Tag Archives: northwest

Light At the End of the Tunnel

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One of the old train tunnels along the trek

Earlier this week, I took a hiking trip to the Iron Goat Trail — a journey into nature that taught me more than I usually learn exploring my new home.

The Pacific Northwest is a lush area full of many different types of landscape. You’ve got the beaches, sound, rivers, towering mountains, rainforests, and even the (not so lush) desert. Iron Goat Trail sits 60 miles northeast of Seattle along Stevens Pass Highway, an already breathtaking ride.

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The result of using my on-camera flash in dim forest lighting

After a short walk on the start of the trail, a snowshed appeared — a towering and crumbling cement wall right along the walkway. These snowsheds protected the Great Northern Railway… at least for the most part. According to the trail’s website,

In 1910, snowslides delayed two trains at the town of Wellington. A vast section of snow on Windy Mountain broke loose and crashed down, sweeping both trains off the tracks into Tye Creek below. Rescue efforts were quickly organized, but nearly one hundred lives were lost.

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Light At the End of the Tunnel

Old tunnels stretch along the trail, showing the engineering against the elements. Wooden barriers were put in place under concrete, to protect trains from the winter precipitation. All of this old architecture and beautiful mossy landscape made for amazing photos, but I had to break one of my main rules to photograph it well…

Using a Flash… For the First Time

I’ve been photographing pretty much non-stop for years. I’ve photographed landscapes, people, long exposures, macro… just about everything. One rule I abide by is never using the flash built in on my Canon Rebel xti. I’ve found that 99 percent of the time, it flattens images and leaves out the real, raw color and shadows that I love. But I found myself changing my ways!

In the heavily wooded areas with looming concrete and trees, photographing the low-lying details while not blowing out the highlights in the trees was incredibly difficult. But something clicked, and I gave in. Why not give it a try? And sure enough, with a little finesse, I was able to shed a little light on the foreground details, while still being able to capture those night natural highlights above. Lesson learned. Thanks, Iron Goat Trail!

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One of the snowshed walls left in the area. Used to keep massive piles of snow off the tracks.

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Searching Seattle’s Neighborhoods

IMG_7406Living in a new city is incredibly exciting, and something that comes with time is getting the feel of that new city. Seattle is a place with a very well-defined neighborhood structure. Tons has been written about what separates each of these little enclaves, but getting there and seeing it for yourself is really the only way to understand it.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography... and infographics.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography… and infographics.

A couple weeks ago, Seattle’s International District (ID) was having their annual Dragon Fest. For $2 at each participating restaurant in the neighborhood, patrons get a generous sample of their fare and a chance to breathe in all the sights and smells of the ID. Having never been to this section of town, it was a lot of fun.

Multicolored dragons adorn the streets, Shimmering Chinese characters line the sides of buildings and archways over intersections. It’s amazing to feel so transported only a 20 minute bus ride away from our home.

After a few bites of steamed pork buns, dumplings, dim sum, and gelato, we found ourselves in a garden. Rows of ripening vegetables twisted around gravel pathways. We made our way up higher, past a pig roasting spit and beautiful flowers, to a Japanese garden. Above all the festivities below, with the gentle hum of the nearby I-5, we enjoyed some down time before hopping the bus back home.

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Freeway – HDR

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An HDR image of Interstate 5 cutting through the north side of Seattle. Shot with my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens.

Usually Photomatix does a fine job of giving me the HDR effect that I like — surrealistic enough to make you wonder how it’s done, but not enough to make you question the scene’s existence. This time, I blended two tonemapped versions of this photo, one of the sky and background separately, with another of the traffic to get the prefect balance I wanted.


Seattle Pride Weekend – Photos

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This weekend was probably the gayest weekend in America. Many cities had their LGBT parades, (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender [and straight allies, queer, and everyone in between]) and Seattle was right there with them. Thousands came out to celebrate the victories both recent and longterm for equal rights and remind us that we still have so much worth continuing to fight for.

The weather was unusually warm as a heat wave sent temperatures into the 90s, for record-breaking highs. Thankfully, most parade attendees were wearing close to nothing regardless. Those willing to brave the heat walked to the Seattle Center to enjoy more festivities including street food carts, food, and beer gardens.

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After as much cheering, confetti, and pride as we could handle, we packed onto the Metro bus with dozens of other hot Seattleites and climbed back up to our neighborhood up the hill. That bus barely made it.