CanoesPersonal EssaysTrip Reports

The View from the Canoe Project

A guest post by Scott Schuldt of

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 – You Can Tell

I woke up early this morning. It was dark and I was in bed, but I was already in my canoe. Fall is here. It will be unusually warm today, maybe 15 or 20 degrees above normal. The thermometer will say summer. The simplest and easiest measurement will lead one astray, as simple and easy information often does, in all things. It is fall and while at the scientific level there are dozens of measurements that say so, it is the qualitative that tells me so. The light has changed. Gone is the harsh washed out scenery of summer days when my photographs were all about timing and the tricks of nature; early light or dramatic clouds that filter rays and cast shadows. The fall light brings deep rich tones and contrasts. In fall, my photographs are about composition first, and keeping the shots with good light. The air has changed as well. The nights are longer, cooler and damper and day seems to struggle to return summer’s warmth. The longer nights bring unplanned but orchestrated smells and flavors. It’s not of showy flowers, but of the hidden deepness that sustains life. Summer air was tinned spices while fall is fresh cardamom seeds crushed this very second under my rolling pin. Winter will change all that, deadening the spices, but it will bring its own beauty in an even trade. Observations – the lily pads are browning at the edges. They show a summer’s wear with chunks missing and deep tears. A flock of 100 coots has returned to the bay. Cormorants are sitting on the new dirtbergs that have hit the surface in mid-bay. I spot two green backed herons, some great blue herons, wood ducks, and two horned grebes.

About the View from the Canoe Project

‘The View from the Canoe’ is an art project that has followed a two-year long evolution that started with my getting back into canoeing.  Seattle is primarily a sea kayak area, but even after 20 years, I just never connected with kayaks in the way that I do with canoes.  In 2008, I bought a used canoe and a few months later started blogging my 3 to 4 day a week trips in and around Seattle, writing my observations of the natural changes throughout the year and reflections on how people see and use the water, both in the present and in the past.  Recently, I started recording my better writings in my own voice, which lead to adding photographs, which lead to taking video and recording background sound effects.  Still a work in progress, The View from the Canoe may end up being a short documentary film, art video or “book on DVD”.  As often happens with an art project, I am just along for the ride.

On the surface, the project documents and reflects on nature and man’s use and abuse of water.  Underlying that, the work also shows how I have managed to find a sense of wilderness while in the midst of a major urban area.  Most of the writing happens in the canoe, as does the photography, film and sound effect work.

Scott Schuldt’s Bio –

Scott Schuldt is a Seattle based artist working in content- and concept-driven art (non-fiction, detailed and often narrative).  Born and raised in Minnesota and schooled in engineering, Scott dropped the engineering career in 2005 to pursue artwork on a full time basis.  His primary medium is hand-sewn beadwork, but has increasingly moved towards working with whatever medium will get the story across.  ‘The View from the Canoe’ is his first step into writing and film work.

The View from the Canoe Blog is found at-

Scott’s website –

Subscribe! Get PaddlingLight in your inbox. Enter your email address:

One comment

Comments are closed.