Night Shooting in Seattle

I keep a list of photo ideas on my phone.  Since my daughter was born and I’ve been not-unemployed, I find time for none of them.  Recently a friend asked about taking some pictures at night, and I remembered my list.  At the top for the longest time has been going down to the Jose Rizal Bridge to shoot the traffic coming into downtown.

Traffic into Seattle at night, from the Jose Rizal Bridge


Winter nights are great, because it’s always dark, and a cloudy backdrop is fine.  Rain actually makes the reflections better, but you’ve got to want to stand in the rain to take the pictures – probably not the best idea, but right after a storm would be great.  This was good enough for me.

Seattle Stadium Night Traffic


You’ve also got a great shot of the 90 ramps headed toward Bellevue from up here, and I just love watching the lights blur – the headlights in white and the taillights in red.  Letting the camera see things I can’t see.

Bus at Night from Jose Rizal Bridge

The biggest issues shooting from here, other than a few sketchy folks walking by when you’ve got a bunch of camera equipment out is the bridge itself – cars and buses share it, and you can absolutely feel the vibrations when buses go buy or even when big trucks go underneath it.  If you’re looking for a sharp long exposure, a good tripod is a must, but when the ground shakes, there is only so much you can do.  Along with Kerry Park, the Sculpture Garden, and a few more, this is one of the places I always knew I wanted to take some pictures from.  Glad I had the chance.

Lighting Can Be Cheap

As you’ve heard, we went to see the tulips last week. Brought some home too – very nice but they don’t last forever. On the way out they still have a nice look. Here was last night:
Closeup of a Tulip

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Since it was dark and I was using the macro lens, I had the tripod out.  Yes, I was attempting to do things correctly.  After cranking the aperture wide open to blur the background, I thought I’d try something else and go the other direction – want to see more?  I, personally, think it is worth hitting the link.

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Seattle Comes Alive At Night

As you know, I went out to find the P.I. Globe before it ground to a halt.  Doing so means a little hike, but it wasn’t all for naught.  I got the picture I wanted and I also got a little something else:

The Eagle (sculpture) and Space Needle at night

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At first it seemed like everything was still.  I can’t say quiet, as you might notice the blur of a freight train through the bottom of the frame.  With a wide field of view, this also happens to cross the approach path for Seatac Airport.  I love the morse-code of dots and dashes the planes make through my frame and set the exposure up to 13 seconds to record it.  The foreground sculpture is called Eagle and was created by Alexander Calder in 1971.  It is the most recognizable piece of the Olympic Sculpture Park (or “the sculpture garden”, as most people would call it) and I was really happy to capture this shot of it with the most recognizable Seattle landmark in the background.

Snowy Seattle Night

Snowy Seattle Night

I’ve been taking pictures lately, but all of them are within a few blocks of my house. Snow in Seattle is usually a once or twice a season treat. It’s funny how with another dozen inches and a few days later, it really feels like a whole different kind of hell. For a different take, I thought I’d do some long exposure shots. Very low light photography isn’t that hard, especially with digital since you can see what you’re going to get. You definitely need a tripod and you may or may not need a cable or remote shutter release to ensure you don’t shake things taking the picture. I was looking for the light trails and motion against the stillness on the street, so I closed down the aperture as far as it would go and dropped the ISO speed to my camera’s slowest to get this exposure at 20 seconds. The nice thing is you don’t have to be too careful staying out of the frame – unless you’re wearing a flashlight, you won’t even show up. There is a lot more that can be done with this technique – I’ll post more when the snow melts.
  • ApertureValue: f/22
  • DateTimeOriginal: 2008:12:22 21:15:07
  • ExposureTime: 20 sec
  • Flash: No Flash
  • FocalLength: 24 mm
  • ISOSpeedRatings: 100