NEW: KTVA (CBS) TV feature: Exploring Kodiak Island with Marion Owen (June 2014)
Residence: Oceanside home in Kodiak, Alaska (1984 to present)
Favorite food: Kale-mango smoothies, smoked salmon, oat-bean waffles
Favorite quote: “If I had a snowflake for every time I thought of you, we’d have a really white Christmas.” — Charlie Brown
hen I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas. Though I was a tomboy, climbing trees and poking around low tides looking for tiny critters, for some reason my dad photographed me holding this camera while wearing a polka dot dress. Thanks, Grandma.
Born and raised in Washington State, I went to sea at age 20, working as marine science technician and late, as a Merchant Marine Officer. I traveled from the Chuckchi Sea in Alaska to Guam, Midway and other realms south of the equator. Those were pre-internet days. To share my shipboard life I wrote letters, describing whale encounters, 50-foot seas, and Sunday meals of roast pig. I also took B&W photographs, developing the film in the darkroom below decks (no need to tilt the trays of developer; the ocean-motion took care of that).
But after eight years at sea, I missed the changing of the seasons. I asked myself, “What do I really want to do?” Two things popped into my head: photography and gardening. So I moved to Kodiak Island, Alaska where I thought the people were the most kind and neighborly. I still feel that way.
So with camera in one hand and a pen in the other, I restarted my life. I married Marty Owen, Kodiak’s harbormaster, became a passionate organic gardener and launched a professional photography career. Today we operate an oceanfront bed and breakfast called the Cliff House B&B. From your room you can watch sea otters, sea lions, eagles and fishing boats go by…
We have a greenhouse, a hoophouse, and 12 raised beds filled with flowers, vegetables and herbs — from which we grow fresh greens for our Galley Gourmet dinner cruises.
It wasn’t long before many people asked to see more of my photography and the garden, so we converted our front entryway into a photo gallery and opened our garden for tours. You’re invited to stop by for a cup of coffee on the deck overlooking the ocean.
So yes, since 1986, I have worked as a professional photographer, and taught courses through the University of Alaska Anchorage. I love the teaching-learning process so I also teach photography workshops. They’re a healthy workout to get your creativity going.
As for picking up the pen, I co-authored Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, which enjoyed three months on the New York Times bestseller list, and have written a weekly gardening column for the Kodiak Daily Mirror since 1996.
Back to the dinner cruises, (which are really wildlife trips with a white tablecloth dining experience). We operate mostly during the summer from our 42-foot, Grand Banks-style yacht. Our business is called Galley Gourmet, Inc and we also host wildlife photography and nature tours for individuals and independent groups from around the world, including Natural Habitat Adventures. My photography work is also represented by AlaskaStock Images in Anchorage, Alaska.
If you visit Kodiak Island, be sure to look us up.