Suicide Bridge from the Ground

A while back I did a few shots from the top of the Suicide Aurora Bridge – officially the George Washington Memorial Bridge. At the time the suicide fence was going up and I haven’t heard much since.  I just looked into it and according to WSDOT, there has been one suicide since – that’s one in a little more than a year – a fraction of the rate before.  The view from the top used to be great – it’s still nice.  One thing that always got me was that the view from the bottom of the bridge is pretty great too, in an engineery kind of way.  They never show these things off.

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As usual shooting something against the sky and not wanting to lose the detail, I did this one as HDR.  I love the sweeping curves of the thing.  I don’t even think this picture does justice to just how high the arc of steel sweeps from Fremont over to Queen Anne.  The bridge is its own reward.

Seattle and the Atomic Age

Before Seattle was a city that couldn’t get anything done (thanks, NIMBYs!), there was a time when Big Things happened here.  Like building a big phallic space tower for the World’s Fair.  Now Seattle Center is mostly home to that arena nobody wants and your odd music festival.  Tucked into the nooks and crannies are still memories of that big celebration.  In the northwest corner are some dilapidated conference rooms.  The courtyard outside is illuminated with these.

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Shooting up into the sun at mid-day, I decided to turn it into an HDR to bring out more of the tone in the shadows.  I love these lights though – they should put them everywhere.

Welcome to the Thunderbird Motel

Aurora Avenue seems like it probably has a storied past.  These days, the story is urban highway and blighted business districts.  At one time, it seems like everyone decided it would be a great place to build glorious old-timey motels.  Back before the Motel 6s and Holiday Inns, everyone had cool names and even better signs.  At present, most of those places are out of business, but some remain, and better yet, they haven’t torn down the relics quite yet.  I don’t think they’ll last long, so this will be the first in a series of what is left.  All of these are on Aurora Ave N (State Route 99) north of downtown Seattle.  First up, the Thunderbird Motel.

thunderbird motel, aka fremont inn

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Most recently, this place was actually called the Fremont Inn, but I’ll defer to the huge neon thunderbird.  This was actually one of the first of the motels to be forcibly shut down under the nuisance laws.  I can’t say I’m sad that it isn’t up and running but I hope they turn it into something worthwhile instead of just another vacant lot or hole in the ground.

I think it’s safe to say, this place has seen better days.

Thunderbird Motel, fenced and vacant

Happy Solstice Sunset

Summer in Seattle makes the winter almost worthwhile.  Yesterday was the solstice and it was light out until almost 10 PM.  Not a cloud to be seen and perfect weather.

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I’ll admit that this picture wasn’t from the solstice proper – I took it a week or two back, but it was on one of our other perfect days.  Downtown doesn’t have as much of a focal point as I’d like – the space needle is way too far north and most of the bigger and more distinct buildings are buried down the hill.  The twin circular towers of the Westin are about the more distinctive things we have.  It does remind me of the World’s Fair 1960’s style stuff that still lingers (space needle, monorail, etc) so I guess that’s ok.

The Death of the Suicide Bridge

The Stranger ran a great piece last year about suicide and the Aurora Bridge.  Our humble bridge stands right behind the titanic Golden Gate as the second-most jumped from bridge in the world.  The article also went on to discuss the psychology of suicide – how making it slightly more difficult to jump drastically decreased the odds of someone trying.  Between that and the fact that Adobe is really tired of people landing in their parking lot below, the fence is now going up on what is officially known as the George Washington Memorial Bridge (how fitting, right?)

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Hit the jump for more pictures and words and such.

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North Head Lighthouse – Cape Disappointment

The very south-west corner of Washington is Lewis and Clark country.  Other than oysters, it’s all “Dismal Nitch” and “Hungry Harbor“.  As a photographer however, I’m pulled to the lighthouses.

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Dating from 1896, this is one of two lighthouses that have steered ships into the Columbia river for over one hundred years.  On the wind-blasted cliffs, these sentinels shine the way.  I don’t know if it was visits to the Point Loma Lighthouse in my formative years, but I’m always drawn to these things.  I shot this in HDR to bring out a little texture in the shadows, but on an overcast day it was hardly necessary.

Diesel – A Reason To Advertise

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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