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.
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.
Though it’s only been a few days since we moved into the new Condo, I’ve quickly taken advantage of the roof deck, the amazing views, and floor to ceiling windows. As the credits were still rolling on a rather inspiring art doc. I mounted my camera, set my ISO to 200 with an f.9 at 30 seconds. Though I shot this through the window. Surprisingly, and perhaps due to the absence of a flash, had no glare. Prior to our move earlier this week, I had been using my camera sparingly. Perhaps the move and the new surroundings will warrant more use.
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.
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.
Before moving to Seattle’s Columbia City. I had been living in a corporate apartment with the two suitcases of clothing and necessities I had brought from New Jersey . And while that three months offered me the chance at the minimalist lifestyle I had craved for years. Over time, I began to miss some of the things I had in storage. As strange as it might seem, being reunited with my tripod became a reoccurring train of thought.
So with after a week of unpacking an prioritizing what goes where. I grabbed that tripod, shook off the dust and headed downstairs to Rainier Ave. South. With tripod in hand and my sites on the oncoming traffic. I sprinted across the street and perched myself somewhere between Washington Federal and Ark Lodge Cinema and played around in manual mode. Below are several of the shots I took with my lens open at 30 second intervals. In the coming days, weeks and so on. I hope to work on my long exposures and nigtscapes. I’m looking forward to getting away from the TV and taking in some of that fresh night air.
When I left the home last night. I thought I had it all covered. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Camera with battery and card? Check. Tripod? Check. Off I went, as I drove to my nearby destination. After I parked and unloaded my vehicle. I realized that something was missing. Searching both my car trunk and my fading memory, I realized I left the tripods.release plate on the kitchen table. Disappointed yet undaunted, I tried to make the best of it. I found a nearby stoop to keep the camera steady while the shutter remained open. I took two shots, this being my favorite, before heading home in search of the missing piece. Surprisingly, the two images I did take came out pretty damn good.
As someone who’s always been in love with photography. I often find myself enamored with the styles and techniques I myself have yet to learn. With long exposures and night photography being a long time personal inspiration of mine. I felt extremely thankful when a friend and fellow photographer shared some easily applicable information with me. Being one who tends to crave the company of others as well as subjects to photograph. Time has taught me that time alone, solitude and the peace it often provides offer me more time to learn and grow. Something that almost immediately presents itself when working with long exposures Having only experimented with the concept on occasion over the last couple of weeks. I quickly realized the therapeutic rewards of these rare moments. As I stood there. The only time I really felt the least bit uneasy was when friendly neighbors stopped for a moment to say hello or if you’d believe it, to talk shop about gear. That hour or so where it was just me, my Canon 5D Mark III and my tripod was all the meditation one could ask for.