Need advice for Seattle

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by MFstooges, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    Looking to visit Seattle and probably the butchart garden in Victoria by end of Nov. I'm thinking it will probably be overcast so I'm planning to bring 400 iso film bw and color. Should I just bring chrome for color and forget the negative?
    Do they have good bus system there? Or is it better to rent a car? Does Seattle normally have better photo ops than Victoria BC?
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I'd shoot color negative, forgetting the chrome. But that's my taste, not yours.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Butchart Gardens at the end of November?

    Not the most colourful time to be there.

    Victoria has a good bus system. Seattle I am unsure of.
     
  4. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I too prefer negative but if weather won't provide too much contrast then I probably shoot some velvias.


    So Butchart might not be a good idea? hmmm.....
     
  5. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Seattle (and the surrounding suburbs) are a big place. The quality of public transit really depends on where you are staying and where you want to visit. The inner-most downtown area is relatively small and walkable assuming you are okay with some rain. The bus system is decent. If you want to go further out though it could be 30 minutes to an hour between buses.

    What sort of subjects do you want to photograph? Any locations in mind?
     
  6. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    I'll be travelling light with 35mm so I'm thinking of walking around town if there are many nice architectural or human subjects otherwise I may just take ferry to Victoria BC and burn more frames there. I saw some nice pictures of the town.
    I'm also interested to see Olympic park but only have 3 days I don't think it will be enough.
     
  7. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    A 400 speed film will give you 1/125 sec at around f/5.6 that time of year. By the end of November there won't be much more than 8-9 hours of human usable light each day. Less for a camera. And less if it's cloudy. Which it is for weeks at a time. You can expect 4-6 stops less light than sunny-16 on most days. Contrasts are very flat.

    And it rains. And rains. And rains. Not a deluge. This is a temperate rainforest climate. It's just always a light rain and always wet. And if by chance it isn't wet, just wait five minutes. There are sunny days. But they often arrive with only a few hours of advanced notice. Or more likely no notice. And two hours of sun can be the definition of "sunny day". Like, you went to the bathroom and missed it. Until next month. Again.

    A few days ago I took the grill out of the barbeque intending to clean it for the winter. Got interrupted and left it leaning on the porch. Just now went to take out the trash for pickup. The thing is already covered with mold. Only a few days.

    Think I'm kidding? Check out this NWS link for Seattle. Bookmark it. Follow it over time. Resolve never to move here.

    :sad:

    Ken

    P.S. It's raining outside right now. Imagine that..
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Here is a weather page for Victoria, including projections for next week: http://www.cbc.ca/bc/weather/s0000775.html

    Note that the temperatures are Celsius, not Fahrenheit :smile:

    The projected low of 1 degree for Friday is somewhat unusual.
     
  9. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    So much depends on what you want. Seattle is BIG, and the urban sprawl goes a long way. Victoria is smaller, and you can get out of it in less time. But that's me - when I'm in a city my first concern is getting out of it again. There's always something to see at the Butchart Gardens, but November is not going to give you the punch of colour you see in their advertising. Now Goldstream Park, just outside Victoria has the salmon run this time of year - which also means lots of scavenging birds including eagles. Then there's the big ol' trees all over the place, hiking trails, waterfalls, the estuary, Mount Finlayson, not to mention you can camp at Goldstream all year round. (We spent Christmas there in our little camper last year.) Fort Rodd Hill (and Fisguard Lighthouse) and Royal Roads, just west of Victoria, are very easy to access by bus. They're also great for wandering around with a camera.
    I've spent very little time in Seattle, and just wanted to get the heck out when I was there. No offence Seattlites - I feel the same in ANY big city - Vancouver, Tokyo, Hamburg. If you like big cities, the advice to head to the centre is probably the best.
    It is the Pacific coast in November - typically the greyest, wettest month. Be prepared.
     
  10. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    No offense taken. I actually live about 45 minutes north of Seattle in the foothills. But I was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area. Seattle seems like a small, quaint frontier-like town to me. And I've lived here for 23+ years now.

    Matt, Sunny day on Nov 10th? Six whole days from now? Wanna' bet...?

    :whistling:

    Ken
     
  11. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    Thanks guys. Damn, the forecast doesn't look good for bus riding and transits. And I hate when I have to drive and going in and out of car with wet shoes and clothing. So I guess the city is not so alive in Nov eh?
     
  12. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    While I was typing there have been more entries.
    3 days? Not much time. The ferry ride to Victoria might be worth it, if it is not terribly socked in. If you are just in Victoria for a day (or a few hours) just stay downtown, don't waste time on buses. It is a lovely little city.

    Unlike my neighbour to the south, I don't mind this wet time of year. I usually do more photography during our wet winter than during the summer. (But then I was raised in eastern Canada. Don't miss snow one bit.)

    P.S. Boots
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Goretex sells well in this area :smile:.

    There are some photo opportunities. This was from a very rainy day two weekends ago.
     

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  15. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    You just have to rethink the way you approach photography. After those 23+ years if I've learned anything it's that you can't wait around for a good weather day to do it. You just need to adapt.

    For instance, I've developed the art of street-style photography, or something resembling that anyway, but done from the driver's side window of my small truck. The camera bag and lenses are on the passenger seat. The heater is on. The equipment doesn't get trashed. I don't catch pneumonia and die. All in all, a good deal. You'd be surprised the interesting subject matter one can find. Just stay away from playgrounds and government buildings.

    If during your three days it's non-stop raining, maybe you could rent a car and do something similar?

    Ken
     
  16. goodfood

    goodfood Member

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    Space Needle area, a music history building covered with brass. Harbour area too are good place to take picture. If sunny, visit butterfly garden now far away from B Garden in Victoria. The garden in a hot house, if sunny, light can pass through it and there are three thousand of butterfly flying. You should go there in the morning and they are active. They will hid in the afternoon. If rain and dark, save your time and money, go else where.
     
  17. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I'm pretty sure the Butterfly Gardens is still in the same spot near Butchart Gardens. I was there in August. There's another butterfly greenhouse (Butterfly World, maybe) in Coombs. A good 2 hour drive (and MUCH further by bus) away from Victoria, mid-Island. Anybody coming to the mid-Island should let me know - I can point you to lots of spots on and off the beaten tourist track, and maybe even provide a haven from the damp.
     
  18. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Man, you guys make it sound depressing here. Granted, Seattle is not at its best in November, dark, grey, and wet...

    The downtown core is a busy place regardless of the weather (except weekend mornings), but not really architecturally interesting until you get out to Pioneer Square. Then wander up to the Farmer's Market. Avoid the waterfront on Saturday mornings, nothing's open except the cruise ship terminal, disgorging visitors with glum expressions. You may safely give the Seattle Center a miss altogether.

    The University of Washington campus is worth a stroll, as is Capitol Hill. Jimi Hendrix is buried in the cemetery at Volunteer Park.

    Some interesting old buildings and urban decay in Georgetown, plus the Museum of Flight is at nearby Boeing Field.

    Ballard is a nice place to visit, but not exactly photogenic. Nearby are the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, the fish ladder, and the Shilshole Bay Marina.

    I think Victoria has more photo ops, but then I've only been there a handful of times and not for very long. I've never been up island, I would dearly love to travel the coast some time.
     
  19. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Not really depressing. More like frustrating, I think. I grew up in an arid climate. The day I finally left Los Angeles it was 106F/41C. So I like the cool and rain. My favorite climate feature here has always been that the ambient water temperature in my darkroom never exceeds 68F/20C. Even during the "hottest" month of August. In LA I used to process with 84F/29C water. Or try to.

    But sometimes 10½ (or last year 11½) months of near non-stop rain can get frustrating. The summer before last we had only about 3 weeks in August of continuous, predictable non-rainy days, remember? Not so bad using my 35mm Canonet QL17. But a bit more of a problem with my 8x10 Calumet C1. Can't really tuck that guy under my jacket.

    So I think we do the OP an injustice if we act like the Chamber of Commerce and don't tell him the truth when he asks. That's why I gave him a realistic shutter/aperture combination to expect. And realistic light and contrast levels he will encounter. And a suggestion for an alternate way to get out and do some photos without drowning. And a NWS link to monitor the Seattle weather in real time up to the point he eventually arrives.

    Hopefully he can actually do something with that information to enhance his visit photographically.

    If I were visiting Phoenix in late August and asked what's it like I'd darned sure want somebody to tell me the truth. That sometimes it gets so hot that the airport has to shut down because the air is so thin that planes can't get off the ground by the end of the runway. That's hot. And would probably affect how I approached my picture-taking. And safety while doing so.

    Heck, I didn't even begin to describe the ritual November flooding episodes. Here in Snohomish County we've had three 100-year floods in the last 12 years, or so. Twice local levees have breached and flooded the valleys for months. I know every cut-off-by-flooding highway choke point by heart. One flood was then followed by a massive ice storm that dropped huge Douglas firs that just missed my house.

    This is an interesting corner of the world...

    :smile:

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2012
  20. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Hear, hear Ken. Don't come in November if you're not ready for gray and wet. If you have a choice, almost any other month might be better. If you live with snow, come in February. There's a good chance we'll have snow drops and crocuses and maybe even some pretty nice days.
    But today, there's blue breaks in the clouds, and the temp is mild. I'm getting outside.
     
  21. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    You don't need to bring film to Seattle. Glazer's Camera has a very good supply of film. Drop in, you'll like what you see! I do most of my film purchasing from them. If they don't have it, then I go to Freestyle or B&H.
     
  22. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    OK... So if the OP does end up in Seattle over three consecutive days of bad weather, here's an oddball option for walking the city streets in the rain without getting wet. You won't find this photo-op in too many cities:


    And here's a background video from The History Channel with some of the backstory (the part about flushing the toilets is sadly true):


    It's a standard Seattle touristy thing to do. But it's also a bit of a unique touristy thing with interesting historical anecdotes. Not everyone's cup of tea. And definitely not doing flower pictures in gardens. But worth doing if you haven't already at least once before. And, like me, you enjoy oddball adventures.

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2012
  23. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Last time my family and I went to Seattle we took the Duck tour and visited Chihuly exhibit in the Seattle center. I liked them both! Anyway, you only have three days - there is plenty to see. Just dress up for a drizzling rain and laugh at all these complaining locals - you don't have to survive there for months at a time ;-).

    If you'll get a car, another attraction in Seattle area that I like is Snoqualmie falls. We used to go there a few times when we lived in Bellevue. Depending on weather, it could be quite beautiful.

    Oh, and there is a thread on apug about Ted Gangler's exhibition of color carbon prints in November. If you can see it, you're in for a real treat!
     
  24. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Good call, Eugene!

    Depending on the precipitation it could also be terrifying. Have you ever stood on that little viewing platform suspended over the canyon after three days of heavy rains? When there is more water thundering over the falls per second than is emptying from the Columbia River into the sea? That platform shakes like it's tearing loose from the canyon wall.

    Bring a plastic baggie for your camera...

    Ken
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Naturally, after yesterday's sodden rains, this morning started up with blue skies and brilliant sunshine. I managed to shoot a roll of 645 slide film - I'll post something if they look good when I get them back.
     
  26. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I experienced that once, might have been my first visit there. Absolutely amazing. Was I disappointed when I went back in August! If there's a restaurant in the resort loft still, I may have to go back. Haven't been for a few years.