My previous post was getting a little long – not so much with words as with images. So I knew I needed to break my visit to Seattle into two separate posts.
I am not a lazy person at all, but I must tell you that most of the photos you see of the waterfront in both the previous post and this post, were taken from my hotel room window! I managed to stay in the comfort of my own room, complete with bed, desk, TV, and fridge - and look out the window to capture some wonderful, quintessentially-Seattle images. All I had to do was aim my 70-200mm lens (handheld) either straight ahead, to the right, or to the left (sometimes hanging out of the sill a little bit).
As I mentioned in my previous post, the view window of my room was such that I could open it up and literally drop a line and fish out of it if I wished! No screen and only a very short railing protecting me from the elements. The bellman told me that on occasion, they still had to drag people out of the bay because they’d fallen overboard…..usually, that incident involved alcohol. Big surprise.
Since I had just arrived in Washington the day prior, my body clock still operated on Texas time. Needless to say, I was up at about 3AM Seattle time (5AM according to my body clock – time to get up for work). So I dressed, made coffee (yes, I brought my own coffee and purchased real cream up at Pike Place Market Creamery the afternoon prior), opened the windows to let in the fresh, crisp, salt air, and sat down to my laptop to process photos. Occasionally, I would get up to look out the window. The scenes that greeted me that morning made me realize just how lucky I was to be there right at that moment.
At dark-thirty, when the ferries begin their day.
The blue hour, as the morning progressed.
The Mountain was out on that day.
A low bank of heavy, cottony clouds partially obscured the Olympic Mountains.
Clouds, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains peeking out, and Shilshole Marina.
A quintessential Seattle day.
I’d decided earlier that morning to visit the Seattle Aquarium. I needed more practice taking fish photos and wanted to test my brand new lens. But first, I wanted to take a walk along the waterfront. For this day, I used my own Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm lens plus the rented Canon 5D Mark III and the 50mm f1.2 lens. I wanted that 50mm lens for aquarium shots because it’s a fast, sharp prime.
The Seattle Aquarium opens at 9:30AM. It costs $19 and some-odd cents for a ticket (why they just don’t make it an even $20, I don’t know). On this particular day (the Saturday before Easter), the place was jam-packed with kids and parents. Try battling that combo to get a particular photo.
The first sight to greet the visitor is this scene. The docent (just outside of this view) is chatting with the diver feeding the fish, educating and entertaining the audience at the same time. The really little kids are the most fun to watch.
From there, one passes on through various exhibits including a number of petting tanks, where kids (and grown-ups like moi) can touch the anemones and star fish. After touching wet, soft, squishy sealife, one looks up toward this very cool circular aquarium, a portion of which is hidden beneath the floor. They call that the Moon Jelly exhibit.
Next are the exhibits for the giant Pacific octopus, then a number of other fish that I can’t identify; and the frustrating thing about the gift shop is that it’s geared toward kids – I never saw a decent fish identification guide in the shop….oh well, that’s what Amazon.com is for.
Although I used a fast lens, I kept the ISO pretty high in order to allow for a relatively fast shutter speed to try and get a clear image of the fish, which are constantly on the move. I think I maybe used my 24-105mm lens once or twice. It’s not a fast lens, but I needed the wide angle view for a couple of shots.
After the aquarium visit, I realized I was tired and my shoulder hurt from the cameras and lenses (and souvenirs and food I’d purchased at the Market earlier that morning – no more hotel re$taurant for me).
I was not going to kill myself trying to do everything on this visit to Washington. I simply could not do it all and still enjoy the scene and the moment. So, I took my goodies, camera, and self back to the hotel to process images and photograph more wonderful Elliott Bay water scenes from my room window.
It was definitely a great day to be in Seattle
Note: If you have the opportunity to travel to Washington, by all means, stay in Seattle a night or two. And, if you can afford to splurge a little, stay either at the Inn At The Market (located smack dab in the midst of Pike Place Market), or at the Edgewater Hotel – and get a water view room. Both hotels have discounts during various times of the year. A discount based upon a reservation 7 days ahead of time with no refund was how I snagged my room. Worth every penny to me. Their restaurant is lovely, with wonderful views, outdoor dining, and awesome food. However, it’s on the pricey side. Thankfully there are a bunch of neat places to dine up in Pike Place Market, with prices ranging from $2 to $$$, depending upon your food budget. My room was clean and comfortable, which is all I really ever require of any room in which I stay. I don’t need many amenities, although an in-room fridge and coffee maker are nice (I actually packed a small 4-cup coffee maker and a package of ground coffee in my luggage, since I tend to wake up very early in the morning to review and edit my photos – during this WA trip, I took around 3000).