For those who haven’t yet visited the “Northwest Wonderland” art show at the Second Story Gallery above the Camas library, there are two days left to experience Camas photographer Dale C. Larson’s awe-inspiring portraits of some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful places and creatures.
The show, which kicked off April 5 with a First Friday artists reception and runs through Saturday, April 27, is Larson’s first exhibit.
Although the 72-year-old photographer has captured images from remote places in Africa, China and other international locations, with the exception of one very standout image — visitors will see it right away if they keep their eyes open — Larson’s “Northwest Wonderland” represents pictures he’s taken in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Larson, who grew up amongst the farmlands of southwest Minnesota and traveled the world for his career with a construction engineering firm, recently told the Post-Record that the Pacific Northwest remains his favorite when it comes to exploring and snapping stellar photos.
“Of all the places I’ve lived or traveled to, the Northwest is the most beautiful,” Larson said.
An avid hiker and backpacker — Larson said he probably owns 18 backpacks and seven tents — the Camas photographer often treks to some of his favorite Oregon and Washington sites for a day or two to capture some of the area’s beauty.
“I love Mount Rainier in August,” he said. “And the Columbia River Gorge is always one of my favorite places to photograph.”
Larson sometimes goes to his favorite spots alone. Other times, he takes his “very patient” wife of 50 years, Diane, with him on his photography explorations.
“Diane and I recently went to Thor’s Well (near Yachats, on the Oregon coast),” Larson said. “She waited seven hours for me to get my (photos).”
A father of three grown children and grandfather of six, Larson also is interested in sharing his photography passion with his younger family members.
Most recently, he has been taking his 8-year-old grandson, Lucas, with him on trips to Mount Rainier and other Northwest sites.
“He’s a remarkable boy,” Larson said of his grandson, whose interest in photography is beginning to rival his grandfather’s. “I gave him a nice Sony camera and we went to Mount Rainier and took photos in the moonlight. It was late, probably midnight, and we hiked up past the (snowline), and he loved it.”
Larson’s love of the Pacific Northwest and respect for its natural and often wondrous beauty is clearly outlined in the “Northwest Wonders” photography show at Second Story Gallery.
Of the animals shots — many of which feature grizzly bears in Alaska, often from breathtakingly close angles — Larson said he tries to understand the animals’ signals and patterns, and watches out for signs of aggression when he’s in photographer mode.
“There was this one brown bear,” he said, pointing to a photo of a grizzly he captured on one of his many trips to Alaska. “She had four cubs, which is a lot for brown bears.”
Understanding that her cubs could be in danger if a male grizzly came into contact with the young bears — “the boars (male bears) will kill the little ones to bring the sow (female bear) into estrus and breed with her,” Larson explained — the mother would take her cubs to feed in an area that had more human traffic than grizzlies tend to like. This way, Larson explained, the mother had fewer chances of her babies running into a dangerous male grizzly.
“She is a remarkable mother,” Larson said of the bear, which he captured in a photos that show her playful and peaceful personality.
Want to see Larson’s photos in person? The Second Story Gallery, located on the second floor of the Camas Community Library at 625 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The “Northwest Wonderland” show is available for viewing through Saturday, April 27.
To learn more about Larson’s photography or order prints, visit dalelarsonphotography.com.