#1340. Needleless in Seattle

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Jan 23

Prior to the Holidays last month Seattle experienced weather that is not the norm. We had cold and clear weather coming from British Columbia, Canada, and one morning the conditions were right and I woke up to fog. This was fun, because I always seem to have a commitment whenever there is fog and don’t get the opportunity to go make photographs. But this morning I was free. So, I decided to get out, chase the day, and attempt making images of the fog.

My first destination was one of Seattle’s iconic photo locations, Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. I was hoping to arrive to find the Space Needle rising out of a sea of clouds. Well, as the image below shows, I got part of my wish and there was a sea of clouds and the surf was up.


After a short wait it became clear that another way of showing fog would be needed. I drove a few blocks away to a neighborhood coffee shop to warm up. Fortunately, this coffee shop is co-located with a few other businesses that looked interesting, so I decided to walk around.

As long time Dear Susan readers may know, if I am walking around a business area, I am very interested in looking for and photographing things that I find in windows. I was not disappointed this morning, and I found the following opera character in the window of the local pizzeria.


Looking up the street I liked the effect the clouds had on the power poles and saw the transit bus approaching.


As I was making this image something did not seem right. A quick look over my camera gave me the reason and I made the following image. Which is something I did not notice as I walked by.


While I was walking, I had the opportunity to talk with a resident of the area and she suggested I go to the far end of the street where I started the morning. She mentioned that this area of the street still had the original light poles from when the neighborhood was built, and long stretches of trees that would show off the fog. So off I went. When I arrived, I decided to walk around with only my M9, and I quickly found that the area was more interesting than I hoped.


After making the above images, I decided to change cameras to my SL2, so I could retrace my steps with a zoom lens and tripod.


Descending the stairs above I decided to make some images from the landing, when a new spot was added to the scene.


And immediately after, a second blip appeared.


When the dog’s owner realized I was taking photos, he yelled down to me “Oh that would have been a great picture!” And I replied, “It is a great picture.” And invited him to have a look. We had a short conversation and exchanged email addresses so I could send him a copy of both images.

After exploring the neighborhood, the sky started to get lighter and I decided to return to my first stop of the day. As I was setting up, I pointed out a Bald Eagle that was flying overhead to a young visitor standing next to me. A few minutes later she let me know the eagle was in a tree and visible from a location closer to the middle of the park. Relocating, I was able to get the following image of the eagle.


This proved to be a good location to view the waters of Elliott Bay and any boats that might appear as the fog began lifting.


For those of you that may be wondering, I did not get my wish of the Space Needle rising out of a sea of clouds. But I am happy to say that I was able to get a satisfactory image of the Space Needle as the fog cleared.


You can find more photographs of Seattle and fog in my Instagram feed.


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  • Peter Backhouse says:

    Nice walk around set – I am drawn to the image of teh couple and the man in the bright (M9) jacket.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Bit of confusion here, Paul – you said you were off to see “the original light poles from when the neighborhood was built” and I couldn’t see any light poles anywhere – lamps yes – lamp posts, tick – but light poles? Oh – we have a language problem – you’re speaking Yankee and I speak Aussie. In Oz, a light pole is one of the poles with all those hideous overhead wires, in your shot of the bus in fog, beneath the opera star who’s jusst had his throat cut.

    Now that we’re on the same page – I love the lamps and the first shot with the couple walking on beyond you is a great piece of “street” – I love it.

    And the staircase over the side of the wall is a very intriguing design – anything like that in concrete would usually be dead boring, but the design of this one is fascinating – must be fun to walk down to the bottom level.

    Going back to the bus shot – I notice the speed limited is only 25mph – must be fun driving to work at that speed, especially with a fog to add a bit of [soggy] atmosphere. I prefer our climate here – sunny one day and perfect the next – with an occasional shower or two. I’ve lived in this city for over half a century, and I think we’ve had “fog” twice, and a light mist about 3-4 times. Mostly only at night though.

    It certainly adds “atmosphere”. Reminds me of England. Pascal seems to like England but I suspect it’s because one of his kids lives there. Think I’d better shut up, before I start upsetting people.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Nicely done, Paul! A foggy day is always full of photographic surprises, which you clearly discovered. I love those mossy staircases with the old lamp posts! I haven’t been there for a long time, and you’ve given me a reason to visit them soon.

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