Three Days in Seattle

While my husband had business to conduct in downtown Seattle, Washington for 3 days, I went out to play.

DAY ONE: Sunshine and 50 degrees! Very hilly streets, crazy traffic and tightly packed corporate buildings. Gimped down 3 blocks toward the waterfront called Pike Place where there were tightly packed people. But it was interesting. Lots of galleries, eateries, gift shops, clothing stores, flower shops, bars, cruise ships, and ferries waiting for you at the docks…and of course, the ubiquitous Ferris wheel. Decided to explore some of the uncommon stores on the flat steets, then crawled  back up the Very Hilly Streets to our hotel, knowing that tomorrow was supposed to rain.


DAY TWO: Rain – not exactly a driving rain but rather a foggy, monotonous, thin rain, somewhat like Scotland’s smirring rain. So what to do with day two? I could go to the Aquarium but how many of them have I seen? Shopping? Not my thing. The iconic Seattle Space Needle? Nope, it was currently under construction. Ah ha! I could take a ferry to one of the other islands, Bainbridge Island specifically. It felt great to be on a ferry again. The water was so smooth, I hardly noticed that we were moving.  I grew up traveling on the Caledonia ferry through the Kyles of Bute to get to the mainland on very rough waters and the “gang plank” was sometimes not negotiable.

One hour later I shuffled off the Bainbridge ferry with the other passengers to see what “treasures” we could find…but I just wasn’t into it! Too commercial. And it started to rain again.

DAY THREE: The threat of rain. I could stay at the hotel and read some great books from the beautiful bookshelves in the hotel lobby and eat chocolates. No! I felt pulled in some direction, just not sure where! I picked up a brochure and there it was!!! I grabbed my camera bag and found my way onto a bus going to… Disney Park.  But wait! There was nothing “Disney” about this park. It was a huge, beautiful park with very old trees covered in moss and trails that meandered up and up the mountain and I knew just what I wanted to find.


The sky was getting darker and I seriously considered going back but a jogger told me to look for “steps” going down to the beach and I would find what I was looking for. Really? I had to trudge further up the mountain in order to find the steps going down and boy were they steep and endless.



Again I almost chickened out. But I wanted to get what I came for. By now, with the help of a couple of pain relievers, I was actually down on the beach… but couldn’t find my subject! I turned a corner and was surprised to see large quantities of driftwood along the shoreline as far as the eye could see.  A sign warned people not to touch or pick up anything on the beach incase of radiated objects from Japan.


THEN I SAW IT… the Alki Point Lighthouse standing on the farthest point of northwest Seattle. I was very grateful to get a few shots before the rains came. I knew I had a very long and arduous climb on slippery steps to get back but I was thrilled to get what I came for!!! When I finally got back to the hotel, my Fitbit told me that I had walked 7.46 miles round trip on that mountain.



I hope you enjoyed this trip with me.  But you were a little bit slow climbing up that mountain to climb down again on the other side!!

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A Goldilocks Snow Storm

What constitutes a good snow storm?  Well, if you are a photographer, it has to be the right kind of snow.  It can’t be too wet, it can’t be too dry, it has to be just right so that the snow builds heavily on tree branches and transforms the landscape into a real Winter Wonderland. I tried to be prepared for this shoot but there’s always something I forget in my excited state.  My “Breakin’ Bad” shovel wasn’t in my car ! I should have brought Kitty Litter but I don’t have a Kitty.  Scarf, hat, gloves?  Nope!  Water even?  Oh well, at least I had a camera body, one lens, batteries and memory cards.

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I entered a scene that took my breath away.  The trail looked like a grand White Castle, or Cathedral.  This was indeed a Goldilocks Snow Storm!  Branches arched almost to the ground by the weight of the snow.

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There were no footprints on the pristine path and it was very quiet except for the occasional crack of snow-laden branches which sometimes were very close, but I had no concern, except to get some photographs.


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I discovered after 10 minutes of excited shooting, that I hadn’t set my camera properly!  That was a bit disappointing but at least I had removed the lens cap!  I trudged on.  You know how photographers have to see what’s around the next corner and the next. I tried to incorporate the yellowish/orange (or dead) leaves into my shot to give it a touch of color and to look for dark, thin tree trunks that would contrast nicely against the white snow.

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Around almost every curve of the trail was a fallen branch or curved branches that resembled an entrance to another beautiful white room, and even one with a bench nestled near its perimeter.

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I finally came to an open area where some Canada Geese were navigating along an icy river, and it seemed like a good place to turn back.  When I reached my car, I realized that it took me 2 hours to go 1 mile round trip and that I was utterly frozen!  It was quite an emotional experience.  And now that I’ve posted this blog, I think I can finally move on and embrace Spring!

All images were processed with Topaz Simplify to enhance textures and color. 

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Jelly Babies

I can take or leave adult jellyfish, but baby Sea Nettle jellies are a different story.  They are delicate, beautiful, and come in various colors and sizes.  Some of them look like little vases holding florettes.

A most interesting fact about sea jellies is that they lack a lot of stuff!  They have no brains, no blood, no respiratory system, no circulatory system, no excretory system, no nervous system, no skeletal system, no gills, blurry vision, and they are essentially made up of 95 per cent water.  And yet, they have existed on our planet for over 500 million years.  In fact, there are over 400 zones in the oceans where only jellyfish can survive and scientists expect that they will be the last species on earth.

I photographed these jellies at the Camden Waterfront Aquarium in late November, in between the many groups of children who were very excited to see the babies.  My subjects were quite tricky to photograph due to their speed and to changing shadows and light.  My settings were f2.8 – 3.5 , ISO 6500, high speed continuous and al servo.

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Finding October

Have you ever felt frustrated because you “missed” the Fall due to various obligations and by the time you look up, the trees are bare and the temperature is plummeting?  Then I have a suggestion.  If you are squeezed for time next Fall, just get yourself to Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey.  The place is awesome!

Park your car and go to the Orientation Center to get a map.  The building is also known as the Farm Barn.  (Try saying Farm Barn ten times quickly!). There are no parking or admission fees.  Find a sign for the park and your odyssey has begun.  Can you hear the music?

As described on your map, there are more than 18 miles of trails that will take you through woods and meadows, and along lakes and streams.  You will see how nature and history has shaped the landscape.  You can walk and hike on paved ways, stone lanes and mulched paths or you can take your bicycle.

You can also take the Tram to the core of the property and be picked up at one of four stops which will take you back to the Orientation Center.  Another option is to take a Golf Cart.

I chose to walk so that I could absorb the intricacies of the landscape.  If you particularly love lakes and streams as I do, then head straight over to the western section of the property because you will be there for a long time.  I didn’t get to see everything during my six and a half hours in the park, but I’ll be back.

So for the first time in two years, I have found my October!  Have you?






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Sans The Moon

T’was a brau bricht moonless nicht!

I went to the Ventnor Fishing Pier in New Jersey to photograph the second “Super Moon” of the year. Upon arrival, the scene looked rather dismal. The wind was howling, the sea was rough, the thick, dark clouds threatened rain, and of course . . . no moon! And there wasn’t much else around that I wanted to photograph. Time to go home!

But . . . a few months ago, I went on an “abandoned buildings” shoot in Pennsylvania with other photographers. This was a new genre for me and I thought it might be interesting. However, as we approached our first site, I was quite disappointed. Nothing but old, boring, lifeless, colorless and dilapidated buildings among weeds! What on earth did I expect?  And what would I do here while my buddies snapped their tripods erect and got down to business with such focus and fervor? True to form, I knew that my friends would take photographs of this one scene for 2 or 3 hours!

When in Rome . . . so I reluctantly took a few shots and soon I learned a valuable lesson. No matter how uninteresting a subject or a scene may be, you have to look closer. It is there. And you start to notice how the light falls at an interesting angle, and colors suddenly catch your eye. The juxtaposition of lines and shapes jump out at you and textures beg to be photographed.

And so, on this moonless evening, I applied the same principle of just slowing down, and looking harder. This shoot was not what I expected. It was more than I hoped it would be, even sans the moon!

ventnor_4004ventnor_4056ventnor_4096ventnor_3961ventnor_4088ventnor_4050                                                                                 Thank you for visiting!

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Many Rooms

MY FIRST POST!    I recently had the honor of photographing the interior of Covenant Presbyterian Church at 471 Parkway Avenue in Trenton, NJ for documentary purposes.

Initially it looked like a rather daunting task due to either very low light (as in darkness) or brilliant sunlight, but in no time I was having a blast! There are over 50 rooms in this church, not counting the many stairwells, halls, lobbies, closets, bathrooms, alcoves and nooks, and I probably missed a couple of crannies. I could not have done this assignment without a very helpful guide with his big bunch of keys, flashlight and a good map, or without the church secretary orchestrating the project!

Here are just a few of my favorite images where I thought the lighting was rather interesting.  All images were taken with a Canon 7D, Tripod, Lens: 10-22 and 24-70.  Bracketing was necessary in almost all cases.



The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary from the balcony.

Sanctuary from Balcony

Sanctuary from Balcony

Left view of Sanctuary from the balcony.

1st Floor Rear Entrance

1st Floor Rear Entrance

1st floor rear entrance and administration office, otherwise known as “The Hub”.  Stairs lead to the 2nd floor offices and classrooms.

The Lounge

The Lounge

The Lounge, otherwise known as the “Decision Making Room.”

Basement stairs to 1st floor classrooms.

Basement stairs to 1st floor classrooms and nursery.

Stairs from the basement to the 1st floor classrooms.  I managed to grab this shot before an excited group of children blew past.

Wooden ladder to organ water.

Wooden ladder to organ water.

This was a rather curious site but I learned that a pan of water was carried up the ladder approximately every month to keep the organ pipes “gaskets” from drying out.  If this happened, the organ would not play properly and could be permanently damaged.

Front Room Lounge A

Front Lounge A

Front room for casual conversations, small meetings, waiting area.

Front Lounge B

Front Lounge B

An adjacent lounge for more serious business.

Basement Kitchen Window

Basement Kitchen Window

This is a very busy kitchen that feeds the congregation after every Sunday service and many, many people from various groups as well as events involving the neighborhood.  Presbyterians love to eat!

window light

I know my assignment was to “record the number of rooms,” but I just couldn’t restrain myself from grabbing a more creative shot of the sunlight hitting the pews.  Nobody was upset!

OK, I will refrain from showing you the remaining 39 images!!
Well . . . just one more.

Stairs to 3rd Floor Appartment

Stairs to 3rd Floor Apartment

Stairs to 3rd floor apartment which sometimes houses a co-pastor or other staff member.

What I Learned From This Shoot.

>  Check photo equipment and don’t forget flashlight and spare batteries.
> Make sure no children or adults are accidentally photographed coming and going.
> Be prepared to wait for some rooms to be vacated
> Bring notebook and pencil to record names of rooms and their functions and what floor they are on
> Bring a facecloth to wipe sweating brow in tight, hot places
> Don’t audibly gasp at some of the stuff stored in some of the rooms and when there’s no room for you OR your camera
> Be prepared to come back another day if someone can’t find a key to a room
> Keep your cell phone on in case you can’t find your way back from the basement laundry room


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