Seattle Photowalk – Pike Place Market

In which your humble correspondent takes part in a photo club outing to Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market.

Hit the jump and let’s get going!

When this outing was first announced last month, I was skeptical…  We can have wonderfully brilliant mild winter days, and we can have hellishly cold, wet, and blowy winter days.  If we were having one of the latter, no way was I heading out.  Not just because of the discomfort factor, but because my gear is not at all weather resistant.  That’s way out of my budget.

Happily, as the day drew new the forecast improved…  and in the end we were blessed with nearly perfect weather.  Temps in the fifties (10-20C), light wind, and brilliantly clear skies for most of the day.

The night before I dithered over packing my bag.  Long story short, I was trying to decide where on the continuum between “lightest pack” and “maximum capability” I wanted to be.  This is not a straightforward decision…  Fully loaded my pack tips the scales at 6 1/2 lbs (just shy of 3kg).  That doesn’t sound like much until you add a winter coat and figure you’ll be toting it around all day.  In the end, given the forecast, I went all in for “maximum capability”.  (And I’m glad I did.)

My alarm went off at 5.00AM sharp – not my favorite time at all.  I like being up early, but I don’t like getting up early.  (Yeah, I know, I’m contradictory that way.)  I wandered out onto my balcony for a smoke and the sky was brilliantly clear, and as I pondered the moon I realized I hadn’t checked sunrise time…   I checked, did the math and got really excited.  Sunrise at 7:24, ferry departure at 7:30, twenty minutes to clear Rich Passage and turn east – and there would be Mt. Rainer perfectly silhouetted against the dawn sky at the peak of the golden hour.

I got the ferry in plenty of time, got settled in, peeked out the windows as we were getting underway and saw…  this:

Click through and view full size please!  Especially if you’re on a desktop/laptop.  All the pictures can be clicked through, but you have to see this one full size.

I could not believe that I’d forgotten the Olympics would be illuminated by the dawn too.  Especially since I’ve shot them in dawn previously…  So I hauled ass out onto the deck (and just about slipped and fell on a patch of ice).  Because we were moving,  I wasn’t sure a panorama (made up from five individual shots) would come out – but I took the chance, and it’s glorious.  I was processing these shots yesterday, and my wife wondered if Costco could print it on a poster…  They could, and I dropped the print off this morning to be mounted and matted.  By next week sometime it’ll be hanging somewhere in the apartment.

Right on time, Mt Rainier popped into view and it was pretty much everything I’d hoped it would be.  I could quibble a bit about the low bank of clouds on the left, but I won’t.

About this time I ran into a couple other folks from the club who were on the same ferry…  We stood there freezing our asses off in the wind (the ferry is doing 30mph/48kmh!), taking pictures, and generally photo geeking.

Made it to the Seattle terminal, met up with the folks who’d come in on the other ferry, and we headed out along the waterfront.  There were a ton of these pay-to-ride bikes scattered along the waterfront, this one caught my eye because of how casually it had been abandoned.

When we got to the Market, George (who organized the outing) set a time and place to meet for lunch and we split up and went our separate ways.  Since I looped back forth through the Market several times over the next couple of hours…  I’m going to split the next section up thematically rather than try and construct a relevant chronological narrative…

I spent quite a bit of time inside the Market, but got few photographs.  My gear just doesn’t do well in dim light.  (It also doesn’t help that a certain idiot forgot to properly set up his camera for those conditions…)   Pike Place is famous for the Flying Fish guys but I never could get a good angle.  I did catch this nice shot of another fishmonger’s display, I thought the repeated pattern was interesting.

I didn’t venture into the Down Under part of the market this trip…  it’s really dimly lit down there, and there’s not much of interest photographically.  I got one really good shot there years ago, but that’s a topic for another entry (which I’m already working on).

I spent a goodly amount of time out on the new Market Front… though I didn’t care for the modern styling of it’s architecture.  There’s broad agreement that the Market needs to preserved for the future – but the older architectural style (and funky individual vendors) is steadily losing to the brighter, more modern, more sterile, and upscale.  (Which is really Seattle itself in microcosm.)

However the view was awesome.

And you could also look southwest into Elliott Bay…  couldn’t resist shooting the ferries.  I love shooting the ferries.

One side also looked down onto the Alaskan Way viaduct, so I toyed with some slow shutter work.  Might have been better had there been more traffic.  Will have to get back over there soon as the viaduct is scheduled to be torn down in 2019.  I can’t wait for all the waterfront construction to be done…  It’s been going on since the turn of the century and it’s supposed to be done by 2024.  I’m not gonna hold my breath though.

I tried several times to get into my favorite place, a small French bakery, for some coffee and a snack, but the line was out the door the whole time.  Which made me sad since their pastries are divine even if their coffee is pedestrian.

I’ve shot at Pike in the summer, and Pike Street is clogged with traffic and people.  (And fascinating to shoot.)  Saturday it was pretty quiet, so I got a chance to shoot some studies of the brick paving.

There was a lot of people watching and shooting going on…  But none of them came out really well.  Still, I like this one…  I guess she loved the bouquet.  (Pike is also famous for its flower vendors.)

By this time it was time to head to the Pike Place Brewery for lunch…  And instead of the brewpub, we ended up in the new pub upstairs.  All bright and airy and modern (yuck).  And the food wasn’t all that great either.  The Brewery has always been a bit spendy (Seattle prices and all that), but the food has always been decent…  But the burger I had was not worth the money.   And if you’re going to tack on a gratuity for a group – I expect actual service, especially since the ten of us were 80% of the people in the place at the time.

But the conversation and the beer was great…  a mix of photo-geekery and various random topics.  Quite a bit of chatter about baseball, as spring training is starting and we’re already anticipating the Mariners usual crappy season.

After lunch, I faced a choice.  Head down to the ferry terminal and catch the 1:30PM, or keep shooting and catch the 2:50 or 4:15?  My back was starting to ache a bit…  so I elected for the 1:30.  I love living West Sound, but hate having to keep an eye on the clock when we’re over in Seattle.  If I was driving though it’s tiring there’s always the option to drive around, but I was on foot.

A couple of other folks caught the same boat, and we hung about on the deck (more standing!) and chatted and took photographs.  I took what I call a “postcard” or “tourist” shot of another ferry against the trees and the mountains.

Got home…  flopped on the couch… and I was all done in.  Spent the evening doing some reading and watching anime.  Yeah, anti-climatic ending, but so it goes.  :)


And there you have it!  Not my usual thing, but I thought y’all might enjoy some of the photographs.  Thanks for reading!

10 thoughts on “Seattle Photowalk – Pike Place Market”

  1. That first sunrise photograph is well worth clicking through. I second the recommendation. It’s awesome (in the original “awe” sense).

    Interesting sidenote: the fish photograph has primed to see the stones in that wall “heading” in the same direction as the fish, which is odd, since they don’t have heads. The effect has lessened as soon as I became aware of it, but I can still see it if I try.


    1. Thanks! And I wish you could see the print, it’s even better.

      It took me a while to work out what you were talking about (it’s pavement, not a wall)… But once I did, I could see it too.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. When I was little, the neighborhood around my grandmother’s house was paved in brick… So there’s a bit of a nostalgia factor.


  2. Oh my what a beautiful post! I loved all the images! Those landscape ones were especially stunning! More specifically that first one! I’ve yet to visit seattle, I really should. Looks like a ton of fun, especially photo opportunities.

    :D HEY! You’re giving me an idea as to how I should present my photos of Japan! I like the photos and events that took place. I wonder if that would be an appealing style to go with for some of my Japan posts. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seattle does have a ton of great photo ops, but it’s also limited by the weather… Which isn’t quite as bad as legend would have it, but can be pretty gloomy.

      You can see a clear weather photo of Mt Rainier taken in almost the same spot here:

      This style could certainly work, and at least I find it appealing. The big thing, as I commented on your blog, is deciding how you’re going to divvy up the work between there and home. My inclination is to post short entries when I’m there, and longer entries when I get home. A journal capturing your impressions with at least bullet points of the high spots to jog your memory would be helpful.) When I’m on vacation, the last thing I want to do is spend time writing. (I’m not getting paid for it after all!) It took me about three hours (on Mon) + thought time Sat & Sun. YMMV on that though, I’m not always a fast writer.

      Liked by 1 person

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