So many don’ts

About a year ago, a business trip gave me the opportunity to wander around a bit in Seattle. I was particularly lucky to have a little free time on a beautifully sunny day — and spent a chunk of it in Gasworks Park, a reclaimed industrial area.

So many don'ts

But as you can see from the sign, reclamation can only do so much. So while the scenery behind the camera was green and pretty, this particular spot for contemplation bears a reminder of the site’s less beautiful legacy. The shot looks cluttered in color, but I think black & white is a good fit for it…

City ablaze

One of the fun things about night shots is that you can get some interesting “free” effects from the different color temperatures used in street and building lighting. This is a shot of downtown Seattle, taken from the Space Needle late at night — shortly before they chased us all off the observation deck.

City ablaze.jpg

Here, the white balance is set to make the building lights look right — resulting in orange streets. I particularly like how the monorail line is silhouetted from beneath.

Originally posted to the old blog on May 5, 2009; on Flickr over here.

Riding the rails

The tracks (rails of the Denver metro light rail system) glide by as we head home…

Riding the rails.jpg

I’d seen images like this before — but via film. I wanted to see what it took to make an image like this with my digital gear. After some fiddling, I found that an exposure of 1/30 second or longer works just fine — so long as the train is up to full speed (about 60 miles/hour, or about 95 kilometers/hour).

If you look very closely, you can see some subtle reflections from the inside of the train (since there’s no way to get my camera outside the window for this image). I’ll have to spend a little more time in Photoshop cleaning them up. Still, I like how this turned out. The rail tops are nice and sharp, and the rail ties are blurred out, but don’t overlap.

I’ve noticed one odd thing, though — because the rails are at an angle to the image’s edges, the image always looks crooked to me. I *know* it’s rectangular, but it always looks skewed. This must be some sort of illusion, I’ll have to look it up…

Originally posted to the old blog on June 25, 2008; on Flickr over here.