Photographer, writer share the story of their book

PORT ANGELES — Maybe you haven’t time — or the small airplane — to go flight-seeing over the North Olympic Peninsula.

And maybe you’d enjoy a poet’s- and a soaring hawk’s-eye view of the sea- and landscapes of home.

All of the above are available Tuesday night at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

The Sequim-based duo of pilot-photographer Dave Woodcock and poet-nature writer Tim McNulty will host a program on their book, From the Air: Olympic Peninsula, at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Two of Woodcock’s aerial photos, of Crescent Bay and of the Port Angeles waterfront, are featured in the fine arts center’s summer show, titled “Safe Harbor.”

36 other artists

Alongside Woodcock’s images, the exhibition shows work by 36 other Northwest artists, highlighting this place’s role as a harbor: a haven not only for people, but for a raft of other animals that now have Olympic National Park’s nearly 1 million acres as their sanctuary.

This is McNulty’s passion. While much has been said about the humans who find this corner of the continent a refuge from the Puget Sound metropolis, from California or various other overcrowded U.S. cities, he is a hiker and writer who illuminates the ways in which the Olympics have become home to wild creatures found nowhere else on Earth.

Peninsula safe during Ice Age

“In the evolutionary sense,” McNulty said, “the Olympic Peninsula was a safe harbor for life during the climatic upheavals of the Ice Age,” allowing species such as the Olympic marmot and Flett’s violet to survive.

The mountains surrounded snow- and ice-free niches, he added, while huge glaciers to the north wiped out every other life form.

On Tuesday night, McNulty and Woodcock will screen slides of those peaks and valleys, while giving the back story of how they put together the From the Air collection of photographs and essays.

Often, when people see Woodcock’s aerial shots, they ask him who was flying the plane while he was taking pictures.

Answer: Woodcock was. Through years of practice, he’s developed the ability to multitask at high altitudes in his two-seat Aviat Husky airplane.

McNulty has flown with him a few times and called it “an adventure,” since the plane’s side is wide open.

Attendees Tuesday will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of From the Air and to enjoy the rest of the “Safe Harbor” art in the fine arts center gallery.

Attendance at center

Both the show and the center’s permanent, natural art park known as Webster’s Woods, have been hits this summer, center director Jake Seniuk said.

“Attendance has been up noticeably. I’ve never seen it quite this steady,” he added.

Seniuk, in his 22nd year at the center, believes more people are finding out about, or rediscovering, the museum, thanks to word of mouth and to Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce volunteers who offer advice to tourists.

“This art park is my ‘Safe Harbor’ today, inside and out,” a woman from Anchorage, Alaska, wrote recently in the center’s guest book, referring to the gallery and Webster’s Woods.

The show is “extraordinary; eye-opening for our children,” noted the Ryan-Simons family from Wenatchee.

“Safe Harbor” will close Oct. 10 to make way for Harry von Stark’s “Elwha Power: Future Relics of the Elwha Dam” exhibition of photographs opening Oct. 17.

The fine arts center gallery’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, while Webster’s Woods are open every day from sunrise until nightfall.

Admission is free, though donations are accepted.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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