"Finding Refuge" Photographs by Laurie Thomsen will be featured at Los Bagels for the months of June and July.
All of the images in this series of migratory, wintering and resident birds were taken locally, often at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary or Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Loleta.
After retiring from a thirty-five year career as Stud Manager for an Arabian horse breeding farm in San Luis Obispo, Thomsen recently returned to live on her family's farm in Loleta.  With a deep reverence for the natural world, she loves to observe and photograph wildlife. "I adore watching the behavior of birds and animals in their natural habitats, and always welcome interesting and unusual light. In photography, the quality of light is so important." But she pokes fun at herself for often breaking the rules, and for doing all sorts of things photographers are not supposed to do, such as shooting directly into the sun.
Her favorite subjects are close to home, and she is most drawn to an intimate approach. It does seem that her approach to her creative work mirrors her approach in relationship to others. Her friends describe her as the real deal, without artifice or guile. Her pictures reflect the same philosophy of  living. " I respect the photographers who not only create beautiful work, but who don't alter their subjects' behavior by their own presence. I most admire the conservation-minded, who have the intention of people learning more through their images."
When asked about the sorts of winged creatures she'd most hope to capture through her lens, Thomsen said that of all the elusive birds, and the birds that are too far away, the bird she loves most is the one she is photographing at the moment.
"I think my favorite season to photograph in our area is Winter, with its display and chorus of thousands of migratory birds," says Thomsen. "While dramatic and amazing to experience, it's really just birds being birds, doing what birds do.  It's a reminder that we can all find refuge in change."
 Thomsen describes her life as having been interesting so far. She is quietly humble about having taken pictures all over the world, and about such equine adventures as having been flown to faraway places by foreign leaders. 
"Still, what thrills me most is the unexpected, and being lucky enough to be present for it,"  she says.
If you are lucky enough, you will see her collection of images at Los Bagels, 403 Second Street in Old Town. A reception for the artist will be held during Arts Alive on Saturday, June 6th, from 6-9 p.m.