The Bellevue Downtown Park is right next to Bell Square Mall – which by the way if you haven’t visited is a pretty impressive shopping mall, just ask Lisa!  Just by the Mall where the part starts is this large fountain surrounded by lamps.  I have no idea if it’s here to signify anything but it’s covered in flags.  I was there for the sunset and took this image just before the sun went down.

The challenge with this picture was getting a shot with no people and no wind.  Obviously I failed as you can see by the movement in the flags.  That said I didn’t really do anything to this image in Photoshop, this was pretty much what came out of the camera.

I liked the one tree at the front of the image, it kind of added some nice foreground interest and I liked the leaves and flagstones one the floor.  The sky looked cool too so the picture came out well.  I think this is my last Downtown Park image so don’t expect any more.

I had planned to take a load of images this week as I’ve been off work now for 9 days.  But it’s pretty much rained every day, been really crappy.  So not a good week for photography.  But I plan to get out soon and grab some nice pictures.  I’m still pretty amazed that I started this thing on January 1st, and here I am on November 25th and I haven’t missed a day.  Only 36 days to go and I made it.

Tonight the guys found a new balls game to play, I have no idea what it’s called but they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Tonight I thought I’d post another one of my park at sunset pictures.  This image was taken just after the sun had gone down over the trees, it hadn’t completely set yet as you can still see the orange glow in the distance, but the lights in the park had just come on.

As there was no direct sunlight it was a little darker in the park so I put the camera on a tripod and shot the image with a long exposure.  This was a really pretty scene, there were trees to my right leading down the path and the path was covered with fallen leaves.  The lights along the path also added to the ambiance providing a line of lights off into the distance.

At this end of the park, nearly every light had a couple of flags attached.  I really wanted one of these sets in the foreground to provide some near interest but had to take lots of shots as the flags kept blowing in the breeze and showed motion blur with the long exposure.  Then of course I’d get a good image and found someone had walked into shot!  Very frustrating.  But eventually I got the image I wanted.

For the composition I wanted the entire flag in the foreground in the frame and some of the leaves visible on the floor.  I also wanted the path to wind from center round to the left, this is kind of a leading line, so called as it leads the eye.  Hopefully you look at the image and follow the path around the bend and are left wondering where it goes.  Ideally there’s some payoff at the end of the a leading line, something the line takes you to, but the park didn’t really have anything.

The lights around the path threw a nice orange glow into the trees and the blue sky above the setting sun added a nice color to the image.  Ideally the nearest lamp would have been in line with the sun (that would have been cool) but the sun actually set off to the right hand corner.  So quite a lot happening in this image, and I’m really pleased with the end result.

When I started photography a few years ago I’d occasionally get some really nice pictures.  In hindsight this was more down to luck than anything else.  I didn’t consider the composition as I took the shot.  I didn’t look in each corner to make sure there were no distractions and what I wanted in frame was there.  I guess I was so excited about getting the subject in I didn’t look at what else was going on.  So I got some nice pictures but a lot of bad ones too.  These days I take a lot longer composing the image, making sure I think through what I’m trying to capture.  The result is a much higher percentage of nice pictures.  Today’s image is a great example, I walked through everything I have written above in the view finder before I pressed the shutter.

Tonight Master Chief was showing Carter his new winter hat.  Apparently it’s very warm, but visibility is pretty poor.

So for tonights picture I thought I’d post another image from yesterday’s visit to Bellevue’s Downtown Park.  As I mentioned in yesterdays posting the park has this rather wide waterfall and as you can see in the image below I wasn’t kidding.

I was walking towards the waterfall when I saw the red glow of the setting sun on the water.  I got all giddy excited and ran over to set up the tripod and this was one of the shots I got.  I put a really dark filter on the front of the lens (called a Neutral Density Filter) that restricts light without adding a color cast.  this allowed me to take a pretty slow shutter shot even with bright sunlight on the subject.  This gave the water a nice “ribbon” look as it went over the fall.  I couldn’t have got this effect without the filter, the water would have either been stopped in motion (which I think doesn’t look as cool) or the image would have been blown out.

Above the fall you can see the skyline of some of the tall buildings in Bellevue.  There was an unsightly crane in the image but that was pretty quick to remove with Photoshop (we don’t want no ugly cranes).  While there I met someone who is on my photo course and we had a long talk about the images we are all capturing.

Pretty much right in front of the waterfall is the ice rink.  This was stopping the sun from hitting more of the falls, which is a bit of a pity but I still think I got a nice shot.  Hopefully you agree.

Master Chief introduced Carter to his new girlfriend today, Carter described her to me as a bit of a troll which I thought was pretty rude until I saw the picture!

Now I know what you are thinking, “not another sunset – what’s going on?”  Well, firstly, yes I am shooting a lot of sunsets right now and really there are two very good reasons.

Firstly the day’s are getting shorter and I’ve just taken on a new role at work and the day’s at work are rather long, so it’s either shoot a sunrise at the beginning of the day or a sunset at the end.  Even though I have my camera with me all the time at work I’m just too busy to get it out during the day.

But there’s actually another reason too.  A few weeks I started a Bellevue College Course called “Shoot to Show”.  The purpose of the course is to learn how to put on a gallery show, and hopefully sell some prints.  Part of the course involves us picking a subject and going out and shooting some images.  Then we print and frame the pictures and show for a few days and see what happens.  Anyway, we are well underway in the course and our “theme” is “Beginning and End of Day”.  We are allowed to pretty much interpret this as we like but for me I guess it’s pictures like these sunsets.

So that’s what’s happening, I’m capturing a number of nice sunsets for the course.  Obviously I need to share these with the class, but if you remember the “rules” I came up with at the beginning of the year, I can’t post an image here if it’s been seen by anyone else.  So before I can show the class my work I have to post the image.  The result is you get to see a lot of sunsets.  Hope you don’t mind.

I guess I should tell you about this image.  Well summer is definitely over!  We have a lot of rain and some interesting clouds.  This may not be very nice for warm evening walks, but it sure makes nice pictures.  I was driving home and saw this sky near my home.  So (well you know now how this works) I pulled over and took the shot.  This one is definitely all about sky.  I exposed for the sky too hence the grass at the bottom of the screen is quite dark.  I did try to raise the exposure of this a little but both Lisa and I preferred it a little darker – as it focuses the eyes above.

This evening Master Chief had a terrible accident!  He fell in a cup of tea.  I found Carter trying to pull him out, at least I think that’s what he was trying to do!

So yesterday I was driving home from work thinking “what should I post tonight?”  To be fair, that’s pretty much all I ever think about on the way home but such is life for a “post a picture a day” idiot.  I have to say I actually have quite a few nice images to share with you so it really was a question of which one.  But then I saw the sunset over my neighborhood and saw the chance to get something new.

Now what I’ve learnt to do when I see something nice is stop immediately and grab the camera.  The day’s of “Oh I’ll get that next time” or “I’ll get it on the way back” are well and truly over – it NEVER works.  So just by Abi’s school I pulled over and got the camera.  The sky looked great but I noted that just down the road you could see a really nice yellow and orange sky against the roof tops, so I went for a walk.

Anyway I found myself by a small park area with some play equipment and what I think was a lamp.  Against the sky everything was in silhouette and I thought it made a really nice image so I started taking some pictures.  I kept moving around and trying different compositions and ended up selecting the image I’m posting tonight as my favorite.

I thought the sky looked great and love the fact I can just see some leaves on the floor and make out the shapes in the foreground.  It just goes to show you can capture a fun picture anywhere.

The guys where getting ready for Halloween tonight, they were really excited about getting some candy tomorrow, I guess we will have to see how they do!