Monday, August 29, 2016

Pioneer Square

Here in Seattle I think we have some of the most perfect summers. The sun can rise at 5am and set at 10pm providing an abundance of light and making it a photographer’s dream. After a long day at the office, my beau and I love going out to eat and taking our time walking to dinner. Some of our favorite places are in our neighborhood but lately we’ve been spending more time in Pioneer Square. Here's a Friday afternoon in Pioneer Square with photographs of a few favorite places, mostly right down Occidental.

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The London Plane // OK, you know how obsessed I am of photographing this place! It's just so picturesque with it's wild flowers and clean interiors.

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The Estate Wine Room // Our latest great find! We first stumbled across this tasting room while prefunking for a Sounders game. They do tasting flights of red and white wines and champagne. They also sell decently priced wine by the bottle.

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Elm Coffee Roaster // I’ve blogged about this coffee shop before and I still stand by how much I love it. It is a little out of my way for a coffee run so whenever I am in the neighborhood I always treat myself.

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King Street Station // Someday I’m going to take the train or so I keep telling myself. It will be a hop on a train to Vancouver BC or Portland. As for right now it's just too convenient for me to jump in my car and drive.

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Clementine // During my Urban Fashion Network blogging days I attended an event at Clementine. At that time they were located in West Seattle. They've now moved to Pioneer Square next to The London Plane.

I purchased a pair of Melissa jelly sandals that reminded me so much of the ones I used to wear as little girl.

Cafe Umbria // Although I've mentioned the one in Ballard a few blog post before, this was the first Cafe Umbria I knew of. 

Waterfall Garden Park // This park closes early in the afternoon around 4pm. I had to squeeze my arms and my camera through the fence for this photograph. It's a good place to read a book or enjoy a quick bit.

The view of the city from King Street Station. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Union Station

It was the last week of July and I had the luxury of time on my side. I was in between jobs and taking a well deserve break. Most of my days I spent wandering around the city with my camera, something I absolutely love doing. I made my way to my favorite places buying things I didn’t need and lingering around for the perfect photo opportunity. Time goes by quickly when you’re enjoying yourself and before I knew it, dinner was approaching. I started making my way to meet up with my beau in Pioneer Square when I walked by Union Station. I’ve passed it a number of times always in a rush but with my luxury of time, I decided to take a peak.

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Union Station is in the middle of two busy transportation hubs: the train station, King Street Station and the transit tunnel, International District / Chinatown Station. I learned it once was a train station. Today it holds the headquarters of Sound Transit. The grand hall remains empty during the day and from playing bridesmaid, I know this place is available to host weddings. The empty space all on its own is already so beautiful, imagine it decked out.

I make my way into the building through the entrance on Jackson street. I’m quickly made aware of a couple of things. First, I noticed the quick change in temperature; the cool AC breeze on my sweaty skin. This is a great place to seek shelter from the summer heat. Second is the silence. The sound of the congested traffic and people chattering is faint. As I make my way inside the grand hall walking around and observing it all I quickly take notice of the sky light illuminating the space. The shiny mosaic tiles make a statement on their own. The old school furniture reminds me so much of grade school. People are scattered sitting on a bench or at a table, buried in what seems like a good book, reading in silence. This is definitely my kind of place.

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I had been wandering around the city all day and along the way photographing things here and there. I was on my last roll of film and had seven exposures left; I had to pick my shots wisely. During my walk around the grand hall, I was also imagining all the photographs I would take. Lately I’ve been trying to see an image the way my camera would frame it. There will be times I will look at a space mentally photographing it only to find, when my eye is in the view finder, that choice in composition doesn't really work. I just don’t know how to see the way my camera does. This is something I’ve been more mindful of.

I use my last seven exposures here and was sadden by this limitation. Each frame was carefully thought out. I took my time playing with my composition and metering for the shadows and then doing it all over again to confirm it’s accuracy before hitting the shutter. Everything was slow and purposeful. Here you have it, all seven frames.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Never Ending Love Affair with Peonies

This past spring was the forth consecutive year I’ve photographed peonies. During that time, I was greeted by darkness when I returned home from work, making it hard to squeeze time to photographing in natural light. My beau suggested we invest in studio lighting to help with my dilemma; he could also use the lighting for when he's painting and so we did.

So far artificial light is proving to be a beast (I really should look into attending a workshop on this subject). Lately, I’ve been really drawn to direct light. I love it for so many reasons but particularly for the moodiness, drama and beautiful shadows it creates. This photoshoot was inspired by the very talented Gentl and Hyers’s Botanicals found as a part their portfolio. I came across their work through Alice Gao, another amazing photographer I admire. I love the way they all use light in their photographs and I often spent time looking at their work, especially still-life, to study the lighting.

For about a week, I got to enjoy a dozen of peonies sitting in my living room. Everyday I'd watched them unfold petal by petal opening up as they do that so well in the warmth of the apartment. When they fully bloomed, I pulled them part to photograph.

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Peonies // Photography Notes

Direct light, from the source of artificial light in this case, was difficult. My challenge being the ability to balance providing sufficient light all around while trying not to blow the exposure on the areas that were in the direct light. It can be harsh shooting with direct light and my goal was to achieve the perfect balance between the two.

I also played around with diffused light and found that it added a softness to my photographs which I equally loved (image on the right) but I can't decide if that's still considered direct lighting?

All technicality aside, I am perfectly happy photographing peonies all day; they are just so beautiful!

Past Photoshoots with Peonies: