[/caption] I was amazed to have the opportunity to photograph the Seattle skyline with the moon looming over the city. Too make things even better is that the clouds were amazing and Mt. Rainier looked spectacular. I couldn’t have picked a better day to photograph the sunset at Kerry Park. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to soften the scene and saturate the sky. I took this picture just minutes before sunset and set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at 0 in order to create the best possible exposure. Since I had the camera in Normal/Program mode the aperture was automatically set at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1/60 second. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I had the focal length at 23mm in order to create a large landscape but didn’t want to make the city look too far away. I lost count of the amount of tripods and cameras crowded along tiny Kerry Park. I also believe there were two wedding photo shoots going on as well as several modeling photo shoots. Even though its a very popular place to photograph the city it’s hardly difficult to see why.
[/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] I normally don’t change many of my photos to black & white due to the fact that I like to show the colors that engulf the Pacific Northwest. I also find myself spending so much time on my color shots that I forget to chance any to Black & White. This is kind of strange though since I have an entire Gallery on my website dedicated to Black & White shots. However, I decided to go through some of my Seattle photos that I took last summer to see how they would turn out and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. This shot was taken from West Seattle with Elliot Bay and Seattle in the background. Downtown Seattle is about a mile from where I took the photo. You can see that the Space Needle isn’t in this photo. The Space Needle is located on the left but unfortunately the city skyline is so long that I wasn’t able to get the Space Needle as well as the Port of Seattle and Quest field in the photo. If you were to use a wide angle lens you would be able to get the entire skyline but the skyline would be too far away and the buildings would look like tiny ants running across the photo. In fact, the Space Needle is so much farther north from the city skyline that I decided that I didn’t want to lose any of the main sky scrapers as seen on the right of the photo. I also like that you can see the bright lights emitting from the stadium and also coming from the port with the ships docked at the waters edge. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Canon 18-24mm lens and I had the focal length at 29mm. It was 9:37pm at night so the sun had already set just behind me. I was wanting to get as much glare from the lights in the city as possible as well as blurring the water so I set the shutter to 20 seconds. I had to attach my ND4 and my warming filter to ensure that there wasn’t too much over exposure. I also set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1. The camera setting was at Program/Normal mode so the aperture was automatically set at F-9. I normally always use shutter priority whenever I set the shutter speed but on this particular shot it came out better while the setting was in Program/Normal mode. This is mostly due to the wide field of view. One great thing about black & white photography when shooting a city skyline is that you can see the hue surrounding the upper parts of the overexposed parts of the photo.
[/caption] I finally had the opportunity to visit Seattle and take some photos of the city. Just before my trip I read that Travel+Leisure 2009 had rated the top 100 cities in the world with the most scenic skylines. Seattle was rated #10 in their magazine. I was surprised to see them get such a high ranking. After all, their #10 ranking was for the world, not just for the United States. I figured that I really needed to take some good shots in order to really show the beauty of the Seattle skyline. I did my homework and found several areas throughout the city that were known for the best city views. I went to every scenic viewpoint that I could find and made sure to return for the best sunset shots. I drove to almost every neighborhood in the city so I could really take in the personality within the city limits. West Seattle is where I took this photo on the blog page. I first arrived to this spot in the afternoon and I knew that this would be the best place for sunset and twilight shots. West Seattle is the best place to get an entire panoramic photo that really shows just how massive and beautiful the skyline is. You can also watch all of the boats enter Elliot Bay. I was fortunate to find great vantage points from the north, east, south and west sides of the city. It would take several weeks to really capture all of the photography areas within Seattle. To get this shot, I removed my CIR-PL and my warming filter since the sun had already set and the color of the scene was calm. I set my camera to Program mode. The F stop was at 10 and I had the ISO setting at 200. The White Balance was at 0 since the color was almost perfect. I was using the shutter priority and I had it set at 20 seconds in order to maximize the glow of the lights. Since the bay is so busy it can be hard to use a long exposure without have a moving boat in the photo. This is especially true if you don’t want to show the movement of the boats in the foreground of your shot. I plan on returning again as soon as possible so I can continue to get some great photos of the city.