Here is a look at Port Gamble, the sweet little town where yesterday’s Camperdown elm tree grows. We have driven through Port Gamble many times enroute to and from the Kingston-Edmonds ferry but only recently stopped to look around.

Collage Pt Gamble 1

Port Gamble is a privately owned National Historic Landmark, the oldest continuously operating mill town in North America. Founded in 1853, it was operated by Pope & Talbott until 1995. The town has a New England look to it, enhanced by its setting at the edge of Port Gamble Bay. Port Gamble is about 40 miles east of Sequim, not far beyond the Hood Canal Bridge.

Collage Pt Gamble 2

The church in the top collage is a popular location for weddings. In addition to a cafe in the General Store, above left, another cafe serves afternoon tea. A museum is located below the General Store; it is open May through September. There are other small shops in the area around the General Store and Post Office (bottom right). The Post Office Building also houses a community theater.

Collage Campertown elm

We discovered this amazing elm tree recently when we explored the little town of Port Gamble not far from the Hood Canal Bridge. I was pleased that winter had stripped away the leaves that would hide the amazing twists and turns of the tree’s branches. It looks like something imagined in a Harry Potter book. Here’s what a nearby sign says about the Camperdown elm:

State Champion Camperdown Elm
It was in 1840 that the “Earl of Camperdown” in Dundee Scotland noticed a branch growing on the floor of his elm forest. He grafted it to a Scotch Elm tree and it took hold producing the first Camperdown Elm. The Scotch Elm is the only root mass the Camperdown Elm will grown on. The tree is a mutant and cannot self produce. Every Camperdown Elm tree in the world is part of the original and they must be grafted to a Scotch Elm tree to get started. When the graft starts to grow, the Scotch Elm branches are cut off leaving only Camperdown Elm. This magnificent tree depends on humankind to keep it alive as a species…This tree was planted in 1875. It measures 20 ft. in height with a 26 ft. crown and a 7 ft. circumference.

A rain squall prevented my taking more detailed shots (and it deposited a big drop in the middle of my lens). I’d like to visit this tree again from time to time and see it in other seasons.

I’ve long wanted to see and experience a building designed by Frank Ghery and our visit to Seattle last week afforded that opportunity. The Experience Music Project, or EMP Museum, is housed in a Ghery building. Pretty amazing. That is a monorail train emerging through the building in the center left shot; the track also shows in the bottom of the two right hand shots.

One knockout exhibit in the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle is in the Sealife Room. Like many of Chihuly’s large pieces, the centerpiece of the room initially looks like a huge freeform, sinuous pile of wild glass shapes. Look closer and it’s filled with identifiable golden shapes: shells, anemones, octopus, eye candy at it’s most fun. A fellow photographer in the room moved from one spot to the next, snapping away, and repeatedly murmuring, “Oh, wow!”

This is part of the Persian Ceiling, a room that serves as a passageway between exhibit rooms. Look up and it is a backlit kaleidoscope of shapes and color.

Some of the exhibits are as much about light and reflection as they are the glass shapes. Look at this image. It’s hard to tell where the glass stops and the reflection begins.

Dale Chihuly is a glass artist whose work has redefined art glass for decades. Although his work is exhibited worldwide, he is a Pacific Northwesterner and has exhibits in both Seattle and Tacoma. I was excited to visit his Garden and Glass collection last week at the Seattle Center. Works are exhibited indoors, beautifully lit in low light and open atrium rooms, and outdoors where they sparkle and reflect the natural light around them. The shot above was taken in the outdoor garden. The garden is filled with large, glossy globes, free form leaves and tubular shapes arching in spirals and reaching outward for the sun.

This image is from the Glasshouse, as was one I posted in a collage yesterday that showed the Space Needle. Huge “vines” of glass poppies explode in a sinuous conga dance across the top of the arched glass roof of this building.

In the Macchia Forest room oversized “bowls” filled with color lean inward to surround visitors in a riot spun of glossy colors. Stunning!

Tomorrow I’ll show a few more highlights from my visit to Chihuly.