[/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 a photo of some people kayaking along the San Juan Straight with Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the background. This is now my third post on my blog of photos from the San Juan Islands that I that I took last August. You can read about my trip in depth from my blog that I posted on August 27th. I was able to get so many awesome photos that I want to post as many as I can on my blog so I can share them more. The day that I took this photo was an absolute epic sunset opportunity. The sky’s were clear, the ocean was calm and the air was very still. Like many of my sunset shots taken on the island I took this photo at the San Juan County Park. I noticed that there were several kayakers paddling along the bay so I decided to try to capture some of them in my photos. The sun had already set so I knew that it wouldn’t be easy photographing moving objects while the sky’s were already darkened. They were pretty far from where I was standing so I had to change to my 55-250mm telephoto lens in order to zoom in as much as possible. I changed from shutter mode to Normal/Program mode so I could eliminate as much blur as possible. The aperture was at F5.7 and the shutter speed was at 1/13 second. Even though the light was dim I had to set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -.1 in order to maximize the orange hue in the background. There were several different ways that I could have tackled this shot but I decided that this was the best way to get the best picture. I did however remove my warming and CIR-PL filter since the sun had already set and I wasn’t using shutter mode. I made sure to have my camera on a tripod as well as a bubble level and remote switch. In order to get this photo I chose the best way was to set my camera at a designated spot and wait for the kayakers to come in to view. However, you can see some blur on the paddles due to this. I could have tried panning but I felt that the entire photo would be blurry due to the low light and movement of the camera. You can also see some seagulls bobbing in the water near the kayakers. I can’t wait to get back to the islands next summer. This is truly a place that you need to visit when the weather is nice.
[/caption] Here is a shot that I took last July while hiking in the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. I had visited the Park from the east, which is a long drive that takes you through Cougar and then north up the 131. The drive from Portland is very long and twisty but you are more likely to see herds of elk than people. This was my first trip along the east part of the mountain and I have to say that its one of the most scenic and peaceful parts of the wilderness. The Park reminded me of a National Park but minus the thousands of visitors and campsites. You can make it a day trip from Portland, during the longer days of summer, but I highly recommend you leave before sunrise and pack a lot of food since there are no places to eat. I took this shot with my Canon EOS T1i and my Tokina 12-24 wide angle lens. I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter to bring out the colors and tame to intensity of the glaring sun. I took this shot looking south at about 6:35pm and the sun was just to the right. I had to set my ISO to 100 and the white balance to -2 due to the glare. The focal length was at 15mm and the shutter speed was 1/100 second. I was standing directly in the path of the explosion that destroyed all of the timber in its path. There were several pumice fields directly below where I was standing and you can see that some of the vegetation was just beginning to come back. I was amazed at the amount of pumice that littered the entire north side of the park. It was like walking through time and you could physically see the destruction from the wrath of the volcano. You can hike to Spirit lake and view the thousands of trees littering the lake and photograph dozens of species of wild flowers that grow among the pumice fields. I highly recommend visiting the park from the north east side. There are dozens of trails to hike and the park is very well kept and there are numerous areas to picnic. You are also guaranteed to see some wildlife. I startled a herd of elk while hiking on one of the trails and watched as they scurried up the mountain. This was truly an epic day.
[/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.
[/caption] My first trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State was an awesome experience. The weather was stellar and the sights were an amazement of incredible views. San Juan Island is one of the largest of the islands and it’s about 55.3 square miles and about 6,950 residents. However, I’m not sure if that’s full time or part time residents. Friday Harbor is the only town on the island and also where the ferry drops visitors off. We caught the ferry at Anacortes and it was about a 45 minute trip. However, make sure to get there early and plan on waiting for a while before boarding the ferry. It’s pretty expensive on the island so I would recommend bringing as much food as possible and make sure you fill up your gas tank in Anacortes. When driving through the island, it looks more like an agricultural area more than an island. It reminded me a lot of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. However, the rocky shores were teaming with viewpoints that included Mt. Baker to the east, the Olympic mountains to the south and Vancouver Island, Canada to the west. There are also two lighthouses on the southern part of the island, several densely forested areas as well as numerous fresh water lakes dotted along the island. There are plenty of historic places to visit and the interior has several rolling hills that offer some of the best road bike riding I’ve ever seen. We saw several deer as well as several sea otters in Mitchell Bay. There are several places that you can view orcas from the island, but unfortunately we didn’t see any. There is a small winery and an alpaca farm. Several cattle, horses and sheep are raised here as well as wheat and grass. There are several old barns and houses to photograph and with the Olympics always close by, you can sometimes get the mountains in most of your pictures when visiting the southern side. There are two harbors and dozens of coves and bays throughout the island. I was amazed with the amount of kayaks on the island. Most visitors coming off the ferry had either a bike or a kayak strapped to their vehicles. Sometimes they had both. I was able to get a lot of photos with kayaks in the picture, which made for some great sunset photos. I was able to kayak where I was staying, which was at Mitchell Bay on the north side of the island. You could see Vancouver Island, Canada and I paddled near several sea lions, kayaked through a kelp garden, saw several jelly fish and watched as some very expensive sail boats and power boats steamed by. There is also a 1 mile hike up Young Hill, which is about an 800 foot elevation gain. It provides a fantastic panoramic view of the Olympics, the many harbors and Vancouver Island. One of my favorite spots to photograph and visit along the shore was at tiny Reuben Tarte County Park, which is on the north east tip of the island. You have an incredible 180 degree view with several islands in the distance. You can see the mountains on Vancouver Island and photograph the ferries heading to Sidney Harbor as well as the many sailboats and power boats in the San Juan Channel. Since I was limited on time I visited San Juan County Park to get my sunset shots. It was only about a 10 minute drive from Mitchell Bay and there were several areas to set up my tripod. To get this photo, I was using my 55-250 telephoto lens and had the focal length at 79mm. I was using my CIR-PL, warming filter and UV filter as well as my tripod and remote release. The sun had just set so I was able to get the orange glow exploding over Vancouver Island and Andrews Bay. You can also see several homes near Victoria, Canada. Since the glare was fairly bright, I wasn’t able to set my camera mode to Shutter. I kept it at Program mode and the F stop was F 4.5. I set the ISO to 100 which caused the shutter to release at 1/15 second. I have several photos where I had set the shutter to 30 seconds but this photo really shows the colors of the sunset. I would highly recommend visiting the San Juan Islands if you want to really experience an epic journey. There are several other islands that the ferries can take you to, but I was very impressed with what this island had to offer.