Denis Hill is done droning.
It’s not that he’s incapable of talking up his passion for photography, he’s just done taking pictures from high up in the sky.
“I don’t drone anymore. I did it for the book and that was enough,” said Hill, referring to “Over Ebey’s” his collection of aerial images of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, showing rolling hills, farms and coastline of central Whidbey Island.
These days, the 71-year-old photographer is more down to earth, zooming in on the details of Whidbey’s natural wonders. He sells his photos through two galleries and his website, Whidbey Panoramas, and splits his time between shooting images and selling them and other artwork at the co-op galleries.
“It works for me because I’m retired from a day job,” he said. “This is like a bonus income.”
This week found him walking along Madrona Way above Penn Cove photographing the road’s namesake trees. In the fall, the small twisted trees shed bark like a snake sheds skin, exposing a smooth, raw layer of green wood.
“Madronas are so iconic to Whidbey,” he says, peering into his view finder. “I imagine I’ll end up back here a couple times, maybe in the morning light.”
Hill is known for his ultra-wide panorama scenes, so it’s not surprising his license plate is WIDENGL.
“I don’t do as much panoramic work now but I still have the reputation. I also quit doing shows and studio tours.”
Hill was a Nikon devotee for 50 years and recently switched to Sony cameras.
Hill’s photos of island images have filled the walls of Penn Cove Gallery in Coupeville for a dozen years. Last year, he joined Artworks Gallery at the Greenbank Farm. Both operate as co-operatives where artists pay a monthly fee, contribute a commission from sales and work in the gallery a few times a month.
“I love the engagement of the family of artists at the galleries,” he said.
An opening reception for Hill and Barbara Marks as Artworks Gallery of Greenbank Farm featured artists is scheduled 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Instead of arts, music and wine in the evenings on First Fridays of every month, Greenbank Farm is switching to afternoon activities on Second Saturdays of the month.
All of the businesses agreed to try Saturday afternoons after its First Friday events weren’t exactly packing in the public, said DM Windwalker “Windy” Taibi, co-owner of Raven Rocks Gallery.
“We’d go back and forth and eat each other’s snacks,” he said. “People are not coming out at night. I think Second Saturdays will work. What we’re trying to do is recapture the community.”
Marks’ wall at ArtWorks shows her Pacific Northwest perspective, including Deception Pass, the Seattle Space Needle, owls and herons. Also hanging are two of her most popular prints, “Her Wellington Dream” showing her young daughter in the rain, holding flowers and wearing big rain boots, and “Bad Feather Day,” a colorful duck shaking its feathers.
She may call her duck image “silly” but it sells, as do many of her other reproductions done in giclee, which she described as “a very, very fancy print, high-resolution.”
Marks has had many identities — sheriff deputy in Wyoming, bartender, nanny, hunting camp cook, teacher, wife, mother of four — and she’s lived many places, including Bahrain in the Middle East when her husband was stationed there. Her artwork includes carvings and belt buckles from discarded elk antlers, a series of Middle Eastern scenes, mixed media wildlife portraits of buffalo and big horn sheep and what she calls “Little People” scenes of whimsy and wonder.
While she never had formal art training, Marks said she always paints the scenes surrounding her.
“Its part of what you are, your being of where you are,” she said.
Marks ran her own gallery, The Blue Heron, in Coupeville from 2002 to 2009, until she said, “I died a slow death.”
Although Marks said she never wanted to be part of a co-op, she now enjoys her time at Artworks, which currently represents 14 artists.
“You don’t have the stress of running your own gallery,” she said, “and you can get out to shows.”
For more information:
Artworks Gallery: www.artworkswhidbey.com/
M. Denis Hall: www.whidbeypanoramas.com/
Barbara Marks: www.barbaramarksart.com/