McAuliffe Park is one of the oldest homesteads in Kirkland, WA. The city of Kirkland bought the property in 2001 and have made some improvements while keeping the authenticity of the original property intact. I have spent some time in the last two days wandering the property, admiring its beauty and simplicity.
I took these pictures a while ago and have been very very slow about posting them. We woke up to a dusting of snow a few weeks back and decided to take the dog for a walk while I captured a few shots before the sun came out and melted it all away. The dog was pretty excited to be going out for a walk as he normally doesn’t go for a walk right away in the morning. He was jumping around and was very anxious to get going. Little did he know, it wasn’t the kind of walk he was used to. Stopping to take pictures was the last thing he wanted to do and he made sure to express his disappointment. Unfortunately I think he will have to stay home the next time I take my camera out.
The STP is an annual supported bike ride from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR with thousands of riders completing the 200 mile ride in either one or two days. I supported a group of one-day riders on Saturday and was amazed at the number of participants. It is one thing to hear there are over 10,000 cyclists; it’s completely different to see them on the road. I was especially awestruck with the number of riders that completed the route in one day. (Did I mention it was just over 200 miles to complete the STP?) Congratulations to all the STP riders!
Today was a another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest and we took advantage of the weather on the Talapus Lake Trail.
The six mile, round-trip hike was fairly easy with only 1,220 ft. elevation gain. About two miles into the hike we stopped at Talapus Lake for a quick rest before hiking an additional mile to Olallie Lake.
When we stopped at Olallie Lake, a chipmunk was more than happy to make our acquaintance. I suspect he has been fed by humans before since he was not scared of us and was searching around for a bite to eat. In all his scurrying around I managed to snap a photo of him before he realized we would not be a food source and took off.
The swampy areas around Lake Olallie were highly populated with frogs. At first we saw only a few, but on closer inspection we discovered there were far more frogs than we could possibly count. They were camouflaged well and would dive under water, swimming to find a place to hide from us.
In the 1890s, Monte Cristo was booming. At the time it was believed the area would become the largest lead-silver mining area in the Western Hemisphere. The year 1896 was yet another successful year until floods late in the year destroyed railroad tunnels and tracks. 1897 was a repeat of 1896, another prosperous year followed by massive flooding. Over the next couple of years, rebuilding from the floods in addition to metal impurities at the Monte Cristo concentrator nearly shut down the mining business. By 1900 most of the miners had left Monte Cristo, following the mining booms in neighboring districts. Further investigations concluded the mineral-rich deposits were only surface deep and it was not cost-effective to mine past 500 feet into the ground. All mining activity ceased in 1907.
The town slowly shut down and became a very small tourist destination. In 1980 the road to the town was washed out followed by a fire in 1983 that burned down the last remaining business, a lodge. That same year the Monte Cristo Preservation Association stepped in to preserve what remained of the small town.
Few buildings remain standing and the four-mile road to Monte Cristo has been shut down to vehicular traffic. What remains is an unmaintained gravel road frequented by hikers and mountain bikers. The washed out bridge has been replaced by a large fallen tree for hikers to cross and in some areas the road has been completely washed out and hikers have created detours to continue toward Monte Cristo.
Seattle’s most iconic building is the Space Needle, an observation tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair. I was at the Seattle Center today and snapped some photos of this landmark.
Sitting near the Space Needle is the Experience Music Project (EMP). While the Space Needle is regarded as an iconic and attractive feature on the Seattle skyline, the EMP has been called one of the Ugliest Buildings in the World. Even though the building itself is quite the eyesore, the reflection of the Space Needle on the metallic exterior makes for a great photo opportunity.
This past weekend I had the honor of joining my boyfriend’s long standing egg decorating tradition. This tradition goes back to 1987 and the egg decorating is taken very seriously. This is a great time to visit with others and enjoy food and beverage but in all reality the focus is on the eggs. All the needed materials are provided yet guests show up with some of their own “secret” supplies to enhance their eggs. All jovial comments aside, this is a very serious operation.
When all was said and done, we had 62 Eggcellent Specimens. Represented, among those eggs were Winnie the Pooh, Mike Wazowski, Tazmanian Devil, Guiness, Lord of the Eggs, Olaf (Frozen), and Mickey Mouse, just to name a few.
After all was said and done, the next day we played hide-and-seek with the eggs before sitting down for our Easter Meal.
What an amazing week this has been for the Seahawks and the 12th Man. After the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl victory, they came home with the Lombardi Trophy and paraded through the city where 750,000 fans showed their support and cheered them on along the two mile route from the Space Needle to Century Link Field. I was just one of the many fans along the route applauding the teams’ triumph.
I brought my camera with me with high expectations of capturing the event. What I wasn’t expecting was 749,999 other people who were sharing the event with me. Don’t get me wrong, all the 12th Men were fantastic. The energy was high. Everyone was in a great mood. And we all had one common goal… show the Seahawks just how much we love them. The problem with taking photographs at such an event was that I couldn’t move. Once I was planted in a spot the crowd closed in around me and it became difficult to move, to see, and to be creative with my photography. It quickly became apparent I needed some basic settings on my camera that would work for just about any photo I wanted to take and I would have to be okay with capturing the event rather than getting the perfect shot. I used my Nikon to take many pre-parade photographs. Once the parade started I switched to my cell phone to take pictures only because it was easier to hold it above my head, see the subject, and take a quick photo. Below are a few of my favorite pre-parade photos.
Sometimes I need a day or two after I take photos to start to appreciate them. Yesterday I went snowshoeing and took quite a few pictures. The bright snow and the overcast sky made setting the exposure somewhat difficult. I think I also had the White Balance set incorrectly as I had it set for a cloudy day yet the bright snow made the day seem brighter than it really was. The other problem I had working against me was that I was snowshoeing with other people. I didn’t feel I had the time to take multiple shots of the same scene and adjusting my settings numerous times for the perfect shot. When I first uploaded the pictures to my computer I was very disappointed and thought of all the pictures as too dark. Today I still feel some of them are too dark, but there are others that seem to be okay. I might tweak these photos slightly in photoshop.
Practice makes perfect. Today I was taking multiple shots of the same scene and changing the f/stop and/or the exposure bias to see the changes on the final photos. The first two photos demonstrate the difference of simply changing the f/stop. I used the aperture priority setting on my camera and by changing the f/stop the shutter speed automatically adjusts itself. In the first photo the f/stop is set at 4.2. I focused on the power plant and with less light coming in the lens the fence in the foreground is barely visible. In the second photo the f/stop is set to 18. With more light coming through the lens the fence is more visible. I like the composition of the last two photos and wanted to share them, yet they aren’t phenomenal photographs. The basketball net is a bland photograph since there is no virtually no color. I will repost it after I have altered it in photoshop. I like the lines and drops of water on the monkey bars but again the overwhelming amount of grey in the photo make it bland. I will also run this photo through photoshop and see what I can do to make the picture pop.