Welcome to Holly Davison Photography! Pour a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy. I'm glad you came for a visit. ~Holly

Photographing the Night's Sky

March 15, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Tonight I am presenting a lecture for the local Sno-Isle library on Photographing the Night's Sky on Whidbey Island. I will be discussing the science behind Northern Lights, space weather, and basic night photography. Here's a copy of the slides for all of you who are unable to attend.








Snow, Wind, Rain, Hail and Sun: A Weekend at the Pacific Ocean

March 10, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Oh hail! And snow! And wind! And rain! And yes sun! I recently spent a weekend with family and friends out on the Washington Coast. Wow what a weekend it was. We had a little bit of everything winter has to offer. Though as Ansel Adams put's it, "Bad weather makes for good photography." I think that is absolutely true. While I love clear blue skies and warm sunshine while I'm relaxing in a hammock in the backyard, when I am out photographing I'm energized by dynamic skies. Part of the challenge of photography is making compelling photographs in any conditions, telling the story of that moment in time. Sometimes that moment is a clear blue sky, but not on this trip. This story is of winter's grip along the wild Pacific Northwest coast.

Experiences: What Life's Really About

March 04, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

"Spiky Display" Aurora Borealis"Spiky Display" Aurora BorealisNote: To avoid cropping this photo when ordering, order a print size with a 2x3 ratio like 12x18, 16x24, or 20x30. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Do you adventure with children or know someone who does? This post is for you, so be sure to share. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are all important. My children will learn to be proficient in all three, but that is not why we chose to homeschool. We believe learning should be three dimensional. Learning should involve all of ones senses. To activate those senses we spend a lot of time in nature. We don't worry about dirty clothes or wet shoes. (Yes, I do a lot of laundry!) To truly learn one has to understand and what better way to understand then to touch and feel, listen, and taste. Together we have experienced some surreal events in nature while hopefully gaining a better understanding of the world around us. From watching the Northern Lights dance, to chasing lightning across the island, hiking in pink clouds at sunset, and watching the milky way rise over the mountains my boys have experienced some of nature's most jaw dropping moments instilling a deeper appreciate for the world around us while fueling their curiosity. 

"Lightning Strikes" Clinton Ferry Terminal on Whidbey Island"Lightning Strikes" Clinton Ferry Terminal on Whidbey IslandNote: To avoid cropping this photo when ordering, order a print size with a 2x3 ratio like 12x18, 16x24, or 20x30. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

When adventuring with children I have learned a few things. The better prepared I am, the smoother our adventure goes. For this post I want to share three of those tips with you to help make your time adventuring more successful. Let me prepare you first by stating that these are not earth shattering, no in fact these tips are more or less just common sense. However, they make all of our lives so much easier.

"Mountain Majesty" Clouds Part at Sunset on Mount Baker"Mountain Majesty" Clouds Part at Sunset on Mount BakerNote: To avoid cropping this photo when ordering, order a print size with a 2x3 ratio like 12x18, 16x24, or 20x30. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

First and I think most important is setting up a sense of adventure. Whether we are going to the local beach or head to the mountains building a sense of adventure keeps the kids tuned in to the area we have set out to explore. On one of our outings to Mount Baker conditions weren't great. I was getting tired and was ready to come home. However, I had promised an overnight adventure topped off with hot chocolate and pancakes in the morning. The kids were pumped. So we stayed. I captured some amazing images of the night's sky. In the morning I thanked my children for insisting, for seeing our adventure through to the end. Their faces beamed.

"Day's Final Breath" Mount Baker"Day's Final Breath" Mount BakerNote: To avoid cropping this photo when ordering, order a print size with a 2x3 ratio like 12x18, 16x24, or 20x30. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

My second tip is to bring food and dry clothes. Wet feet happen. For us they happen pretty often. And when feet get wet usually other items of clothing follow quickly behind. There is something about wet hungry children that really drags down the mood of the party. Instantly! Even on short hikes I try to pack a little snack. There is something magical that happens when kids get dry socks and a granola bar. Those simple little items help sustain them and keep the positive energy flowing.

Lastly, my third tip is to have an itinerary. Whether or not you stick too it that's not the point. Sitting down to write an itinerary mentally walks you through the outing. As you think about the setting, timeline, and purpose you will begin to visual the scene unfold. It is that visualization that will assist you later during your adventure as bumps occur or changes are made. Very few of our outings go according to plan, but that's ok. I feel better prepared to adjust our plan as needed. The less stress I feel the more fun we all have.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Do you have any tips or tricks to help insure a successful family adventure? I would love to hear them!



The Power of Home: Rural South Whidbey Island

February 26, 2018  •  1 Comment

Home: Home is a noun, an adjective, an adverb, and a verb. Home is so much more than just a place. It is a sense of belonging. We feel blessed to call South Whidbey Island home. For me it has been my home since I was four years old. Rural South Whidbey offers residents and visitors a chance to take their foot off the gas and breath. While island living isn't for everyone, visiting offers individuals and families an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Anytime is a great time to hop a ferry and come explore.

The Daytripper:

So you only have a day...no worries. So you are on a limited budget...don't fret. There are some great inexpensive and fun solutions. Leave your car and set out on an adventure to the town of Clinton. For most of the day the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry runs every half hour. In spring whales start to migrate through Puget Sound and can be spotted to a lucky observer from the during the ferry crossing. A little park located at the Clinton Ferry dock offers visitors access to the beach and picnicking area. Take a short walk up the hill to find restaurants and lattes, a park, library, local distillery and tasting room, and Make Whidbey a coffee shop and craft making place great for kids and adults.

Insider tip: Parking in Mukilteo can be a bit of a nightmare. If you wish to save some money or maybe just the hassle leave your car behind and utilize the transit system. Monday through Friday the Everett Transit runs a direct route to the Mukilteo Ferry from the Everett Station. The bus ride takes about 20 minutes. On weekends park at Olympic View Middle School just minutes from the ferry and catch the Community Transit. Bus and ferry fare for a family of four would be under $20.


The STAYcationer:

So you live Pacific Northwest. Your idea of an island vacation involves warm water and umbrella drinks. Well the weather in the Spring can be hit or miss, but South Whidbey won't disappoint. During the weekend local farms are open to visitors, like Glendale Shepard which is open on Sundays. On Saturdays and Sundays farmers markets in full swing, whale watching tours, horse shows at the Whidbey Island fairgrounds, art gallery showings, and kayaking. There are woodland trails to hike and beaches to explore. In Spring the flowers are blooming. Whales are spouting. The Northern Lights are dancing. Yes the Northern Lights otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis are visible from South Whidbey during especially active periods. South Whidbey Island has numerous bed & breakfasts, hotels, and VRBOs. Looking for an inexpensive option, the Island County Fairgrounds located a short walk from Langley offers full camping hook-ups for $25 a night.

Insider Tip: Interested in seeing the Aurora Borealis? Space weather has come along way, but the aurora is had to predict. Eastside beaches on Whidbey make for a great place to watch the Northern Lights during strong solar storms. Consider booking a hotel along the waterfront in Langley for a northeasterly view just in case.

South Whidbey Inside Scoop:

  • Mukilteo - Clinton Ferry is a busy ferry run. If you are planning to bring your vehicle across on the ferry try to steer clear of traveling at peak commuter times to avoid sitting in long ferry lines. The best time to travel to Whidbey is on weekday mornings or be an early riser on the weekend. Sundays can bring long ferry lines in Clinton as weekend visitors head home. Traffic cameras are available for both the Mukilteo and Clinton Ferry terminals if you wish to monitor the ferry lines.
  • South Whidbey has two state parks which offer hiking and beach access, Possession Point State Park and South Whidbey State Park. There is currently no camping at either park. Discover Pass is required.
  • The Port of South Whidbey maintains seven parks in the area that offer a variety of amenities from beach access, fishing, playgrounds, picnic tables, boat launch, and mooring docks.
  • South Whidbey Parks and Recreation maintains a couple of trail systems on the southend along with a bike and skate park, ball fields, and playgrounds.
  • South Whidbey is home to a variety of restaurants. You won't go hungry! In Clinton you will find Cozy's Roadhouse. It might sound like a rough place, but with its hearty chicken strips and smiley fries (yep, french fry smiley faces) for the kids, the locals find it a laid back place to dine. In Bayview there is Joe's Wood Fire pizza, Freeland has a taco truck, and in Langley my husband and I enjoy breakfast at The Braeburn. And I am only naming a few I think us Islanders must really like to eat!
  • Educational Opportunities: Wander the trails and explorer the Maxwelton Stream Restoration Project revitalizing the salmon run to the Maxwelton Valley. Visit the South Whidbey Historical Museum in Langley to learn about South Whidbey's rich history. Kayaking, glass blowing and whale watching tours can also be found in Langley.
  • Photography Tips: For sunrise head to an eastside beach over looking the the Cascades. Locations like Clinton (with the ferry) or Langley (with the marina) can make for dynamic scenes. Sunsets at low tide on the westside gives a photographer lots to work with. On grey, wet days break out the polarizer and try your luck in the rich green forests. As for the Northern Lights sign-up for an aurora alert app for your phone. That way you are prepared just in case. There is always something new to see. Bring lots of batteries.

Getting Here: The Mukilteo- Clinton Ferry run is one of three ways to access Whidbey Island. Central Whidbey is home to the Coupeville- Port Townsend Ferry and Deception Pass is located at the northend of the island.


On the Road Again: An Evening at Ruby Beach

February 16, 2018  •  1 Comment

A couple of years ago I thought I would start a blog about being a homeschooling mom photographer. I had a grand plan to share about all of our travels, the ins and outs of educating children while exploring the world around us. I wrote a couple of blogs and then there it sat for the last year and a half. I am going to be working on writing some curriculum both photography related and elementary school oriented. However, rather then trying to resurrect that blog I thought I would migrate the posts here to my already established blog on my website. Life is a little different for me now then it was two years ago. As a working artist I am trying to be more intentional about where I spend my time, focusing my efforts on my path as a photographer and educator. This maybe a fun blog post for those of you that know me as Holly, the lady that stays up all night. So here is that first post on the now deceased blog that I use to introduce myself and share a little 411 on a then recent adventure. Let me know what you think!

Hi and welcome!I'm excited to share this journey with you. I'm Holly, a wife and mother of three young boys. I have always dreamed of capturing compelling images as a way of documenting our life. As a former teacher with a Masters Degree in Education turned homeschooling mom who needed a creative outlet I began to pursue photography. My path has led me to create a blog with a desire to share my experiences and knowledge with you to encourage families to get outside and explore. Over the coming months I will share our adventures, some old some new, many from the Pacific Northwest which I call home. Thanks for joining me!

Ruby Beach, an easily accessible, protected, rugged coastline within the Olympic National Park is a photographers' paradise. Young and old alike are greeted with breathtaking views from the moment they step out of the car. From the parking lot take a short walk down the bluff trail to the rushing Cedar Creek. From there visitors are met with a sea of driftwood, a rocky shore that gives way to sandy flats at low tide, and views that go on for miles. The variety gave both the kids and I plenty to see and do.

For the boys throwing rocks, floating sticks, building forts, and damming creeks were high on the agenda. For me a coveted seastacks at Ruby Beach sunset was what I sought. Well with both the creek and the tide running high fording the creek to access the seastacks was not a well planned idea. Sometimes my "Mom" side trumps the "Photographer" in me and safety wins. (Note to self: Check the tides if you have small children and wish to access the northside of the beach in winter and spring when the creek is running high.) However, Ruby Beach is full of Plan B shots. I could shoot here for days and never run out of ideas. Seizing on a break in the weather from a pounding of rain and winter storms we would not hike back to the truck until almost dark. Soaked, sandy, and hungry it was a good evening on the beach.

Ruby Beach Inside Scoop:

  • Well maintained .25 mile trail with pit toilets at the trailhead.
  • Olympic National Park now offers an Ocean Stewards Jr. Ranger Program. A great accompaniment to your explorations. Visit the ONP website to learn more.
  • Abbey Island just off-shore is a sanctuary to migratory birds and sea life. Don't forget your binoculars.
  • "The name "Ruby Beach" is derived from reddish colored patches of sand that are particularly prevalent in this area. This color is due to concentrations of individual crystals of the relatively heavy, red-colored mineral, garnet."(Cited:WA DNR)
  • With a diverse geological make-up bring along a Pacific Northwest field guide to identifying pebbles. The ONP Ranger Station in Port Angeles has a great one available for purchase.
  • Destruction Island located roughly 3.5 miles off the coast was a working light station until 2008. It has an interesting and sometimes violent history.
  • Closest Campground: Kalaloch, open year round, utilizes a reservation system during summer months.
  • Pets are permitted on leash.
  • Backpacking between Ruby Beach and La Push requires a Olympic National Park Wilderness Camping Permit. Permits are available at park headquarters in Port Angeles.

Getting There: Ruby Beach is about a 30 minute outside of the town of Forks, WA on south Hwy 101. If driving north about 7 miles past Kalaloch Lodge. Located near mile marker 164 the entrance is a gravel road marked with a sign on the highway.



January February March (1) April (1) May June July August September October November (1) December
January February March April May (2) June (1) July August (2) September October (1) November (1) December
January (4) February (6) March (3) April May June July August September October November December