23Sep

Google Earth is the best, true that, double true!

Last week, while on my way to a Seattle Mariner game at Safeco Field, I was walking through downtown Seattle with a friend who pointed out the tallest building in Washington.  “It use to be the tallest building west of the Mississippi”, he stated.  Moving close to the front facade, I pointed my wide-angle lens up toward the sky and captured this image- we were trying to make the first pitch of the ball game, so I didn’t spend much time trying to find out more about the location, however I knew I could license the image to a publication or two at a later time, or turn it over to my stock agency to do the same.


Off we went and I didn’t think much about the image until it showed up on my computer in Adobe Bridge (Photoshop’s media manager for imagery and RAW digital files).  Opening the graphic shot, I came to like it more and realized I hadn’t gathered enough information for a solid caption.  Off to Google Earth an jammin’ free Mac/PC application that let’s you go anywhere on Earth- one of those scary I-hope-the-terrorists-don’t-get-into-this programs allowing you to fly over mountains, view any landscape at any angle and elevation, and navigate through cities past three-dimensional buildings.  It’s addicting for sure. 

So I typed in Seattle and in a few seconds found my original location of this photo- through links and information on the building I was able to gather all the facts and figures I needed.  

The Columbia Center, the building on the right (along Fourth & Fifth Avenues and Cherry & Columbia Streets) is the tallest skyscraper in the downtown Seattle skyline at 937 feet.  It is also the 19th tallest in the US- constructed in 1982 and completed in 1985. The building on the left is the Seattle Municipal Tower

, 62 stories high, completed in 1990 (designed by Bassetti Architects).

I hadn’t played around enough with the 3D city views in Google Earth and was so amazed by it, I decided to see if I could recreate the view I captured in this virtual globe platform. Sure enough, after a little finageling, I was able to get it pretty close- I’d say close enough.

Wow.  Our world in real-time, available for so many educational functions including a travel photographer gathering caption info for his commercial business.

19Sep

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

15Nov

Via magazine cover

Just wanted to share my Via magazine cover in their November/ December 2007 issue.  Via is the magazine for AAA (Automobile Association of America), one of the biggest travel magazines in the US (2-5 million circulation depending on the edition), but many aren’t as familiar with it since it’s not on newsstands.


I shot this image last September at dusk, using my medium format Fuji 680 III camera, at the Treebones Resort along the Big Sur coast (just north of the Hearst Castle by about 30 minutes).  These structures are called “Yurts” and are circular canvas tent-style cabins, rustic but very comfortable (with heaters, porches, windows and beds). I waited ’til after sunset when the ambient light of dusk balanced with the interior lights from the Yurts.  Using a wide-angle lens and a two-stop graduated neutral density filter, I set my f-stop to a small aperture around f/32 and clicked the shutter (probably around 2 to 4 seconds) using film- then created a high-resolution scan to turn it into a digital file.

The Treebones is a great place to get away from it all and watch Whales migrate up and down the California coast.  They also have offer wonderful dinner menu with great cooks.  Call 877-4-BIGSUR for reservations.