The Pacific Northwest is home to vivid, rain drenched valleys teeming with wildflowers, deciduous trees, and temperate rainforests. I constantly wonder at the beauty of the state that has been my home for the last 6 years. Soaring mountain peaks, crashing waves on the tempestuous coast cliffs, fields of wheat and alfalfa stretching for miles, with cute little towns dispersed throughout the landscape. This is my home, the place I have chosen as my own. This is where I have been in school at Oregon State for the last four years.
Being a college student at OSU gives rise to great adventuring opportunities, with close access to the coast in an hour, Portland in 2, the ski mountains in 3… I was lucky enough to become best friends with 2/18 roommates my sophomore year (no, not a sorority… an independent co-op). We haven’t explored as much as I would like, but we’ve had some awesome adventures over the years, going on hikes, wandering in the woods for school projects, and just going for road trips when we need to get away from Corvallis for a bit. Roommate road trips are always the best with good music, cameras at the ready for whatever random exploration we have planned that day.
The first time I discovered the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, OR was in 2016, and I immediately fell in love with the endless fields of tulips, the dutch-style windmill, old tractors, and the strategically placed wrought iron benches perfect for a photo shoot. This is what Oregon is all about to me; authentic, beautifully organized flower fields where families gather together, where groups of college students gather for spontaneous photo shoots, and where local wine tasting is a daily event. I’ve been pining to go back ever since they opened the gates this year. Unfortunately, torrential rains, overcast skies, and actual schoolwork have been my enemies keeping me from my adventuring.
However, there was a breakthrough. One of my roommates – Lauren – and I decided were were going to make this thing happen. So we headed out there to spend a morning frolicking in fields of tulips, which just happen to be Lauren’s favorite flowers!
I am not the hugest fan of tulips as in flower bouquets, but I adore fields of growing flowers, really any kind of flower. So endless fields of tulips make me insanely happy. I happily contort myself into strange positions, kneeling on the group and getting my jeans muddy in order to get fabulous close up photos and views from below, looking up at the sky.
This is what I do all spring and into summer. I find flowers, take close up shots of them, sketch the way the petals fit together, and collect them to place all around my house. I might be slightly obsessed to be perfectly honest. That or I just love having growing things around me, something that seems to be multi-generational in my family.
So we wandered through the rows of flowers, Lauren taking artsy pictures with books she reviews for her own blog, and me going goo-goo eyed over most of the dogs I came across. I ended up with very muddy knees, and a truly spectacular sunburn, especially considering there was only direct sunlight for about an hour.
My favorite thing to do with my little Nikon Coolpix digital camera will always be playing with the focus. So far I have no idea how to layer images to get the for- mid- and far- grounds all in focus, but someday I will get one of those lovely big professional cameras and then I’ll learn to play with features and editing. For now I just play with shadows, contrast, and colour intensities, and that’s enough for me.
Lauren brought with her a little polaroid camera, and I am now the proud owner of a beautiful little polaroid in the tulips. No idea where it will eventually be displayed when I move back home in 2 months, but for now it’s safely in a box of college momentos, while the tulips I brought home with me occupy my study space on my desk. They make me smile whenever I look at them.
So please just enjoy the beauty and simplicity of tulips and the many colours and shapes they come in! I know I enjoyed the editing, and I want to share the beauty with whoever actually reads this 🙂