We hope you’ll come spend some time enjoying the gallery at Mindport this winter. We have the pleasure of showing the photographic work of Sam Bottman, one of our long-time docents.

During the pandemic, Sam spent many hours at Whatcom Creek with his camera, and captured the creatures in and around the creek. He visited the creek during the flooding that happened in November 2021 and captured scenes from the flooded Maritime Heritage Park as well.

If you want a chance to see the photos and also see Sam at the front desk, you can visit during his Mindport shifts on Thursday and Friday afternoons and all day Saturday. On a quiet day at Mindport, you’ll have a chance to learn more about his work.

Sam Bottman started taking pictures of Whatcom Creek about a year into the pandemic. When he was a kid, he liked to read National Geographic, so this was kind of his way of writing his own photo essay about a place he found interesting and unexpected. He also learned how to play the guitar over the pandemic, and wrote a good number of songs about the emotions he went through over the past few years. Because he’s become so curious about observing nature and what living things mean to him, references to things like narwhals and trees started to show up in the songs he was writing.

Sam has always been fascinated by both music and the natural world—one of his first memories is of listening to the clips of traditional music from around the world on Encarta Online Encyclopedia, and another is of drawing in a clay riverbank with a sharp stick. He finds a sense of profound truth in both. Both nature and music have saved his life in a sense, because there’s something untouchable and timeless about sound waves and life that transcends his everyday troubles. Music and nature can both be funny, exciting, bizarre, soothing, and everything in between. He hopes that in his photographs and songs, he’s managed to reflect some of the light from that kaleidoscope back to you, the listener and viewer.