The Russian River in 40 Photographs

Savor summer and relax with these beautiful photos of Russian River life.

Photography by Ron Koeberer

To some it’s a source of artistic inspiration. To others it’s an endangered natural wonder in grave need of protection. But to most who make an annual summer pilgrimage to the Russian River — whether for an afternoon’s respite or a week’s true escape — it’s a place to shed worldly concerns and embrace the season’s mandate: relax.

Nature’s tranquility sets the pace (leisurely) and the mood (dreamy), as vacationers submerge in the river’s depths or float on its surface, relinquishing control and letting the gentle current chart their course for a time.

It was the sight of several such summer revelers that literally stopped Windsor-based photographer Ron Koeberer in his tracks one July day a few years back.

Koeberer and his wife were returning home from a hike in Occidental, and as they drove across the bridge that spans the river into Monte Rio, Koeberer was struck by the vision of “a sea of people” in the water and on the beach. He asked his wife to stop and let him out, and he spent that afternoon capturing the first images in what became a creative project that still brings him to that bridge every warm summer weekend.

From that perfect vantage point, he finds a different vista every time — with a cast of characters that changes as endlessly as the river itself. Click through the above gallery to see for yourself.