Skylines and Chipping Paint

a photographic journal



discovery park, seattle washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle


In a city of gray, there is always a little light. This time in the form of gum.

Gum Wall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Big Timber Arts Round-Up (year 2)


Montana, year two, and I thought it couldn’t get better than last year. With a few changes to the weekend and a smaller group this year’s time together on the Hobble Diamond Ranch was fun, enriching and a deeply profound experience for all.



fall in cheyney

IMG_0103golden light on the farm – cheyney, pa


New York, brrrrrrrr


Times Square, during construction, at Christmas time, with my pack of Photo II girls: so fun…and so cold! Our field trip to New York City to shoot Street Photography, practicing “shooting from the hip”, getting up close for the shot, or sneakily taking photos of people was a delight. I have never cared much for Street Photography, but having recently studied the work of Markus Hartel I have become enamored with the rich quality of his images and I wanted to try it out for myself. I was also eager to see what my students came up with, they inspire me everyday. Before traveling to the ICP to see two exhibitions we walked through the streets clicking our cameras, the sounds echoing those of the hurried feet across the pavement. Our trip made me long to teach photography on the streets of cities, in the fields of the country and the studios of professionals! To see the girls out and shooting was much like our trip to Montana, there was a freshness and excitement that one just can’t get from the classroom.

SABourne_NYC_20Shooting on the streets of NYC!

gallery of more of my work:

After viewing the work of Zoe Strauss and Lewis Heine, the ICP offered a complimentary tour of their teaching facilities, where I wanted to stay for a lifetime! The girls were awe-struck by the spaces, as was I. Just the washing tanks alone were impressive. They also had work up all over the walls which got me excited for all the future projects we’ll do.

The girls at the ICP…

What a great trip! Can’t wait for next year.


A sunset to take your breath away…


no editing. no filters. just the real deal.

middletown, de




Big Timber Arts Round Up


The Crazy Mountains stunned us as we arrived in Montana. ‘We’re not on the East Coast anymore,’ I thought. I had the great privilege of attending the annual Big Timber Arts Round Up put together by alumni parents from The Agnes Irwin School. Together, with several other Main Line schools, we traveled to a ranch outside of Big Timber, Montana. It was on the ranch that high school students from Philly and Montana joined together to better their artistic skills and express their passions in theater, painting, photography, and writing.


I accompanied the Photographers, naturally.


We spent three days with photographer, Barbara Van Cleve, who wowed us all with her skill and excitement but most of all with her spirit and gushing enthusiasm for her students and the great Montana landscape. We drove out into the fields of horses and cattle, just to photograph – to watch their moves and anticipate the next shot. Never have I had the pleasure of lying down in a cattle field with twenty other people and felt the foot steps of a herd approach. (Cattle run if you are standing but as soon as you lie flat on the ground, their curiosity spikes and they approach.) I could have laid their all day. We chased them around with the car, moving them every which way just to see them from different angles, to get the sky in the frame, and to laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed – all the while camera shutters were going off like rocket-fire.



There were lots of other opportunities to take photographs but the cattle really won me over. The whole experience was magical, one that could not be replicated. To watch my students from the Main Line detach from their phones and the expectations of their surroundings and connect to that which is real and good and divine: nature, was nothing short of fascinating. I would do anything to provide that experience for all of my students.

I was able to do the same thing. I was alive with joy and excitement and the space to let my creativity flow. I took hundreds of photographs in just three days. I had a running narrative of what the experience was, everything seemed so poetic as we all tried to bring to life our experience yet at the end I realized it was incapable of being captured authentically, the authentic qualities are those that are in our hearts.

I chose out my favorite group of images from our long weekend in big sky country, but this group doesn’t even come close to capturing what really happened for all of us on Hobble Diamond Ranch.


A Maine farmhouse for a week with friends … pure heaven. We cooked, we played, we ate, we read, we collected eggs and strawberries, we marveled at the beauty of summertime in Maine … we even threw a feux birthday party and attended a real (and glorious) wedding on the beach during which it drizzled (rained) just enough to scare but not enough to scare away. I can’t decide what was the most fun: putting my feet in the water each day or eating my very first lobster?

Ecuador 2013

Ten days…we made it from Quito to Puluahua to Mindo to Bellavista Cloud Forest…over the mountains and through the Ecuadorian countryside, into some cities – some on purpose and others as a result of poor signage (oh, Santo Domingo!) and eventually to the coast and back to Quito!

We met generous, lovely people throughout our travels, witnessed natives farming their land, watched a truck pull a motorcycle (with two people on the back) by a rope along the highway, many, many banana fields, and terrible road conditions that came up so suddenly it was difficult to keep from swearing! We had an entire beach to ourselves one beautifully overcast morning in Los Frailes and a cup of coffee and an egg at a cafe level with the muddy streets of Puerto Lopez. I ate the best ceviche I have ever had the privilege to put in my mouth in a cabana in Puerto Cayo after lounging in a hammock while we waited. Never in my life did I think I would be able to say I ate breakfast while swarms of hummingbirds paraded to and from their feeders. We drove a very small, stick shift, lawnmower-engine-sounding Chevy Spark and got lost and then found, and lost and then found again. Without fail, every turn, intentional or not, presented vibrant colors, beautiful plant life, generous people, smiling children, and a blue sky unlike any I have ever seen.

Ecuador opened my heart and mind to a world beyond the one I know. It is not uncommon for me to travel and have thoughts anew but there was a quality to life in Ecuador that touched my heart deeply. I cannot wait to return.

Seattle, oops.

I have been (seriously) behind in my posts. These are a few leftovers from Seattle that I never put up, just a couple of months late! There are many more to come from Ecuador and Maine – a summer full of travel and wonder!

Around the Olympic Peninsula with Mark (in random order) …

SarahAtwaterBourne_Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

SarahAtwaterBourne_LakeCrecentLake Crecent

SarahAtwaterBourne_PortAngelesleaving Port Angeles, in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

SarahAtwaterBourne_rockspattern on a rock

SarahAtwaterBourne_VictoriaVictoria, BC




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