Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kiana Lodge

Just thought I'd share here a slideshow that I put together for Kiana Lodge to showcase their fabulous venue on Agate Pass in Poulsbo. I've been shooting weddings at Kiana for 25 years now. Out of the 900 weddings that I have personally photographed, just over 300 have been at Kiana Lodge. I've also photographed special events, high school seniors and families at the lodge. There is a something comfortable and soothing about the ambience there. A few years ago, Kiana even provided a wonderful place for a memorial service for a close friend of mine from Camp Goodtimes.

It's actually pretty crazy to think of the impact that Kiana has made on my life. I met my wife when she used to work there in 1981 when I was the bartender on the tour boat that brought people over all the time. I photographed one of our best friends' weddings there in 1985 (who also worked at Kiana). Two years later she left her wedding album up in Kiana's office and people suddenly started calling me to shoot their wedding. From those first few years of shooting Kiana weddings my referral base spread out across the Seattle area. Ever since I've been averaging about 30-35 weddings per year to go along with all the other photography work I do.

Not to sound like a walking advertisment for Kiana Lodge but Kiana just has so many great places to take pictures. The gardens, pathways, ponds, walkways, atrium, arbors, beach, and beautiful long pier give me so many options for fun photography. There's only a few private venues that I can think of around the Northwest where you can arrive or depart from via floatplane. How cool is that? One guy landed his helicopter on the beach once but that was a little over the top!

Miles and I flew in by floatplane a couple of summers ago so I could shoot an event at Kiana. We flew from Lake Union in Seattle and the flight was breathtaking (for me at least). After getting out of the plane and while walking up the pier, Miles, 12 years old at the time, said matter of factly, "Well...that was terrifying." I had completely forgot about the fact that Miles' only experience in airplanes were ones where there were nice smooth take-offs and landings, not ones where you've got earplugs crammed in your ears and are noisily bouncing along on the water. Miles survived though and I hope his next flight will be more enjoyable.

Now for the Kiana Lodge backstory.

The first time I shot pictures at Kiana Lodge professionally was in 1980 for a Ford Motor Co. awards banquet. The former owner of Kiana, Bob Riebe called me and asked if I could shoot pictures for the event. I shot pictures of the "grip and grin" award plaque hand off and then went to a friend's house on Bainbridge Island where I had set up my darkroom in one of their closets. I developed the black & white film, made prints and then delivered those back to the lodge. That seems like science fiction to me nowadays. The sidenote to that was that my friends were Charlotte and Tats Araki and their 4 kids. Charlotte is Captain Lynn Campbell's daughter. Captain Campbell, for all 12 of you who read my blog will recall, was the founder of Seattle Harbor Tours and I was lucky enough to work with him for over ten years. One of the Araki kids, Hanz, is an amazing musician ( whose beautiful music is featured on my website. Anyway, I always have appreciated Bob Riebe giving me that first opportunity to take pictures at Kiana Lodge. Unfortunately Bob passed away recently. He was welcoming and gregarious and a lot of fun to be around, especially on one amazing trip to his villa in Puerto Vallarta that my wife and I along with a few friends made in the mid 80's.

I just have to add one thing about that trip. Bob's place was still under construction at the time and was absolutely spectacular; built right into a cliff above Mismaloya, just south of Puerto Vallarta. Everyone kept saying, "Watch out for scorpions!" It was scorpion this and scorpion that. For the first few days we had scorpions on the brain. One night I reached over to brush a piece of lint off my wife when we had just crawled into bed and she exploded into a ninja defense mode faster than any ninja in history. It almost stopped my heart. I was laughing at her so hard until one night when she was able to return the favor. I got up to go to the bathroom and when I turned on the light a little gecko fell from the top of the door right in front of me, "HEEYAAH!!" No scorpion, just a dork standing there in a ninja pose.

Even the gecko was laughing at me.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow.


  1. Well, Kiana will be booked for 100 years, now! (Post this on fb and it may be 200 years.) I love that place. We are so fortunate to have it here in our little town.

    Katie wanted to have her wedding there, and we would have LOVED that (with you photographing it, of course). It was a gift to be able to hold her memorial service there; they treated us with such tenderness and kindness. Katie was there in spirit that night; I can feel her, when I think back on it. The fireworks were perfect for her!

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. You are SO talented. XO

  2. That really was a magical evening and a wonderful tribute to Katie. The fireworks were just the exclamation point on the celebration that Katie deserved!

  3. This is wonderful and brings back such memories. Actually I first met your wife there too:>)

    Love ya Moose