When we went out early Friday night, we couldn’t help but notice the lack of quality and somewhat toxic smell in the air. Even with our corona-masks, our breathing became so compromised that we decided to head back indoors and cut our night short. When tuning into the weather broadcast on the news, I heard a never before description of the forecast. The next few days called for “smoke” and an unhealthy air quality that came with a warning to “stay home.”
The following day was terrible, but waking up Sunday morning was downright scary, being engulfed with this thick smoke. Luckily, there was no smell of fire. But I couldn’t help but think of the John Carpenter film ‘The Fog.’ Having never seen anything like it. I raced for my camera to document the site. And what a frightening site it was.
After more than two years, (closer to three) of trying to convince, not only my wife, but myself, I’ve managed to convince the both of us that staying in Seattle is the right answer. Though Seattle has more than it’s share of problems, they’re nothing we weren’t able to face and overcome back east. As someone who’s lived the overwhelming majority of his life in New York. Moving out west has offered as many rewards as challenges. Luckily, on our first day out, we found a place we loved, made an offer, which was accepted within hours and as they say, the rest was history.
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.
When we first moved to Seattle in June, 2017, we lived about a block from the space needle near Terry Ave. in what is considered by most to be the lower Queen Anne area of Seattle. It was a time when we often found ourselves within walking distance of downtown Seattle and the more tourist friendly Pike Place Seattle Market. Since moving to nearby Columbia City and becoming actual residents of Kings County. We find fewer and fewer reasons to visit the area. On this particular night my wife and me went from trying a Vietnamese spot just off Jackson and Boren avenues to picking up something at her office to heading downtown before we drove home. We arrived at a time when most of the tourists had gone back to their hotels and the homeless had begun setting up camp on the nearby streets or getting in line to enter the local shelters. The night air felt fresh and the lack of foot and automobile traffic added a sense of calm and quiet. Though there was no place to park, we were able to pull over to the side off the road long enough for me to snap a few images. I captured these images without the help of any filters, flashes or a tripod.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of pictures I’d like to take. As someone who became interested in taking pictures in his teens, but didn’t own an SLR until his mid twenties. While debatable, I’d say photography has become the greatest passion in my life. As someone who made his name as a music photographer, built a strong portfolio as a studio photographer and worked continuously on a project called “Left Behind”. I feel that I’m always dedicating whatever spare time I have to learning, testing and putting new projects to work. It wouldn’t be overstating if I said it was. While my time on the East Coast offered an abundance of beautiful sunsets. Living in Seattle, an area with many lakes, bays and waterways at every turn. I have long imagined myself waking up in the early hours and driving to a spot where I can watch the sun rise.
As the Labor Day weekend approached, my wife and me began making plans about where to go and how to take advantage of the three day weekend. By Wednesday of the week we narrowed it down to two concentrated plans of action. Plan 1 involved a three hour drive to the Pacific Ocean for a day at the beach. Plan 2 was a three hour trip to Vancouver, BC for a day of exploring the nooks and crannies of the city’s expansive Chinatown.
However, after a Friday night of my not sleeping ans my wife’s preference to sleep late on Saturday, our plans went through a series of shifts and changes. As much as marriage has become a constant rerun of my wife asking “What do YOU want to do?” I’m rarely prepared to offer any answer beyond “Eat bacon and go record shopping.” I proudly trumpet my attempts to come up with an exciting., detailed plan of action.
Luckily, no significant plans were made and we were able to stay somewhat close to ourhome base. With stops on 4th Ave in SODO as well as the international center, we were able to get our food shopping taken care of while allowing me to stop and take in that giant Ken Griffey Jr. mural. All in all, it was a laid back three day weekend that allowed us to stay close and take advantage of the great things that are close by and within reach.
When we arrived at the beach, I was amazed to see a stable of horses assembled on the sands just steps away from the ocean. It was my first trip to the Pacific Ocean since my last trip to Japan in 2012 and my first ever glance from the United States. The horse were bused from a local stable and were close to ending their work day by the time we arrived. While I was eager to capture some images before they began their sojuorn home. I couldn’t help but think how cool this image would look without the rope that kept them from rushing forward. Upon arriving home, I inspected the photos I took before reaching out to my old friend and neighbor. (The one who basically taught me everything I know.) and asked him to magically remove those barriers that hold us back. While we’re here, I’d feel remiss if I were not to include a link to his work. I’ve attached before and after images below as a link to Kevin’s photography, Here
While I had plans to share images of the sunset taken at Gene Coulan Park over a three day cycle. Unfortunately, I just haven’t had the time or energy to do so. So instead, I’ll share several of my favorites from last night. Though I do plan on returning and finding new places to chill out, watch the sun set and possibly get back into a good mediation routine. I’ve decided to just stay home and cook something tasty with the help and supervision of my wife. The pictures below are posted in the order they were taken. (Between 7:00 and 8:00 pm) Enjoy.
As we were driving in the pouring rain. I turned to my wife and asked if she preferred the year round rain of Seattle or the often bone chilling winters we got used to experiencing during our many years on the east coast. While I was almost certain of her answer. I was somewhat surprised by the break neck speed in which she answered. Considering the amount of time she spends complaining about the constant rain one has to get used to when living here. I can imagine her daydreaming about the bone chilling cold we endured while experiencing Christmas in Boston a few years ago.
xBeing that we’ve had to abort a Christmas visit to Portland Oregon and detour today’s drive to Olympia Washington today. I can relate to her frustration. Luckily, we decided to shorten today’s trip before it really started. Deciding to cut it somewhat short while filling up our gas tank at the local Costco. Though the rain would follow us on our reshaped visit to Tacoma. By the time we reached Broadway’s antique row, that rain seemed to dissipate to a few drops. I recall my wife commenting on how it was still raining as I began to retrieve my camera from the cars trunk. Just as I closed the trunk, the sky opened and began to pour rain down on my head as if the Gods were planning all along to exact revenge on me for all my recent fist shaking and thoughts of eternal damnation. Regardless of the weather or any vengeful acts by the Gods that be. We both love traveling and visiting Tacoma. We’ve promised to return under less threatening skies. Until then.
When leaving the house this morning. I left with no intentions of checking my camera’s battery or making sure the card inside had been cleared, or for a better word, “formatted” the last time I uploaded a session to my laptop. As of late, my newer camera bag. The one I bought to house a rather large 70-200 lens. Seems to be getting heavier and heavier.
Truth be told, I’ve gotten lazy and though not seeing nearly as many as many photographers and more phones being used to capture the moment makes me cranky. I can’t help think that maybe I should be changing with the times. However, with my stumbling, fumbling, shutting off and often having to remove my thumb from the picture i’m trying to compose. Chances are I’ll be holding on to my film and DSLR’s for years to come. And while there’s no doubting my regret of not taking my camera long with me for such a picturesque trip. I was pretty satisfied with some of the images I managed to capture with my phone.