[/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] Happy 50th birthday to one of the most spectacular and iconic buildings in the United States. A truly awesome piece of architecture that is as photogenic as it is majestic.
[/caption] Downtown Seattle, WA with the Space Needle towering in the foreground offers a great view of the city. I have so many photos of downtown Seattle, WA and I still can’t stop comparing them. There are so many photographic opportunities that you can’t help but try to think of new ways to capture the cities personality. Once you’ve decided on the best geographical locations to photograph the city, your next approach is to choose the correct lens, camera mode and most importantly taking advantage of the changing weather conditions. It seems that Seattle’s weather either creates the most fantastic shooting environments or it can completely dash any chances in getting a descent shot. This shot was taken at Kerry Park and is located north of downtown. It’s the most popular place to take photos and for good reason. I was using my Canon T1i and my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the sky and the buildings lights. I set the focal length at 70mm in order to surround the photo with the tall buildings and frame the Space Needle just off center. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture shot at F-4 since I had my filters and set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance at -0.7. This photo was taken on 7/10/11 at about 9:50pm. The sunset was at about 9:30 and the cobalt blue sky created a great backdrop for the bright lit buildings. I felt pretty lucky that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and that’s pretty rare in Seattle.
[/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] Falls Creek Falls is located in Washington State and you will have to plan on driving a bit if your coming from Portland, OR. However, your visit will be bittersweet but also amazing. This is because the waterfall is so huge but hard to view and you will become frustrated just as much as you will be stunned by its size. The best way to ease your frustration is to continue the hike above the falls where you can view the canyon below as well as get another view of the top portion of the falls. The waterfall is 200 feet tall but it’s broken out in several stages and you can’t even see the bottom of the falls or the creek for that matter due to the steep drop off where the trail ends. I mean you would literally fall to your death if you try to look too far over the canyon in order to catch a glimpse of the creek below. In fact, I don’t think you could see it anyways due to the canopy of trees and vegetation that dominate the area. The spray from the waterfall is so intense that you will also need to stand back a bit in order to photograph the waterfall if you want to avoid the spray from drenching your lens. The wind is especially good about pushing the water in your direction since there isn’t any other place for the wind to blow except towards the hikers standing below the falls. To get this shot I stood about 10 feet behind these two massive Douglas Fir trees and centered the waterfall so I could ensure that the field of view would be large enough to avoid any of the photo from being out of focus. You can stand much closer but unfortunately you won’t be able to get the entire waterfall in your viewfinder unless you mount an 8mm lens to your camera. The waterfall is just too massive and there are too many trees, rocks and other vegetation hindering your ability. However, the drive is worth it since the entire drive is scenic and the hiking trail is truly amazing. You can even ride mt. bikes on the same trail and there are additional biking trails near the falls. The trail to the waterfall is pretty short at 3.4 mile round trip and the distance to the upper portion of the falls is 6.3 miles round trip. You’re bound to see a few hawks, osprey and other smaller wildlife along the trail. Plan on packing a cooler full of food and drinks since this hike will take you all day.
[/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] Mt. Rainier has hundreds of creeks that are formed just below the dozens of glaciers carving through the mountainside. Driving along the main roadways offers visitors the opportunity to witness the wonders of geology that Mt. Rainier National Park offers. Since there are so many massive and steep creeks rushing down the mountain you can see just how devastating and dangerous these creeks are. There are also hundreds of waterfalls free falling all along the park since the topography is do diverse and steep. This photo was taken from Hwy 706 which traverses on the south side of the park. I pulled over on the massive bridge that carries travelers over the enormous canyon and glacial eroded area below. You can see all of the boulders on both sides where the glacial runoff has eroded the valley below over the years. I was looking south and the sun was just starting to come over the Tatoosh mountains but unfortunately the canyon below was still completely obscured in the shadows and the horizon was overexposed. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since I wanted to get some of the movement of the creek without having any blur. The ISO was set at 100 and the white balance at -1. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to take advantage of the morning light.
[/caption] The Lewis River offers several views of some of the most amazing and scenic waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. There are at least 5 waterfalls along the easy 7 mile round trip hiking trail, which is located along the Lewis River. There are also two other waterfalls that are worth a short trip from the main road. However, plan on getting up really early and getting home really late if you plan on making it a day trip. The drive is about 100 miles, one way, from Portland and even further from Seattle. The Lewis River Campground is just yards from the river and it’s worth staying in order to have more time to enjoy the outdoors. You can hear the water from your campsite and its also pretty peaceful and clean. I didn’t camp there but I noticed that there were hardly any campers and even less tourists since it’s so far out and only a few people know about this jewel. The entire trail follows along the river and there are several viewpoints available to view the waterfalls. However, some of the falls are hard to view due to the vegetation and the steepness of the canyon. There are a couple of beaches that allow you to stand in front of the falls and photograph them as well as go for a swim. I visited the Lewis River on 5/12/10 and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was using my Canon 18-55mm kit lens and I made sure to attach my ND8 and warming filter. The sunny skies made it challenging to leave the shutter open so I was only able to leave the shutter priority open for 2 seconds. That was enough to get the flow of the water and stop the movement just enough to create that wispy look. I was standing along one of the more popular viewing areas since the water was too high to hike along the river bank. I set the focal length at 24mm and adjusted the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -2 in order to reduce the exposure. My only place to hide from the direct sunlight was behind some trees. The waterfall was completely exposed to the sun. Due to my filter choices and settings, the aperture was at F-25. Plan on seeing some wildlife since you are likely to see some small herds of elk grazing in the meadows as well as seeing osprey and even bald eagle along the river as well as the lakes along your drive.
[/caption] There are so many waterfalls within the Mt. Rainier National Park that it would be impossible to count them all or even visit all of them. However, some of the most beautiful waterfalls are just a short hike or found near the main road. This particular waterfall was coming from the Tatoosh Range and was just a few yards from the road. I attempted to hike along the cascading water but the rocks were so slick that I ended up positioning myself along its edge and took several photos. The sun was already behind the Range so I was able to set the shutter priority at 8 seconds and the white balance at -0.7. Since I had my CIR-PL attached the aperture was at F-16 since the lighting was so dark. The sun was just enough in the foreground that I was able to stand in the sunlight as the majority of the waterfall and vegetation were completely in the shadow’s. The forest was teeming with so many creeks and small waterfalls that you could spend an entire season photographing just the water.
[/caption] One of the best places to get a panoramic view of the Olympic mountains is while you’re visiting the San Juan Islands, WA. It seems like you’re a long distance from the mainland of Washington state but you have the opportunity to get an unbelievable panoramic view of the entire area. You are also able to see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker in the east and south. The Olympic mountains are about 30 miles from the island but at least you have the ability to see the entire length of the mountain chain as well as view the water. This photo was taken near Eagle Cove, which is near the southern tip of San Juan island. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I had my 55-250mm telephoto but decided to use my 17-70mm and set the focal length at 70mm so I would be able to get a better quality photo. If you do visit the islands, plan on bringing your entire arsenal of lenses since there are so many photographic opportunities available.