About Marion


Marion Owen, photography, gardening, Alaska, photographer, Kodiak, Alaska, professional, photo toursResidence: Oceanside home in Kodiak, Alaska (1984 to present)

Favorite food: Chocolate avocado pudding and oat-bean waffles (ask me for the recipes)

Favorite quote: “If I had a snowflake for every time I thought of you, we’d have a really white Christmas.” — Charlie Brown

hen I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas. Sounds sappy, I know. I was a bit of a tomboy, climbing trees and poking around rocks at low tides. So I was pretty surprised when I found a photo of me holding my new Brownie camera–get this–a polka dot dress. Sheesh.

I was born and raised in Washington State. My childhood wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, which might explain why, at age 20, I went to sea. I worked as marine science technician and later, as a Merchant Marine Officer. Hard work, away from home.

I traveled the ocean from the Chuckchi Sea in northern Alaska, to Guam, Midway and other realms south of the equator. Those were pre-internet days. To share my shipboard life I wrote letters, describing whale encounters, 50-foot seas, and Sunday meals of roast pig. I also took B&W photographs, developing the film in the darkroom below decks (no need to tilt the trays of developer; the ocean-motion took care of that).

Kodiak, Alaska, kitchen, B&B, garden,
View from my kitchen window. Nice for doing dishes!

But after eight years at sea, I missed the changing of the seasons. I remember standing on the deck of a tug and asked myself, “What do I really want to do?” Two things popped into my head:

  1. Photography
  2. Gardening

So I moved to Kodiak Island, Alaska because everyone I met there were super kind and neighborly. I still feel that way.

So with a camera in one hand, a pen and trowel in the other, I rebooted my life. I married Marty Owen, Kodiak’s harbormaster (retired), became a passionate organic gardener and launched a photography career. Clients include The Smithsonian, Patagonia, Reader’s Digest and my annual wall calendar. For a visual delight, visit my MarionOwenPhotography website. Today we operate an oceanfront bed and breakfast called the Cliff House B&B. From your room you can watch sea otters, sea lions, eagles and fishing boats go by…

We have a greenhouse, a hoophouse, and 12 raised beds filled with flowers, vegetables and herbs — from which we grow fresh greens for our Galley Gourmet dinner cruises. You’re invited to stop by for a cup of coffee on the deck overlooking the ocean.

As for writing, I co-authored Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, which enjoyed three months on the New York Times bestseller list, and for 22 years, I’ve written a weekly gardening column for the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

If you happen to visit Kodiak Island, be sure to look us up. (And if you need help with Alaska travel plans, let me know).

Cheers and blessings,

Marion Owen, Kodiak, Alaska, photographer

0 thoughts on “About Marion”

    • Carol-Ann Sihvonen
    • posted on December 29, 2011

    Dear Marion,
    Thanks for the up-date to your blog. I was reading the Kodiak Daily Mirror about the site for the maritime museum, etc. And the sad news about the closing of the bookstore. ;-(. My Coastie son, was featured in the K D M when he was out of uniform, doing “Santa to the Villages” duty! (Dec. 6th) so that’s how I was able to read the paper for several days. My son will be transferring out of Kodiak next summer so I do not think that I will get to hop over from Kuopio, Finland to experience that wonderful side of the far north before he leaves. It has been so warm over here with little or no snow to brighten up the dark days. My granddaughter has been wishing for snow there. But you have had it colder there. I hope you got your carrots out of the ground before the freeze!;-D
    And, a wonderful new year to you all.

    1. Thanks, Carol. I would love to jump over to your world to photograph the northern lights. Supposed to be a good year for them… Wishing you a Christmas and New Year filled with blessings. Marion

  1. Do you still have your Kodak Brownie camera? When I was a kid, I remember that camera, but was never allowed to use it. It sounds like you are a true gardener and cook. Always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe, one day I will.

    1. Hi Mary, Thanks for your comments…While I don’t have my Brownie any more, I do have a vintage (don’t like the work “old”) view camera which still works. As for Alaska… you know, many people tell me “I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska.” And I say, “Start planning, and just do it!” It is so amazing, and a big state. Cheers and blessings, Marion

    • Daryle Thomas
    • posted on June 1, 2014

    Hi Marion,
    I am a Master Gardener in Vermont, dedicated black sheep of the fold in that I actually like to teach people about growing their own food as opposed to flippin’ the EBT card. If your list of “40 vegetables to grow” (did I get that right?) is still available, I would love a copy.
    I heard an echo in your advice on how to be awake to see the Northern Lights … drink a big glass of water … I sold wood stoves for over 30 years in a previous life. People would ask how to make a wood stove burn all night. My answer was always to drink a big glass of water before going to bed. You are clearly a woman of great wisdom!
    Be well.

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