I posted a picture of downtown Bellevue the other day and explained how I went out on a date with Lisa and while walking over a foot bridge saw a scene to capture.  Well tonight’s image is the original picture idea I had.  On this side of the bridge you can see Maggiano’s restaurant and some of the office tower blocks in the distance.

Maggiano’s is one of my favorite places to eat.  If you like Italian, this is the place to go especially if you are in a big party.  They let you order from their family menu and bring you out loads of dishes for everyone to share.  Inside the restaurant it’s decorated in dark wood and looks fantastic.  That too would make a really nice picture and I’ll get that one day too.

In this image the sky came out really blue, I suspect that this is somewhat due to the neon lights affecting the white balance settings in the camera (it wasn’t that blue in real life, it was actually almost black as it was night) but I think it looks great in the image.  The tall office building in the distance also picks up the color of the sky and looks good too.

There is something about photographing neon signs that’s really fun.  You tend to see more colors in the picture than you pick up when you’re there as your eye’s adjust and “see” the neon colors differently.  But the camera’s brain is not as smart as ours and produces more accurate vibrant colors.   So surrounding walls are more saturated and look brighter.

I’ve enjoyed taking these night shots and think I’ll spend some time to go out and get some more, perhaps in downtown Seattle.  So look out for those in the future.

After a long day at work the Halo guys stood outside work waiting for their bus home.

30. May 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: Image a Day · Tags: ,

I’ve said this before but I love old cars.  I know that new cars are better made, more comfortable and go faster but they don’t have any charm, there is no passion or emotion in new cars, to me they are just boring.

Over the weekend we went to a car show in Woodinville at the Chateau Ste Michelle’s winery and it really wasn’t very good.  There were lots of new Porsches and Lamborghinis which had beautiful lines but weren’t my cup of tea.  Give me an old classic any day.  I’ve been working on James on this, trying to explain to him how character is important and I thought I was making progress.  He was really into old ’67 Chevy Impala’s with big V8s that look and sound fantastic, but he’s clearly moving on as he now likes modern Lamborghinis.

But I like cars like this Austin-Healey.  There were only around 14,000 of these cars made back in the early 50’s the the condition of this one was amazing.  I love the story around Austin-Healey’s, apparently Donald Healey created a one-off car called the Healey Hundred for the 1952 London Motor Show.  Leonard Lord who ran the Austin Motor Company saw the car and commissioned Donald to make a car for Austin, the result was the car below, the Austin-Healey 100.  This was made by Austin in Longbridge and the coach work was carried out by Jensen in West Bromwich.  It got it’s name because it could get to 100 mph which for it’s day was a big deal for a production model.

Remember that little bamboo plant I took to work?  Well it’s doing really well, largely due to the care and attention being given to it from Carter and Master Chief.

Tonight’s picture is another night shot of Bellevue showing the Bellevue Place shopping area.

The large building on the left is the Hyatt Hotel and Conference Center.  When I used to live in the UK and traveled to Redmond to visit Microsoft, this is the hotel I stayed in.  In fact back in 2002 I brought Lisa and James out to check out the area and this is where we stayed.  The large building on the right contains a number of shops (in the lower two floors) and some offices above.  The shops are not really my cup of tea (galleries and posh furniture – that kind of thing), but on the 21st floor is one of the best restaurants in Bellevue, Daniel’s Broiler.  If you like steak (and ice cream sundae’s) you will love Daniels, although take out a small mortgage before going – this is not McDonald’s!

When you drive here they have a nice valet service so you don’t have to park your car, but if you’re cheap like me (and you don’t have Lisa with you) there is a big car park under the buildings.  What’s nice about this area is that you have around 40 really nice restaurants all within walking distance, a multiplex cinema across the road, and Bellevue Mall within walking distance (and that Mall is huge).

When we actually moved to the US, Microsoft got us a temporary apartment just around the corner from the Mall.  Every day I’d come home from work terrified over what I’d find.  Lisa spent her days walking around the Mall buying everything she could get her hands on.  I think she liked living in Bellevue.

So what about this picture?  Well I took this shot around 9:30pm and it was quite dark outside.  I placed the camera on a tripod in front of the fountain and used a long exposure.  That brought out the blue in the dark sky, almost making it look like day time.  I loved the little fountain and thought it would provide some foreground interest to the image, but I had to take loads of pictures as people kept driving up to valet park their cars, so this was the best of a number of attempts.

There are two things Carter loves about Mexican food.  Margarita’s and Chip’s and Salsa (is that three things?)

Last night Lisa and I went out for dinner with some friends without kids.  Oh it was lovely, no telling people off, being worried about bad behavior or getting frustrated with James and Abi, just a nice dinner and drinks and then some people watching and some very bad pool at “The Parlor” (a posh pool hall, bar and comedy club).

Maybe I’m getting old (well OK I’m definitely getting old) but some of the sights we saw were just hysterical.  It would be inappropriate of me to make fun of the afflicted (and I mean the worst dress sense I have ever seen) but some people just should not wear belly shirts and low cut tops – you know who you are…

Also I learnt that to be trendy I need to get a hat, as most of the “young dudes” that were going clubbing had a hat on.  Of course I could chose to not wear a hat and be untrendy, which is where I’m leaning as, the guys with the hats on looked ridiculous!  I mean what is it the 1950s?

Anyway I’m drifting again.  While we were out we were talking to our friends (Cameron and Kathryn) about the picture a day postings and how we spend all our time looking for something interesting to shoot.  And here we were standing on this foot bridge overlooking Bellevue town center with a great view.  Somebody (it wasn’t me) said “what about taking a picture of that” pointing to the crossroads.  So tonight I went back with my camera and grabbed some shots.

I really love the sky in these pictures, it really was that blue (no Photoshop honest).  There was a little traffic on the road so I took a number of shots with long exposures to capture some of those light trails (Lisa likes those).  And I think the image came out OK.  Needless to say I’m now gonna be driving around at night looking for interesting intersections, so if you see me wave.

It was Abi’s birthday party today and she wanted cupcakes instead of the big birthday cake.  They went down well with Carter and Master Chief.

Last week I visited Leavenworth and if you’ve never had the chance to go you should definitely check it out.  This is a small city in Chelan County in Eastern Washington and the entire town is modeled on a Bavarian Village.

Leavenworth was originally a gold rush town and started to really grow back in the 1890s.  At the end of the century the railroad arrived and enabled the buildup of a healthy logging and sawmill industry.  By the 1930s the sawmill demands fell off and the city fell on hard times and 30 years later almost faced extinction.  The town’s people knew things were not good and around the 1960’s decided to change Leavenworth’s appearance with the goal of building a tourist industry.

Rather than make it just a cosmetic facelift, the whole town rallied round and worked hard to really make a Bavarian village in the middle of Washington, and started to run a number of Bavarian festivals, one of the largest being the Christmas Light festival in December.

Amazingly the whole idea worked and the town became a huge tourist attraction.  This is great as it saved the town, but the downside is that when you go there the place is full of people.  They have these amazing buildings that look wonderful, but you can’t shoot them as there are 400 people outside standing around with cameras (very annoying).  I suspect that if you want to photograph the architecture there you need to go either very early in the morning or late at night!

So when there I started taking pictures of things above ground.  Some came out, and some didn’t.  Today’s posting was of the Schocolat handmade chocolate shop.  I took this picture for Lisa who LOVES chocolate, and as she liked the picture I’m posting it tonight.

Carter and Master Chief decided to get the bino’s out today and do some bird watching.