Essence of Bellingham 2023

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The City of Bellingham in partnership with the Whatcom Museum each year hosts the local photo competition called the “Essence of Bellingham” (EOB). The goal is to capture the ‘essence’ of Bellingham and the PNW life lived here in our small part Whatcom County. The competition invites community members kids to adults to submit photos that capture what they see is the “essence” of living, working and playing in Bellingham from the year. These photos are archived by the Whatcom County Museum and winners are on display in the City Hall.

Over the last decade, I’ve submitted shots as a professional mostly in their outdoors categories. Some even have placed best of class their category. One “iconic” photo (City of Bellingham’s words, not mine 😉) from the competition is one I shot in 2015 entitled Welcome to 48° North by 122° West that took Best of Show that year. A shot can never be really replicated again as our city has changed over the years, including the view from Zuanich Point Park. That viewfinder at the point has now been long since removed unfortunately.

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2015 Cascadia Weekly cover with Welcome to 48° North by 122°

2023 EOB Results

This year, two of my submissions received awards.

Best of Underwater – Pro

The Wreck of The Charlotte

A story and photo familiar to Analog Explorer subscribers, this shot was taken while on my first visit diving the Charlotte, an old steam tug boat that sank in Lake Whatcom Halloween night 1975.

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Dive partner at the stern of the ship checking out what is left of the rudder

Honorable Mention


As with I think any kid, mine is interested in space and the mysteries of the universe. For Christmas he got a new telescope and could’t wait for the next full moon to use it. Unfortunately, of course, winter weather rolled in and clouds and cold temperatures derailed any viewing for him. A month or so later, with those cold clear crisp nights we often get later in winter in the PWN, he got to see the moon up close and personal for the first time. His little mind, was throughly blown 🤯. Or as I like to say; he was Moonstruck. Of course my wife and I had to entertain all the other “how big is space” questions the next few months following. Never too young to be an Analog Explorer, and amazed with the universe.

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My thanks to the EOB judges panel this year, and to all of you who support me on Substack and Patreon