Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

The spaceship shaped top of the space needle looms large over Seattle, Washington as it has since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris the structure was built specifically for this event and has withstood the test of time.

Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

It was a stormy day in Seattle (typical) and I zoomed in as tight on the tower as I could (this is my Tamron 270 lens at full extension). I liked the simplicity of the structure embedded against the interesting texture of the clouds behind it. In Lightroom I added a heavy vignette to center the focal point on the needle and also desaturated some of the colors.

Sunrise in Seattle

I was in Seattle for work near the beginning of the year and spent one of the mornings in Kerry Park watching the sunrise behind the skyline. Kerry Park has the best perspective for the Seattle skyline in my rather limited opinion given that on a perfectly clear morning you can even see Mount Rainier towering over the city a couple hundred miles away in the distance. The clouds on this particular morning kept the famous peak hidden for the most part although there is a faint view of it in a couple photos that I took that morning (not this one).

City of Fire – Seattle, WA

Sunrise in Seattle from Kerry Park

Seattle is known as the Emerald City but on this morning the positioning and color of the clouds made it appear that several buildings were burning behind the well-known space needle.

Philosophy for a Happy Life

I can’t take credit for this philosophy at all but man does it ring home. If other people would just live like Sam Berns did we would be a much happier society. This kid was absolutely amazing and while he passed to soon his memory will live on with alot of people who he touched through documentaries about his life and also his unwavering positivity.

So his philosophy so eloquently laid out in this TedX speech:

1) Be Ok with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you CAN do

2) Surround yourself with people you want to be around

3) Keep moving forward

4) Never miss a party if you can help it

Photo of the Day – Don’t Look Backward

Seattle from Kerry Park
I walked up to Kerry Park for sunrise but before the sun rose I thought I’d take a couple of shots of this interesting telescope used to see details of the skyline. Someone put some googly eyes on the thing facing the other way and it reminded me of Sam’s philosophy of ‘keep moving forward’. The past is in the past and what was done cannot be undone all that can be done is trying to improve the situation going forward so don’t look back and think of what could have been because that is just wasted effort.

Here is the full speech from Sam – full of inspiration

Seattle Skyline

I was in Seattle for a layover during my trip back from Glacier National Park. The layover was around six hours long – rather than hang out at the airport I decided to take the train downtown. There were a couple of reasons this made sense to me – the weather looked nice (80 degrees or so I think) and the food in/around Pike Place is delicious. My favorite place serves, primarily, clam chowder (I think it is called the Chowder House) and I had a cup of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had. They really do a phenomenal job. After the chowder “appetizer” I walked over to a nearby vendor and picked up a deliciously filling mushroom and steak pastry (called a Proshky) from a (relativel) hole in the wall – Piroshky, Piroshky, Piroshky – that is right outside of Pike market.

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One more day in Philly then back to Chicago. Looking forward to being away for a few days.

Sleepless in Seattle

One night last December in Seattle we took a walk over to the old Amazon headquarters near Dr. Jose Rizal Park. Crossing the bridge you are treated to this view looking out into Puget Sound (Bay) and on a clear day a mountain range. It also provides good views of the two major Seattle Sports Stadiums – Safeco Field and Century Link Stadium.

Photo of the Day – Seattle Traffic

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Seattle Skyline

In Seattle we spent an evening in the needle overlooking most of the city. They do allow tripods up top but it is so windy that it still makes it challenging to get steady shots of the skyline without some (small) blur.

I read a brief article the other day about the most infuriating parts of flying (each point is also supplemented with a funny GIF which makes the reading easier) and all I can say is….YES! So very TRUE! I hate each one of these things…especially #4 and I’m not even tall. I can’t imagine being on a plane if you are six feet or taller. Torture! Planes were built for the average heights of people in the middle ages.

Photo of the Day – Photo from the Spaceship

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Where has the time gone?

I was in bed last night and was flipping through some articles on and came across an article on ‘Songs that you won’t believe are twenty years old’…well they were right. As I went down the list the time instantly hit me. I can remember listening to each of these songs over and over again (and watching the videos when MTV actually played videos) and had the CDs (maybe even the cassette tape) for most of these ordered from my music club.

(Side note…Do you all remember Columbia House and the deals on the CDs that they used to offer? I think it was like 20 CDs for a penny or something like that but then they’d enroll you in the CD of the month club and send it to you for like $17 and you could chose to send it back if you wanted to or pay for it. I think I quit, re-joined, signed up in other people in my households name, signed my grandpa up, etc… and wound up with a couple hundred CDs for less than $1. Of course, there were months I forgot to send the CD of the month back and wound up paying double the ‘regular’ price of the CD for a Kenny G CD or something awful like that)

So needless to say this afternoon I’ve watched each of these videos – Nirvana, Soul Asylum, Blind Melon even Tag Team (Whoomp! There it is…I thought you knew) – and they brought back some pretty good memories. I was just coming into my teen years and growing my hair long – confused I listened to gangstar rap and grunge trying to figure out which appealed to me more. A white kid from the suburbs of Detroit….the gangstar rap didn’t really stick but I gave it shot.

Photo of the Day – Nirvana in Concert (as close as I’ll get to live)

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At the EMP Museum (Epic Music Project) in Seattle they had a fairly large exhibit dedicated to Nirvana and the grunge movement. Seeing as that scene evolved nearby and is most associated with Seattle it isn’t surprising that the collection of items is housed in the heart of the Emerald City. One of the cool features in the exhibit was a stage with some lights and a VERY large screen streaming Nirvana concerts pretty much continuously. There is nothing better than seeing a band play live – as I’ve grown older I find that the majority of music I listen to on my iPod is that of recorded concerts. The Nirvana Unplugged show from MTV still gets regular play on my iPod and whenever Palladia shows the Nirvana concert (Live at Paramount) I’ll tape it and watch repeatedly. The raw energy from this concert is pretty awesome so if you have Palladia on your TV provider definitely check out the concert the next time they air it.

As the lead in to the RS article says – As Gen X-ers wonder how they became middle-aged so soon, here are 20 tunes they can’t fathom are 20 years old. This is very true. It is hard to imagine.

How to become a better photographer overnight

Well maybe not exactly overnight but the best way to learn and become better is to steal from others. No I don’t mean actually going onto another person’s website and using their images as your own – instead I mean finding photographers in your area whose work you enjoy, go through it and find images they’ve taken that are near where you are and steal there location.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

This could not be more true when it comes to photography. Look closely at the work of others and take time to think about why the images appeal to you – is it the time of day (sunrise/sunset), the subject of the photo (children, wedding, pets, etc…) or just simply the location. Understand what it is that draws your eye to the image and try to invoke that in your next photo. Heck, walk right up to the same location and try to recreate their photo exactly. When you are there look around and see if there are other elements in the area that catch your eye and maybe you will find something as interesting or more interesting and be able to put your own personal spin on it. I’ve said it before in all of my trip preparation that I always google image search to see if there is anything that catches my eye – maybe it is an angle I haven’t thought about or a location that I didn’t know existed. Either way I want to make sure I come back with the shot that I was looking for and ‘cheating’ to do that is okay in my book.

Photo of the Day – Seattle Skyline

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When in Seattle for work in December I knew I’d have a limited amount of time to take photos but also knew I wanted to come back with images that were worthwhile. Therefore, I spent a couple of hours finding local Seattle photographers whose work I enjoyed and went through their portfolios. This location I found of the skyline was from a photographer in Seattle named Justin Kraemer who had a photo on his site that I really liked. Therefore, when I had a chance to get away from the meetings I walked up to the Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge and took several shots from that location. Some were very similar (or identical) to Justin’s (except the sunset never happened for me due to the clouds) but some – like the above image – were cropped in tighter because I wanted to make sure the mountains in the distance were visible despite the clouds.

This bridge was a couple miles from the downtown area and if I hadn’t browsed his website I never would have walked over there because I would have spent alot of time simply wandering around. However, because I had some reference point of locations to go to my time was much better utilized and I came home much happier with the pictures that I took.


The Wings are up 3 – 1 after last nights win. What a rush! Living in Chicago and having to deal with all the bandwagon fans has been torture. Still need to get that last one but so far so good. Not counting the series as over though until they are shaking hands. I’ve seen enough hockey to know 3 – 1 isn’t impossible to overcome especially for a deeply talented Blackhawks team.

I took this shot from my hotel room because it was raining and I didn’t feel like going down to the waterfront. On a clear day (and when it isn’t pitch black out) you can see Mount Olympus from this room. I picked the room out (and paid extra for it) months in advance but it was all for naught. The mountain was hidden by fog all three of the nights I spent here.

Photo of the Day – Snapshots

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As digital cameras get better even the quick snapshots look good. This was shot at a pretty high ISO and I used the window sill to balance the camera. I wanted to catch the motion of the ferris wheel but was happy that a ferry happened to come by just as I shot a few shots. You can see the motion of the ferry behind the Public Market sign.

Did we move to Australia?

It’s winter time in the Southern Hemisphere but somehow it barely cracked 40 degrees here in Chicago. The wind temps on the lake made it feel more like the 30s….I don’t think we moved to Australia but somehow it feels that way when this is supposed to be spring and moving towards summer. I don’t know if I’m buying this whole ‘global warming’ thing given the spring we’ve had here in Chicago. I think days below 60 degrees outnumber those above by a margin of 3-1.

Photo of the Day – Christmas in Seattle

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We’ve had some rainy weather too. Reminds me a bit of our trip to Seattle when it rained pretty much the full four days we were out there. This is the famous Public Market sign and typically this off limit for cars but at night they allow some traffic down it as the pedestrian traffic slows.

Happy Friday and go Wings!