Sunday, March 29, 2009


Experimenting with a new look to the pictures posted on FIREWATER IMAGES. The photos will most definitely view better slightly enlarged, which you can do by double left clicking on the photographs themselves.

We'll start this series of Coastal & Shoreline off with one of my favorites...

This image above, #1 of this series, is titled 'Roper Cove Mists'. Taken early one October morning from the foredeck of the sailing vessel Aquila while at anchor in Roper Creek Cove, Lake Roosevelt, WA. An over night had just passes and the eastern sky held promise of a clearing day.
Staying on Lake Roosevelt, that 130 mile long body of water behind the Grand Coulee Dam, this rendered image, #2, is 'San Poil Arm, Lake Roosevelt'. Rendered in a manner representing a water color painting this landscape is located where the Keller Ferry crosses southern Lake Roosevelt, allowing state highway 21 to span this expanse of water. The San Poil river enters the lake from the north (top) of this image.
Remaining on Lake Roosevelt a little longer, these next two rendered photographs (image #3 above & #4 below) have historic significance in that while it is common to see Hayes Island during seasonal draw-downs of the lake, it is very uncommon to see the top of Kettle Falls, a magnificent waterfalls spanning the upper Columbia River before the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam. There is still controversy between Colville & Spokane Tribes, the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, the local communities, Washington State Fisheries and sportsman groups regarding the management of the lake. None of which will I delve into here.

As a final shoreline view of Lake Roosevelt I'll give you image #5, below, 'Passing Twilight Thunderstorm'.

Moving right out onto the 'big pond' (a cruising sailor's term for the Pacific Ocean) rendered image #6, below, is titled 'Mother, Mother Ocean'. All you Jimmy Buffett fans will know the tune.
And speaking of sailors, I threw in this one called 'Departing Smuggler's Cove' as image #7 below.

For image #8, below; I chosen 'Mount Baker, Rosario Strait' photograph taken from the eastern slope of Orcas Island in the San Juan Island group, Pacific NW. In this rendition I enjoy the soft pastels and rich, dark textures of the final image.

Sunrise breaking through a dense, multi-layer cloud cover in Desolation Sound, B.C. creates the stage of light for the passage of this fishing boat in photograph #9 entitled 'Kinghorn Island, Desolation Sound'.

The image of 'Moonlight Sail' represents that juncture of photograph and digital darkroom. It is a highly rendered image but finally after many tried and much contemplation I truly enjoy the final product. As in any form of art some things flow quickly and easily, some things take much longer and somethings, try as we might are never meant to be.

Leaving the coastal waterscapes behind for the end of this posting in the final image, #11 below; we change locations to a small inland pond, Cochran Lake, where the trout fishing is good and the neighborhood usually quiet. There's a certain magic in the air of this piece of photo-art. I hope you agree...
P.S. Speaking of moonlight sailing; here's a link to a profile I keep on Cruising World's Community Site. The link will take you to a video vignette of sailing in the moonlight which won Cruising Worlds Autumn 2008 video contest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nautical Art - part 1

I am a sailor. Having been born on the biggest island of the U.S. eastern seaboard seems to have deposited a certain amount of 'salt' in my blood. While I have lived in the dry areas of Texas, Colorado, & Arizona there was always an underlying call to the water. To quote a favorite character, "There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." And that is the point of focus with the visual journey forthcoming - a passion for all things nautical.

"The Adventuress" above, is image #1 in this series. It was nothing short of delightful to cross paths with the 136 foot, gaff rigged, schooner Adventuress as she ghosted across Haro Straits between the western shores of Canada & the U.S.A. Built in 1913, and recently restored, she is listed as a National Historic Landmark (see link below).

The photograph above; "Trawler", image #2, has been in my collection many years. Taken in 1999, on a foggy day, during a late September cruise through British Columbia's Desolation Sound, it has ghosted back & forth through both my basement darkroom and my digital darkroom. I was never satisfied with the results, until recently that is. This, the final edition of the rendering process of this photo, has finally captured the image my eye 'saw' on the misty day of the photograph. This may be the longest period of time I have had an image on the drafting table. And in the end - I really enjoy the results. See link below for Desolation Sound.

Image #3 entitled "Pilothouse" is a photographed created in 2001. Anchored in a cove off the norwest shore of Matia Island in the Pacific NW San Juan Islands this home-built, wooden classic caught my eye as the afternoon summer sun settled over Sucia Island (in the background). It's one of those shots I wish I knew who the owner is so I could give him or her a copy. See link below for Matia Island State Park.

There are times when the world is yours...
When a single breath fills your existence. A time when the whisper of wavelets curling on a clean, gravel shoal is your sound track. I love those moments and so does the subject on this beach on the west side of Clark Island in the San Juan Island group. Photo #4, above, is titled "Beach Time".

Photograph #5 is titled after the name of the sailing vessel, "Grace". Owned and piloted by my dear friend Marjean, the SV Grace is a 1965 Islander seen here motorsailing her way across the Strait of Georgia north of Nanamio B.C. I recall that when this photo came out of the can I danced around delighted in how that magical light had been captured on film. Now having undergone scanning and a very light rendering there is an even greater feel of the mysteries of crossing a large body of water on a small boat.

"Into the Mists" above, rendered photograph #6 is another of those rare shots that happen if you are in the right place at the right time and ready to engage a camera. This vessel was crossing my path as I solo sailed across the sometimes notorious Strait of Juan de Fuca. As we came close to crossing the skipper of this boat turned parallel to my course and soon vanished into the mists. With nearly 20 miles of open water in front of us not to mention a busy shipping traffic lane, I wondered if he was lost, or disoriented. Not once did I hear a fog horn from this vessel.

A visual break from the vessels, this landscape, above, on the southern point of Clark Island with Lummi Island in looming dark in the background and Mount Baker and the Cascade Range in the left quarter of the photo. Represents a classic San Juan Island view. It is #7 of this series.

I'll close this series with a piece entitled "Gull in Flight". A photograph taken from the deck of a good friend's custom pilothouse motorsailor Chak Chak. On an early spring cruise several years ago.

So ends the first series of Nautical Art on the Firewater Images site. Hope you enjoyed the show and will check in later for more.

The sailing vessel Adventuress:

Desolation Sound B.C. Canada:
Matia Island State Park:

Clark Island State Park:

Strait of Georgia:

Thursday, March 19, 2009


In this series the focus will be images of winter, and most pictorially, the departing of winter from the northern climes.
In the image #1; entitled "Icy Reflections" we see the remnants of winter's ice vanishing off the surface of the river as the promise of spring comes to the neighboring cottonwoods.
Photo #2; "Cliffs of Winter" gives a glimpse at the last vestige of snow & ice laden, north facing, cliff face. The orange is lichen & the green a dormant moss awaiting a springs warmth.
"Fresh Powder", a skiers delight is the title of image #3. In the northern spring one can still find good skiing deep in the mountains. There's little other experiences in this world to compare with leaving 1st tracks in untouched powder snow.
And speaking of the high country, this photograph, #4 is "Dance of the Snow People". Captured it while skiing 'off piste' at Big White in B.C. Canada.
Image #5 "Snowshoes", just before break-up, when the ice is quite thick over the slow, shallows of the river, a sunny afternoon of snowshoeing is very enjoyable.

These "Horses Running in Snow", photograph #6, can anxiously smell the transitions of the seasons. Soon the meadows will sprout fresh & green...
I'll close with this rendered photograph, #7 titled "Snow Leaving the Highlands". The starkness of this image with snow melt on the southern exposures, while still deep & wet to the north of the ridges, enhanced by the rendering lend strength to this image that I really enjoy. I hope you do to...

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Life & death both share in shaping the way we see & live in the world. Here's a short story before I post the artwork series associated with LANDSCAPES...

Born in Rockaway New York in 1951, it was the death of my father, just a few months later, which was a formative moment in my life. Fate dealt me the lifestyle of a 1950's gypsy - Americana style. Mother from New England, step-father from Texas created a pattern where we traipsed across much of the United States fairly often. A move to California seeking left-overs of a long vanished gold-bust added to the miles. By the time the winds of fate blew this young man into the Pacific Northwest I had traveled coast to coast over 1/2 a dozen times always riding in the back of classic old cars and once a canvas covered-wagon style pick-up truck. Attended eleven different schools through 12 different grades - a lesson in adaptive development. How does that pertain to this art topic? Gazing hour after hour as the various highways rolled at by 50mph & unknown towns disappeared in our wake, I developed a visual love affair with the landscape of the United States. Here are just a few photographs depicting part of that sentiment...
Foster Fanning

"The Road Goes Ever On" image #1, of course a tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien. This photographic offers an invitation to step out from the shadow and walk in the light of a sun filled moment.
Photo #2 "Bodie Meadows", above, in the heart of the Okanogan Highlands with Mount Bonaparte forming the blue backdrop. Springtime in the mountains, when the flowers bloom & gentle breeze blows...
"Kettle River Mists" is photograph #3 above; whenever the interplay of water & landscape combine the mood of light, textures, sounds all change. This image was captured in my backyard along the banks of the river.
Image #4 above: "Mount Elizabeth" located in Ferry County, WA. As mentioned above the interaction of water & landscape is prone to altering the moods, in the case of a receding spring shower things change moment to moment.

"Bighorn Dome" is photo-image #6 of this series; A passing thunder storm has dropped cold rain on warm summer rock cliffs. Mists rise and the mood is muted. I took advantage of that mood in rendering this image to enhance the feeling as vertical rock & scattered pine vanish into the clouds.
Landscape series image #7 above is "Deception Falls" located off WA state highway 2 crossing the Cascade Mountains near Stevens Pass. This is a time lapse photograph of the falls in early spring.

This close up of Deception Falls above is photograph #8 of this series and is entitled "Stone & Water"

Friday, March 13, 2009


(This series is still under construction)
Like many other folks I've had a long standing fascination with old homesteads. Living as I do in the Okanogan Highlands provides ample opportunity to explore by-gone cabins, barns and an assorement of other relics. Here is a series of photographs and images from my "Old Homestead" collection. Hope you enjoy...
Foster Fanning
Starting with image #1 & 2 - "Highlands Cabin" & Highlands Window" this old homestead is located in the Okanogan Highlands between the very small towns or more appropriately 'communites' of Havillha, Chesaw & Molson. This homestead is located on a small mountain top at the end of a rough roadway. I really enjoy how nature is reclaiming the site.

Photograph #3, above, is simply titled "Homestead". Located on the western slope of Boundary Mountain near the U.S. / Canadian border close to Danville (U.S.) and Grand Forks (B.C.) the occupants of this cabin had quite the vista from their front doorstep.

I've rendered image #4 below in a manner representative of an artistic use of color pencils. A combination of line drawing, color gradiants and use of shadow to gain perspective and enhance composition.

"Tall Barn" - photo #5 above, is in a well lit, pastoral setting. You can feel the height of the northern summer. The air is warm and full, with the calling of meadow larks, chickadees & nuthatches.

Photograph #6 "The Old School" below, is a rendered image with the texture and visual feel of an oil painting. There is a certain muted mood in this process that fits with the panoramic view, full cloud sky, and distant mountain ridge.
There are more to old homesteads than the fading barn boards of sheds and cabins. These old trucks once saw service as mechanical horses of their time. They too are now falling under mother nature's spell and sinking into the foliage & landscape. Images #8 & 9 "Old Winter Truck" & "Relic"...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beach series...

Lets go to the beach... Based entirely on latitude
'beach time' for different people means different things. In the Pacific Northwest it isn't always "fun in the sun" at the beach. We have off-season days, rainy days, and bad-tide days. There is time at the beach like the adjacent photo of yours truly bundled up for an April beach walk, silhouette self portrait. But in my opinion a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at work. Here's a few for your visual treat...

Pacific Beach, girls playing in the early season surf. This photograph conveys the feeling to me of the hearty Pacific Northwest people who will venture out into the elements even when the temperatures are 'less than ideal'. I love that 'endless' Pacific Ocean stretching into the beyond.
Of course the title for this photo is "Beach Girls"...
Sand & Water, there is no more of an ancient composition than a combination of water and land. Based on historical record our forebears , wandering the wide world, held no less a fascination for the intersection of land & water than we do today.

"Steep Beach" off the Oregon Coast is a representative photograph of the amazing relationship between water and land that exists in the Pacific Northwest

"Beach Walkers" What can I say? I love the rendition of this photograph. The concept here is to find a relationship between light, image, rendition and composition that affects a watercolor painting. To do this with a camera, darkroom and eyeball is certainly a challenge which I hope I've come close to accomplishing here.

"Sand & Shell"; often the smallest of details make the most interesting of visual stories. You can almost picture in your mind the last, foamy wavelet pulling back across this shell and sculpting the sand in it's passage.


This is a sub-blog of FIREWATER located at
This site will feature my photographic work, artistic rendered photography, discussions on photography and photographic art along with a visual gallery of photographic art available to order. This is a work in progress and will be populated over the next few weeks. In the meantime I offer these works for a visual treat.
Thanks for checking in.
Foster Fanning

The above - photo #1: self portrait in stone
Below - photo #2: The Reader
I enjoy this piece for the coziness it gives. What a wonderful way to spend a drizzly spring day - curled up in a comfy chair by the fireplace with a good book.

This rendered photograph - #3 is entitled

"Elf Maiden".
The soft textures of & play of light over the subject combined with her deep eyes carries one right into this image.

This the 4th image of this opening page of FIREWATER PHOTOGRAPHY is titled "Mother's Day Kiss". The soft black & white patterns of light plus the bridge between youth & maturity carried by the image make it a favorite of mine.