Journalism, Photography

Postscript: August 2016


Heart Lake

I traveled home to Michigan this month, leaving Portland early on a Saturday and touching down in the middle of a cornfield that afternoon. My dad was waiting at the gate, and he drove us the 90 minutes or so back home, where a mini family reunion of sorts was already underway. It was two such occasions I took part in during my week at home, so I got to see nearly all of my extended family.

As much as I anticipated the trip, my time at home felt easy and natural, rather than exhilarating. We watched the Olympics most nights, caught a local semi-pro baseball game and enjoyed time on Heart Lake — a place I missed dearly.
See more from my trip below.



Mount Hood

I caught this glimpse of Mount Hood on my way out of Portland, sometime shortly before eating three caramel breakfast cookie things that were surprisingly delicious and eventually falling asleep.

Indian River

My dad manages a marina on the Inland Waterway, which connects with Lake Huron and comprises several rivers and lakes. This is far from the most picturesque stretch, but it shows a swing bridge to the left and is emblematic of the procession of boats that pass through on a summer day.

Jack Ryan

I took way too many “candid” shots of my brother, Jack, while trying to get this one right. We were speeding back to the marina, my dad at the helm, rounding looping bends in the river, when I took this shot.

Indian River Marina

Indian River Marina sits between Burt and Mullett lakes on — you guessed it — Indian River. It’s a Ryan family affair there in the summer: Jack works on the dock, pumping gas and helping boaters; my mom takes reservations; and my dad runs the place. Chris, my other brother, interned in marketing there in 2015, too. This trip marked the first time I’d seen the place without a foot of snow on the ground.

Treetops Resort

While waiting for directions from a friend, I turned toward Treetops Resort, where I learned to ski and snowboard. The slopes aren’t as imposing as those I’ve encountered out west, but while the resort may be short on elevation, it’s long on beauty. I worked a summer at one of its golf courses as a high school student, and it’s stunning in the warmer months — perhaps more so than during the winter.

Heart Lake

Spending time on the water is a Ryan family staple — even before my dad started at the marina. I grew up in a house on Heart Lake, which is about 10 miles from my hometown of Gaylord. I took this morning view for granted when I was younger. I don’t anymore.

Heart Lake 2

My parents bought into the paddleboarding craze last summer, and my mom takes regular trips around the 89-acre lake. I did the same while I was home, enjoying the luxury of plopping the paddleboard in the water just off shore and spending an hour propelling myself around the lake.


Saying goodbye was difficult, of course. But I hope to return again next summer to celebrate Jack’s high school graduation. In the meantime, I have plenty to explore in the Northwest. I tried my hand at shooting the stars outside Sisters, Oregon, later in the month. This shot isn’t my finest work, but it’s the best product of my boozy backwoods photo shoot.

Green Lakes

Fedor and I spent the next day hiking to Green Lakes, crossing a section of wilderness that was torched by a wildfire in 2012. The lake we chose to swim in happens to hold some of the coldest water I’ve ever dove into. We finished off the trip with humongous burgers at a restaurant still open at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, and returned to Portland around four hours later — in time for a good night’s sleep before work the next day.


These people are in love with the wild, and yet also caught in an unwinnable war with it—for $17 to $24 per hour. But they keep fighting so I can have the thing I love most: trails.
— Backpacker Magazine, on Olympic National Park trail builders

Narmin’s nightmares began almost as soon as she landed in the United States in December 2013. Eventually, to feel safer, she dragged her mattress into her parents’ bedroom and positioned it next to her mother’s side of the bed. A night owl, she often stayed up later than her parents, then sneaked into their darkened room to lie down. She kept her cellphone close, so if she needed consoling, she could silently text her boyfriend in Baghdad.
— The Baltimore Sun, on a high school that was home to immigrant students who speak a cumulative 24 languages

He had never aspired to be a cycling prodigy. Not really. He just loved riding. He had loved riding even before he got his first road bike, when he was eight years old.
— Bicycling Magazine, on cycling phenom Lachlan Morton

They reach the peak at 5:30 in the morning. They can stare for miles in any direction, but they aren’t here to admire nature’s beauty. They are here because of its power.
— The Seattle Times, on a death on the beautiful, dangerous Mount Rainier

‘‘Is there someone where you’re going who might hurt you?’’
‘‘Yes,’’ replied the farmer, removing his hat and rubbing his face with his hands. ‘‘But I have to risk it. I have nowhere else to go.’’
‘‘So you’re afraid to go there?’’
‘‘But you’re going there?’’
‘‘Of course.’’
— The New York Times, on a Honduran deportee separated from his family in the United States

I read Anthony Doer’s “All The Light We Cannot See” this month. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize last year, so my heaps of praise mean little. I buzzed through my rented library ebook copy in less than a week. It’s a fantastic read about World War II, as seen through the eyes of a young German soldier and a blind French girl of approximately the same age.

You should listen to “The Arctic,” an episode of NPR’s “Embedded” podcast. A journalist reports from Greenland, examining why the country has the world’s highest suicide rate.

I recently reported about education activist Malala Yousafzai‘s visit to Portland and an arrest video that shows police wrestling a man to the ground, raising some questions, among them: Was the use of force necessary? And if so, why?


As always, thanks for reading.




  1. Pingback: Postscript: September 2016 | Jim Ryan - September 30, 2016

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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