Reviewed by Pamela Michael
Imagine if Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia OKeefe had published a guidebook to their beloved Taos and its high contrast, sun-bleached environs. If they had (oh, if only they had) the book would probably look quite a bit like the newest collaboration from another dynamic husband and wife duo, Richard Blair and Kathleen Goodwin, the Point Reyes Visions Guidebook. The New Mexico desert, of course, is nothing like the wet and windswept coast of West Marin, so skillfully rendered in photos, evocative text and a painting or two by Blair and Goodwin, but the books and their creators share a keen sense of beauty and an abiding immersion in place.
Richard and Kathleen, NYC and South African transplants respectively, have been photographing, painting and exploring Point Reyes for over twenty years; theyve lived on Inverness Ridge since 1987. From their Drakes View home (built from downed trees milled on-site after the catastrophic 1995 fire) and new art studio they have produced a companion volume to their 2001 bestseller, Point Reyes Visions. Its every bit as unique, tasty and heartfelt as the art book that inspired it.
This new, pocket-fitting 5X7-inch guidebook has been crafted with the same loving care and snazzy design acumen that made Point Reyes Visions such a hit with visitors and residents alike. Lush duotone photographs depict West Marins beaches, trails, wildlife, flora and its many moods. The text is informative, personal and filled with tips (best places to view a sunset, watch whales, or take a morning walk, for instance) that come only with years of paying attention. Aside from hiking, camping and beachcombing information, the guidebook also has sections on places to take your dog, to picnic, or kayak, and much, much more. One of my favorite features is the nifty, waterproof, full-color trail map that fits into a little pocket inside the back cover. Indispensable, irresistible, and home-grown, youll love this book.
Writer and radio producer Pamela Michael is the executive director and co-founder (with Robert Hass) of River of Words, a non-profit organization that promotes environmental and art education. She is also the travel editor for KPFA Radio and a member of Wild Writing Women. Her books include The Gift of Rivers, River of Words: Images and Poetry in Praise ofWater, and several others. She lives on the morning side of Mt. Diablo.