On Wednesday, the 21st, we received the final draft for our condo listing. As we went through the images and the description (much of which came from us.), we both felt overcome by what a fantastic piece of real estate we occupied. The following morning, the listing became active, and my wife seemed overwhelmed by the number of views and favorites on the website. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that we received an email from our realtor informing us that we received an offer for its asking price. No initial offer. No nickel and dime low ball bullshit like we got from the eventual buyer of our condo in Jersey City.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday came, and there were two more offers.no weeks, months of waiting, wondering if we overpriced it. BAM! First day on the market. Asking price offer and no bat shit crazy requests from the potential buyer. As I sit and wait for the realtor to call, I can’t help but feel optimistic and downright giddy about life in general. We’re expecting possible buyers coming in from California later this week. After which, we will make our decisions on how to proceed. Regardless, we feel like we’re in a great position to move forward. While seeing those pictures and reading the description helped remind me of how lucky I’ve been. I still feel that our decision to head back east was the right one.
As I gazed upon the pool table located within the spacious rooftop sky retreat, I was taken aback by my childhood. Thinking back to a time when going to bars and pool halls with my Father was a constant. Watching my Dad win game after game while I reveled in my cheeseburger and fries. Going over every title on the jukebox. The many nights when he’d leave the bar with me in one hand and a fist full of cash in the other. Often leaving with a fist full of cash from his night of sharking. Much like the poker games and betting halls, I became familiar with a young, wide-eyed shorty. There was always a game, and always players lined up to get a taste.
While some have found it shocking that a kid not old enough to see over the bar was exposed to an adult world. I look back on those days fondly. Intended or not, they provided education as to what I wanted to be and what I certainly didn’t want to be. Though I was taught to keep a tight lip at the time. Over the decades that have passed, much of what we experienced has become conversation and reason for laughter at family get-togethers. Over the years, I’ve learned that the perfect childhood, often detailed in movies and sitcoms, is a rare beast. Though I can admit to being one of mankind’s worst pool players and has rarely ever placed a bet or even played the lottery. I can’t help but think of and admire my Dad for his skill with the pool cue.
As time goes by, I find myself trying to wane off all automatic features offered on my camera. Shooting on Manual, AV, or TV has been the most rewarding educational experience I’ve had as a photographer. It’s helped me improve my composition skills while giving me complete control of my creativity. Manual focus, however, seems to have become my Achilles heel, especially, and almost exclusively, when it comes to night and low light settings. My focus here was the far-off Queen Anne Cell Towers, which have been an image I’ve attempted to take for some time now. At the same time, my attempts have rendered results both good and bad. It’s the sharpness of my manual focus that always seems to be the judge. Looking at the shot below and being reminded that it was taken without the balance of my tripod makes me appreciate my growing sense of patience. I wholeheartedly recommend learning all the options your camera offers. Using those tools and getting off manual modes with not only help you grow as a photographer. It will also help you create your unique vision.
Earlier this Monday, we embarked on a trip to find Seattle’s Luna Park. While the park is noted as a great spot to catch the sunrise. I know better than to expect my wife to get out of bed early enough on the weekends, or any designated holiday, to accompany me to a spot that doesn’t provide coffee and a hearty breakfast. Knowing that our usual way to the area was constricted by long over due repairs and construction, we took the long, local route. Talk about a headache. The alternate route took us three times longer than usual. While allowing us to pick up a couple of bagels and coffee. I was promised that there would be no more trips to the area until the bridge was reopened. All things said, we both really enjoyed the beautiful weather and breath taking view of the city we’ve called home since June, 2017.
Like many, I enjoy the solitary feeling that photography lends me. Adding people to the equation, no matter the relation or lack of, can bring on unwanted stress and, in some cases, anxiety as someone who worked in and ran a studio years ago. I often felt overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety. Feelings that went with booking sessions and trying to get people to arrive on time, allowing for the rhythm it usually takes to complete the cycle of a photoshoot. I learned a lot during those days. A lot more about myself, patience, and making others feel as unaware of the camera and the hot lights. More about relationships than I ever did about technique or studio lighting. There are times when I miss those days. Many of which where I’d approach things differently. However, to be honest, it’s not often.
And while taking pictures from my balcony or from the roof might get redundant. The fresh air, the colors, and the feeling of being on top of the world have lasting qualities and rewards. Here’s hoping we can all find our peace and refuge.
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.
“Location, location, location” and “Just look at that view.” are perhaps two of the most repeated terms in real estate history. As someone who often chose location over the view. I’ve had the somewhat common experience to have faced alleyways, brick walls and even have an eye shot of a great big Burger King sign. However, moving to our current home we’ve often turned our attention from the television to either go out on the balcony, up to the roof deck or just saddle up to the windows. It’s true that time often allows us to take even the most beautiful things for granted. However, I can’t recall a day when I didn’t race to the window or balcony to watch the sun go down. The reason for composing this shot was the positioning of the boats and the dramatic manner in which the sun was protruding through the clouds.
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.
Below are two of my favorite images taken while I was out at the Seattle Center. The one on the left is of the space needle. Having already taken countless pictures of the monument, I wanted to use a more unique approach. Though the trees branches might seem like an obstacle to most. I saw it as a way to make the image stand out. The one on the right is the monorail set against the MPOP museums twisted architectural facade. Despite falling down and thoroughly embarrassing myself. I had a great time.
Though I don’t talk about it much, my balance is shot. Since my overdue diagnosis in the fall of 2017, my symptoms have gotten steadily worse. As of late, I am almost entirely dependent on a walker. Despite any issues with said diagnosis, I do my very best to do the things that bring me joy and fulfillment. Earlier this week (Monday, to be exact.) I took a walk over to the nearby Seattle Center. It not far by any stretch. However, being dependent on a walker can make things incredibly difficult and downright risky. Needless to say, it felt good to get out and explore an area that served as my temporary residence when my wife and I first arrived in Seattle almost four years ago. The further I walked, the more confident I felt. The voices inside my head, repeating, “Come on, you got this.” You know, the one you hear from your personal trainer at the gym? Yeah, that one. It was a beautiful, warm, and sunny day. After months of Seattle rain and fog, I wanted to take it all in. After an extended stay at the Seattle Center, I began to head towards Taylor Ave before crossing Denny Way and heading home. About a block past Denny, my walker hit a curb wrong, and down I went. It must have looked gruesome because a passing car came to a sudden hault, got out, and helped me out, “My God, are you alright?” I was hurt but more embarrassed than anything. I thanked him for his kindness before carefully navigating the several blocks that remaIned. I was clearly exhausted but crossed the avenue to get a picture of this poster that basically says it all. As I arrived home, I noticed the black and blues and the bloodied jeans I was wearing. Looking back, we all fall down, whether it be literally or figuratively.The important thing is that we get back up and never stop trying,