[/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] The views from Mt. Rainier National Park are pretty awesome but having a view like this with the moon high above makes it even more spectacular. The photo was taken from just above Paradise Ridge and only a few hundred feet from were the bare trail meets snow. The Tatoosh Range is in the foreground with the rest of the Washington Cascades far in the background. You also have great views of Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Adams as well. To get this shot I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 50mm in order to eliminate too much of the trees from appearing in the photo. The aperture is at F7.1 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3 since the sun was directly in front of me but at least high above. I took this shot on 7/26/12 at about 5:00 pm and the wildflowers were awesome.
[/caption] Beautiful sunset over Vancouver Island taken from the edge of San Juan Island in Washington State. It’s almost time to start packing for a spring trip to the San Juan Islands. Spring offers some pretty unpredictable weather but the scenery is hard to match during Springtime. The Olympic mountains and the Cascades are still ripe with loads of snow throughout the entire region and the flowers are running amok all over the island. You have a great chance of catching killer whales dotting the sea scape and the vegetation is glowing in it’s neon green. The sunsets can also be at their best since the clouds can create an awesome color scheme. You will want to pack every lens that you own and make sure to bring a tripod and don’t forget your rain gear.
[/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] 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] Mt. Rainier offers some of the most spectacular views along with hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the National Park. August and September provide some of the best opportunities to capture the alpine flowers and wildlife that encompass the park. There are hundreds of waterfalls, lakes, towering trees within the forest, wildlife galore and the views will amaze even the most experienced landscape photographer.
[/caption] Beautiful July afternoon on the south side of Mt. Rainier National Park, WA. This photo was taken just above from the Paradise upper parking lot. You will be amazed at the photographic opportunities that are just feet away from some of the parks busiest parking lots. If you have a descent telephoto lens and if you stand on the other side from the parking lots, you have some great opportunities to photograph the mountains and the ancient forest in the foreground. This particular photo shows a wicked cloud hovering just at the summit and the mountain acted like a vacuum as it sucked in the cloud from miles away. Earlier, the clouds forming around the mountain stretched all the way to the Tatoosh range but eventually the clouds evaporated once they reached the summit of Mt. Rainier. It’s a pretty amazing sight to watch a mountain chew and then swallow an entire cloud formation.
[/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] Mt. Rainier was literally sucking this cloud formation and pretty much spitting it out on the other side. One of the most spectacular things about Mt. Rainier is watching the clouds form and then disperse around the mountain. Most of the clouds that form near the park eventually end up near the summit of the mountain and then evaporate after the mountain finishes eating them. You can spend several hours or days watching some of the most spectacular displays of clouds dancing around the mountain and then almost becoming lunch like a Venus fly trap drawing in flies. If you look closely you can see a long and narrow white streak shooting from the clouds and up into the sky. That’s actually the clouds being sucked in by the mountain. I’m not sure of the meteorological term but as I was photographing I noticed that it started at the base of the mountain, while it lured in the cloud and then the streak grew and split the cloud. There is no denying that Mt. Rainier is the most behemoth mountain in the lower 48 states and demands the most respect due to its enormous size, enormous glaciers and its incredible ability to devour entire cloud systems. I have never been disappointed when visiting the park and I can assure you that you will enjoy one of the most spectacular photography session of your life.