NAVIGATION ∧

the photo journal + misc. news of Emma Kisiel

Pacific City & Bunnies

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Well, this was almost four months ago now… Let’s see what I can remember. I had mentioned my Cannon Beach bunnies project to my chiropractor, and she told me that there are also bunnies in Pacific City, 60 miles down the coast, at the RV park right across from the beach. I knew the situation wouldn’t be like the one I had been photographing for the past few years in Cannon Beach, but I definitely wanted to see these campground bunnies and spend some time photographing them. Nat and I spent the few days before Christmas there. The day we left for Pacific City was the day of the annual neighborhood cookie exchange, done in a driveway this year, and it was the first backyard flood of the season.

When we got to Pacific City, it was already dark, and it was raining, so we just hung out at our Airbnb, which was on the Nestucca River on the south end of town, as opposed to on the ocean. The river was so high the whole time we were there, and the wind was so strong that we thought our roof might break off and blow away (based solely on the sounds it made – I’m sure the roof was in good condition, as the house seemed pretty new). We spent three days, and we went to the RV park in between pretty much everything we did. The first day, we visited the bunnies and drove + walked on the beach; it was extremely windy. We were looking for a trail to take the dogs to, and we found Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, which we loved. We walked the forested trail that leads out to the beach. The next day, we visited the bunnies, went to walk in the dunes at Bob Straub State Park, visited the bunnies, and then hung out at the Airbnb, working on our paint-by-number. Our last day, we visited the bunnies in the morning, checked out of our Airbnb, went back to Sitka Sedge to do that walk again, then visited the bunnies one last time.

The bunnies in Pacific City are so fun – they’re obviously fed, and “bunny food” is sold at the kite shop at the campground, so they run right up to you, sometimes in a swarm. But that’s not really what I’m after in making this series. Plus there are only so many photos you can take of bunnies who live at a campground, with their poop literally covering the ground everywhere. The light was so bad most of the time we were there, and I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to like the way I processed these photos. But here they are, for the record! Photos of bunnies with shadows twice as long as bunny height since I was photographing at the solstice and we were there on some rare sunny days.

Cannon Beach & Bunnies

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In the fall, I committed to take a long weekend trip to the coast once a month during the four (terrible) months of winter solely to photograph bunnies for my project. This was the first one, back in November. The Airbnb where we stayed was on the third floor, and with COVID we bring all our own food to cook so we don’t have to buy groceries or even takeout (I think this was during’s Oregon’s two-week freeze), so anyway, it was *many* trips from the car and up + down the stairs. Other than that, though, I really liked our place and we had a pretty wonderful weekend.

We had a balcony with a view of the ocean so we spent a lot of time out there. We watched Willy Wonka and Watership Down and painted our paint-by-number and saw the elk a few times, and I read Mary Oliver and went out every few hours to look for bunnies (we could actually almost see “Bunny Hill” from our windows). We walked on the (very windy) beach, and mostly managed to avoid the rain. It was really stormy our first night there, and we were sleeping upstairs and all I could think about was how I would die in the earthquake or I would never make it out of our place and down all the stairs to evacuate since it was on the edge of the inundation zone. On our last morning, we chased sea foam and walked on grassy hills at Chapman Beach.

Backyard / Fall

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The leaves in the backyard were really beautiful this fall. Super red on one side of the yard and bright orange + yellow on the other, which we hadn’t really seen before.