Though the tulip fields of Skagit County are full of color this time of year, it’s the skies above that add the real drama and beauty. “The weather changes every 15 minutes,” says photographer Lee Mann (’60, Secondary Education). “You get these unstable air masses with dark, stormy clouds. Then you have the sun come out and the ‘God’s rays’ come down. You never know what it’s going to be.”
So it goes every spring in the Northwest.
For 40 years, Mann, who first took his camera into the backcountry as president of Western’s Alpine Club, has captured the stunning landscapes of the Northwest and beyond. The African Serengeti and the Canadian Barren Lands are among his favorites.
His work has been published in national magazines, but he’s made his living selling framed prints of his work. The U.S. Navy bought several for its Everett-based ships. Mann also sells prints from his 6,000-square-foot home studio in Sedro-Woolley, a family business run by his son, Bryce Mann (’94, English), and on his website, www.leemannphotography.com. A portion of his sales go to conservation causes.
Working through his archived photography has kept the 75-year old Mann busy. “I’m still working on a lot of things from places I’ll never get back to,” he says. Nerve damage from back surgery in 2007 keeps him off the rugged mountaintops, but he still hikes and shoots – when the light is right.