Not cropped - Black and white photo called 'Drinking at the festival' at the Anacortes Shipwreck Festival (Photo by: John Enman)

Photos at The Anacortes Shipwreck Festival 21 July 2023

After waiting three years I am again making the easy four to five hour highway drive from my home in Pritchard to what is referred to as the home-port of the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan Islands and the town of Anacortes’ annual event called the Shipwreck Festival.

The Shipwreck Festival is actually a giant community garage sale that on the third weekend of July each year occupies about nine blocks of the town’s main street, offering, “plunder” or “treasure,” which are the favourite local words from over 200 or more businesses, organizations, antique dealers, small vendors, and families for all the neat stuff they have for sale.

This year Jo, her two children, husband and his parents came with me. Jo and I attended the Shipwreck festival two years in a row before the pandemic closed the border and cancelled the festival, so this time with her family was going to be so much fun.

As always this was the kind of vacation that I like – the opportunity to photograph, within less than a day’s drive in a completely different environment than the one I live in. A chance to meet new people, eat at great seafood restaurants, and, I almost forgot, the Shipwreck Festival.

I brought my DSLR with two lenses; my 24-70mm and 16-35mm. I also had the camera I had converted to Infrared with a 20-40mm lens and because I was going to be walking around the festival looking for treasures I brought my little Fuji mirror-less with it’s 18-55mm and 55-200mm.

Walking around with a small camera at the festival allowed me to grab shots whenever and of whatever without people paying attention to me. And that little camera doesn’t get in the way when I am perusing the booths. There was so much to see and photo opportunities everywhere.

My goal for this trip to Anacortes was to create photos that Jo and I can put in a memory book for her husband’s parents. I also will have photographs for a calendar that I can give everyone for Christmas. And I will be printing a few enlargements for Jo’s children’s bedroom walls.

Whenever I go to the Shipwreck Festival I also stay for an extra day so I can do some wandering with my camera. Along the main streets there are many buildings still standing that I expect must be from the late 1920s or 1930s. There is a shipyard filled with large vessels, a boat filled marina and, just a short drive away, the wonderful rocky, and easily accessible coastline that surrounds the park, all just waiting for me to photograph.

I slung both my IR camera and regular DSLR on my shoulders, walked around town, along the many wooded areas and climbed down the rocks to the beaches. I also waited till after dark so I could shoot long exposures of the brightly lit refinery across the bay.

Photographing different subjects always excites me. Mark Twain wrote, “You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus”. The mornings were clear and cool with seagulls calling from the sky. There was the taste of salty sea air and my imagination had me running from picture to picture.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or


Colour - Photo 'Festival Booths' at the Anacortes Shipwreck Festival	(Photo by: John Enman)

Black and white photo called 'Drinking at the festival' at the Anacortes Shipwreck Festival (Photo by: John Enman)