon as well as national parks they visit regularly.

I limited the photos to Western Washington because I wanted the title of this piece be an allusion to a silly television series that I watched in the ’60s that ended up a sillier movie that I tried to avoid in the ’90s. 1


Wild: photo of Pumice Plain alongside Mount Saint Helens.

Mount Saint Helens and Pumice Plain as seen from Johnston Ridge. Note the hole left in the top of Helens: once a conical peak, the top and sides were blown out after it exploded in 1980.Most of the area surrounding the volcano was blasted with heat waves. ravaged by fire, and covered in ash. As you can see, it is recovering nicely.

I selected seven images; they are not meant to represent J&J’s best work, nor to make any kind of statement. They are simply ones that I liked. I asked Jamie what cameras did he use for these shots, and he responded:

“We have used many different cameras over the years.  During the film days we used Canon and Pentax cameras. Since the digital age, we have used a Canon 5D Mark III Canon and also an Olympus mirrorless camera.

When you work with an agent, you have to use high quality cameras, because they want to offer images that can be used from small to very large sizes by clients.  The large sizes are where the extra quality of the camera sensor comes into play.”

The Wild’s photos have been published in books, magazines, and calendars, and as posters, postcards, and greeting cards. Needless to say, all images on this page are owned lock stock and smoking barrels by Jamie and Judy.

For more images of the Wild’s west, click on over to their website, jjwild.com.

They market usage rights of their image through the Danita Delimont Agency.

Wild: photo of an American Pika, a tiny relative of the rabbit.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this article is a close-up of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps), a tiny relative of the rabbit. They are usually found in boulder fields above the tree-line and are usually heard before seen: their piercing whistle is familiar to everyone who has ever hiked the Pacific Northwest.

This little critter was shot by Jami and Judy in Mount Rainier National Park. To make the photo more effective as a header image for this page, I reversed the original photo and darkened it. 2


1   The original television series The Wild Wild West was pitched as “James Bond on horseback” and starred Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. Two made-for-TV movies. with the original cast were broadcast in 1979 and 1980 in an attempt to revise the show. In 1999, a big-budget film was made that wasted the considerable talents of Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Salma Hayek. But that’s another story.

2   More fun than the pikas are the marmots, whose shriek is louder and more piercing—and more fun to imitate, as it catches their attention and groups will stop what they’re doing and stare at you!

Wild: photo of the Seastacks at Second Beach at Olympic National Park.

I saved my faveravest of the Wilds’ photos for last: this gorgeous image is of the Seastacks at low tide on Second Beach at Olympic National Park.