Monday, February 28, 2011

Ballard fisherman's terminal

The Ballard fisherman's terminal is as Seattle as it gets - located on Salmon bay in the Interbay neighbourhood of Seattle. Quaint and laid back with a rugged beauty that is the essence of the Pacific North west. The terminal is steeped in history. Every time I go there I make it a point to spend some time at the Fisherman's memorial and read the plaques memorializing the fisherman missing at sea. Here is a link to the official page.

I have been to the terminal a few times and have always struggled to photograph the terminal. My experience/skill is primarily as a landscape photographer and i'm always trying to find the big, beautiful Vista. This does not work for the terminal - all the beauty is in the details. I went back last week armed with the new Canon EF 100mm macro lens my wife gifted me for my birthday. My first reaction - love the lens! It has opened a whole new world to a landscape photographer.

Intricate patterns of a fishing net, Ballard fisherman's terminal

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon EF 100mm/f2.8 L macro

Image details: 100mm, f/2.8, 1/3200sec, ISO 400
The terminal is best shot on sunny winter days. I have found it best to be there a couple of hours before sunset or an hour after sunrise. Closer to sunset the shadows lengthen and it makes photography very tricky. I usually walk up and down the piers looking for interesting macro oppurtunities - rusty anchors, nuts and bolts, ropes etc. There are 3-4 piers and I explore each of them. By far the best macro opportunites are around the fishing nets that you will find piled up around the docks. I spent an hour or so isolating patterns in the red and white fishing nets.

Anchor rope, Ballard Fisherman's terminal

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon EF 100mm/f2.8 L macro

Image details: 100mm, f/2.8, 1/3200sec, ISO 400
The terminal is a unique mixture of pleasure yatches and working boats - its pretty cool to see an expensive pleasure yatch moored next to a small fishing boat from Alaska :)

There are usually plenty of birds (Canada geese, cormorants, mallards, coots etc) in and around the terminal. They are pretty habituated to people and you can get very close to them. I always take my telephoto lens looking for good portrait shots of the birds.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sol duc falls, Olympic Peninsula

Sol duc is a beautiful waterfall located in the Sol duc valley in the heart of Olympic national park. The waterfall is located at the end of a short hike of about a mile from the Sol duc campground parking lot. Sometimes in winter due to heavy snow or tree debris the national park service closes the road near the hot springs resort. This will add a couple of miles to your hike. As always please check the road conditions before you head out on your trip.

Waterfall on the way to Sol duc falls

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 100-400mm

Image details: 190mm, f/32, 8sec, ISO 100
The trail is wide and mostly flat - you walk through pristine old growth temperate rainforest that is so typical of the pacific north west. The average annual rainfall on this side of the Olympics is about 200 inches! Even though the hike is only about a mile it usually takes me an hour or so to make it to the falls. There are a number of beautiful small streams and waterfalls on either side of the trail. I love to stop and photograph these streams. In some cases I like to use my telephoto lens to isolate small portions of the streams/falls. Depending on the situation I like to vary the shutter speed to achieve different levels of "silky" flow of the water.

Once you get to the waterfall the first thing you realize is that it is a rather difficult waterfall to photograph. The waterfall is located in a small canyon at an angle.Once you get close enough to be able to see the falls the water spray is pretty intense making it really difficult to photograph. I've been there a few times but don't really have a good picture of the falls. The next time I'd like to use the wooden bridge across the falls in my composition If any of my readers has some tips I would love to hear!

On the road to Sol duc falls parking lot you pass the Sol duc hot springs resort and the Sol duc campground. The resort and campground are usually closed for the winter and usually open at the end of March. Another interesting point along the road is the Salmon cascades. The Salmon Cascades is reached via a .1-mile gravel path that leads to a wooden platform overlooking the Sol Duc River. The river supports an unusual stock of coho salmon, which begin to return from the Pacific in late summer (most coho return in the fall). The salmon must negotiate more than 50 miles of river, rapids and pools to reach Salmon Cascades before continuing to quieter pools above Sol Duc Hot Springs.

Directions to Sol Duc falls

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall colors, Microsoft campus, Redmond

Fall colors, Microsoft campus, Redmond

Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 24-70mm

Image details: 24mm, f2.8, 1/1000th sec, ISO 200
Microsoft campus is a fun place to photograph fall colors on the eastside of Seattle. It is very easily accessible and there are a variety of composition options. The soccer field on the main Redmond campus bound by NE 36th st and 157th ave NE is a good place to start off your photo walk. The trees lining NE 36th Street usually turn red and the trees on the east and the south of the soccer field turn yellow.

The Overlake transit center is a good place to park for non Microsoft employees. It is walking distance to the Microsoft main campus. The soccer field has a walking track around most of it - I like to walk around the entire field till I find a perspective I like. Every year is different, not all the trees have the same degree of color every year.

NE 36th is lined with trees on both sides . The curvy road, leaves on the ground and the colors can be used for some and makes for some very interesting compositions using a wide angle lens. I like to photograph the street The street is best photographed after the trees start shredding leaves. I like to have color both on the streets and in the trees - it tends to make the picture pop. So you will need to time your visit at the right time in the fall. A lower depth of field (wider aperture) will give a surreal effect to your images. Experiment with different depths of field till you find the depth you like. I like to shoot fall colors on an overcast day. It tends to bring out the best colors and makes the picture pop.

Directions to microsoft campus