Orcas Island with Serena Dabney
The bond of friendships kept from childhood is unlike any other, giving way to a kind of closeness and mutual understanding that is so incredibly special. I feel fortunate to still share that kind of bond with my dear friend from high school, Serena Dabney. We first met in eighth grade and, although we were initially unsure of one another, we eventually became absolutely inseparable. Serena is headstrong and passionate and applies that fire to every area of her life, including her friendships. She has an infectious lust for life that has taken her from fishing in Alaska, to farm life in Montana, to doula-ing in the Pacific Northwest! All through high school, college, adulthood, and now motherhood we have stayed by each other’s sides. From being my partner in crime on teenage roadtrips with nothing but a gas card, and horseback riding adventures in Montana, to being a doula for my second child and acting as a loving, guiding figure in my children’s lives Serena has always been there for me in every possible way.
Last November my family and I ventured up the west coast to Lummi, the gorgeous island in the Puget Sound of Washington State where Serena now lives. Our day-to-day lives have always been in stark contrast (Serena works as a fisherman and ferry captain in training, I can barely even camp) which makes it all the more adventurous and fun to step into her world. Our trip to see her was absolutely wonderful, and ultimately inspired our decision to shoot on the nearby Orcas Island! Watching her with my kids is such a joy; not only is she respectful, intuitive, and caring, but she also understands them on a fundamental level. Especially as the younger sister to two brothers she shares a special connection with Prairie. We were so lucky to have her on our Fall ’18 shoot to help care for P! I feel so fortunate that P and I will always have her as a source of guidance in our lives. See below for a few special photos of her at home in the San Juan Islands, navigating the waters of the Salish Sea in her vintage boat, and lighting up all of our days with her glowing smile.
"Being so close with Katherine, and loving what she and the woman behind Dôen have created, I was ecstatic last Spring when Phoebe told me they were thinking of coming to the San Juan Islands for their fall photoshoot. When they decided on Orcas Island, just a short boat ride away from my home on Lummi Island, I knew I had to be there. I am very grateful to have been a part of the magic the Dôen crew creates and getting to spend time with Prairie was extra special, as I had not made it to LA for a visit since she had been born. It was a beautiful four days on Orcas!
Spending time on Orcas Island was a good reminder for me not only of the beauty of this incredible area, but also of the challenges that it is currently facing - the Orcas that live off the coast of Orcas Island are among the most threatened sea life in the Salish Sea. The San Juan Islands are home to an amazing ecosystem and, like many, this ecosystem is struggling with the impact humans have caused. Orca whales and wild salmon are tied together, and both are struggling. Many causes tie into this complex issue, and there is no single culprit. If you are interested in learning more about this issue go see what the people at CELP are doing, at https://www.celp.org you can find out ways to donate or get involved. Another organization I recommend checking out is http://www.salishsea.org. They are actively fighting to get the orca whale named Tokitae returned to the Puget Sound from her captivity at a Miami Seaquarium.
Coming from a commercial fishing family and having been a commercial fisherman for ten years my most important message to say here is DO NOT BUY FARMED SALMON. Salmon farms are incredibly toxic to the marine ecosystem, and the salmon themselves are full of antibiotics and growth hormones. It is so important to buy wild and sustainably caught fish. Wild Alaskan Salmon are my personal choice, and a great label to look for in the market is the little MSC blue label https://www.msc.org/home. This label ensures that fish have been sustainably caught so you know you are supporting a fishery that is not over fishing and depleting our natural resources. Be sure to ask your favorite restaurants how they source their seafood."