Cruising through my collection, I found several shots that Mister Sykes might have liked. In many of his photos, he sought out the dramatic – dark, threatening skies with a peaceful foreground and the resulting tension between the two. Of course, much of this is being in the right place at the right time, which for Horace at retirement age, was not a problem.
Here, in the Sykes style, is a right place/right time photo taken of the great bowl across from Umtanum creek.
I do go on, I know, but the canyon was out yesterday in full color with massive clouds overhead. Big shadows, weird effects, everything one might want in a canyon. Here it is, south to north, late morning to evening, respectively.
Jean was quick to find the answer to the first Green Lake challenge sent to him here on his own blog. He found the “repeat” for the 1943 Green Lake snow scene on its north shore as easily, it seems, as tracing the scent of a wet wool sweater drying on a steam radiator. Jean needs a greater challenge, and so we move our new mystery from the Green Lake in his Seattle neighborhood to the Green Pastures, most likely, of Eastern Washington. And like the Kodachrome ’43 snow scene this dilapidated farm dates from the 1940s or 1950s at the latest.
Unlike the Green Lake image we know that this farm scene was photographed by Horace Sykes, member of the post-war Seattle Camera Club and an amateur who by the size and quality of his surviving work, we know obviously loved to travel the northwest looking for picturesque landscapes. Some of them he identified and dated on his slides, but not this one.
There is very little that is tense or newsworthy in the Sykes collection, but lots that are gorgeous examples of what we once with radical edge referred to as bourgeois taste. But by now I love Sykes’s tender exploring and obvious affection for his subjects. He never tired of flowers either – especially orchids.
Can Jean meet this new challenge? While it is almost nothing for Jean to jump in his Nissan and search the state for historical sites to repeat, with this one he will surely need lots of help. In fact, he might as well stay home. Almost certainly this old farm site is no more, razed in 60 some years of wind and rot. But it may well be remembered still and identified. The trick here is to use this blog’s viewers, especially the ones who have family and friends living on the dry side of the state. Jean’s Green (Pastures) Challenge No. 2, is, then, a genial plea for help. Where is it, or was it, this green scene? We will be patient.
Look for Jean’s Challenge No. 3, soon to come and closer to Green Lake.
A couple miles hike up the Umtanum side canyon that runs into the Yak River canyon, and this is what we found as the sun was setting. It’s hunting season and the hills echoed with the crack of guns in the distance.