1989 Photographic Society of America Regional Convention

Photographers have three major characteristics – an insatiable curiosity, friendliness and wanderlust. Combine these attributes with instruction by qualified photographers who are willing and able to share their expertise, an atmosphere of convivial fellowship and a setting that shouts, “It’s photo time in |89,” and you get the PSA Regional Convention in Spokane, Washington, June 8-11.

Gather your equipment, pack a large bag of film, load those caring individuals who share your hobby and come prepared to experience what is so often mentioned in our community: “Miracles, magic and meaning.” The only thing you may need to temper is enthusiasm! Can it be a coincidence that the PSA Regional Convention coincides with our Centennial Celebration, or is that, too, part of the magic?

Spokane was originally named Spokan Falls, after the Spokan-ee “Children of the Sun” Indian tribe. It is a metropolitan area of 350,000, hub of the Inland Empire and an All-American City. The area’s economy is based on lumber, mining, agriculture and services. Spokane is the regional center for transportation, finance and culture. This area has nearly 200 days of sunshine per year and the average temperature in June is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Spokane is easily accessible by rail, highway or airlines. It is a great place to come and relax (barring undue enthusiasm).

This second-largest city in Washington is in a setting of jewelled contrasts stretching from the west plains area to the big water and mountain land of Idaho, a distance of about 25 miles. A look in any direction will verify the diversity of this region. Spokane has the distinction of being the ONLY city in the United States that is surrounded by 17 national parks, all within a radius of 500 miles.

“Beautiful Mount Spokane” is the first state park east of the Cascade Range. The mountain view is spectacular and a year-round attraction. From the summit may be seen: two countries (United States and Canada), there states (Washington, Idaho and Montana), two mountain ranges and eight lakes, In winter, it is a favorite recreation area for down-hill and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or sledding. Summer hikers are rewarded with a variety of plants and animals.

Southern exposure will lend itself to farmland that yields one-fourt of the nation’s soft wheat. This abundance may be viewed from famed Steptoe Butte, which offers an unobstructed panorama of golden fields basking in warm, rich sunlight. Travelling east, we see fabulous Lake Coeur d’ Alene, and the world’s longest boardwalk. Catching fish or “soothing the senses” may be done at any of the 76 fresh-water lakes within a 50 miler radius of our city.

If photographing mesa and desert is your forte, journey to Grand Coulee Dam, world’s largest concrete structure, built in the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, created by the dam. stretches 151 miles to the Canadian border and affords ideal boating, skiing, sailing and fishing. At night, the spillway gates are opened and hundreds of multi-colored lights illuminate the cascading water. Or you could drive through Washington’s “scablands,” a geologic feature found nowhere else in the world. Canyons, deep ravines and tumbled rock formations are the result of flood waters from a huge, prehistoric lake in Montana. The whole episode took only one week!

Are you beginning to capture the photography lighting tips outdoor spirit of miracles and magic? Magic conjures up what has always been here, and miracles enable us to see it. What gives our area MEANING is its people! But we digress. Come along and let’s explore Spokane proper, our immediate magical center. Spokane ranks among the “top ten” in a variety of areas, all of them photogenic. What better opportunity awaits than combining your vacation with the PSA Regional Convention?

In 1974, Spokane staged an International World Exposition and developed the 100-acre Riverfront Park. Within easy walking distance from the Convention site, Riverfront Park is Spokane’s favorite meeting palce. The cascading river lends old-world charm in a natural park setting. The Imax Theater, with its five-story screen, the world’s largest projection system, offers a variety of shows. The Pavilion, with its lacy “roof,” is one of the architectural reminders of the Fair. The park’s 1909 hand-carved Looff carrousel is one of the oldest in use and is comprised of a giraffe, a tiger, and 54 horses. Youngsters are spellbound as they dip and rise to the sound of organ music. Oldsters reminisce about how it used to be when they tossed the “gold ring” in former days.

Are you adventurous enough to take the gondola ride over the “falls” or would you prefere to view them from one of the footbridges? In the park, you also can tour the Science Center, languish in the shade of the Great Northern Clock Tower listening to the street entertainment, or feed the ducks. Can you envision hot air balloons rising in the quiet dawn among Spokane’s monuments or doing “splash and dash” on the river before ascending into clear blue skies” It’s magic!

Ready to move on? Insert another roll of film, and take the “city tour.” St. John’s Cathedral ranks among the finest examples of English Gothic architecture – a stone structure built to “last 1,000 years” and, amazingly, completed in one generation. It houses the only carillon in Washington which is not pneumatically or electronically assited – good old hand power for this one.

Centrally located Manito Park is the primary garden showplace in Spokane. It has a new aluminum and glass conservatory housing tropical plant specimens as well as seasonal displays. About the grounds are the perennial garden, a rose garden, the lilac garden and the formal Duncan garden with manicured lawn and symetrically balanced “annual” flower beds. Spokane’s Japanese Garden symbolizes the friendship of our “Sister City,” Nishinomiva, Japan. (They honor us with a lilac garden, which is the symbol of our city.)

If a less formal garden atmosphere is to your liking, journey into Finch Arboretum, 65 acres of beautiful rolling treeland along Garden Springs Creek. The arboretum houses more than 2,000 labeled trees and shrubs representing 600 species. It is especially beautiful in the fall as there are 25 varieties of maples, but peace and quietude present a year-round respite.

Relive Spokane’s “Age of Elegance” by visiting Campbell House, just one of Spokane’s varied architectural styles, or tour Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum nearby. View the exhibits, crafts, and displays at the Museum of Native American Cultures (MONAC). Four floors, representing 3,000 years of native American history, contain the nation’s largest collection of North American trade beads, war bonnets, and 19th and 20th Century art.

More miracles? We have interests that run the gamut of sports, recreation and entertainment. Spokane hosts the world’s largest “fun run” road race (Bloomsday), international bike races, and a Grand Prix. We have world class auto racing, baseball and hockey teams, polo grounds, and seven beautiful golf courses. The Opera House is the setting for musical and stage shows while the Civic Theater and Spokane Interplayers offer dramatic productions. The Spokane Symphony performs concerts on Riverfront Park’s floating stage, providing “serious” music, evenings with “pops” and children’s specials.

Another feature of our downtown area is the Skywalk system which connects 15 city blocks on the second level for access to specialty shops, department stores and restaurants. It is the second-largest such system in the world. Mayor Vicki McNeill said it all, “The mystique of Spokane – its magic – is that its people can get together and accomplish what seems impossible.”

In 100 years, we have come from frontier to a wide spot in the road. We’re proud of our accomplishments and we wish to share who we are and what we do. Consider the PSA Regional Convention, June 8-11, as your summer destination. The Ridpath Hotel and Motor Inn, in the heart of downtown Spokane, will be the home to the Convention. It features spacious meeting rooms, excellent banquet facilities and fine food. “C’mon in and sit a spell – your room is ready.”

Additional information will be forthcoming in the March PSA Journal regarding speakers and the programs they will be presenting, field trips, special features, registration and hotel reservation forms. If your enthusiasm cannot be contained and you desire more information prior to the March article, contact: Vee Nealey, Chairman, PSA Inland Empire Chapter, West 3231 Boone Ave, Space 810, Spokane, Washington 99201.