Anacortes, the Shipwreck Festival, and photography

Making Pictures with Professional Photographer John Enman

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 main street in Anacortes

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 main street in Anacortes

Any excuse I can find to visit the coastal town of Anacortes in Washington State is good.  An 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, is the town of Anacortes and an annual event called the Shipwreck Festival.

Since 1981, 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, I suppose, “plunder” or “treasure,” which are the favorite local words from over 200 or more businesses, organizations, antique dealers, small vendors, and families for all the neat stuff they have for sale.

As I wrote, any excuse I have to visit Anacortes is good, and although my main goal is the photographic opportunities I can find in that old town’s architecture and the rugged coastline, I do enjoy wandering through the giant flea market while on my way and always, meeting interesting people.

And this year was no exception. Just as I finished parking my car and was getting my camera out of its bag I chanced to meet, talk, and exchange emails with local photographer Dan Codd.

Although we were both in a rush to get going, my wife and I to begin our journey into the street market, and Codd to do some street photography, Codd (from what I can see online is prolific wildlife and scenic photographer) took the time to make some suggestions on places to photograph.

Later my wife Linda and I, met and had coffee with a couple that were spending the week sailing with a group on a very large two masted schooner. We talked about Anacortes, sailing and photography, and coincidently, they were named John and Linda.

Upon arriving the first night we chanced on a downtown bar, “The H20,” and behold, they had live music. The place was packed, but a friendly waiter said, “Just wait”. And after a moment talking with the performers, “Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble”, who smiled from the stage area and waved, we moved to the front and sat at the table that had been set-aside for them. And naturally, later that evening, the lead singer, Mr. Taylor, slid in beside us to say hello.

I have to say that a late night at the bar and a day walking and poking through the street market tires a guy out.  Nevertheless, after a late lunch as my wife took a break back at the motel I grabbed my camera and headed out to prowl the alleys, marina, and eventually the rugged coast of the nearby Washington State park. I started out at about 3 p.m., and got back when I began loosing the light several hours later.

This was not the first time I have strolled through the neighborhoods of Anacortes.

I like the bright colours owners have painted their doors, windowsills and porches. 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.

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

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net. Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops. And if you want an experienced photographer please call me at 250-371-3069. I also sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment.