Try, fail, try.

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.

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Ghosts of Belltown

Earlier today, we viewed a couple of condos in the Seattle neighborhood know as Belltown. We really love the area and feel comfortable there as it is just a few blocks from the apartments we were temporarily housed in when we first came to Seattle. I was lucky enough to take these two images while waiting to be taken or resuming our tour of the building. The one on the left was taken while trying to find the parking spot our unit would provide. ( I kind of dig the ghostly Inspector Gadget vibe it gives off. The black & white image on the right was taken in the lobby, showing how the entrance and the mail room are cleverly separated from one another.

Finding Light in the Darkness

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, Drive-Thru (1 of 1)Drive-Thru II (1 of 1)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.

 

Laying low while dusting off some old favorites.

The recent fears of a pandemic and warnings that suggest social distancing have got us trying to stay sane as we continue to spend more and more time in lockdown. As shaking hands and sharing germs with strangers has come to a screaming halt, I’ve found more and more time to read books, listen to records, and rekindle my interest in old hobbies. When I went downtown to Pike street to pick up some refilled medication. I got a real chill, seeing what a ghost town the often lively area has become. I’ll tell you, shit doesn’t get more real than this.

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An Increasingly Rare Trip Downtown.

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. Wheel (1 of 1)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.

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Sleeping in has it’s Rewards

Though we decided on a rather lengthy road trip, my wife’s oversleeping, the traffic and our appetites that seemed to grow as we sat in one car jam after another. We decided to again, stay somewhat local and save our trip plans for another weekend. After mentioning four breakfast options, we agreed on trying a place in Rat City that we had yet to dine at. BBQ-1Truth be told, I think my wife knows exactly what she wants. She’s just waiting for me suggest it. If after numerous tries, I don’t mention it, she will suddenly swoop in and say it. With empty stomachs we headed to 16th Ave. and had a mood altering breakfast at a place called Noble Barton. And while I usually save my reviews for Yelp, we could not have had a better experience if we tried. Everything from our super friendly waitress to the overwhelming amount of bacon made our decision to stay local one worthy of a golden award followed by a long speech and a lengthy speech. Due to the fact that it was colder than usual, we didn’t stay in the area for long. Aside from a two block walk to the Salvadorian bakery, our stay was short. Depending on how early we rise, we plan on heading to Tacoma from breakfast, record shopping and copious amounts of coffee. We’ll see if our desire to go crate digging will overcome that of sleeping in and a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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… And then the Sun came Down

We were returning from a rather long drive from … when I asked my wife if we could take a slight detour towards downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square area to watch the sun set, When discussing some rather important issues while enjoying  some rather light hearted activities during the day.

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Though we originally hoped to buy a condo in Pioneer Square, a tour of the neighborhood, it’s homeless encampments and the missions just a block from what would become our doorstep were a rather harsh reality we weren’t willing to invest in. Add to it the looks better in pictures condos we toured and we almost immediately started looking elsewhere.

Short story long, we found a parking spot close to the ferry and found some great spots to take pictures. There are few things I enjoy more than night photography and chasing sunsets. I’ve been hoping to capture a few sunrises, but during the times I’ve been able to catch them, I have been without my camera. Maybe soon. Until then.

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A Sudden Change of Plans

Griffey-1.jpgAs 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.

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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.

Something Different

I love goats. Goat milk, goat farms, goat petting, goat yoga, goat sanctuaries, goat rescues. I just can’t help but feel happy when I’m in the presence of goats. When I lived in Jersey City, there was a landmark cemetery that employed goats to maintain the landscape there. I used to visit to feed the goats on a fairly regular basis. It was a stress reliever that had a very calming effect. So, when my wife insisted on going out for gelato instead of ice cream, I have to admit to being a bit irritated. That is, until I saw a sign that not only made me smile, but helped open my mind to something different. Goats or not, that was some damn good gelato. And while I don’t see myself giving up on my ice cream scoop or embarking on more ice cream driven road trips. I’ll definitely keep an open mind when asked about returning to Seattle’s Fainting Goat.

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Escaping Anger

Shortly after arriving home yesterday, I received an email notifying me that there was a package waiting for me in the buildings office. Knowing that in was probably the latest batch of records I ordered from my favorite music distributor, I raced downstairs before even bothering to put my shoes back on. Upon breaking the seal of a vinyl reissue of a cherished demo from the late 80’s. I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to see one of my photos within a collage of others from the time. Shocked, considering I didn’t know how the record label acquired it. Dismayed considering I was never approached, notified, credited or compensated for its use. Feeling angry and somewhat betrayed, I knew I needed to get some fresh air. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and managing I’ve often found that physically removing myself from a situations can go a far way towards easing any stress, tension or anger I might find myself being overwhelmed by. Luckily, with a park, lake and bay just minutes away, I’m able to do so. The chance to practice my tai chi, breathing techniques and take a few pictures can often change a mindset. In being able to combine all three, the thought of someone using a picture I took about thirty years ago seems pretty insignificant in the overall scale of things.

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