[/caption] The perfect end to a perfect day in Seattle, Washington with the silhouettes of the Olympic mountains standing in the distance of Elliot Bay and a ferry boat. If anyone is wondering what the weather is mostly like during the summer months might want to study this photo since as you can see it’s picture perfect and absolutely not a single flaw on this day. I took this photo while standing along pier 54 and Elliot Bay.
[/caption] A picture perfect view of Seattle, Washington with all of the necessary subjects that make Seattle one of the most photogenic cities in the world….Mt. Rainier, Elliot Bay, Space Needle, towering sky scrapers and the industrial cranes that keep Seattle one of the top industrialized cities on the planet. This photo was obviously taken from Kerry Park and I made sure to set up during the later part of the afternoon in order to take advantage of the flawless blue skies. I made sure to use my tripod and bubble level and attach my CIR-PL and warming filter on my 17-77mm lens. I set the camera at normal and had the aperture set at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I set the ISO at 100 and increased the white balance to +0.3 in order to avoid too much glare from the sun but also wanted to be sure and avoid any under exposed photos due to the filters and setting that I was using.
[/caption] View of Mt. Rainier, stadiums and Seattle’s shipping port from Bell street pier 91. A great place to get some awesome photos of Seattle, Elliot Bay and Mt. Rainier is by hiking to the top of the fairly new Bell Street Pier cruise terminal. You also have a great view of the Olympic mountains and West Seattle but the best view is of the highrises in downtown Seattle. This is a photo looking directly south and there was a massive cloud system moving through Seattle. You can also see the low lying clouds at the base of Mt. Rainier. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter due to the bright sun glare as well as from the glare of the water and buildings. I was using my tripod and remote switch and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 70mm. The aperture was at F-5.7 and I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3 to offset the glare. I wanted to increase the shutter speed, which was at 1/197 second. Even though I took this photo in July you can see how much snow was still on the mountain.
[/caption] Even complete darkness can’t bring down the skyline of Seattle, Washington! If you’ve ever wondered what a city skyline would look like, hours after the sun has set, this photo gives you an idea. The entire scene is filled with nothing but the bright lights being generated from the city itself. There is absolutely no light being generated by the sun. However, after so many hours, from the time of sunset, the night sky becomes so dark that you are pretty much unable to take any photos of a brightly lit night sky unless your OK with a very grainy and pixelated photo. I believe that this was my last shot before I decided to call it a night. I was able to set the shutter priority to 32 seconds and was even able to remove all of my filters. The aperture was set at F-5 and I set the white balance at +1. The sky was partially shrouded in clouds but as you can see the sky looks pretty awesome! I was even able to keep the ISO at 100 and luckily you don’t see any grain in the shot as well as no pixelation. This photo was taken from the banks of West Seattle with Elliot Bay in the foreground. Luckily, I was able to have the shutter open for over 30 seconds without having a ferry or boat blur the shot. This can be a very frustrating task but as the night gets later the ferry crossings get smaller and very few boats are out in the Bay.
[/caption] This is a photo of Seattle when driving over the West Seattle Bridge. The container’s and large cranes are located in the Industrial District West and on Harbor Island. The only way that you can get this shot is by driving west and then leaning out of your car in order to take a picture. We were traveling at about 35mph when I took this photo. I asked my wife to get in the far right lane and slow down as much as possible without getting rear ended. The photo seems a little blurry and that’s due to the fact that the bridge is in need of some repair and the ride is pretty bumpy. It also didn’t help that we were moving at 35 mph. I tried my best to get a good shot of the city skyline with the Space Needle stretching all the way to the Pioneer Building. You can also see some of the cruise ships docked in Elliot Bay. I was hoping that the large field of view would have eliminated any blurriness but the ride itself was too challenging and you pretty much only get two shots at best when traveling over the bridge. With all of the spectacular and popular areas available to photograph the city I believe that this offers the most panoramic and stunning views in the city. It offers one of the best perspectives as well as allows you to incorporate the industrial aspect as well. This photo allows you to look across the entire city skyline as well as into the city. To get this shot I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.3. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I set the focal length at 46mm in order to get as much of the city in full view without including any of the steel beams and concrete structures from the bridge. I took this shot in August and it was about 1:30pm and since I was facing north the sun was directly behind me. Obviously I wasn’t able to use a tripod so I had to make sure that I kept a steady hand and had to compensate for the bumpy ride.
[/caption] Kerry Park isn’t just known for offering stunning views of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle. While waiting for the sun to set, there are several opportunities to photograph Elliot Bay. Kerry Park offers stunning views of West Seattle, Elliot Bay and Bainbridge Island. This photo clearly shows just how beautiful and colorful this part of Seattle really is. The houses in the foreground have some of the best views in the city. You can watch the boats motor along the bay as well as dream about owning one of the condos that stretch along West Seattle and Alki Beach. I felt very lucky to get this photo since I wasn’t even thinking about aiming my camera in this direction since I was so content on photographing downtown Seattle as the sun was lowering in the west. I finally decided to take this shot when I noticed the last of the suns rays were shinning perfectly over the building and ship in the foreground. The entire scene is almost perfectly cast in the sunset with no real flaws in the lighting. The shadows and sun lit scenery is almost in perfect harmony with one another. Since the lighting was low I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I attached my CIR-PL, warming and UV filter in order to saturate the sky and bring out the colors of the sun soaked buildings and boats in the bay. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 70mm. The camera was in Program/Normal mode and I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -1.7. The aperture was automatically set at F-4.6 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second. This photo really shows the benefits of using the automatic setting rather than the manual setting since the sensor set the perfect aperture and reduced the stop down to 1/128 second. This photo was taken on 7/10/11 at about 8:45pm. I highly recommend spending several hours at Kerry Park and plan on thinking outside the box since there are so many photographic options that don’t only include downtown Seattle. However, you will find it really difficult leaving the park after sunset without taking a minimum of 150 photos of the city skyline.
[/caption] This is a rare photograph of downtown Seattle, WA with only blue skies in the vicinity. Seattle looks completely different when viewed on a day like this. In fact, on this particular summer day the temperatures reached well in the 90’s and the clouds were absent for almost the entire week. Lake Union and Lake Washington were teaming with swimmers and boaters and Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound were packed with boaters reveling in the sunny and hot conditions. This photo was taken near Alaskan Way as I was driving along the highway. I had my wife drive slow so I could get this photo of the skyscrapers in the foreground and the blue skies behind them.
[/caption] I was stunned to find out that the city of Seattle had built a new dock for the cruise ships since I visited last summer. I only stumbled on it while strolling along the waterfront while trying to find the best vantage points on the many piers that jut out from the main road. This is probably one of the best places to photograph the city since you can see Mt. Rainier to the south as well as the entire bay with the Olympic mountains in the west. They even built two sky walks that take you over Alaskan way street. This is especially awesome since you can stand on the sky walk and photograph in either direction since the top level is completely open. There are even some perfect platforms where you can set up your tripod to take your best shots. I was tempted to stay here for some great night photos but settled on the early evening when the sky was at its best. You can see that the highrises and sky scrapers are so close that you can almost touch them as well as the marina below. I would recommend this spot for the best photos along the waterfront. The huge white roof in the lower part of the photo is the new seafood restaurant that looks like a giant ship. There is plenty of room on either levels to take in the views or sit on one of the many benches dotting the pier. I took this shot on 7/10/11 at about 5:00pm and the sun and clouds had created this amazing glow above the city. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I was using my tripod and remote switch in order to avoid any blur due to the glare being created by the building, sun and water. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the sky and tone down the overexposure of the sky scrappers. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-5.7 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3. I was so happy with this photographic spot that I returned the next day and had several photos that I kept. However, this photo includes so many subjects that you can see why I was so impressed with this spot. You can also clearly see the Space Needle looking towards the north as well as the many condos.
[/caption] This shot was taken from the deck of a ship while cruising along Elliot Bay. We bought a ticket and boarded one of the many boat trips offered by Argosy Cruises and proceeded to tour along the Bay. On a sunny day I think that it’s well worth the money, especially if you’re wanting to get some really cool pictures that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get. On this day the sky’s were filled with smoke due to a raging fire that was burning in the Olympic National Park. The day brought unusual 90 degree temperatures and a very rare clear sky with no clouds in sight. I knew that August would be the best time to find good weather in Seattle but I never imagined this. I took this photo on 8/16/10 and it was about 11:55am. The sun was in the upper right hand corner of this shot so I tried to position my camera to bend the overexposed light as much as possible. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens and I had it at 24mm. To help tame the sunlit sky I set the ISO to 100, the white balance to -0.3 and attached my warming and CIR-PL filter. I wasn’t using my tripod since the boat was rocking quite a bit and there was enough light to eliminate the need. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. Though days like this in Seattle are rare you have to visit the city when the weather is nice. It’s amazing to hang out along the many beaches, watch the hundreds of daily boaters go by or just hang out gazing at the city skyline. Seattle is deffinitely the place to be when the weather is nice.
[/caption] This is now only my second photo of Seattle, WA that I’ve posted on my blog. Recently I’ve been pondering my next visit to this great city so I can take some more amazing photos. This photo was taken from West Seattle which is just across Elliot Bay. It’s an easy and quick drive from I-5 and it offers some of the most amazing photo opportunities in the city. The sun sets behind you and you can capture the glare of the sinking sun as it shines over the sky scrapers. You can also get some great shots of the Olympic mountains as the sun sets behind the mountains. This shot was taken last July and the temperatures on our trip were in the mid 90 degree mark. The temps were so warm that the air was a bit stale and a forest fire in the Olympic mountains really ruined the air quality all over the city. You can kind of see the smoke behind the city. I took this shot at about 9:00 pm, just as the sun had set. I wanted to be able to use the shutter mode on the camera but there was still too much glare. However, I just attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to filter out the glare from the lights and water as well as soften the glare from the lights. The shutter speed was at 6 seconds and the F stop was at F-14. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. The focal length was at 109 and I set the ISO at 800 and the white balance at 0. I spent over two hours photographing from this spot and I experimented with several different settings including several different filter’s. I was wanting to get a shot using the shutter but without having any boats in the frame. This would eliminate any tracers created by the movement of the boats and their lights. However, this is not an easy task when taking pictures in one of the busiest harbors in America. On my next trip I will try to visit during either the months of April or May so I can have a better chance of getting some great photos with clouds and some cooler weather. This shouldn’t be a problem since we all know how rainy and unpredictable the weather is in Seattle. I will be posting some more photos of Seattle in the coming weeks so I can show off some of the great views from all over the city.