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New photo book explores joys near Ashland

Barbara Tricarico is in the habit of creating stunning books that find a cozy nest on your coffee table.

Her first one, called “Ashland, Oregon,” in 2014 was a beauty, depicting all the sights of the town — and now, just out, is her “Ashland Oregon Day Trips — a collection of awesome pics by 55 local photographers of natural and human-made attractions within three hours of Ashland."

“It’s for Ashland people who think they’ve seen everything in the region, as well as for their guests who have seen a lot of Ashland but then wonder what’s around it in this beautiful area. There’s so much for them to visit.”

For Ashland people, she adds, the 160-page book is an inspiration to check out many spots that become invisible — like the Statue of Liberty is to New Yorkers — because we catch a glimpse of them but don’t really delve into them.

Of course, there are the stunners — the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Mt. Shasta and so on, but who looks at these: the vernal pools by Upper Table Rock by Rio Montero, a church in the ghost town of Golden (near Wolf Creek, by John Kirk) and the Treehouse Treesort, a bed-and-breakfast in Cave Junction, by Kate Geary.

OK, you need a new kind of shot of much-adored Crater Lake. What do you do? Geary sits in the lodge and grabs an amazing shot through the stem of her wine glass.

Stretching three hours away from Ashland, the book takes in Mt. Lassen and Castle Crags on the south, the Oregon and California coast on the west, Klamath Wildlife Refuge on the east and parts of Douglas County on the north. 

It doesn’t neglect the sometimes hidden beauties of Jackson County, drawing notice to Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Railroad Park and bronze sculptures in Medford and, alas, the once-lovely Butte Creek Mill, built 1872 and now a pile of ashes. Howard Hunt and Roy Robertson did those photos just in time.

The book will endure through time, though the spots, natural and cultural, will change and some disappear, says Tricarico, and, in time, “it will become a history book.”

Tricarico, who moved to Ashland five years ago, fell passionately in love with the town and the region, but noticed there was no picture book for the city. A teacher of the deaf and lover of photography, she had come from Virginia, where she already authored a picture book on quilts of that area, so she knew how to do it.

She takes many of the pictures herself, using a Nikon digital (and had a background in the single-lens-reflex and darkroom before that). She formed friendships with local photographers and they often would announce, “field trip!” That meant a fun jaunt to interesting spots where each photographer would come away with unique images with their own special patina on the subject.

“I want a photo to look like I remember the place. I take it all in and get that moment and want to convey the inspiration and desire to visit it and react the way I did,” she says.

Kathy Uhtoff, an owner of the Northwest Nature Shop, which sells the book, said, “It’s extraordinary, very beautiful. It portrays our land in a unique and beautiful way.”

An admiring customer, Debbie Irish, observed, “It’s a perfect coffee table book to put out for guests. Everyone wants to know about the town and with the book, we know we can find what we’re looking for.”

Tricarico emphasizes that her books are a community effort. The images are the heart of it, with a little text — and photographers donating all their images. “Such pride. That’s what I feel when I look at it. I’m so happy to be part of this beautiful area. You never run out of the beauty and culture. And the friendship among the photographers has been so cool.”

The cover of the Oregon coast is by Sean Bagshaw — and Triccarico couldn’t resist a shot of Ashland in the book. The endpapers show the Lithia Park duck pond and Elizabethan Theater blended in one photo of all four seasons. It’s by Neal R. Thompson.

A book-signing and refreshments with wine will be held 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, at Northwest Nature Shop, 154 Oak (just off Lithia Way). The book, published by Schiffer Publishing in Pennsylvania, is $35. It’s available in Ashland book stores.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.