From Birmingham to Bellingham with Photographer Ryan Russell
Ryan Russell is a music photographer hailing from Birmingham, Alabama. Over the past 13 years, he’s shot some of the biggest acts in rock including Paramore, Manchester Orchestra, Death Cab for Cutie, Green Day and Blink-182. Recently, Ryan picked up from his home in Alabama and moved to the Pacific Northwest near Bellingham, Washington. He decided to document this experience of a cross country drive and his first month living in Washington in his upcoming travel photobook, Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham. Here is a photo excerpt from the first month living in Washington. The book will be available this winter, purchase your copy here.
The first thing that struck a chord with me about living here is how entangled everything is with the sound and other water ways in western Washington. As everyday as it may be for some, I will never get used to the idea of boats carrying so many people across a waterway constantly.Cape Flattery. I set out across the Puget Sound and stayed the night in Seabeck, Washington for an early start to the next day’s adventures in the Olympic Peninsula and Cape Flattery. I took a route along the Seabeck Highway and stopped off many times through out the day for the random beaches and other geological anomalies found along the way. Once arriving in the Makah reservation, and a short 3/4 mile hike down to the cliffs of Cape Flattery, I found one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited…
Mount Baker and Diablo Lake. I found myself visiting Mount Baker at least 4-5 times while living in Bellingham for the first month. It’s so alien to me to be able to see snow during the summer, let alone drive an hour from my house and being able to touch some. The view up at Mount Baker from Artist Point is definitely the best from the other peaks I visited on the trip. I could spend hours watching the weather change and pass over and between Mount Baker and the near by Mount Shuksan. It will definitely be something I want to revisit in the winter for the full experience.
Oregon Hwy 101. On the drive up to Bellingham, instead of heading north when I hit Portland I continued west to Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda beach. I had only been to Astoria in the fall of 2012 on the Oregon coast and wanted to explore more of it.
After the brief visit to Cape Kiwanda, I did more research on what’s near the coast and retraced my travels back down the historic 101 on the 50th day of the book. I had heard of an area known as Cape Perpetua and a lesser known spot called Thor’s Well. Eclipsed by the near by Devil’s Churn and Spouting Horn, if you didn’t know what to look for you would easily miss it.
Mount Rainier. On the 51st, and final, day since leaving Birmingham I visited Mount Rainier. I saved Rainier for last because I knew there wasn’t a better way possible to end the book. It was incredible to see how many cars were making the drive up just to see the sunset from Paradise on the mountain as I did.