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!

This weekend (just gone) I got the chance to stay at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie.  One of the interesting things about the Lodge, is that it’s right next to Snoqualmie Falls.  In fact my bedroom had a balcony that overlooked the falls and the view was just amazing.  I was actually there for a work event and I took my camera with every intention of popping out and capturing some great pictures, but I didn’t get the chance to shoot until it was time to leave.

It was late afternoon when I checked out of the hotel and it wasn’t raining (it was yesterday) so I thought I’d grab some shots before I headed home.

I walked out of the hotel (in the image below you can see the hotel at the top of the waterfall on the left) and down to the viewing area to get a shot.  The challenge was taking a picture before the camera lens became completely soaked!  The volume of water going over the falls was just incredible and as the water hit the river at the base, huge sprays of were thrown up to the observation area and then came down on any idiots watching like rain.  Obviously I was the only person there.

So set up the camera while I was facing the other way, and then turned around quickly and captured the shot.  The image I captured is below, and you can see some of the water drops on the lens in the top right corner.

I really wanted the water going over the falls to have that “ribbon” look you see in so many waterfall picture. So I attached a neutral density filter to the camera that dropped the amount of light entering the lens by 8 stops.  This allowed me to have a nice long exposure, so the camera went on the tripod and I took the shot.

Considering the amount of water being thrown up I’m really pleased with the end result.

Time to vote for the President of the United States!  How exciting…

This afternoon we decided to go out for the day and headed over to North Seattle to Ballard Locks.  The locks link Lake Union (that also goes to Lake Washington), with Elliott Bay and ultimately the Pacific.  The locks are pretty busy and open and close daily multiple times.  If you want to ride through a lock there’s an Argosy cruise that takes you from Elliott Bay to Lake Union and they you get a bus back to Seattle’s water front.  We did the cruise a few years ago and it’s pretty cool.

But today we were their on the dock side watching the boats go through.  When we got there the main large lock (there are two one massive one and one small one) was empty.  They were just lowering the water level to let boats enter from Lake Union.  The first boat to come along was this massive tug boat called the Western Titan.  The bridge in Ballard had to raise to let the tug boat through (I got a great picture of that as well) and then moored up in the lock ready for the water to rise.

However being first is bad, as it takes around an hour to fill the lock up and raise the water level, so the guys on the boat got comfortable and sat back to wait.  In the interim they had to put up with loads of people with cameras taking their picture.  In the image below you can see the Western Titan at the front and a load of smaller boats in the lock behind.  This lock is HUGE and can hold a lot of vessels, it would have been nice to see them rise up and sail out but Abi was cold so we left before the rear lock gate closed.

These locks are really cool and definitely worth a visit Ballard also seems like a nice place to live – loads of bars and restaurants and trendy shops (Lisa liked it anyway).  They have some botanical gardens there too (photographed them as well) and a fish ladder for Salmon who want to swim up river to spawn.  But more about that in a future posting.

After visiting Ballard Locks we went to Red Mill Burgers across the road and Carter and Master Chief fell in love – with a Double Bacon Cheese Berger.

The other day Lisa asked me if there was somewhere I’d like to go while in Maui.  I told her I’d like to photograph a Hawaiian waterfall and she hit the web and started her research.

In the end she found a place on the northern part of the island called Iao Valley State Park.

Now some of the best-known waterfalls in Maui are in the Hana region of the island.  This is where some of the waterfalls were shot for the film Jurassic Park.  However this is a pretty inaccessible part of the island and the best waterfalls can only be reached from the air.  So we hit the road to go to Iao Valley.

A couple of years ago we visited Kauai.  This was a really beautiful island but we found every day it rained for an hour or so.  Maui is a little different; you really don’t see any rain on the coast at all. However if you head inland and drive towards the mountains you hit what are in essence tropical rain forests and can get very wet.

Flowing through the valley is the Iao “stream” – at least that’s what it’s called.  But you say stream to me and I envision something you can jump across, but this stream is a pretty wide river with a lot of water.  While there we didn’t find any big waterfall drops, but instead came across a number of small drops.

What made it “interesting” was that in the middle of the river were a number of young women who were swimming in tiny bikini’s.  Now I have nothing against pretty bikini clad women but not if I’m trying to take a landscape shot.  I pointed the camera in their direction once just looking for some thing else to shoot (honest) and the looks I got would kill a cat!

In the end I took a number of shots of different parts of the river.  Tonight’s posting was taken by the entrance to the park, in the future I’ll post some other shots.

I liked this one because of the large rocks in the foreground, the very green foliage in the center and the large peaks in the background, one of which (the one of the left) is the Ioa Needle which is a 1200 foot lava remnant covered in vegetation.

As you can see the sky was pretty gray – but it was still 82 degrees – so standing in the river to get some pictures was actually a lot of fun.

Yesterday Master Chief buried Carter when he fell asleep on the beach – big mistake, today was payback time.

I probably should have posted this particular image the first day we got to the hotel, but as I only took the picture today that would have been difficult.  The reason being that the waterfall is what you see when you drive up to the hotel, it’s across the road from the hotel reception.

This waterfall is of course a man made and not natural, but it looks really pretty and the water is coming down pretty fast so I thought it would make a nice picture.

Waterfalls are a little tricky.  You don’t want the water to be frozen in time, but to appear almost “Ribbony” (that’s a real word right?) so that the picture gives the felling of motion.  To do this you need to have a long exposure.   But (and here’s the hard bit) you also want the leaves around the waterfall to be sharp and not blurry, which does tend to happen as over a long exposure the water rushing past blows the leaves about.

So what you have to do is take two images.  One with a long exposure for the water, and one with a short exposure for the foliage and flowers.  Then you blend the two pictures together to create the “perfect” waterfall.

Of course I didn’t do that here as it’s a total pain and loads of work (plus I was rushed and forgot), so here you get ribbony water and slightly blurry flowers.  Enjoy.

Tonight we went to the Cheeseburger Island Style restaurant in Wailea, but we lost the Halo guys, then I found them playing on the wall decorations!