About Marion


Marion Owen, photography, gardening, Alaska, photographer, Kodiak, Alaska, professional, photo tours

Marion Owen and flower friends in her hoophouse garden of tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli…

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.

Gardening, Alaska, Kodiak, tours, tourism, trips, Kodiak Island, Marion Owen, Galley Gourmet, photography

Brochure for Marty and Marion Owen’s “Gardens and Gallery” tours.

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.

Cliff House B&B, Kodiak, Alaska, bed and breakfast

The ocean view from our B&Bs front deck.

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.

5 Responses to About Marion

  1. Carol-Ann Sihvonen says:

    Dear Marion,
    Thanks for the up-date to your blog. I was reading the Kodiak Daily Mirror about the site for the maritime museum, etc. And the sad news about the closing of the bookstore. ;-(. My Coastie son, was featured in the K D M when he was out of uniform, doing “Santa to the Villages” duty! (Dec. 6th) so that’s how I was able to read the paper for several days. My son will be transferring out of Kodiak next summer so I do not think that I will get to hop over from Kuopio, Finland to experience that wonderful side of the far north before he leaves. It has been so warm over here with little or no snow to brighten up the dark days. My granddaughter has been wishing for snow there. But you have had it colder there. I hope you got your carrots out of the ground before the freeze!;-D
    And, a wonderful new year to you all.

    • marionowen says:

      Thanks, Carol. I would love to jump over to your world to photograph the northern lights. Supposed to be a good year for them… Wishing you a Christmas and New Year filled with blessings. Marion

  2. Do you still have your Kodak Brownie camera? When I was a kid, I remember that camera, but was never allowed to use it. It sounds like you are a true gardener and cook. Always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe, one day I will.

    • marionowen says:

      Hi Mary, Thanks for your comments…While I don’t have my Brownie any more, I do have a vintage (don’t like the work “old”) view camera which still works. As for Alaska… you know, many people tell me “I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska.” And I say, “Start planning, and just do it!” It is so amazing, and a big state. Cheers and blessings, Marion

  3. Daryle Thomas says:

    Hi Marion,
    I am a Master Gardener in Vermont, dedicated black sheep of the fold in that I actually like to teach people about growing their own food as opposed to flippin’ the EBT card. If your list of “40 vegetables to grow” (did I get that right?) is still available, I would love a copy.
    I heard an echo in your advice on how to be awake to see the Northern Lights … drink a big glass of water … I sold wood stoves for over 30 years in a previous life. People would ask how to make a wood stove burn all night. My answer was always to drink a big glass of water before going to bed. You are clearly a woman of great wisdom!
    Be well.

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