wild wild western washington

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 min­utes.

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 in 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.

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 as customers.

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.”

I glanced around, didn’t see anyone I rec­og­nized as a pho­tog­ra­pher. 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 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.


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 en­tering Seattle from the east. And yes, we have Fall out here, but our colors often seem softer, like God was a wa­ter­col­orist 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.


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.”


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.


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 heat­waves. rav­aged by fire, and cov­ered in ash. As you can see, it is re­cov­ering nicely.

Taken by Judy and Jamie Wild

So we went over to chat and 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 to 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

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 here.

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


JJWild Pika 1200 trim

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.



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