There’s no doubt that the view from our balcony is picturesque. And as the weather gets warmer and then rain and cloud cover Seattle is infamous for disapapate, I will surely be spending more time it. Though, as of taking pictures has definitely taken a back seat to my writing. I still find insiration in learning new and old photography tricks and tutorials to keep one of my greatest passions alive.
I’ll fully admit to having some sort of learning disability. Being that i’ve never been able to read directions or follow through with the many projects I become involved with. That sai, the decades I’ve spent taking pictures and picking up knowledge wherever and whenever I can have been quite rewarding. Figuring things out as I gc and learning many lessons from try and do, or through trial and error can be difficult and even maddening at times. However, when I finally do get it right, it feels like a major breakthrough.
For years now, I’ve been obsessed with night photography and long exposure. Though heading into the night with my camera doesn’t suit me as well as it once did. I have been blessed with a relatively spacious balcony, oversized windows, and a roof deck open to me at any time of the day or night, with more and more time spent on the patio and the onset of after-dinner laziness keeping me from going up to the roof. I’ve been experimenting with using my windows as a sort of filter. I set up a shot that would test my manual focus skills and my patience in waiting for the shutter to open and close. Not to mention the amount of time it takes for the image to appear. Though not long by any stretch. It seems like forever when you’re just standing there waiting for something to materialize.
At the moment, long exposures and night photography are what is driving my passion as I still have so much to learn and mistakes to make. And as frustrating it may seem at times. Learning new things has always been and still is a driving force in creating any form of art.
With the rainy season upon us and second wave of Covid-19 wrecking havoc on people everywhere. I’ve been trying to find ways to spend my time and stay relatively sane. During the week, I’ve gotten into the habit of working from home, taking much needed breaks and going out on the balcony for a breathe of partially fresh air watch the sun set. In the past, I’d await that moment when the sun descends behind the mountains. Since purchasing a Neutral Density filter, I’m able to capture the look of dusk during the middle of the day. I love how the filter helps smooth out the water while giving my long exposures the contrast I need. It certainly didn’t hurt the the rain that day brought some really nice cloud cover. This was one of my first attempts with Neutral Density Filters and though I have a lot to learn, I love the effects.
Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the features on my camera. Experimenting with long exposures and mapping out areas where I’d like to put my ideas to work. Being that the symptoms of my sorta/kinda diagnosis have consistently worsened in recent weeks and months. My wife has become warier of my jetting off in the wee hours of the night without her.
So one night, just before dusk. We drove down to Seattle’s International District, where I immediately realized why, when it comes to photography, it’s almost always better to go it alone. After passing up a half a dozen spots that she deemed unsafe. We settled for Dr. Jose Rizal Park. A nice place, but one I had taken pictures from at least a dozen times. From her continually telling me to move to spare people from having to simply sidestep me. To telling me where to focus and complaining about why I had chosen to take long exposures and her getting cold on a brisk June night. Needless to say, I did not have the opportunity to take many images or follow through with any ideas I might have had. Instead, I spent the ride home explaining camera settings to a woman who, more than not, refuses to take any pictures. Overall, Dr. Jose Rizal Park and the overpass that leads you there are great spots to capture the city of Seattle, I-9, the sunset and T-Mobil park, I highly recommend visiting.
As going out each night to capture light while using long exposures seems to be getting easier. zI quickly find myself wanting to experiment more as the results are impressing me less and less. Part of it might have to do with my wife insisting on accompanying me and getting a bit cranky over the time I spend. By now, I’m pretty sure she’s tired of me saying “One more and we’re done.” With that said, she’s been a great assistant. Below are a couple of images I captured just outside our lobby door.With my camera mounted on a tripod I had it set on full manual, including manual focus. My ISO was 100 f22 at ’30 second intervals.
Headed downstairs tonight to take care of some unfinished business. During the day this parking lot is filled with a combination of parked vehicles and ones coming off Rainier Ave. South in search of a good parking spot and some groceries. As I continue to shoot in manual mode, I’ve gotten back to explore my cameras many features to get as creative as possible.
If it were up to me, I’d be out there taking most of my images after or around dusk or just before dawn. They are, for me and I’m sure many others, the best times of the day. And while, through practice and understanding, I came to love long exposures and shooting in manual mode. While for may, the times of day mentioned are usually set aside for family or getting ready for a days work. It only makes those moments more special when you can slip away or coax a loved one away from their own down time to join you. On my second night I trade the balcony for the parking lot of our local bank. With my wife insisting on tagging along and knowing he lack of patience when it comes to certain things. I made and checked all my camera setting before we left. The images below were shot at 100 ISO F22 at ’30 second intervals.
As a attempt to maintain some or my remaining sanity and quell some of the boredom that has me counting the same commercials that air several times nightly within one half hour cycle of television. I find myself spending less and less time wondering why I own a TV and searching and finding more creative ways to spend my free time. Aside from keeping a chart to keep track of my activities, or lack there of. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, listening to music and delving into the growing list books I have yet to finish. Mosat importantly, I’ve decided to dust of my camera and return to my love of night scapes and long exposures. I took these two from my balcony Monday, just after midnight. (Oh, isn’t that officially Tuesday?) Regardless, I’ll most likely continue stepping out at night to take a few long exposures. Only time will tell.
After returning from dinner and dropping of a few things at the new apartment in Columbia City. I headed up to the roof deck to get some night air and take a few pictures. While we were out that night, i mentioned to my wife that once we get settled in the new place and unpack, I’d like to get back to capturing more nightlife= and night scapes. Something I had done regularly while living on the East Coast. Being that most of my photo gear, including my tripod, has somewhat limited my options. Being that I’m just days away from being reunited with my studio lights, stands, backgrounds and tripods. My mind seems to be filled with creative juices. I can’t go without noting the sense of envy I felt as I was packing up as two photographers armed with tripods emerged from the darkness. I couldn’t help but wish I had mine.