FEATURE: A man, his camera, a computer and a whole lot of time looking at nature

Posted in Feature, Visual Art

Whidbey Art Source editor

A guy named Tom Trimbath, a Cultus Bay dweller, has been playing by shore and in forest, camera in hand, for as long as anybody around here has known him.

Trimbath is the featured artist this month at Raven Rocks Gallery at Greenbank Farm with the show, “Double Bluff – South Whidbey’s Playground.”

It’s a photo essay taken from the artist’s “Twelve Months at Double Bluff,” the final installment of a five-year photo essay of some of Whidbey Island’s prime natural settings.

A cloud reflection photo at Double Bluff Beach titled “February Reflects February” is by Tom Trimbath.

Though, frankly, finding every beautiful place on this island might be more than one man can photograph in a lifetime.  But, if anybody’s going to try and do it, it’s intrepid trekker Trimbath.

“My few visits spread across 12 months are one small slice of a very long story, yet are more than a single Saturday visit and, therefore, tell more of a tale,” Trimbath said.

Trimbath’s love of the photo-essay form reveals his particular brand of paying attention to one beautiful place at a time, gradually over the course of a year; he takes his time to look at the landscape.

The cliffs at Double Bluff Beach form the western wall that borders Useless Bay. It’s a fine place to linger, and many people do, combing the tide pools there, while Mt. Rainer, visible on a clear day, looms on the horizon across the Sound.

“The bluffs are hundreds of feet high, but slough sand as they retreat and shrink, creating a dynamic landscape,” Trimbath wrote.

“Waves redistribute everything that reaches the water maintaining the long beach and the broad tide flat. Trees fringe the cliff. Driftwood fringes the beach. Low tides expose acres of flat, hard-packed sand, for habitat and explorations. Between the two are sand-locked tide pools, havens for anemones, crabs and starfish,” he continued.

Tom Trimbath photographs what’s below the surface in the tide pools at Double Bluff, such as this jelly fish photo titled “Nebulous October.”

“Dune grasses and wild roses enjoy the protection of the driftwood scaffolding that webs its way across the plain behind the high tide line,” Trimbath wrote.

Other collections of photos and essays feature Cultus Bay, Deception Pass, Penn Cove and now Double Bluff, the beach to wow all beaches.

Trimbath pays close attention to revealing nature like it is and employs no tricks with his camera.

“I treat digital photography as if it was film,” the artist said.

“I don’t crop, colorize, add or subtract … Each photo is a phrase in a paragraph. Every month of images is a paragraph in a 12-month-long chapter. The chapters will be combined into a book that is a story of place,” he added.

Trimbath’s show gets its fanfare opening with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 at Fridays at the Farm’s wine tasting and gallery walk evening and goes through Oct. 2.

Join Trimbath, gallery owners Mary Jo Oxrieder and Windwalker Taibi, and the gallery artists to celebrate the show.  For more info call 360-222-0102, or visit the website at www.ravenrocksgallery.com.

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