Eastern Washington

…more than what you have to pass through to get somewhere.

“Are we there yet”? I am making that the unofficial mantra of Eastern Washington. The official state travel guide doesn’t say it, but it should. Other than “I gotta pee”, it’s probably the most uttered phrase used by kids, and thought by adults, traveling through Eastern Washington. An eternity of wheat, back dropped by uninterrupted horizons of more fields. It’s a strange kind of hell being trapped on the letter “Q” just outside of Ritzville while playing the alphabet game, with the only shot of redemption being a passing license plate. I know every rest stop. I know every exit. I can see it in my mind. Many hours have I traveled pondering such questions as “What is soap lake?”or “What’s north of Ritzville”?  How many have wanted to stop and hike to the wild horses sculpture, but don’t because you must get somewhere?

E Washington low rez-7

I took my camera and my went on a quest to answer my long held question of the mysteries of no where Eastern Washington in hopes of making it somewhere. Soap lake is actually quite interesting. The medicinal qualities of the heavy mineral waters have a storied history. The city was a busy tourist site early last century. Highway 17 is a drive by geological classroom. Fossils and prehistoric waterfalls. Coolie City, Hartline, and Wilber, fossils themselves of an Americana past. Once busy depots and destinations of the Great Northern Railway, now quite villages with a gas station beckoning travelers to stop, fill up, and grab some chips on their way to somewhere. Motel signs that once convinced busy travelers to rest on their way to somewhere along Highway 2 not too long ago…still standing, but not convincing anyone now.

The old school house was was the most exciting and sad experience of my trip. It won’t take many more E. Washington winters. The fact that it still stands at all is a testament to the craftsmen who built it. My mind saw boys chasing girls around the school. My ears could hear the teacher write on the chalk board.I stood on hollowed ground, in awe of this barely living relic. The ghosts of what was taught in this building is the foundation of the freedoms and luxuries we enjoy today. And here it rots in a wheat field. Such is the way of progress.

My search for significance in nowhere, in retrospect, made my somewhere less meaningful. Ironic…and somehow cathartic. I change my mind; the unofficial mantra of Eastern Washington should be: “Ironic and somehow cathartic” The Eastern Washington travel guide can thank me later. -Bobby





Jordan and Courtney


Congratulations to Jordan and Courtney. Back in August, as we discussed the wedding, we thought how wonderful it would be to have a snowy January wedding. Most of the snow had melted as their wedding day approached. Then, as if it were planned, the snow began to fall as the wedding day began. The snow was a precursor to the beauty, wonder,and serenity of the wedding day. No nerves or rumblings from this bride. Just joy. The challenge was to get Courtney not to smile so big for every picture. I wish we all could have this problem more often. Thank you for allowing me the honor of sharing in your snowy wedding day Jordan and Courtney. You’re off to a perfect start.

Blessings Friends -Bobby

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What now?

I love senior pictures. There is magic in graduating. So many pictures come about serendipitously. As I walked with Jen, we  found some concrete. As I had her lay down, I noticed the question mark next to her. How apropos! I know many seniors can relate to the “what next” question. Life has been pretty much laid out till this point. There is great celebration in the accomplishment of graduating, but there is way more joy in the “what next” chapters of life. that is where the magic lies, not in the known, but the unknown. That’s where faith and inspiration live. You teens might be confused…but we adults are excited for you.

A road less traveled

“How much I missed, simply because I was afraid of missing it.”
Paulo Coelho, Brida

Opportunities abound everyday.The opportunity to help, to inspire, to give. Opportunities to make better choices, make a few extra dollars, or maybe an opportunity to just rest. How about the the opportunity to build a relationship, or rebuild one as the case may be?  The road less traveled is less traveled for a reason…it’s scary. It’s overlooked by curves of self doubt, or hidden in the thicket of fear. Sometimes we don’t go down a road because no one else has, yet that is precisely why we must go down it.

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I love and commit to you…still

“Brutiful” That’s the way I heard one pastor explain marriage to a new couple. As a wedding photographer  I get to be part of a new couples wedding day in a very unique way. I get to follow the bride around in her excitement, anxiety and sometimes rage. It’s all part of the day. All the money, all the anticipation, all the planning, all the energy and time come down to a few simple vows in a few short minutes. Vows of mutual commitment are profound, and the tears are real, but what newly wed really understands what that means? Those few words of committing to each other need to then be backed up by years of action, sacrifice,and heart ache. All who choose the married life should have the vows recorded and played back when we get up each morning. Each day, each week, each year stack new meaning to “I love you” and “till death do us part”.

I met Alan and Lana the day of their renewal ceremony. They both have had long successful careers, raised children and moved around to find a better life for their family. Many renew their vows because a couple came through a crises in the marriage. A new beginning and that is fantastic. But I didn’t sense that was the case here. What I saw was a couple way more in love then when they met. Not because of their failures but rather because of the perseverance and success. They had been there done that. It’s the difference between seeing a new cadet say the pledge of allegiance to that of disabled veteran saying the pledge. Their renewed vows carried the weight brutiful scars and metals of honor. They understood their vows of years ago. They applied them very simply, and quite profoundly renewed them. Their eyes said the brutal nature of sacrifice is worth it. It was in every way definable by the word …Beautiful.


View their complete gallery @ http://www.bobbygriffinphotography.com/Client-Galleries/Weddings/Jackson-Renewal/

Quit trying to be normal people…we were not designed to be.

Since when has the mundane inspired anyone? A true artist inspires because of their uniqueness. Imagine Michael Jordan being too scared to play basketball because he was not tall enough, or Robin Williams not auditioning for a part because his humor was unorthodox. They were great because they were different. So it is with all of us.

It’s difficult to ask what inspires someone without asking them what they are afraid of. Like a nagging couple, inspiration and fear always seem to be bonded together. I find it annoying.

My challenge, and yours ,isn’t to be talented or unique.That is God breathed and true as tonight’s sunset or an MJ dunk. Our challenge is to not be afraid. Fear is what normal people do.

Foggy Naked Trees

Foggy Naked Trees

Winter of discontent? I think it’s a bit unfair that the other three seasons get the share of glory when it comes to emotional wellness. I have a few practical tips to inspire this post holiday season. So take a vitamin D pill and read on…

Google images of “snowflakes”
You tube search “funny sledding accidents”
Go to your favorite coffee shop and order something you never had before.
Take a walk, breath in the cool air, its really refreshing.
Go buy some Christmas lights for next year. They’re on sale.


Do you have time for this?

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.

William Penn 

What if no one shared gifts at Christmas. At least not in the material sense. What if gift giving was only confined to acts of time and not money. What if the paradigm shifted to time as the commodity of giving instead of stuff. For example: a man takes one hour each each day for a year to give unconditional time to his wife. Or, a child could give twenty minutes of playing checkers a week to an elderly man at at local retirement home. No excuses of not having enough money for gifts. No expectations, (or lack there of), of material getting. Still valuable, still giving, still share it at Christmas time.

What would happen to black Friday? The shopping season? Christmas morning? Instead of wrapped boxes, we would open envelopes under the tree. Each telling of what gifts of time they got. 13 minutes of time to interrupt studies for child at college, 38 minutes of time to call a friend on cold Saturday morning, 72 minutes of time to build a living room fort made of dining room chairs and blankets, 4 hrs to fish on a cool Sunday afternoon with a daughter, 3 1/2 hours to…

Wait. This is sounding not too idealistic, but rather much too expensive. The fact is that we all can give time, but I think it’s easier to pay for gifts instead. Somehow we can find time for that. I have more thoughts but I need to take time to go Christmas shopping now, I don’t exactly have time for this.


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