Commercial detritus has always been a fascination of mine, especially things like old signs. I’m not the only one – you see the pictures everywhere. If I was making one up in my mind, I’m thinking a rough kinda industrial product, big letters, old peeling paint, decrepit building. I’m thinking something like this:
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That wasn’t really how things started. If you want to see the original and hear a little more, hit the jump.
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Anyone who has taken enough pictures knows two things. Some of the shots you assume will be great turn out pretty blah. On the flip side, some of the shots you didn’t expect much from, or maybe didn’t even take on purpose, will end up being your favorites. Take lots of pictures, worry about it later. So it is with this one.
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Taken in a Safeway parking lot. Taken at night, without any real attempt to stabilize the camera, hand holding my S90, at only ISO400. I could have set the camera on the wall. I could have cranked up the ISO (although I didn’t want it any noisier than this). That isn’t the point. It took it, I bought some groceries, and looking at it later, I liked it. Shooting up into the trees means that the cars and other distractions are gone. The floodlights from the lot wash out all the detail (and me playing with the contrast burns some more) leaving just shapes and sky. I didn’t intend it to be exactly this shot – I didn’t really intend it to be anything. I’m just happy with what it is.
My second favorite part of the port (you saw #1 last week) are those stacks and stacks of shipping containers. I liked them even before season two of The Wire. Something about the sort of adult building blocks nature they have going on, or maybe the bright colors they are often painted. Maybe the fact that they just pile them into mountains and leave them (for sale? to rust?) in large gated yards. I don’t know but something does it for me.
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My main problem is that they almost always sit behind big fences and if you can’t get close, you can’t get a very good shot. These were behind a fence, but they were close enough to it that I could get close and shoot up. If they’d let me into the middle of the stacks I’m sure I could get some cool shots, but for some reason they don’t seem to love random dudes with cameras in the middle of their business, so I guess I’ll settle for not being chased off for taking pictures from the outside. Once again, shot this hand-held with my S90, set to auto-bracket and attempted to keep things still to get 3 shots for the HDR. The containers came out pretty clean but it was windy – you can see the clouds moving between frames – probably 1 second total exposure time!
I never stopped loving big machines. Cranes, bulldozers, all that. One of the first words I ever heard my toddler nephew say was “excavator”, so I guess it isn’t just me. Seattle actually has a pretty sizable industrial area, so getting a view of cranes, trains, etc, isn’t that hard. Doing it without a fence in your way however, can be more of a challenge.
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I just stumbled on this “park” the other day. The Port loves providing public access in a way that is so unfriendly and hard to see that you’d never know it was there. This spot is hidden behind a huge stack of shipping containers, but you get a great view of the Duwamish river and the goings on.
I shot this with my little S90, hand held of course. If you want to know the difference between a point and shoot (a very good one, but still) and a real DSLR with L-series lens and a tripod, compare it to this one. I don’t know if you can tell at this resolution, but the fine detail is really incomparable between the two. Even so, I had my point and shoot – I didn’t have my DSLR. You can’t take anything if you don’t have your camera.