Local photographer discusses life, photography in Blaine

Published on Wed, Feb 8, 2012
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Local photographer David Riffle has been a consistent provider of wildlife and landscape photography for The Northern Light for these past few years, but has recently left this area to travel Europe with his wife.

The Northern Light caught up with Riffle to learn more about his life in Blaine and why he’s so passionate about photography.

The Northern Light: How did you come to live in Blaine? Why did you choose this area?

David Riffle: Our son worked as a senior software engineer for Electronics Arts in Vancouver, and we used to visit him and his family (our two youngest grandchildren at the time). We fell in love with the Northwest and on one of our trips had seen the Seascape condos. We weren’t ready to purchase anything as we had just moved from a large home and were trying to downsize, so we leased a condo. Since our son and his family lived in Coquitlam, B.C., we thought Blaine was a perfect location. We were so right – and we enjoyed it for four years.

TNL: Where did you live before Blaine?

Riffle: We owned a home outside of Orlando, Florida. We built it and lived in it for 20 years. There were many reasons for leaving Florida – heat, bugs, (did I mention the heat?), family scattered (one in New York City and our son in Vancouver), two of us living in a large house, almost 1.5 acres of property to keep mowed and edged. I am getting tired just thinking about it. I also had to tee off at 6 or 7 a.m. to get in a round of golf before the sun became too hot to enjoy it. I know people in this area won’t understand, but if you tried to sit on your screened patio by the pool at 8 p.m. and couldn’t because of the heat, you’d know.

TNL: When did you take up photography? Have you ever considered it as a career?

Riffle: I have taken photographs most of my life starting on a trip to Europe in 1957 while in high school. Although I have lived all over the world, I don’t think I have lived in such a beautiful place as the Northwest – the scenery, the birds, boats – everything in this area is worth capturing for a memory. Had I been in this area years ago, then yes, I probably would have considered it as a career. It didn’t happen that way, but I sure have enjoyed each and every day in the Blaine area.

TNL: Do you have a favorite subject to shoot?

Riffle: Although you and your readers have seen loads of my bird photographs, I actually look at each photograph I take as a pictorial essay of that subject, whether it’s animals, people, scenery or activities such as the Blaine Christmas parade with the looks of happiness in the children’s and adults’ eyes.
There are not many places I have lived where I could have so many different absolutely fantastic sunsets almost every evening. I have also photographed a lot of children and adults. I just enjoy taking photographs.

TNL: Where else has your work been published?

Riffle: I have been very lucky. Besides The Northern Light, I have also been recognized and used by city of Blaine community development coordinator Debbie Harger in some upcoming informational signs and on their website and that of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce. KVOS Channel 12 out of Bellingham also runs my photographs during their station identification

TNL: Where are you traveling?

Riffle: We are taking an extended vacation, if you will.  We are storing our household goods and car locally and will be returning to this area in two to three years. I met my beautiful wife Christine in Naples, Italy in 1970, where she was teaching and I was stationed in the U.S. Coast Guard.  Christine was born in England. We are going to England for approximately six months, then on to France, possibly the Normandy region, then over to Italy where we’re looking at Tuscany. We might also spend some time in Spain or Portugal.  
We are definitely not tourists. We like to blend in wherever we travel, learn the language and communicate with locals. We have no schedule. I will be starting a blog soon and will be posting that information on my Facebook page (facebook.com/

TNL: What has been your favorite part of living in the Blaine area?

Riffle: Although I have become known as a photographer and people seem to enjoy my work, my most favorite part of Blaine has been the people. We have met and become friends with some of the nicest, most genuine people we have ever known.

TNL: Thank you, David, for sharing your photos with The Northern Light. We’ll miss you, and we can’t wait for you to return. In the meantime, we’ll be following your blog and living vicariously through you.