[/caption] Beautiful view of Seattle with Mt. Rainier looming in the distance! The grand view of downtown Seattle from Kerry Park. Not many cities on the planet offer a view like this. One of the most spectacular mountains on the planet teaming up with one of the most photogenic cities on the planet offer views that demand a persons attention! This photo was taken during the month of July and just minutes from sunset. Just make sure to bring all of your lenses and don’t forget your tripod, bubble level and remote switch. You may also want to bring a variety of filters and brush up on your setting so you can ensure that you get the best shots. I always utilize my histogram so I don’t miss out on the best shots and avoid taking bad shots that I don’t realize until it’s too late.
[/caption] Overcast skies in downtown Seattle can be turned into a perfect photography opportunity. Whenever I’m visiting Seattle and the skies are overcast I tend to immediately start to brainstorm and think outside the box. Overcast skies over a huge city offers some of the most spectacular opportunities that you can imagine. This is especially true if you’re inside the city with the towering sky scrappers at your fingers touch. You will always want to shoot upwards in order to frame the buildings in front of the cloudy skies. This way you will be aiming your camera at around a 90 degree angle and the personalities of the clouds will be revealed. This photo is a perfect example, with the dynamic colors, formations and angles of the ever changing angry skies. The city just complements the clouds rather than the clouds hindering the city. However, the most challenging thing to remember is to always think outside the box and never underestimate the power of the clouds. If you wait too long, you may miss an amazing streaming cloud formation that can take the shape like the one in this very photo. Photoshop is also your best opportunity to take advantage of the clouds since you can separate each of the clouds from one another and really show the dynamic ability of them. I try not to rely too much on Photoshop but it offers some great advantages whenever needed. However, I always trust my settings on the camera as I’m taking photos as well as reviewing every photo on the histogram. You should never just rely on Photoshop since you can’t fix a bad photo and once you’re sitting on your couch, it’s too late. I actually took this shot on the boardwalk near the Seattle Aquarium. I wanted to include the water so I stood near the end of the pier and tilted the camera at about a 90 degree angle without cropping out too much of the water. Even though it was overcast and 7:15pm at night, the day was still pretty light out since it was during July. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to filter out the glare. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the FL at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic shot as possible. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 since the glare from the clouds and water was too much for the lens. The aperture was at F-4 and the shutter speed was 1/64 seconds due to the low light and settings.
[/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] Last summer I spent three days photographing Seattle from the most popular spots around the city. On my last day I decided to try and find a viewing spot that wasn’t as popular among photographers but provided a great view of the city. After driving all throughout the north and north eastern parts of the city I decided to look for some neighborhood parks that might offer some descent views. After scanning a map of the city I ended up driving through parts of north eastern Seattle. I first drove through Old Ballard and then ended up in Loyal Heights where I found a small park that had a great but somewhat obscured view of downtown. I’m not totally sure of the park but I’m pretty sure it was either Loyal Heights playfield or Salmon Bay Park. You can see the hills of Queen Anne in the left part of the photo with the Space Needle rising up. I wasn’t happy with the light but I didn’t have any other opportunity to return so I took a bunch of photos hoping that some would come out. It was during the middle of the day, on a overcast July afternoon, and I had to try and saturate the sky since the clouds were pretty thick.
[/caption] Some of the most spectacular views available in Seattle are near the many piers that dot the city. Sometimes all you need is some clouds or a subject. In this case I was able to include several subjects in order to get this photo. I was standing near pier 58 when I decided to take a picture of Mt. Rainier. I was surprised to have the opportunity to take this photo with so many subjects as well as the spectacular clouds looming over the mountain. The only thing missing in the shot is a boat. I took this shot using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch as well as attaching my CIR-PL and warming filter. I took this photo at about 5:00pm so the glare was still pretty extreme so I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. Since I had the camera mode in Program/Normal the aperture was set at F-6. Due to the high glare the shutter speed was at 1/197 second.
[/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] Most people say that the view from Kerry Park is hands down the best place to view the city. It’s pretty hard to argue that statement especially when you can see Mt. Rainier in the background as well as the Space Needle in the foreground. It’s the only place that I was able to include the mountain with the city. You can also see all the way across Elliot Bay and view parts of the Olympic mountains as well as watch the boats enter the harbor. However, I can’t really decide if this is truly the best place to view the city. It is by far one of the best places but I don’t know if I agree it’s the best. As a photographer, there are several parks to get some amazing panoramic photos and unfortunately Kerry Park is on the north side of the city which limits your view of how massive and long the city really is. There are also a lot of tall trees that obscures the views as you can see in this photo. However, Gas Works park and West Seattle allows you a much better panoramic view of the city. I had to use my 12-24mm lens to have the Space Needle and Quest field in the same frame when I took my photo from West Seattle. You can also see that photo that I took and posted on my blog on 8/1910. I also wrote a very extensive article when I first returned from my photography trip last summer. Gas Works park offers some great views as seen from the east part of the city. I will admit that Kerry Park is the most well kept and tranquil park that I have visited so far in Seattle but I don’t think it offers the best panoramic views of the city. My vote for the best place to view Seattle is in West Seattle. But then again that’s just my opinion. To get this shot I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my 18-55mm lens. I was using my CIR-PL and my warming filter. There was a huge wildfire that started in the Olympic mountains a few days earlier which caused the orange haze as seen in the background. The 90 degree weather and stale air didn’t help either. However, it did create a really nice hue around mt. Rainier. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since we visited the park to get some nice sunset shots. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F5 and the shutter speed was at 1/20 second. Due to the glare from the haze I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1.3. This photo was taken at 8:17pm so the sun hadn’t set yet. I believe the sun set around 8:50pm. Unfortunately many of my sunset photos didn’t come out as planned since the forest fire had created a strong glare and each time I took a photo after sunset the glare from the lights made the photo look blurry. However, I was able to get a few keepers and I will be posting them on my blog soon.
[/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.