Lisa Mize Photography: Blog en-us (C) Lisa Mize Photography (Lisa Mize Photography) Fri, 12 Apr 2024 00:01:00 GMT Fri, 12 Apr 2024 00:01:00 GMT Lisa Mize Photography: Blog 120 80 “HOPE Out of Pain” Gallery I wanted to share my last in-person gallery with you. Since so many of you could not attend for many reasons, including not living anywhere near Seattle/Woodinville Washington I figured I could bring my gallery to you. Below is my introduction to the gallery and then I follow with the photos and the write-ups of each one. Please let me know if you connected with any of them! Thank you for stopping by! (All photos are for sale. Print or print with frame. Other sizes available! Just let me know!)


Dear Friends,
On September 28th, 2021, my 26-year-old son, Jake, died by suicide. Most of us have experienced grief in our life, and I would be honored if you would come along with me to connect in our moments of pain, our moments of processing and our moments of HOPEFULNESS. 

This gallery is titled “HOPE Out of Pain” and is dedicated to my Jake, who tragically lost his hope, but my desire in sharing it with you is to remind you and the world, that there is always hope, you just have to look for it.    

*10% of all proceeds from this show will go to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I am glad you are here,


Lisa’s motto is to “Live life with Strength, Love, and Adventure!” It is even tattooed on her arm as a daily reminder! Born and raised in Washington, and now living on Puget Sound on her boat, MV Our Dance, she seeks out any adventure outdoors: kayaking down a waterway, hiking and backpacking along endless trails, listening to the waves crash while sleeping on the beach, biking a gorgeous trail, traveling by motorhome in foreign countries, or just casting off lines to see where the Salish Sea takes her, but she is doing it all, camera in one hand and her husband’s hand in the other! 

As a local and world travel, landscape and portrait photographer, Lisa has a burning passion for photography and living a purposeful life. She loves sharing what she sees, feels, and experiences to bring the World to people who cannot see it themselves and then to inspire others to seek out their own beautiful places and adventures. After her son’s suicide, she is determined and driven to share and remind everyone that there IS still beauty, hope and good in this world! 
IG: @lisamizelandscapephotography 
FB: Lisa Mize Photography
[email protected]



Backlit Trees at Sunset

Skagit County, Washington

16x20 $595 framed -SOLD!/$445.95 print

Moments of Hopefulness: Winter trees bring the promise of new life in the spring. When they are backlit, the details often get lost, but that is because the LIGHT is actually more powerful in that moment. Light brings hope and comfort.



Waves Suspended in Time 3

Oregon Coast

8x12 $325 framed/$174.95 print

Moments of Processing: While processing grief, time can slow down or even stand still. You can see tiny fragments, overwhelming power, but even light and peacefulness too.



Waves Suspended in Time 2

Oregon Coast

8x12 $325 framed/$174.95 print

Moments of Processing: While processing grief, time can slow down or even stand still. You can see tiny fragments, overwhelming power, but even light and peacefulness too.



Waves Suspended in Time 1

Oregon Coast

8x12 $325 framed/$174.95 print

Moments of Processing: While processing grief, time can slow down or even stand still. You can see tiny fragments, overwhelming power, but even light and peacefulness too.



The Very End of the Day

Oregon Coast

12x18 $495 framed -SOLD!/$345.95 print

Moments of Hopefulness: Sharp rocks can cause pain, but they hold and protect the life that is attached to them as they wait until the sea returns to bring the nourishment they need to survive another day.




Overbearing Beauty

Mountain at St. Mary Lake, Glacier NP, Montana

12x18 $495 framed /$345.95 print

Moments of Pain: Up close it’s overwhelming, huge, rugged, painful, unclear, but it’s amazingly beautiful if you step back, even for a moment, to remind yourself to see the whole picture.



Carving Out a Way

Kootenai Main Falls, Montana

12x18 $495 framed/$345.95 print

Moments of Processing: The water wears down the land as it makes its way, just as grief carves out a permanent place in our life, but the carved way can still be strong and beautiful.



A New Path Through Life

Silver Falls Loop Trail, Ohanapecosh River. Mt. Rainier

12x18 $495 framed -SOLD!/$345.95 print

Moments of Processing: It’s a new path, an unknown path. You could focus on your steps, but you’ll miss the beauty everywhere. Focus on your breath. Look for the light coming through the trees. Look for the life all around you. Breathe deeply.



Layers and Layers

Kootenai Falls, Montana

12x18 $495 framed /$345.95 print

Moments of Pain: Layers and layers of grief flow over us, sometimes in a trickle, sometimes rushing uncontrollably and we are just trying to catch our breath, but water is also cleansing.



Mountain Prominences

Lake McDonald, Glacier NP, Montana

12x18 $495 framed /$345.95 print

Moments of Pain: Rugged, sharp, hard. There is darkness where the light does not touch, but the softness of new snow and the reflecting light create an incredible beauty.




Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

12x18 $495 framed /$345.95 print

Moments of Hopefulness: After a dormant, almost deathlike winter, spring comes and brings new life, new vibrancy. A hopefulness fills you for the next season of your life.





Lake McDonald, Glacier NP, Montana

10x20 $450 framed/$305.95

Moments of Processing: “Blue hour” happens twice a day and it brings feelings of comfort and peace. It only lasts moments but those short moments are sweet gifts.


First Light

Mount Rainier and Little Tipsoo Lake

12x18 $495 framed /$345.95 print

Moments of Pain: The nights are long and dark. You wake to darkness. Finally the light arrives and it shows itself in an amazing way. The light is coming, keep your eyes to the light.



Sunset At Whaleshead Beach

Brookings, Oregon

16x20 $595 framed/$445.95 print

Moments of Hopefulness: The warmth of the setting sun is like a wonderful hug. It provides a close to the day with the promise of a new day to follow. These colors remind me of the beauty and hope that will be here tomorrow.


Lost at Sea

Oregon Coast

8x10 $295 framed/$124.95 print

Moments of Pain: The feeling of being completely lost, alone. Weeds can entangle and pull you down, but even a glimmer of light can help you stay focused.



Smooth Chaos

Kootenai Falls, Montana

8x12 $325 framed /$174.95 print

Moments of Processing: At first glance it feels like chaos, like there is no order, but if you focus long enough, the colors and the smoothness reveal their order and you can see the direction.


(Lisa Mize Photography) "child explore grief hope after death hope after pain hope after suicide how to deal with my child's suicide learning to live after suicide learning to live within pain life after my child's suicide look for the good after suicide mom of suicide montana montana photographer montana photography montana photos mother of a suicide Oregon photographer Oregon photography oregon photos pain pain in photography photographer photography photos of pain prevent suicide processing grief processing suicide suicide suicide awareness suicide grief suicide survivor suicide" surviving after suicide travel writer washington photographer washington photography washington photos Fri, 18 Aug 2023 13:50:32 GMT
Seeing the Good While in the Journey of Pain and Grief “Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.”

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

These two quotes from Brené Brown, have been speaking to me in a deep way.

I have decided to publicly, for the first time, talk about my son's suicide. Tears well up in my eyes as I type this. It's been a long, painful journey over these last 16 months. It is not a secret I keep, and I know we need to talk more openly about suicide, I just, well, I couldn't. 

I will share the realness of my pain, I will not sugar coat it and no, I will not "just get over it."  I hate the phrase, "Choose Joy." How am I supposed to just, "choose joy" when the pain runs so deep? If I can't "choose joy" does that mean I am doing it "wrong?" "Time heals all wounds." What amount of time? "He is in a better place." No, his place is here. Did you notice all of the quotation marks, along with all the multitudes of other "shoulds" and clichés that go along with grief and death? They are exhausting, frustrating and full of lies.

Yeah, part of my journey is recognizing just that...this is MY JOURNEY. No one else's. I have fully embraced that, and I am learning to live within my grief and pain, knowing this is not something that will one day end. The love for a child never just evaporates. I look forward to maybe just a little less pain when I think about my Jake and the pain that he was in, that he thought the only way out, was to take his life.

In Jake's goodbye letter, he mentioned that (my interpretation) he could not see the good in the world anymore. He saw no beauty, only the harshness of people. I have taken this idea to help drive my photography these last 16 months. I want to show all the Jake's of this world  that there is so much beauty and still so much good, you just need to look. 

My counselor at the time, encouraged me to do some of my processing with my camera. I had a difficult time raising my camera to my eye early on, but I knew I could use my smart phone to give this a try. But, how do I tell the story of the pain I was in? On my, almost daily walks at the marina, where I live, I started to see pain, or more so, things that can bring me pain so I started photographing those. Here are some of the photos I took.


Unending sharp, cutting thorns.


Huge, deep cutting thorns.


Barnacles that scrape and can draw blood.


Rocks that can break bones, scrapes and cuts.


Water that can drown or sink a ship.


Those captures helped me with seeing the pain. But, wait. What else do these thing offer? 

I needed to see the good too.

The first thorns come from one of the most fragrant rose bushes I have ever encountered. The aroma greets me when they are in bloom and their season is long. It is candy for my eyes with the gorgeous colors.

The second large thorns are blackberry bushes that bring nice juicy fruits for cobblers, pies and pancake toppings or, just the pure joy of picking some alongside the path for a sweet moment.

The barnacles contain life and they help keep our waters filtered and they are an important role in the food chain, plus they are fun to listen to and also watch when they are active.

The rocks provide shelter for little critters to live and stay protected from those who want to eat them and they provide a surface for other life to also live. Rocks can also hold up hillsides and structures, like these rocks that keep the train tracks above them, safe and sturdy.

We need water to just survive, to grow crops, to provide a home to so many living creatures from tiny plankton to the Antarctic Blue whale weighing 400,000 pounds. Also, water allows me to live on a boat and go on many adventures.

Are you following me? There is pain in this world. We all have pain of some sort and most also have grief. Don't hurry and try to get "through it" or "to the other side." You just can't. Know it's okay to sit with pain and grief, but seek healing and learn how to handle it. Don't ignore the hard stuff and try to bury it away. Be vulnerable like Brené talks about. Talk to others, be courageous. It is NOT weakness. It is hard and it hurts, but only good can come from healing and learning to just be. 

Remember, there really is good and beauty in the world, you just have to look for it. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable with you and in a very public way. I do not take this lightly. It is now part of my journey.



(Lisa Mize Photography) child suicide explore how to deal with my child's suicide learning to live after suicide learning to live within pain life after my child's suicide look for the good after suicide mother of a suicide pain pain in photography photography photos of pain suicide suicide survivor surviving after suicide travel writer Tue, 31 Jan 2023 22:21:42 GMT
Four Ways to Photograph One Scene A simple way to improve your photography is by shooting multiple shots of the same scene, but in a different way.

When I stumble upon or go to a planned location that I wish to capture, I first take in the whole scene. What am I seeing? A main subject? Special lighting? Reflections? Colors? What is it exactly that draws me to this scene?

Once I have identified that, I start deciding how I am going to share this little story and I go through these steps to make sure I capture what I desire.

1. Take a full, widest angle you can of the scene. Capture it all. Now, was it too much? A little messy or busy? Did you need that wide angle to tell the story you want to share? That answer could be yes, but let's try some more!



2. Now, tighten up that view a little bit.  Can you see clearly what you are trying to capture or is it still lost in the bigger scene? Maybe it's perfect.


3. Next, come in tight. Focus on the one object you chose. Did it pull away from everything around it? Does it look like it is the star of the show or does it need a little bit more of the story around it, brought back into the view? 


4. Be sure to turn your camera into the vertical position too. Sometimes that allows you to isolate or focus on your main subject and can give a different feel all together.


Look at what you captured. Did the close-up surprise you with a "stronger" image or maybe did it lose something? On your widest angle, did you happen to see things on the outside edges of the images that did not contribute anything to your scene or maybe it was exactly as needed.

Which angle (telephoto, vertical, horizontal, or wide-angle) captured what you wanted to freeze in time?

What is amazing, is that this will change every time! Continue to practice all four steps as you are out and about with your smart phone or your camera. You will find that this becomes second nature to you. You will eventually start seeing the shots in your mind, but I still encourage you to try out these different steps. Someday you will be sad that you didn't get a vertical shot of that one scene that would have been perfect on that magazine cover! ;)

Oh! By the way, these photos were all shot with my iPhone 12 PM on a gorgeous morning in spectacular golden light! 

Below is another example of getting multiple shots of one location to find your favorite composition and story to tell!





(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures beginning photographer beginning photography landscape photography simple steps for beginning photography Washington Thu, 26 Jan 2023 22:37:54 GMT
Looking for the Light The word Photography literally means 'drawing with light'. A photographer is always "looking for the light" and then trying to capture it!

There are many types of light and I will go through a non-exhaustive list with you!

Bright Sunlight or Hard Light: often in the middle of the day that causes harsh shadows, and direct or concentrated light spread. This light can be difficult to photograph depending on your subject. Other times it's just perfect when you want to capture blue bird skies or even stormy clouds! The following two photos are from the Palouse region in Eastern Washington. The first is just full sun. The second has a concentrated light and shadows.



Golden Light or Golden Hour: this warm glow happens almost magically in the morning, during the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Most photographers seek out this lighting! This warm glow can truly add magic to a photo! Also, this is great light for breathtaking portrait photography! These next two photos are of that morning golden light that add such richness.



Sunrise and Sunset: this light can cast long shadows as the light is low to the horizon. They can be any color you can think of, pinks, purples, yellows and oranges. The colors can add so much to a scene! Have you ever seen a sunrise or sunset you didn't like? Me either! :) In the next two photos you can see the differences in the colors that can show up for sunrises and sunsets!

Blake Sunrise with Rainier Lisa MizeBlake Sunrise with Rainier Lisa Mize


Blue Hour: this light happens just before sunrise and then after sunset. It makes the sky a beautiful blue. It only lasts for maybe 20 minutes, so you need to be quick, but the experience and images are truly amazing! As you can see in the next photos that blue hour can be absolutely beautiful!

Blake Island view of Seattle Lisa MizeBlake Island view of Seattle Lisa Mize


Diffused Light or Soft Light: this light happens when there is cloud cover and the light is evenly spread, softening shadows. This is perfect outdoor, portrait lighting! It also is good for many outdoor scenes like in the woods, long exposures, crashing seas and especially when you don't need an interesting sky in whatever you are photographing. Sometimes there is even color in the diffused light! 



Flat Light: this is when there is no distinct contrast in the scene. Everything just seems to be the same, the highlights and the shadows. This is different from the lovely diffused light I just mentioned. I have been in beautiful places and have taken photos and realized something is is most often that the lighting is "flat" and it is not providing the "pop" needed to make a scene stand out and come to life. As you can see, this is a beautiful place in the Hoh Rainforest, but this day was just, well, flat so the photos have no heart almost!



Start training your eyes to look for the light! Often, when I am with other people, I will point out the light around us, hoping they will see the beauty too! They often hadn't even noticed!

As you look for the light, what do you see? Do you see cool patterns from shadows because the sun is bright? Are the moss and trees dripping with beauty because the light is diffused or soft? What scene can you set up with that gorgeous sunrise or sunset as your backdrop? What can you capture with that beautiful golden light that just warms you to the core?

Light is a necessary part of photography. As you learn it, your images will only get better!






(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures beginning beginning photography blue hour diffused light explore flat light golden hour landscape light and photography photographer" photography photography light Seattle travel travel photography understanding photography light understanding the different types of light in photography Washington Thu, 26 Jan 2023 00:10:49 GMT
Winter Blakation “Our Dance” Visit to Blake Island Marine State Park in March

Waking up Friday morning, I asked Johnny, “Where can we go?” It’s supposed to be so beautiful this coming weekend, so we decided on a “Blakation” as the boating community calls a trip over to Blake Island.

We pulled into the marina and two bald eagles greeted us in a tree close to shore.

The deer were grazing, the Canada geese were honking, kids were playing and running around while the adults looked on. Some folks had grabbed dock carts and were hauling their camping gear out to the campsites and Mount Rainier (Tahoma) stood in her place at the end of Puget Sound. Friendly boaters were helping the newcomers by catching lines as they came in. The iconic Washington State Ferries were busy on their routes to the north and to the south of the island. Container ships were anchored out in view, waiting their turn to be unloaded in Seattle.

It’s winter in Seattle, but the sun was out. The blue skies and puffy white clouds filled our windless view.

I found a huge sunbeam on “Our Dance’s” party deck, as we call it. Relaxing and reading was about all I had on my to do list this day.

As the sun was setting, the sky came alive with purples and pinks. The docks had quieted down as most people were serving up dinner. I walked out to the beach to photograph the skies over the Seattle skyline. Turning to the south, the majestic Mount Rainier was draped with the colors of the sunset and the Vashon ferry was running its route, right in front of the mountain. I just stood there for a moment saying to myself, “We live in an amazing place.” DSC_8238DSC_8238 DSC_8259DSC_8259

I turned back toward Seattle. The pinks and purples had disappeared, but what was appearing right before me was BLUE! Blue everywhere! The sky, the water, everything. It felt like it had enveloped me too! I do love the blue hour when everything seems to change into the most calming and peaceful color. DSC_8280DSC_8280

Johnny was manning the BBQ and grilling up fish and veggies for dinner. We happily enjoyed our meal next to our propane fire on the party deck. Soon the cards came out for a “friendly” game that I lost terribly!!!

I almost woke too late the next morning as the sky was already filling with color! Pinks, purples, oranges! It was crazy cold and about 36 degrees. The main dock was extremely slippery with frost. I carefully managed my way across and headed to the beach to find some interesting compositions for the sunrise. I was hoping to include Mount Rainier, too! With all the driftwood, the gorgeous trees, tall grasses, rocks, sand and shells definitely made my composition hunting pretty easy! It was just a spectacular morning. DSC_8308DSC_8308 DSC_8309DSC_8309 DSC_8354DSC_8354 DSC_8379DSC_8379 DSC_8388DSC_8388 DSC_8407DSC_8407

Hiking was on our list while at Blake. Eight miles to choose from, plus five miles of beach! We set out for a couple hours enjoying the beautifully maintained, but sometimes VERY muddy trails. Sunny skies, cool air and no wind made for a lovely hike.

Naps and rests on the deck, with the sun on our face, warmed us to our core. Lovely….

There was not the most spectacular of sunsets, but the blue hour was again, gorgeous. I decided to do some long exposure photography to capture the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle, the Sound, and the perfect blue that blanketed everything in sight. Blake Island view of Seattle Lisa MizeBlake Island view of Seattle Lisa Mize DSC_8438DSC_8438 DSC_8443DSC_8443 DSC_8450DSC_8450

The racoons are often on the move in the evening, though during the day now, more and more, looking for free food! They will actually climb aboard boats to find food. The new folks to Blake might not know this yet and will often donate a loaf of bread or other treat to their newfound “friends”.

The docks had cleared earlier in the day, leaving about eight boats for Saturday night. The marina was much quitter than the active docks from the night before. We knew rain was coming on Sunday so we decided that writing, photo editing, planning and researching boat projects and of course naps would make for a great day while at Blake. We decided to stay until Monday!

I didn’t even set an alarm for sunrise, as I knew the rain was moving in, but WOW! Was I taken by surprise! Thankfully, it was daylight savings time that morning, so my body woke me up in plenty of time to see the sky filling with bright yellows, oranges, reds, and purples. I was in awe. What an amazing surprise for sure! Out I went for sunrise photos. There was no way I wasn’t capturing this! All of the campers were gone and no boaters were out yet, so I had the entire beach to myself. I watched Mount Rainer wake up and come alive. I watched the sun break above the Cascade Mountains and the Seattle hills. I saw the first, warm, morning light hit the amazing red barked madrone trees. Once again, I paused and said to myself, “We live in an amazing place!” Blake Sunrise with Rainier Lisa MizeBlake Sunrise with Rainier Lisa Mize DSC_8469DSC_8469 DSC_8500DSC_8500 DSC_8512DSC_8512

Minutes after I got back to the boat, the rains came as predicted. We never mind the rains (We do live in the PNW!) as they are so cleansing, and they also give us time to focus on maybe more pressing matters and chores as we are not itching to go play in the sun!

We had rain and high winds all day.

Monday morning, we were on our way home. We were going to take the long way home by going around Bainbridge Island to burn some fuel. (We need to do a repair on a tank and we need less fuel in that tank!) As we started around the island I asked, “Any reason we have to go home?” “Nope,” was the answer so we headed to Poulsbo for a night! We love Poulsbo! Great food, great beer, great coffee!

After we tied up and paid the guy at the port, who by the way, tried to get us to stay longer by enticing us with, “What is better than a bunch of drunk Vikings?” We headed into town to get some coffee at our favorite coffee shop, Hot Shots Java. We did a little browsing in a couple shops too. We walked up to the Red Western Brewery (our favorite in Poulsbo) and Johnny had a beer. They have a lovely outside seating area with heaters and an adorable fence, made from, yeah…cedar!

Johnny had a call to take back at the boat, so I stayed in town and did some shopping. This is not my norm, but I was looking for some writing journals that were “just the right size.” I was also on the lookout for a Birds of Puget Sound book. We see so many, I want to be able to identify them easily. I was thrilled to find both! Thankfully, Poulsbo has a couple of wonderful bookstores! (A Way With Words and Liberty Bay Books.)  I also found a sweet gift for a dear friend. It was a locally written book that seemed to be written about her!

We decided to get some dinner at the Brass Kraken Pub so we could sit outside and watch the sun lower in the sky. Our server was fantastic!

We were the only ones on the whole dock! It was pretty fun!

The next morning, we decided that yeah, we should probably actually go home and that is what we did. What a wonderful get-away. The Puget Sound is an awesome place to live!

(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures Blake Island boat boating boats explore landscape photographer photography Poulsbo power boats Puget Sound sail boats sailing Seattle travel travel photography travel writer Washington Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:26:59 GMT
Adventuring at the Quileute Oceanside Resort (Pub. Explore WA State) It is not very often that a location checks off everything on my list of desires for an adventure, but the Quileute Oceanside Resort did just that! Anxious to spend some time on the Pacific Ocean, my list included being on the beach, camping, low light pollution for stargazing, great amenities, and a fabulous base camp location for hiking and exploring the Olympic Peninsula.

This well-maintained property is located in La Push, about 20 minutes from Forks and US-101. On the Quileute Nation’s land, the tribe has called this land home since time immemorial and is rich in history and tradition. The tribe chose to open the resort on the mile long First Beach to invite others to visit and be able to experience their amazing land. It is an absolute honor to be welcomed to stay here. The ever-picturesque James Island, or A-Ka-Lat, is of great importance to the tribe, and it makes an amazing addition to the sunsets, though please remember no one is allowed on the islands as they are sacred. Check out to learn more about these amazing people, their stories and traditions.

Resort Amenities

The resort offers every comfort level including deluxe and standard oceanfront cabins, two oceanfront motel units, camper cabins and now, two full-service RV parks, and for those roughing it, tenting is also available! All the rental units have a fully stocked kitchen, beautiful Native American décor and historic photos of the location. Many units have ocean views, but all are just a few steps to the beach. Two things that are wonderfully missing from the resort are Wi-Fi and TV’s and the only cell carrier is Verizon. The Lonesome Creek store has any last minute or forgotten items, including ice! A lovely, onsite coffee stand is available to fix your caffeine cravings. Laundry facilities, bathrooms and showers are available at the north end. In the camping area at the south end, there are additional porta potties that are regularly cleaned and maintained, and fire rings are available at each campsite too.

Start your day with coffee on the beach or on your private deck and watch the sun cast its first light onto James Island. After that, the options are endless! There are sandcastles to build, beach walks to take, kites to fly, driftwood forts to build, or a beach blanket and a book might be your pace. And First Beach is a great place for surfing! It is a fun time just watching these brave athletes and rooting them on to find the perfect wave. Look for whales while you soak in the view of the crashing waves and listen to the sound the rocks make as the waves are carried back out into the ocean. Play fetch with your four-legged friend as there is no shortage of the perfect sized stick! Ride bikes through the resort. After dinner (do check out the Rivers Edge Restaurant that is just a short walk away by the marina) enjoy a campfire or even a fire on the beach while watching the sunset! (Be sure to pick up a fire permit for beach fires at the office and bring your own wood as there is no burning of driftwood.) After dark, the stars fill the sky. The light pollution here is so low it is an amazing location for stargazing!

This is an all-weather resort. In the spring, the Quileute Tribe has a yearly welcoming of the whales event! In fact, winter may even be better than summer as the storm watching from the comfort of your rental is unbeatable. Crack open those windows and just listen! It’s a wonderful time to make more memories as you bring out the puzzles, the board and card games and snuggle in next to the fireplace. Don’t forget the hot chocolate. I do encourage you to still head out to the beach, just dress accordingly and keep an eye on the tide. 

Beach Recommendations

As I mentioned before, Quileute Oceanside Resort makes a great base camp for the vast and spectacular Olympic Peninsula! If you can pull yourself away from the resort there is so much to see, adventure and explore! For hikers, I recommend going to Second Beach. It is a short hike down to this magnificent beach which is also a great location for an easy backpacking trip to spend a night or two directly on the beach. Third Beach is a little longer hike, but well worth every step through the gorgeous forest. Be sure to find the waterfall! Second and Third Beach can be walked to from the resort on a trail or they are a very short drive away.

Rialto Beach is a fantastic Beach that you can see from the end of the resort and the Quileute Marina, but you must drive about five miles inland to cross the Quillayute River that dumps into the Pacific Ocean at that location. Back out on US-101 there is Ruby Beach, though it is closed right now until September. Kalaloch Beach is where you can find the Tree of Life, something you definitely want to see! For more beach exploring, check out Kalaloch Beach 3, Beach 4, and hidden Beach 6! Look for the Big Cedar tree too, on the east side of US-101!

Explore The Area

Another gem is our Olympic National Park which is pure awesomeness! The Hoh Rainforest is a marvelous experience! There is the short .8-mile Hall of Mosses trail and the Spruce Nature Trail at 1.2 miles. If you want to hike further the Hoh River trail is a fantastic option. Many backpackers use that trailhead to get deep into the Park. Another option for going into the National Park is the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and Campground which has three mineral soaking pools and a freshwater pool for day use. Further up the road, be sure not to miss the 1.6-mile round trip hike to the breathtaking Sol Duc Falls. You won’t regret that decision. 

When you check out, don’t forget to pick up a souvenir, art, book or some jewelry at the beautifully stocked office and welcome center, and please, be sure to review the Tribe’s Photography and Video Policy at

The Quileute Oceanside Resort really does check all the boxes and it is definitely a yearround location! One hint, book EARLY! The resort fills up quickly as it is loved by many that return repeatedly. A true gift to us all from the Quileute Tribe.


(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures beach Camping explore Forks landscape Milky Way photography Quilleute resorts sunsets travel travel photography travel writer Washington Washington Coast Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:18:47 GMT
Go on a Mystery Picnic as Published in Explore WA State

Mystery Picnic. 

Those two words were just too intriguing. The marketing worked and I stopped scrolling! is a website full of pre-prepared adventures for you and your partner, family, or friends to experience! I decided to book the Leavenworth “Mystery Picnic with Friends” and I (easily) convinced both my good friend and my mom to go with me on this totally new to us adventure! 

I picked a date on AmazingCo’s calendar and booked online. Super easy. There is a minimum of two adults for $90 and each additional person is $45. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are included for no extra charge! I quickly got an email apology stating that that there was an error in their calendar and that our picnic was actually not available on the date I chose. When they had me call to fix their error, a team member answered quickly and they were super helpful and friendly while getting our new date reserved.

Leavenworth mystery picnic

I started out early from Seattle and picked up my travel buddies as we headed over Highway 2 toward Leavenworth. We stopped at the Nason Creek Rest Stop and our adventure started earlier than expected! We met a super friendly Austin Healey Car Club and they allowed us to sit in the cars, pose for endless photos, and answered all our questions. Had we not signed up for AmazingCo’s adventure, we would have never experienced this! After we got our fill of feeling like Hollywood celebrities, we needed to know where to start our Mystery Picnic so I pulled out my phone and we accessed our first puzzle! Of course, I will not divulge the puzzles nor the answers, but know they are definitely fun for sure! 

Once we got the answer, we put the location into our phone and drove to that spot to find parking (Not a problem on an early morning on a Thursday, in Leavenworth). AmazingCo had recommended bringing a small cooler bag to carry with ice packs to keep our mystery foods cold. Great call. 

Off we went to our first location and we picked up our first food item! In the bag it went! Hitting next on the phone moved us on to the next puzzle. We stood on the sidewalk and talked through the new puzzle. I am sure anyone who overheard us talking in hushed tones and half sentences might have been a little concerned that we were overheated and needed water, but we got it! There ARE hints available, and if you are STILL stuck, the answer is on the next screen. We mapped the second location and headed down the street.

drinks in Leavenworth on the mystery picnic
desserts in Leavenworth

Stopping to shop and browse as you go along is a wonderful way to extend the day and AdventureCo even gives a couple of ideas of other businesses to check out around each mystery location. This is a perfect way to explore new places you might have never been. There is always wine tasting, but have you ever been to an oil and vinegar tasting? Check out The Oil and Vinegar Cellar and prepare for culinary amazingness! For the geeks in your group, head to the Krampus Kave to wonder and maybe find a new board game to take home. For the artisan in you, be sure to go to the fair trade and non-profit Jubilee. Support an amazing cause and take something unique and beautiful back home or buy a gift for a loved one. If you are on a date, I highly recommend heading over to A Book for All Seasons to browse and maybe pick up a book of poetry to read aloud to your love during your picnic. Swoon…

Dessert in Leavenworth
desserts in Leavenworth

We had two more mystery food locations to solve for and then the last location was their recommendation for enjoying the bounty we just collected. Even though they recommended a fabulous location we chose to enjoy our picnic and our afternoon together right in Leavenworth’s Front Street Park downtown. I ran back to the car to get our blanket, tablecloth, plates, knives, cheese board, and my own choice of wine that I brought from one of my favorite winemakers from Marrowstone Vineyards in Nordland, WA. (AmazingCo also has an option for adding wine to your adventure for $35.) It ended up we needed a second bottle (Don’t you always?), so my friend ran across the street to one of the wineries and bought another chilled bottle…heaven… You can always add a stop and visit Schocolat. Pick out one piece, if you have that kind of self-control, or buy an entire box. Enjoy these traditional Belgian style truffles and bon-bons. They will compliment your picnic and just might be pure perfection. 

We truly enjoyed our amazing mystery foods and the amounts were all extremely generous. 

Based on our experience, I have two recommendations. The first would be to bring some fruit with you as I think that would have rounded out our nosh perfectly. The next is simply to take your time. Don’t push straight through. It would be over too quickly. Part of the adventure is what you bring to it, so be sure to enjoy the other business recommendations or find your own as you are strolling about. 

Some things that I LOVED about this adventure included the easiness of it all. You pay when you reserve and that is it. We also got to meet some awesome workers at the different mystery locations. They made us smile! The last thing I loved was that I went into SIX new businesses in Leavenworth that I have never been to before, either through the mystery locations or stores we found as we were strolling. 

AmazingCo has other experiences like whole Weekend Mysteries, Murder Mysteries, at home activities like Game Nights and Foodie Fun Nights! They are adding some new adventures that I really want to try, like a Secret Menu Taster or a Drink Discovery Walk, some right in my own neighborhood! They are working diligently to add new locations and events!

AmazingCo opportunities are all over the United States and even in Australia and the United Kingdom! What a fabulous way to get intimate with a new location you are moving to or just visiting! 

Give this a try! I am not sure an adventure could be any easier!

Meat and cheese in Leavenworth on the mystery picnic
Mystery picnic in Ellensburg


(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures explore food Leavenworth picnic picnics Seattle travel photography travel writer Washington Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:14:50 GMT
Top Six Reasons to Live on a Boat as published in Explore Washington State You know how life just changes right in front of you? Sometimes you just stand there and go, “Well! So much for THAT plan.” We were in that place. We sold our money pit of a house, moved closer to parents to help them and rented. Six months later, parents did not need our help as before, so we could live anywhere! 

We have many dear friends that live on boats and we have talked for a few years about joining them. Now was the perfect time! We bought a great boat, moved aboard and have never looked back. Here are some of our top reasons for living on a boat.

Our Dance boat in Bell Harbor Washington

6. Decrease Monthly Expenses

The thought of living a lifestyle that we crave while decreasing our regular daily expenses seems like a dream, right? We found out that it can be done! Monthly moorage is less expensive than renting a land-based home (or a mortgage). Our heating bill is much lower, as is electricity and natural gas (now propane). Even our garbage and water bills are included in our moorage. We have found that we eat out less because we already have THE BEST waterfront view while dining!

Sunrise in San Juans, Washington

5. Embracing Minimalism and Helping Our Planet

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life,” says Marie Kondo, organizing consultant and author of “Spark Joy.”

Minimalism is the rage right now. Less stuff = a better life. We could not agree more! It is absolutely astonishing what we actually do not need in our lives. Getting rid of extra “stuff” can bring tremendous peace. The freedom I felt while purging to get ready to move on a boat was immeasurable! (Even if you do not plan to move onto a boat, I highly recommend purging unneeded stuff from your life. You can thank me later!)

Minimalism goes hand and hand with helping to leave less of a “footprint” on our beautiful planet. Using less water, less fuel, less power, and buying less stuff that eventually ends up in a landfill is an impactful and simple way to help the environment and our little corner of the world.

seal and pups in Washington

4. The Wildlife

Your windows become your own National Geographic WILD channel!!! Every day you get to see the amazing life that lives in Puget Sound. All kinds of ducks, birds, eagles, seals and pups, otters, sea lions, and on extra special days, porpoises and occasionally even a humpback, gray, minke or a pod of orca whales!!!

We saw this seal and pup while kayaking by the San Juan Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Blake Island Marina in Washington

3. Meeting Really Cool People

We grew up knowing everyone on our street, but we had not experienced that in years. Moving onto a boat introduces you to like-minded people and to an amazing community! We have found the community friendly, willing to help at a moment’s notice like catching lines as you dock on a very windy day, loaning tools, helping troubleshoot system problems and sharing knowledge from experience.

Planned and unplanned dock parties are the norm, sometimes with live music! Potluck dinners with way too many people smashed into a boat are some of my favorite memories in the marina. (We look forward to post COVID-19 so we can get back to this part of our life!)

Lisa Mize boat yoga in Washington

2. Learning New Things…Constantly

There is no shortage for learning when owning and living on a boat. There are so many systems! Septic systems, electrical, battery, structural, engines, generators and if a sailboat, all the rigging and sails. (Do you know that there are HOLES in your boat! UNDER the waterline! Talk about learning!) Remember the really cool people from number three? They are invaluable as is YouTube! As my husband says, “You should always keep learning until the day you die.” Boat life gives you ample opportunities to learn and stretch your mind. “WOW! I did that,” will start flowing from your mouth. Doing new things that you can be proud of is limitless! Learning to drive, dock, undock, and sail are more skills to learn. We highly recommend taking some good classes and learn about safety while aboard.

Sydney Islands Gulf Island Washington


Our number one, hands down, best reason to live on a boat is the adventures! You get to go to extraordinary places, some only accessible by boat. There are many Washington State Parks that are available all over the Puget Sound, including the world-renowned San Juan Islands. (Hint: Buy a yearly park pass. They pay for themselves after seven nights!) We found that visiting little towns that we normally would not drive to is a blast! Finding interesting small-town shops, specialty local food shops, tasty restaurants, new artists, comfortable “local” bars, live music, breweries, wineries and distilleries make for fascinating adventures. Be sure to ask a local for what you are looking for. They usually let you in on local secrets and most often, those are NOT in the travel brochures! We have adopted this method as we travel, and some of our best experiences have been because of asking a local a simple question. 

The Puget Sound and the Salish Sea have countless miles to explore. There are adorable anchorages in hidden coves, energized marinas and everything in between. The biggest question you will face is “What type of adventure am I looking for this weekend?” Do you want to try out a new brewery or do you just need some peace and tranquility and maybe a killer sunset? Maybe you are craving a lovely bay to drop in your stand-up paddleboard or kayak to get in some paddle time! 

Each morning, we are greeted by the Olympic Mountains. We watch breathtaking sunsets when the weather and skies gift us one. We hear the calls of the seagulls and ducks on the breakwater and watch them float down the fairway. We greet our neighbors as we pass on the docks. Next weekend’s plans are being made… yeah, best decision ever!


(Lisa Mize Photography) adventures boat work boating boats live aboards power boat sail boat sailing Seattle travel photography travel writer Washington Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:12:56 GMT
A Weekend Adventure at Blake Island Marine State Park (Pub. Explore WA State) *Update since this writing: Argosy no longer has boats that go to Blake Island and the Cafe is also closed indefinitely. 

Twenty-seven minutes to paradise. That is it. Twenty-seven minutes. Okay, it’s Blake Island Marine State Park, but to us, it’s a local paradise. Your arrival at the island puts you directly into another world. You will be greeted with grazing deer, possibly a bald eagle, the sounds of birds chirping and the waves crashing over the rocks on the beach. There are families interacting and playing and the views are well, magnificent. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Well, it gets better!

Blake Island view of Seattle

How To Get To Blake Island

Getting to Blake Island is part of the adventure! The only way to get there is by boat. We usually take our private boat to Blake Island for what the locals call “A Blakation,” but this time we let someone else drive! If you do not own your own boat or are not lucky enough to have a friend that owns a boat, the Argosy Cruises added a fast foot ferry to their fleet last year that runs hourly from Pier 54 in Seattle, every weekend from April through October. During the summer, the ferry runs five days a week. You can purchase single round trip tickets ($29 RT), or they have a discounted five trip pass ($125) and an unlimited seasonal pass ($250). Be sure to book your roundtrip on their website!

As you depart the Pier, the view of Seattle, the Space Needle, the Great Wheel and the Seattle waterfront adds something special to the beginning of your experience. It still gets me every time and I am a local! We enjoyed every minute of the ride. The crew was fun, informative and you could tell that they love their job!

Blake Island

Explore The Trails

If you only have a day to spend at Blake, I highly recommend exploring the five miles of beaches and choosing any of the 8 miles of hiking trails throughout the entire island. Hint: If it has been raining, it can be extremely muddy on the island. Have appropriate footwear! If you are into mountain biking, they even have seven and a half miles of bike trails for you to traverse! There is plenty of wildlife to search for on the island including black tail deer, eagles, osprey, geese (beware of these guys during nesting season… just trust me), racoons (don’t leave ANY food out unattended!) and even river otters! There are guided nature hikes during the summer if you would like to learn more about the wildlife and plants on this amazing island. ($20 for 1.5 hours)

When it is time for a break, grab your picnic lunch and sit at a picnic table that looks south, down Puget Sound like the Tilicum Village to Mount Rainier (Tahoma). The Vashon Island ferries run right in front of the mountain presenting a perfect photo op!

Lunch at Blake Island

What To Eat

If you do not want to bring a picnic lunch, the Longhouse Café is open on the days when the ferry is running. They offer northwest inspired light entrees, soups, salads, drinks and desserts including s’mores kits that you can roast over a fire! We shared the combo and we were blown away with how much food we received! We cannot recommend the Smoked Salmon Chowder enough! Yumm! Enjoy your meal outside where there are many options of seating, but believe me, no seat has a bad view! You might catch otters playing in the water as we did, watch boats come in and out of the marina, and you will take notice of the iconic ferries crossing the Sound all day with the Seattle skyline and the Space Needle as the gorgeous backdrop. As we relaxed there and finished up our beers, we looked at each other and just said, “We live in such an amazing place!”

Marina at sunrise at Blake Island

What To Do

For some local history be sure to check out the Coast Salish Cultural Presentation that lasts about 60 minutes. It includes dancing, storytelling, a question-and-answer time and more. This is a fabulous opportunity to learn more about our Native Americans here in the Puget Sound. It’s available select days mid-June-September, and cost is $18. For more history, be on the lookout for the markings for the Historic Trimble Mansion Estate!

For the more active and adventurous, kayaks ($50/hour for two) and SUP’s ($25/hour) can be rented to explore around and end of the island and in the marina (June-September). Blake Island is also a great place to scuba dive. Crabbing, fishing and clamming are allowed during their seasons and with licenses. Dig some clams, start a fire and make your own clam chowder, right next to the beach! What an adventure!

To finish off your busy day, enjoy a local wine or beer tasting during the summer weekends ($20). This island REALLY does have it all!  

Content and maybe tired, head back down to the marina to catch your scheduled ferry back to Seattle.

Campground at Blake Island


Make your adventure extra special by staying and camping for a night or two! Watching the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains on the west side is an amazing experience or seeing the city come alive with lights after dark from the southeast side is also truly a treat. The campsites like the Cascadia Marine Trail Campsites are spacious, they have a campfire ring, picnic shelters, tables and magnificent views. If you thought your sunset was amazing, wait until you see the sunrise from Blake Island! Yeah, breathtaking…

Blake Island with Rainier

A few last things. There are restrooms on the island camping ground, both flush and vault toilets. Blake Island State Park has no garbage cans. It is a “pack in and pack out” island so all of your trash must leave with you. Please prepare for this. Be sure to thank the friendly park rangers who help keep Blake Island the kind of place you will want to return to again and again. My last tip is to book your roundtrip ferry early! They are capped right now at 17 people. Summer is going to be busy!

Blake Island Marine State Park is a gem. This is the place to create an amazing adventure for your family or friends. There is something for everyone and for every age at Blake. Start planning your adventure in one of the best Washington State Parks now!


(Lisa Mize Photography) blake boats camping island landscape Seattle travel travel photography travel writer travel writing visit Seattle Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:10:32 GMT
Hiking Boots and Mount Rainier This is my first blog post! I hope you enjoy adventuring with me and celebrating life!

With starting up my photography business, editing pictures, doing photo sessions, building a website and facebook page, ordering business cards, and everything else, I have not  had  taken the time to go do what I love...getting my feet on some trails! With this gorgeous weather we have been having in the Seattle area, I knew I had to get out! My hiking boots have been calling to me from the corner of my room for just too many weeks! So Tuesday I got on the road by 5am to catch the sunrise on Mount Rainier! It was a GLORIOUS morning! I was the only one at Tipsoo Lake. A lovely time to soak it all in.















After Mount Rainier, I went down to Silver Falls Loop Trail. It was so good to walk, sweat, and see the beauty EVERYWHERE! This is an easy hike with so many payoffs. There are woods, creeks, blankets of green, bridges, rivers, and of course the Silver Falls. I had been here last year during the fall. Mushrooms everywhere! It was fun to go back to see everything frozen!

I hope I have inspired you to go put on your hiking boots or even your tennis shoes and go celebrate life somewhere...ANYWHERE!

For hiking ideas, I highly recommend .  This is the wonderful Washington Trails' Association website.


(Lisa Mize Photography) Mount Rainier Mt. Rainier business landscape photography Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:09:36 GMT