A Fish Story and Your Studio

Lake Quinalt Lodge
Lake Quinalt Lodge

A few weeks ago, Cameron and I traveled to the Olympic Peninsula to spend a few days at the beautiful, historic Lake Quinault Lodge. The weather was unseasonably perfect with sunshine and comfortable temperatures. It was a perfect getaway.

Before we made it to the lodge, we took a detour to Neah Bay to enjoy the Makah Museum and grab some smoked salmon Cam read about in Yelp. The museum was spectacular with many Native Makah artifacts and loads of historical references and information about the Makahs. It was well worth the drive.

TakeHomeFish
Take Home Fish Co.

Our other destination, Take Home Fish Company, was quite a surprise. When Cameron told me about it, I imagined a well-lit store with a refrigerator case packed with smoked salmon and other delicious Pacific Northwest treats. To my shock, my imagined fish shop was nothing more than a garage, slightly modified to be used as a fish shack.

Diesel flavored smoked salmon swam through my thoughts.

We walked in feeling skeptical about the offerings. Diesel flavored smoked salmon swam through my thoughts. The guy behind the small counter presented us with a number of options, which were neatly vacuum packed and ready for immediate sale.

This was it? I admit, I hadn’t taken the time to check out Yelp to see what this place was about. I was close to walking out without spending a dime. Cameron was a more willing customer and decided on two vac-packs of smoked fish, one salmon the other deep sea black cod.

Makah Bay
Makah Bay

As we drove away from Neah Bay with our purchase, I started thinking about the many voice talents starting out who create their magic from a closet, spare bedroom and other home areas that don’t resemble a studio, even remotely. If an area can be treated and used to record and the result is flawless fidelity, what does it matter?

I’ve read studio descriptions from established talent who don’t record in a closet or bedroom but have an acoustically designed booth of some sort. I congratulate them for making the financial decision to invest in their recording area. But, it’s uncool to trash talk those who work out of something less and still deliver amazing audio.

Evidently the clients don’t care as long as it sounds good.

The deliverable is what the client is most interested about. I’m pretty sure they care 1% or less how or where their ready-to-use sound was created. They know what sounds good for their project. I’ve read about jobs being done in hotel rooms with comforters, blankets and pillows used to create a satisfactory recording environment. Evidently the clients don’t care as long as it sounds good. It they did care where it was recorded few people, if any, would record on the road.

Lake Quinault
Lake Quinault

And, as for the smoked fish? Best. Smoked. Fish. EVAR! It was tasty and the perfect first meal at the Quinault Lodge. We gobbled down the fish along with some cheddar cheese, sourdough bread and a few glasses of port. Kimm, the owner of Take Home Fish Co. didn’t need a fancy store or state of the art tools to create what will be tough to beat by anybody else smoking fish. He had talent and an understanding of how to best use his workspace.

© 2015 J. Christopher Dunn

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6 thoughts on “A Fish Story and Your Studio

  1. Eddie Eagle February 18, 2015 / 6:00 am

    My wife and I used to drive around that area. The Makahs know how to do fish. An unassuming garage with a hand painted sign is the sign of 100% authenticity and outstanding products in that area. They know their stuff. They should…they’ve been doing it for generations. We also stayed at Lake Quinault Lodge. You can’t go wrong up in the only Rainforest in North America. Hope you walked the Maple Glade trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Christopher Dunn February 18, 2015 / 10:26 am

      Thanks for your comment!

      You nailed it. Very authentic. We also ate at Pat’s Place and devoured fry bread tacos that were plate licking delicious. A few years ago we visited the Quinault Lodge and thought it would be a fun place to stay. We were not disappointed.

      Like

  2. Rick Riley February 18, 2015 / 9:23 pm

    I lived in Seattle in the mid 80’s, doing morning radio at KZOK. Some years later, after moving to Miami and getting married, I kept touting the Great Northwest to my wife. Told her she would love it and we needed to go. We were going to go to Seattle, head out to the Olympic Peninsula and jump onto a ferry to Victoria, BC. Never made it past the Olympic Peninsula. We’d drive for few minutes, see something and say, ‘Oh we have to stop here.’ Quinault Lodge was one of the stops. Spent 10 days on the peninsula till it was time to go home. We still talk about that vacation. Made such an impression, when I left radio we both agreed the Northwest is where we wanted to live. We’ve now been residents of Portland for almost four years. My wife says, ‘why was I born so far from a place I should have lived all my life.’ There are finds like Lake Quinault Lodge all over the NW, and places like the Smoked Fish Garage are placed like seasoning from Oregon all the way up to Canada. When you can, come to stay. Just don’t tell anyone how great it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Christopher Dunn February 19, 2015 / 9:44 am

      Your wife has a precise point. The PNW is pretty amazing and I feel fortunate to have settled on Whidbey Island to enjoy all it has to offer. The move from the Big Sky Country of Montana in the early 90s to here was a huge change. Both are beautiful, however.

      Another trip we made, and I highly recommend, was to Tofino, BC. The beaches were pristine and fun to walk. Our lodge accommodations were comfortable and relaxing. The food was pretty spectacular as well. Nice memories.

      Like

  3. Larry Oliver February 19, 2015 / 10:21 am

    Great story and a lesson well taught, and well learned! As one who moved from a home in the desert with a wonderful treated studio for recording and editing, to an apartment in STL with a small but great treated recording area, with the “editing and control console outside of the recording space, you give great inspiration!!

    Like

    • J. Christopher Dunn February 24, 2015 / 10:35 am

      Hey Larry- My first studio was in a neighborhood where every house (except mine!) had a at least one dog. While the owners were at work, the dogs spent day-long time outside, barking almost non-stop. I was very happy to move and leave it all behind to a more tranquil location.

      I get having to work with what’s available and understanding limitations of an environment. It sounds like you do too. Thanks for the comment and stopping by. Come again!

      Like

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