0.75 GB of Seattle
I just finished uploading tons of photos of Seattle here (hint hint hint: click the link), the result of a 3-day Summer vacation.
Great trip, though I can’t say I love Seattle in the way I do Chicago or New York. It’s a frequently grey place, has a significant homeless problem (though not nearly as bad as Portland), food’s generally expensive, waterfront isn’t much, and it has football weather in June. That being said, it has some great things in it, and some of them are quite photographically awesome. Trip was very much worth it for those things.
(camera gear aside: This was also my first vacation with the Fuji X Pro1, which I’m growing to love more and more. This time I took all three lenses — the 18mm, the 35mm 1.4, and the 60mm macro — which was a really light setup. The 18 and the 35 got the most use, and I’d rate the battery life of the camera as excellent. I didn’t have any problems with it, and the low light performance was exceptional. Focusing was largely spot on, and having forgot my camera strap, I didn’t miss it at all. Only one complaint — I would recommend not using the auto-ISO functionality in low light conditions, as the 1/focal length multiplier is usually not enough, but that’s it. I think I shot over 800 pictures this trip, and, as a first in a long time, pretty much all in JPG mode (even though Lightroom has RAW support now). Amazingly, it turned out great, and I don’t see much point in using RAW mode when I have such a conveniently located exposure compensation dial. Shooting JPG meant I didn’t have to delete anything to save space on the card.)
Ended up staying at Kimpton’s Alexis, which Google Maps random tells me is just a building or two away from a company that rhymes with Mopstoad, which I’ve competed with on at least three separate occasions, and a much longer way from Redmond and the much more dangerous evil Eye of Sauron.
One of the first stops was the EMP Project museum, where I put aside my distate for all things Paul Allen and patent troll related since it was a pretty significant Frank Ghery building and I like music a lot. Beautiful building, accessed from a very retro and awesome monorail (with a cash register inside) built for the World’s Fair. Exhibits were pretty small (unless you like Nirvana, which was disproportionately huge), though the Hendrix one was nice (guitars were reproductions, ah well), and they had a great collection of various vintage guitars (and one EVH-owned Kramer, which they get some points for). The building was better than the music — I would describe the bass in the (temporary) AC/DC exhibit as quiet when you should have been able to feel the bass in your chest. The building was the clear winner. Synthesizer selection in the “play with music stuff” was limited to a Korg TR, though I guess I wasn’t expecting a Hammond or a Rhodes or a Pipe Organ to be fit for the unwashed masses, those are instruments, the Korg TR is not going to inspire people, ever. Also no expression pedals on any of the out of tune guitars upstairs. Awesome building though, and nice concept. Had a small science-fiction/horror side section, though Battlestar Galactica just left in favor of Avatar. Vintage Cylons would have been great. (Note to Apple — Cylons should be in your spell check dictionary).
The Space Needle is obviously an awesome architectural landmark, despite being short, and a view of rainy bleakness, is well kept up and altogether a nicer experience than something like Sears Tower. What was really cool though was, unknown to me, the adjacent Dave Chihuly Gardens And Glass had just opened two weeks ago, and was crazy awesome. If you’re in Seattle, you really need to check it out. The current shot on their home page had the benefit of a sunnier day and a ladder, but I think I did pretty damn well well the Fuji on high ISO and some fast lenses.
There were also plenty of other nice things. Stopped by the Seattle Aquarium since it was on the waterfront, and while I would generally not say it’s a great aquarium compared to something like Shedd or Boston or Pine Knoll Shores, it did have a very awesome giant pacific octopus named Hubert that made it worth it, along with some twenty legged (or so) starfish that I didn’t know could have that many legs. Perhaps they were alien starfish.
Pike Place Market was different than expected, but also had a lot of character. Also swung by the Seattle Public Library which is yet another interesting building architecturally, complete with some very awesome chartreuse colored elevators. If I lived in that town, the elevators would make me reconsider ebooks occasionally.
Also took a brief ferry trip across part of Puget Sound, and the ferries are significantly huge (2500 people, 250 cars). Large enough to include basically a 7-11 in the middle. Didn’t see any whales, seals, or stuff like that. Or even a fish. Did see a few seagulls. They look like our seagulls, expect they don’t have southern accents.
Good trip all around, despite reviews seeming to the contrary. It was kind of nice to experience fall in the middle of Summer. I’m back now. I’m surprised Amazon didn’t offer me free shipping.