This is definitely an interesting New Years Resolution.  It’s got to the stage now where it’s pretty much all consuming, I think about pictures and post topics all the time and have lots of people providing ideas to help.  This morning I got up pretty early for a Saturday, had some breakfast and sat down with Abi for 20 minutes.  Anyway I fell asleep and woke up 3 hours later – what a waste of a morning.

I had intended to go to a farmers market with Lisa but she let me sleep and everyone kind of left me alone.  When I woke they all said, “well that’s the day over”, but it was only 12:30.  Desperate for a picture idea I convinced the family to go to Woodland Park Zoo for the afternoon.  The sky was cloudy but it was warm outside (around 70 degrees) and reluctantly they agreed.

So around 1pm we headed out (it takes ages to get them all moving – say’s the guy who slept till noon), Lisa, Abi and James, and James’ girlfriend Alex and I set off.  Of course as we hit the road it started to rain, but undeterred we carried on to Seattle.

We decided that if it was raining when we got to the zoo, we would find somewhere else to go, but we were lucky as when we got there it had just stopped.  While we had black clouds over us all afternoon, it was still warm and it only rained for 5 minutes later in the day.

The zoo wasn’t too busy, obviously the possibility of bad weather kept the crowds away, and we had a really great time.  I took around 850 pictures in total, and will get out of them possibly 5 or 6 shots that I can post.  That may sound quite low but I take around 40 of the same animal and no matter how many come out I can only really post one lion (it would be a little boring otherwise).  If I get 10 pictures I will consider myself really lucky.  We were there for 4 hours and if I can get 2 pictures an hour I class it as a valuable “Picture a Day” trip.

Tonight’s image is a lion – duh.  When we got to the lion’s enclosure I didn’t expect to see anything as they are usually asleep and hiding.  But this male lion was sitting there posing for the camera.  He was pretty far away but fortunately I have some nice glass and got the shot below.  I’m really pleased with this one, animals can be really hard to capture and I’m not very good at it, so I’m classing this one as a success.

Now I should say here that I had planned a zoo trip with a friend from work (Chris) so he is gonna’ be mad when he reads this, but the whole afternoon was so good, I’ll go again with him next month.

This evening Master Chief decided to work on his camouflage skills, Carter helped.

OK this is a weird one.  I took this picture the other day of the Washington Mutual Tower and I kind-a like it but don’t know why!

I don’t think there is anything special about the building, I mean it’s not the tallest in Seattle or anything (it’s the second) and to be honest it’s not even called the Washington Mutual Tower anymore, it’s actually called the “1201 Third Avenue” (but I like the old name more).  Although some people call it the “Spark Plug” which is kind of funny I guess.

The image was shot just after the sun went down and the lights in the building were on.

So what do I like about the image? Well the building is a cool shape and symmetrical, which I think looks good.  It has loads of windows that make a cool pattern (I’m struggling aren’t I?) – I like the little square box on the top.  Anyway, I liked it enough to post.

So what about the building?  Well apparently it’s an office block and was built in 1985, it’s 772 feet high and the 60th highest building in the US.  That’s all I could be bothered to find out.  Oh and it looks cool against a dark blue sky.

Cater found today that he likes Goldfish, quite a lot!

This is my last picture from the harbor in Seattle – well at least for now, I can’t promise I won’t go back.  I posted the the ferris wheel the other day and that was on the left hand side of the pier.  This shot was taken on the right hand side, looking back towards Seattle.

The boats moored at dock are vessels from the Argosy fleet right next to pier 55.  The boats were rocking from side to side and you can see this as the mast of the sail boat has a lot of motion blur.  This happened as it was getting dark so I had a longer than desired exposure.

In the far distance is Centurylink Field which is the stadium that’s the home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders (that’s an American Football team and a American Soccer team for any Brit’s who read this).  Just out of shot past Centurylink Field is Safeco Field the Seattle Mariners stadium – our baseball team (I figured I should mention that too so people know we have all three).

While I was there a few people came onto the peer to take pictures too.  It was kind of funny as I’m there set up with my tripod and huge camera bag taking loads of pictures and people walk up, pull out their iPhone, take a snap, look at it and say “awesome” and then walk away!  They must think I’m nuts as I was there for ages.  There was one other guy there with a camera on a tripod who was there when I arrived and was still there when I left.  His camera was pointing in the same direction the whole time and he was sitting there waiting – I’m not sure what for but I couldn’t be bothered to wait and see or ask him.  I was happy with my 150 pictures.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll move onto something else.

Master Chief decided he didn’t know his seven times table, so Carter was helping him with flashcards.

I was looking for something to post tonight and went through my “Unposted” directory and nothing really grabbed me.  And as it was 10pm I started to worry a little.  So I went through my 6,198 picture library (that’s how many pictures I’ve taken this year) and I came across this train.

The image was taken in Snoqualmie at the railway museum.  When you drive towards Snoqualmie for about a mile on the right hand side you pass all these old trains.  There are loads of them and they are all rusting and falling apart.  Unfortunately there is this six foot high wire fence between the path that runs next to the trains and the exhibits, so it’s quite hard to get a good shot.  You don’t want a dirty big fence in the way.

So I found a part of the path that was a little higher than the rest, pushed the tripod up to it’s nine foot maximum height, lifted the camera over the fence and took the shot.  Considering I couldn’t properly compose the picture, I think it came out OK.

What makes the train and picture interesting (to me anyway) is the terrible state it’s in and the autumn colors of the metal.  It’s all red, brown, yellow and orange and I think looks cool.  My only regret is that I don’t have a nice blue sky above, that would have looked really good.  But you can’t have everything.

This weekend I’m going to try some light painting with some flashlights.  The Halo guys grabbed one each but I think Carter has flashlight envy.

If you ever visit Seattle and take a trip down to the city water front on Elliott Bay, you may be tempted to take a boat trip out in the bay and do a tour of the city from the water.  Alternatively you might want to jump on a boat, go through the locks at Ballard and get into Lake Washington and do a sightseeing tour there (who knows you may see Bill Gates in his house in Medina, Bellevue).

Well if you want to do either, you will have to take an Argosy Cruise.  This company provides all sorts of cruises out of Seattle and they all start from Pier 55 on Alaskan Way right down on the waterfront.

Now I have done most of their tours over the years (some multiple times as it’s a great place to take friends and family who visit), but I’ve never done one of their Dining Cruises.  They actually have a few different types including a lunch cruise, a dinner dance cruise and even a murder mystery dinner cruise (I’d like that one).  All of these take place on their largest vessel the Royal Argosy.

It just so happens that when I was there shooting the other night, the Royal Argosy was coming into dock after one of it’s dinner dance cruises.  The ship was beautifully lit and when it docked hundreds of people came off all dressed up in the best evening gowns and tuxedos.

I took this picture from the end of the pier looking back at the Royal Argosy which had docked at port with the city skyline in front of it.  Pier 56 to the left in the picture has some restaurants on it that were all lit up providing cool reflections on the water.

It all looked really nice and made I think a lovely picture.

Tonight the guys decided to play “Littlest Petshop” on Abi’s Nintendo DS.