Photographer adds Langley to Worldwide Photowalk

Kim Tinuviel doesn’t just see green or teal with her eyes; she sees colors through music. A chord can spark a symphony of hues in her mind, just as a visual image triggers a harmony of music.

Kim Tinuviel doesn’t just see green or teal with her eyes; she sees colors through music. A chord can spark a symphony of hues in her mind, just as a visual image triggers a harmony of music.

As a photographer, Tinuviel uses this quality to compose abstract photography that often looks like images from a fantasy world. She will reveal how to see the extraordinary in the ordinary when she includes Langley in the Worldwide Photowalk event.

Register now for the walking photo tour of Langley set for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. Registration is required so Tinuviel can fill participants in on details like meeting places. Register at All levels of photographers and all types of cameras — from digital single-lens reflex cameras to film and even iPhones — are welcome.

The Worldwide Photowalk was created by Scott Kelby, an evangelist for Adobe Photoshop software. Tinuviel participated in a photowalk in Albuquerque last year at a balloon festival.

“So we started it at 4:30 in the morning when it was really dark,” Tinuviel said. Then, as the balloons started filling with hot air, the colors were incredible in the darkness, she said, adding that it was such a motivational and inspirational experience that she wanted to share it with Langley.

“Really what it is, besides taking photos you wouldn’t otherwise take, is getting to meet people,” Tinuviel said. Pros and beginners meet to learn from each other as the photowalks attract people from the local community and worldwide.

“After we finish shooting, we’ll meet and compare what shots we got,” Tinuviel said. “It’s so inspirational to see the work other people are doing.”

“We have a lot of really great character in Langley,” she added. During the walk, Tinuviel will point out scenic photo locations and help participants to see images they otherwise might miss. If it’s raining or foggy, that’s no problem.

“You can get some really great photography in wet conditions,” Tinuviel said.

From one-of-a-kind outdoor art pieces to historic buildings to views of water and the Cascade Mountains, Langley sings with opportunities for creative photography. In Tinuviel’s mind, too, colors and images around her sing quite literally in her mind.

Hearing colors

While a photographer and encaustic painter now, Tinuviel began her creative career as a classical musician. She studied at The Julliard School and played double bass in orchestras around the world.

“As a musician, I started to hear colors as I played music,” Tinuviel said. For years, she ignored it, telling herself it was “weird.”

“Recently, in the last 10 years, it started to kind of get louder, even though I’ve been ignoring it,” Tinuviel said.

When her children grew up and left home, she filled in the gaps with visual art. As a graphic artist, “the natural progression was to start creating visual art utilizing those colors I was hearing in my head,” she said.

Looking at her art, especially her recent ChromoAlchemy photographs, is looking through the lens of Tinuviel’s mind and into another world. It takes a few moments of gazing at vibrant, abstract combinations of blues and reds with a yellow circle like a rising sun, or a rusty red with a grassy green distributed like continents in a red sea or a vision under a microscope, to realize that Tinuviel’s art is photography and not paintings. While the exact subjects are secret to Tinuviel so that viewers focus on the composition rather than the subject, they are everyday items and locations Tinuviel sees something special in.

“Photographically, when I look for a subject to shoot, I’m looking with a musical mind,” Tinuviel said. She composes her photograph in the camera with the colors she hears in her mind.

“I think the magic of my successful work is it is magical because it is musical. Even if people can’t hear the color the way I do, they sense something, something special about it,” Tinuviel explained. “The whole point for me is what these colors are saying musically and the structural composition of the piece.”

Her ChromoAlchemy series is “a study of the effects of time and the elements on color and texture,” Tinuviel said. The images can be seen on the Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour today and tomorrow, as well as at Brackenwood Gallery in Langley. For information about the Studio Tour, visit

Encaustic art

Tinuviel also does traditional photography and encaustic paintings, which involves painting wax. One technique she uses to create abstract images is painting wax over hot tar. As the two materials cool at different rates, the surface cracks, and she uses these cracks and pigmented wax to compose an image. Often, she adds salt, sand, coffee grounds or other materials to her encaustic art for unique

textures, or builds encaustic on top of photos. She used this technique for her rug series, to play with the feel of rugs she photographed by adding three-dimensional elements.

“I’m at that point in my life where I’ve crafted my lifestyle on what is important to me,” Tinuviel said. Living a life saturated with visual art, Tinuviel is as rich in creativity as her art is in color.

“Living in a creative way is fantastic. I just love it,” Tinuviel said.

And the community and tourists alike can benefit from her views during the Worldwide Photowalk in Langley. Participants won’t just be snapping photos of flowers with Tinuviel as their guide.

“It’s the opportunity to glean expertise from people you might not bump into otherwise,” Tinuviel said. “I think also when you do something like that, you see parts of your town you wouldn’t ordinarily see.”



Photo tour

Langley joins the Worldwide Photowalk from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 in Langley.

All levels of photographers and all types of cameras are welcome.

Register at so leader Kim Tinuviel can supply details like the meeting location.