Routines and Rituals

With a move just a day away and an exhausting week of packing almost done, I hope to move forward with my energy and purpose. Our new home offers many windows of opportunity to put forth. Or, at the very least, supplement the ideas and plans I’ve been looking to add, subtract, or continue as we’ve made it a habit to visit the condo since our closing day regularly, sometimes to bring essentials, others to measure or plan. It never goes without notice how an empty room allows for boundless thoughts, ideas, and creativity. Below is a shortlist of actions and undertakings I plan on implementing or continuing.


Tai-chi – What a great way to start the day? In with the good and our with the bad.

Minimalism – This has been an obsession of mine for some time. Packing for the move has been a revelation—a back-breaking reminder of everything I had to have.

Meditation – Since I was in grammar school, I’ve relied on meditation for long periods, often interrupted by being too busy with complete nonsense. Considering how beneficial the results have always been, I often find myself scratching my head as to why I ever stop. Whether it be stress, anxiety, overthinking, breathing, or just clearing the mind, five minutes to a half-hour of meditation does more than any pill or time with a therapist has ever done for me.

Capturing the Sunset on Manual Mode

ISO 800 f/7.1 1/200 sec

While it might be somewhat intimidating for a beginning photographer to shoot on full manual mode, I can’t think of a better way to learn photography and learn your camera’s settings and functions, as someone who learned photography during the film camera days. There is a big difference between developing your mistakes in a dark room or turning it over to a photo lab rather than uploading them to your computer. Digital photography is excellent because it allows you to make mistakes without the cost of money or space. Whether you’re taking pictures from your window seat or out in the wild, I strongly suggest switching to manual mode and even taking your lens off autofocus. You’re going to learn a lot more that way while taking total control over your photography experience.

Exploring AV Mode

Over the years, I’ve experimented with all the available modes and functions of my Canon. However, the AV mode (Apeture Value) is, by far, the least explored. Aperature Mode is an important feature that allows you to choose your f stop while the camera typically chooses the ISO. Choosing this mode is great for a bokeh effect, which a term for blurring your background. It should be noted that the smaller the aperature number the larger the shutter opening and vice versa. Simply put, f 1.8 is a lot bigger than f 22. Below are several mid day images I took from the balcony. The first and third were taken of the North West and the second of the North East.

f 11 ISO 200
f 11 ISO 200
f 32 ISO 10

Photographing Sunsets on TV Mode

Understanding full well that my obsession with running out on the balcony or up to the roof to watch/photograph the sunset each night will eventually fade. I’ve taken to abandoning my camera’s priority mode while switching to manual focus on my lenses. Though manual mode is, by far, the best way to learn. With limited time and a plate of homemade tacos waiting for me on the inside, I switched to TV mode, changing my shutter speed with each image. Those unfamiliar with TV mode allow you to change your camera’s shutter speed and let you play around with the amount of time. Giving you the power to create a sense of motion in your images. Below are a couple of pictures and their settings. As you can see, their taken from very different ends of the spectrum, yet the results are similar.

ISO/100 1/11 seconds at F 32
ISO 800 1/2000 at F 4.5

A Visit to North Tower

After wondering for days whether the fob for the south tower worked in the north tower, I took a walk around the corner to find out for sure. When my keychain hit the spot, a beeping sound automatically opened the doors as if the heavens were welcoming me with open arms. Seeing the Space Needle up close for the first time since we first arrived in Seattle felt all warm and fuzzy. Watching the sunset and the sky turn orange is just about the most effective stress reducer around, as I’ve already taken more than enough pictures. I hope to use the space and calm to practice meditating and tai-chi. For now, I’ll feed my addiction and take/share photos.

Smoke on the Water. A.K.A. Haze Part II

As bleak as the haze and smoke of Seattle mornings can be. Knowing full well that there will come a time in the day where the skies will part, and the sun will make an appearance. It’s something that has made living in Seattle a lot easier. Sure, it rains a hell of a lot, but it rarely rains all day. And while this morning, haze or smoke is new, not to mention scary. However ominous, and perhaps part of what’s being termed as “The new normal.” I’ve gotten used to watching as the thick haze disperses, giving was to the sun.
Like clockwork, it happened yesterday. Unfortunately, this time, the haze didn’t lift. It just moved slightly west to Puget Sound. Having never seen such a sight. I grabbed my camera and headed to the roof deck. Below are two of the images I managed to capture.

Haze

Due to the fires in neighboring California and Washington’s pollution, some new descriptions have appeared in the daily weather forecast.
Words such as “Smoke” and “Haze” have become part of the vocabulary. When I woke up this morning, to was is being referred to as “haze.” Eventually, my curiosity and urge to document what I was seeing. Grabbing my camera, I headed to the window to capture what I was seeing.Below are a couple of images I took from my window at around 9:30 am. The one on the left is taken of the east. The one on the right shows the west.

Saying Goodbye to Columbia City and Angeline Apartments

Earlier this afternoon we closed the doors to our apartment at Angeline by dropping off the keys. Angeline was, without a doubt, the best rental experience I can remember. Everything from our apartment, the staff, our neighbors, and our neighborhood was fantastic. We enjoyed having a library next door to us during the almost three years we were there, a city park behind us, a historic movie theatre across the street, and a healthy grocery store just under us. After our dropoff, we picked up some fresh cookies at Colombia City Bakery, did some food shopping at QFC, and even got to say goodbye to the panhandler who stands at the end of the grocery store parking lot. As good as our time there was. We had to decide to either go back East or stay and buy a home in Seattle. Choosing the latter took a lot of thought, but in the end, I think we’ve been happy here.

The Right Fit.

When we first moved to Seattle in June 2017. It was a completely new experience for me. Having lived on in New York and New Jersey my entire life, I was more than ready for a change of scenery. Before the move, we visited Seattle and did our fair share of online research on the area. I also consulted a close friend who had worked here, and he was excited about my opportunity as he was sad to see me go. To quote him, “The trees are fucking huge, and you’re going to love it.” Upon our arrival, my wife’s new company assigned us a real estate agent. However, after seeing five or six less than convincing condos, we decided to rent while we got more familiar with the area. Almost three years later, we decided to link up with our original agent and struck gold on the very first day. We immediately made an offer on the spot and received an acceptance call shortly after returning to our apartment. The rest, as they say, was history.

For my neighbors

As I began to head back down from the roof deck and enjoy the tacos my wife had been preparing. I was greeted by a really kind couple by the bar. After a short chat, I was asked if and where they could see some, if any of the pictures I had just taken. I gave one of them my card in hopes of sharing before I headed downstairs. While there are probably countless people living here, my hopes are to run into them again and possibly lear more from natives of the city I’ve come to call my home. In the meantime, this post and these pictures are for them.