Seattle on FM

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by craigd, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Earlier this month, I made my first trip to Seattle, accompanied by a Classic Manual Camera. I chose my Nikon FM because I wanted to use my PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 shift lens. I had only one day for sightseeing, as my primary purpose in going was to attend an all-day set of business meetings. So I flew up Sunday evening, had fun Monday, went to my meetings on Tuesday, and flew back Wednesday.
    There seems to be an unwritten law (perhaps I should call it a curse) that any noteworthy city has to be experiencing unusually cold weather when I visit it for the first time. I first noticed this phenomenon when I went to Washington, D.C. in 2000. The weather forecasters had assured me that it would be 60° F and clear, but when I got off the plane it was 30° F, overcast, and windy. For my first trip to Boulder, Colorado in 2003, I expected cold (it was November), but even so I was assured by the locals upon my arrival that the cold was more bitter than usual. Blocks of ice sat on the sidewalks for days. Seattle had been fairly mild before I got there, but it was 30° F and lightly snowing as I trod through the parking structure at SeaTac International Airport, heading for the light rail terminal. I got to my hotel as quickly as possible, had dinner, and then looked out my seventh-floor window down into the cold, gently snow-dusted night of the city.
    1. Night view from my window (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    The next morning, I got up early, and after a quick breakfast, went out to explore downtown Seattle. It was no longer snowing, but there was still snow and ice on the ground, requiring some caution in walking. The streets, however, were reasonably clear, and I saw no cars driving with tire chains.
    2. Crossing I-5 (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    3. Snow scrapers (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    Of course, we all know that the Space Needle, built for the World’s Fair of 1962, is one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions. Here is one of my first distant glimpses of it.
    4. Denny Way (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    Denny Park is four blocks long, with an X-shaped sidewalk cutting through it. I have no idea what it looks like under normal circumstances, but it was quite picturesque all covered in snow. Here are a couple of views.
    5. Denny Park 1 (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    6. Denny Park 2 (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    It was too early in the morning to actually go up the Space Needle (it opens at 10:00 AM, and it was only 8:30 when I got to it), but I got some nice shots of it from around town.
    7. Space Needle (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    Toward noon, I visited the famed Pike Place multi-level marketplace near the waterfront.
    8. Pike Place musician (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    9. Pike Place shopping (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    Below the lowermost level of shops at Pike Place is a stone-paved alley that may offer a hint of an older Seattle.
    10. Under Pike Place 1 (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    11. Under Pike Place 2 (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    The next morning, I had to be up in the Fremont district north of Lake Union for my meetings. Along a shoreline path near the northern landfall of the Aurora Ave. bridge, I found a small marina that I could walk into (i.e., it wasn’t gated off). The masts of the little sailing boats made peaceful patterns on the surface of the gently lapping water.
    12. Boat mast reflections (PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 AI-S)
    Lastly, for a change of pace, I offer a portrait of an old friend of mine who lives in Seattle these days. I’ve known James since I was 14. Amazingly, he still puts up with me.
    13. James (Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI)
    Wednesday morning, it was time to return home. There was a snowstorm in progress, and my flight was canceled. After sitting around at SeaTac International for several hours, I finally got on a plane, which then had to wait over an hour for a de-icing truck to come around. But by 6:00 PM, some four hours behind my original schedule, I was back home.
    I liked what I got to see of Seattle. I'll be going back again.
  2. These photos are awesome. I love those straight lines with the PC lens! This only bugs me to dig deep and search for such a lovely lens for my Nikon F5.
    Thanks for sharing,
  3. These photos are awesome. I love those straight lines with the PC lens! This only bugs me to dig deep and search for such a lovely lens for my Nikon F5.
    Thanks for sharing,
  4. Sorry for the double post.
  5. I live in Olympia, just south of Seattle and you came at just the wrong time, weather wise. Most winters here in western Washington are just cold and wet, and not even really that cold. Snow storms are few and years of winters will pass with only 2 or 3 inchs of snow the whole season. It sounds like you enjoyed the trip none the less and thanks for sharing your photographic efforts. I seldom have occasion to visit Seattle and just mostly pass right by on I-5 headed north for Hornby Island in Canada.
  6. It seems obvious that some of these were shot with the lens shifted. Did you use a tripod, or did you "rough it" hand-held?
  7. John Shriver: I shot everything hand-held. I try to hold the lens level (by watching the verticals) while I shift it to get the desired framing. It doesn't always work out perfectly, but it's usually close.
    John Robison: Yes, that's what I understand. I hear that the Seattle area gets a little snow maybe two years out of every three, but rarely anything like what I saw. It was pretty cool, actually.
    Le Giao: Thanks for your kind words.
  8. Excellent images, and the mercury here today is around the 100 mark, so these make me feel cooler! I love your abstract shot of the masts, B&W at it's best.
  9. Very nice images. You have this knack of telling a story with your pictures. Loved that.
  10. What an interesting set of photos. You must have had a lot of fun there. I think I experienced your "curse" once. I went to Los Angeles in 2008 just before Christmas time. They had a freak snow storm just outside of the city in the mountains. There was even snow down to San Diego. I walked down on Santa Monica Beach in my shorts and the locals were wearing parkas and gloves (it was that Canadian "had to show off about the cold weather thing"). The front page of the L.A. Times showed a picture of a highway closed because of the snow. I still have that copy. There must have been an inch and a half. You just know I had a good laugh.
  11. Nice images, make my teeth chatter though.
    My daughter who lived there for 2 years, claims Seattle has one (1) snow plow. ?
    My PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 has shaped two generations of camera purchases to keep it in use.
  12. Man, it takes a tourist to see what I miss every day. Nice job. You caught Denny Park on a good day; it's usually occupied by gentlemen drinking out of paper bags.
  13. These have a nice gritty documentary feel to them, Craig; obviously the snow adds drama and a sort of graphic immediacy to the B&W. Hard to pick a favourite, though I like the converging perspectives in #2, and the placement of the figure in #8 is perfect. Seattle looks to be an interesting city; thanks for the introduction.
  14. Nice. I'm glad to see someone else defying the instructions and using the PC lens hand held.
  15. JDM: We have more than just one plow. That said, it's still never enough to maintain even the main streets to the sort
    of standards places with colder winters have when it snows, and the side streets typically get no treatment whatsoever.

    Craig: You did well to leave on Wednesday. Thursday's ice storm created far more disruption than Wednesday's snow
    storm. (By Friday, however, it was back to the normal winter weather: forties and rain.)
  16. Nice work, Craig. I like Crossing I-5, Under Pike's Place and Boat Mast Reflections very much. Nice mood to those shots.
  17. Thanks for the post; Seattle was my home for nearly 9 years from 1966. Very familiar places. sp.
  18. The 35/2.8 PC Nikkor is a nifty lens - handy size and weight. I was really tempted a few times to get one for the very stuff you're using it for - handheld, to keep urban scenes looking natural. I recall seeing lots of travel photos taken by Roger Hicks in one of his books, using the 35/2.8 PC Nikkor.
    I needed the extra coverage and got the 28/3.5 PC Nikkor, and it too is relatively easy to use handheld to get good results. But the big flared front element and barrel make it less travel friendly than the 35mm, especially after attaching the factory hood.
  19. Great shots. I may have invest in one of these lenses. Thanks for posting.
  20. By the way, the pre AI version of this lens is very easy to convert to fit on an AI camera, since there is no aperture ring and nothing actually engages the AI tab anyway. The ring that sits in the place of the aperture ring can be easily removed, and turned, milled or sanded down.
  21. Report I heard from a resident is that Seattle has six plows, not just one. Still, they aren't really snow-ready.
  22. The movie "The Fabulous Baker Bros," was shot in Seattle. I've always wondered if the alley scene, (jazz club entrance in the movie), was shot at or near your "Under Pikes Place #2" photo. Great shots, by the way.

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