Pictures of paradise

About a year ago, Jessica Spisak and her husband, Nick, set off on the road trip of a lifetime, a 45-day adventure that became a photographer's dream come true.

After feeling the pressure of the dwindling Michigan economy, Spisak said she and Nick decided to travel the country and then decide on a place to settle down. After a month and a half, they landed in Port Angeles.

"It felt like fate," Spisak said.

During the journey Spisak, who discovered her love for taking pictures as a high-school sophomore in suburban Detroit, said she took anywhere from 200 to 500 pictures a week.

"My portfolio went through the roof," Spisak laughed of the trip. "We got to see the beautifulness the U.S. has to offer."

As the couple drove south, then west and finally up the West Coast, hitting 17 states total, Spisak photographed bold Michigan sunsets, rushing Yosemite waterfalls and dusty Arizona deserts, but she fell in love with the Olympic Peninsula's natural beauty. The couple flew back to Detroit, packed up moving vans and on July 4 of last year, made the peninsula their home.

"We feel like we have truly found paradise," she said.

Spisak said she is slowly beginning to introduce herself to the artistic community in the area - her Sequim debut will be as The Buzz's June Artist of the Month.

"I know people see a lot of the area's landscapes in photos, so for my first few exhibitions I tried to give people something they don't see every day," she said, indicating a photograph of a bright Michigan sunset.

Before her journey, Spisak said she enjoyed taking "environmental portraits," pictures of people in their homes or gardens or offices, places they felt natural and at ease. After moving to the Northwest, however, she said she has begun branching out.

"Being out here in this area, I've really been into landscape," she said. "We've hung out on Hurricane Ridge. I also shoot the Elwha and the tidal pools. I love the tidal pools because we don't have that in the Midwest."

Spisak's pieces will be on display at The Buzz throughout June. For more information on Spisak, who also takes photos of special occasions, portraits and restores photographs, contact her at 360-316-9888.
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