This morning I decided to get up nice and early (5:30) and drive over to west Seattle to capture a Seattle cityscape shot as the sun was coming up.

Now people joke all the time about Seattle weather, claiming it’s always raining and cold but that’s just not true.  In fact we get less rainfall in Seattle than New York and we usually get four great summer months of 80 plus degrees.  The difference with rain is that we get drizzle while New York get’s a downpour.  The rain here is usually so light that it’s rare to see someone from Seattle with an umbrella.

Having said that of course, when I woke up this morning it was chucking it down!  The rain was pretty heavy and for one fleeting moment I considered turning over and going back to sleep.  What changed my mind was that the weather changes really quickly and just because it was raining in Redmond didn’t mean it was in Seattle too, so I got up anyway.

There were no cars on the road and I got into Seattle in 20 minutes, it took another 20 to cross the West Seattle Bridge and pretty soon I was in Alki West Seattle.  By the time I parked up it was a little after 6am and still raining, so I sat in the car for another 20 minutes wondering why I wasn’t still in bed.

Eventually it started to ease up leaving me with our usually drizzle, so I grabbed my gear and headed over to one of the fishermen’s piers.  There were a few people there already all with rods over the side but I was the only idiot there with a camera.

What was good was that while I had drizzle over me, Seattle looked pretty clear.  Even better there was some great cloud cover over the city.

So I found a good spot and set up the tripod and stated shooting.  After about an hour the sun was starting to come up and the cloud and rain had reached the city.  The light turned pretty flat with no sunrise colors, just grey everywhere.  So it was time to go.

I thought I’d hang out in Alki for a while, grab some breakfast and see if things improved, but after a good hour and a half it was still horrid.  The rain was now heavier over Alki and the city and there was nothing in the sky except grey cloud.  So after an excellent breakfast at Alki’s cafe (I can definitely recommend the Crab Egg Benedict), I headed home.

In all I took around 100 pictures and only ended up with a few I liked.

My favorite was a small panorama of the city (two shots wide) with this great cloud over the taller buildings.  The cloud was pretty low and I think it created a good image – well worth the trip.  So that’s my first image below.

The next two where shots of the harbor port with all the cranes that are used to unload ships.  I liked the lights across the water on these ones.  The last image was ironically the first one I shot.  It shows the fisherman’s pier where I took the pano (no fishermen included – they were at the other end).

So not a load of keepers, but that’s what it’s like sometimes.  I’m really pleased with the pano and may print that one out (if Lisa lets me).

Ironically as I write this at 2pm, it’s completely dry outside – typical!  The sky’s still boring so I think I was lucky for the hour in the morning.

Hope you like the pics.

I haven’t been out with the camera yet this year and was starting to feel the call, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to shoot.

The other night I was checking out 500px.com (a really good site to visit if you are looking for photography inspiration) and I found a street photographer (Marco Larousse) that shot pretty much exclusively in black and white.  His images are amazing and there’s something very special about the black and white look he’s perfected (you can see for yourself here).

Now I have nothing against black and white, but usually shoot and process my images in color.  Sure I’ll process the odd image when I get home in black and white but I don’t think I’ve ever gone out with the express desire to just capture just black and white images.  Until that is today.

So this was my goal, go out for an hour and just shoot in black and white.  I wanted to keep this light and easy so I just grabbed my X100T which is a camera with a fixed lens, so no zooming.  What’s nice about the fuji gear is that you can set a film simulation mode and shoot all your images in that mode.  So I set it up to just shoot black and white and headed out.

I should say here that I’m no a street photographer.  A good street photog can capture real emotion in passers by, usually without them interacting with the camera, trust me it’s a real skill.  You can look at some of the good images and really understand the feeling or emotion of the subject – it’s amazing.  Also it requires you to be a little sneaky and shoot people without them knowing – and I have a bit of a problem with this.  I have no issue going up to someone and asking can I shoot you, but I feel embarrassed shooting people and then getting caught, silly I know but that’s me.

So I figured I’d just go out and take some black and white shots and see how they came out.  As Lisa and Abi wanted to go to Kirkland, I went along too and went off on my own for an hour while they did their own thing.  I took around 100 shots and after processing them when I got home, picked 16 I kind’a liked.  These aren’t great but it was fun setting myself a challenge so I thought I’d share

There are some of the town center and some of the harbor, there’s even a silly one of me taking a “sort-of” self portrait through a reflection in a Starbucks window.

I did enjoy doing this though so I’ll definately try this again, I’d love to try and capture some good street pictures so maybe I’ll work on that, and for some reason they do work well in black and white.

One image I took below that was interesting (6th one down), was where I found the place where Kirkland had temporarily stored the big Christmas wreaths the’ve just taken down.  When Lisa saw the picture she said “Oh – that’s so sad”.  I showed her a version of the same image in color and it didn’t have the same effect – and we decided it was MUCH better in black and white.  So there is something you get from black and white that color just doesn’t provide.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to get the camera out so I jumped at the oportunity to take some pictures when Lisa came to me with a request.

Lisa wanted some pictures for our bedroom and she liked some food coloring images I took a couple of years ago. The idea is you get a fish tank, fill it with water put a white screen behind the tank and light that with a couple of speed lights. After positioning the camera in front of the tank you drip a couple of drops of food coloring into the tank and shoot what happens. Pretty easy really. The nice thing is every shot is different, unique.

The trouble is I no longer have the fish tank, I threw it away when we moved house. Lisa really wanted the shots so the other day she went out and came home with a couple of fish tanks, one the same size as the one I threw away (2 foot by 1 foot) and one tiny one (8 inches by 4 inches) used for a single fish. She didn’t know what size tank I needed so bought two.

So today we decided to take the shots and see what we could get. Lisa’s idea was to have three landscape orientated pictures in the room, all printed on canvas. So she got some food coloring and the fun began.

I decided to try the really small tank as after every attempt you need to change the water in the tank (you only get one go each time), and a smaller tank would allow us to move much faster. Fortunately the little tank worked fine.

In the end we had a cool little production line going.  I took the shots then Lisa changed the water.  She then wiped the tank while Abi removed any bubbles on the inside using an old credit card (funny I know but it really worked).  Then Lisa and Abi squeezed the food coloring into the tank and off we went again.

Lisa LOVED the results and decided to have a fourth image that was wider that could go above the bed.

Anyway, after 160 pictures (yes that’s how many times we had to change the water) we ended up with around 10 images we liked and picked four for the bedroom, you can see those below.

If you ever want to try this you should really give this ago, it’s surprisingly easy to do and actually a lot of fun.

This weekend was probably one of our last really nice sunny days of summer – yes I know that summer is officially over, but you know what I mean. Anyway I really wanted to go out with the camera and get some nice pics.

So Lisa looked online for anything interesting taking place and found out that the city of Snohomish had its annual Classic Car and Hot Rod show – and who doesn’t like classic cars!

The show was on from 10am to 4pm so on Sunday after a quick breakfast (and a chat with my Sister on Skype) I was showered and changed and out of the house on my way.

I decided to take a couple of cameras and a couple of lenses only, preferring to just enjoy the day rather than spend a load of time agonizing over which lens to put on – Yes I do that too.

So I took the Fuji X100T that has a fixed 35mm lens and the X-T1 with an 18-55mm lens and an 18-135mm backup, just in case I needed anything longer.

Snohomish is about 35 miles from Redmond and took around 50 minutes to get there. Parking was a little painful, the city was pretty much closed for pedestrians only and there was nowhere to park. After driving around for 15 minutes I found a spot and walked into town.

In the end I didn’t use the 18-135 and just used the 35 and the 18-55 (you can try and figure out which is which below).

There were so many cars there it was ridiculous! And they were all fantastic. Some were classics that were refurbished to look like the day they rolled off the production line (those are my favorite) and some were hot rods that were supped up with lowered suspension and amazing paint jobs.

I love these shows and could easily spend several hours walking round admiring the cars, but there were so many people there it was difficult to get clean shots without people in the way. But you need a bit of patience for this kind of gig and the end images are (I think) worth it.

I don’t really say it enough but I LOVE my Fuji cameras. They are small and light but produce the most amazing images. I sold all my expensive Nikon gear a few years ago and have never regretted it or looked back.

I don’t really talk much about gear but I got to use a new bag I purchased recently. Just in case you don’t know photographers have a lot of bags – and when I say a lot I mean LOADS. I have over a dozen around the house. So why so many bags? Well it’s very hard to find that “Perfect” bag, that fits your gear so you just keep trying new ones – of all my purchases this is probably the thing that drives Lisa nuts the most (which is funny when you consider how many handbags she has). Anyway this new bag is my best yet, it’s definitely a keeper and is absolutely amazing! It’s called an ONA Prince Street and I got it in leather. I may do a review in the future but I’m really pleased with it and it was PERFECT today.

In the end I spent a couple of hours at the show but had to hurry home so I could watch the Seahawks beat the Chicago Bears .

I didn’t look at the pictures until after the game and have now picked my favorites to post.

Hope you like them too.

For quite a while now I’ve wanted to visit the Olympic National Park but for all sorts of reasons have never been.

So why visit at all? Well the Park in on the Olympic peninsular – that’s the big bit of land between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, and with three distinct and diverse ecosystems that include, the Pacific coast, rain forest valleys and glacier-capped mountains the Olympic National Park is home to a stunning variety of plants and animals.

There are so many places to visit and things to see that it’s difficult to figure out an itinerary for just one day, add to this that fact that it’s pretty painful to get to (long drive, ferry trip, very long drive) I’ve had problems finding anyone to go with me.

Anyway this weekend I just thought I haven’t been out with the camera for a while and I fancied a car trip to somewhere new. So I got up super early and hit the road to Edmonds, that took around 40 minutes, then I got on a Ferry to Kingston, another 40 minutes, and found myself on the peninsular.

I had a couple of locations I wanted to check out, namely Port Angeles, Lake Crescent and Sol Duc Falls. The nearest was Port Angeles so off I set.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great, there was a lot of low cloud (no rain thank goodness) but a lot of mist, especially as I started to go up in elevation.

By the time I reached Port Angeles (nearly 3 hours later) the sky was actually pretty grey. Now if you have broken cloud this can look really good, but this was just a sheet of nothing, not very appealing for pictures, so I quickly headed on the Lake Crescent.

The lake was great, sure the sky was still a little grey but the scenic views were amazing. So I just drove round the lake stopping every mile or so to take some pictures.

After around an hour I got to the end of the lake and headed off to Dol Suc. This took another hour (and is about 30 miles from Forks for all you Twilight fans). I paid my entrance fee to get into the Park and drove the 14 miles to the end of the road. Then there was a mile hike into the forest to get to the falls.

As I was there at the end of summer there wasn’t a load water but the falls still looked good. I took a load of pictures walking around the falls, even walking out onto the rocks at one point to get some closer pics and then headed back to the car.

It was 4 in the afternoon and time to head home so off I went again and got back to Kinston by 7. I had an hours wait for a ferry and got home at 9:30.

For a first trip out I had a blast, took around 400 pictures and ended up with around 30 I really liked – some of which are below.
I’ll definitely go back there and maybe next time convince Lisa and Abi to come too (not even going to try to get James to come). Although next time we’ll find somewhere to stay for a couple of nights, that way I can shoot the coast too.

Anyway here are some of the pics.