#975. Last walk of 2019 and first walk of 2020 in Seattle

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Mar 07

After 10 days of traveling for the holidays at the end of 2019, I felt the need to get my camera and myself outside for some photography walks around some areas of Seattle I really like. Below are the results of those two successive walks.


Last Photo Walk of 2019

All of these images were made on the afternoon of December 31st 2019.

I started by walking in a business district near my favorite camera store. To say I was in a funk may be an understatement. I started by trying to exercise the lens by shooting wide open. Of these images only the image below seems worth showing.


After the business district I succumbed to the Siren’s call and found myself entering what is probably the #1 iconic tourist destination in Seattle. The Pike Place Market (or as known locally “The Market”).


This is one of those locations that draw photographers like a moth to a flame. On the other hand, it is also the single best place to get fresh produce and fish in Seattle. Not to mention there is always a crowd.


So, I am going to attempt to avoid reproducing the photos everyone has seen.

The two photos below are from an area known as Post Alley. Actually, this is the south end of Post Ally, and here, at least this week, the walls have eyes. I like walking down this section of the alley because it is different every time I visit. I’m posting the same image in color and B&W because I can’t decide which I like better.


A few feet away from the above, is the best coffee at the market and as you can see, it is a pretty hopping place.


Finally, is an image from one of my favorite parts of the market. Technically it’ is not in “The Market”. It is across the street from the main building. But this side of the street has it’s own look and vibe. Not the least of which is my favorite neon sign, and every time I visit, I need to see and photograph what is happening in the vicinity.


For the two of you that are interested, I used a Leica M9 and Zeiss 35mm F1.4 ZM lens (also known as Audrey here at Dear Susan). When I started my walk, the aperture was set to f1.4 and when I finished it was f2.2.


First walk of 2020

This series of images is now from my first photo walk of 2020, which occurred the next day, on the afternoon of January 1st. I was still feeing the funk of inactivity that led to the previous day’s photo walk and decided that I still needed to get out of the house and see what could be found outside.


I was driving to one of my usual places for mindless photography, and as I approached the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood in Seattle I decided I needed to stop here instead. This is one of those places where you think to yourself that you should stop while you are on the way to somewhere else. So today was the day.

As a street photographer this is an area that seems to have potential as you pass through. One reason I wanted to stop is this is a neighborhood on the verge of change. As the photos below show, this is a neighborhood with low-rise commercial and apartment buildings. Unfortunately, development is working it’s way this direction.


While I was walking around I was struck by the light was playing on the windows in the images above and below.


Later I wandered into the Seattle Center. The shapes and light in the Monorail Station caught my attention for a few frames.


Leaving the station I strolled along the base of the Space Needle and came to the most unconventional building in the Center. MoPop. Or to use the full name, the Museum of Popular Culture, which was originally built as the Experience Music Project, is a high reflective, multi-colored, curve-a-licious building that can make for some interesting photos. I hope my efforts today were worthy.


Another interesting aspect of the MoPop, is it is built with the monorail tracks running through it. So about every twenty-minutes the monorail leaves or returns to the center. So if you pick your vantage point well, you might catch something interesting.


Finally, I was leaving when I came upon this musician. He was playing to and for the people walking by. But not many noticed. I made over a dozen images as the people moved around and this is the best one.


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  • jean pierre guaron says:

    I’m glad to see someone else “doing” his home town.

    I guess you’re taking in the whole of Seattle, which should provide megatons of opportunities and allow you to be selective. I chose to do just the suburb where I live – a pocket handkerchief suburb, very much like a village squashed into the surrounding city.

    But either way, it’s great fun. And doing your own city, instead of pretending you have to travel to take “travel photography”, you make yourself learn to “see” better. So ALL your photography gets a boost.

    I never understood the idea that you have to travel to do it, anyway. If anyone else came to your city, THEY would have been “travelling”. So why on earth can’t you join in? Besides, I don’t like being told what I “can’t” do – it usually just makes me want to go and do it!

    I am very taken with your low light and available light photographs – I’ve been obsessed with that since I was19 (and that’s over half a century ago!). And I love the light trails, on the shots of the monorail.

    Mopop reminds me of the Guggenheim in Bilbao – did Gehry design this one, as well?

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Thanks for sharing your travelogue of Seattle, Paul! And thank you for not including a bunch of rainy, dripping images that reinforce the mistaken belief that it rains all the time in Seattle. I especially liked your images of Pike Place Market – the dark lighting really adds drama to the scene. I’d vote for the BW photo of Post Alley – it really makes the central face pop!

    • PaulB says:

      Thank you Nancy.

      Pike Place is a fun place to visit, as it always changing. In fact I was there a week ago and was already different; the face is covered over with something else.

      The dark lighting was a little different technique than what I usually do. In this case I wanted to darken the scene and take the emphasis off the people to hopefully bring in a little mystery.

      Paul B

  • PaulB says:

    Jean Pierre

    Yes, I am wandering throughout the greater Seattle Metro area. Though I do have may favorite pockets, and I do need to spend more time closer to home.

    I agree with you about getting to know you local area and thinking of it as a place worthy of studying and getting to know. When I started in photography, I was always struck by images of the “destination locations”. I still succumb to this today. When I started reading Dear Susan I had a case of serious location envy for the members that lived in or visited faraway destinations, like Paris, Australia, South Africa, and all the others.

    Then I started to think about it, and I decided that here is a far away destination for everyone that is there. So, I should share my here with all of you there.

    Thank you for the kind words about my low light images. That is encouragement to do more.

    Concerning the MoPop building, I had to look. Yes, the it was designed by Gehry.

    Paul B

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