Sunday, August 01, 2004

Ballard Locks Photo Workshop

I got a little nervous this morning as I looked at today's forecast, and the first time I checked it said 78° F (which is pretty warm for Seattle), then the second time it was 79° F, then the third time it was 80° F... I figured if I kept watching it would get up into the 90s, so I turned off the TV (the actual high temperature was 83° F).

I got to the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks about 15 minutes early and wandered down to the locks to take a look. It's been a little while since I was last there, but not so long that I'd forgotten what they looked like or anything. There were a lot of tourists there, including the Greater Seattle Fuchsia Show in the garden, a live band (Greenwood Concert Band) playing near the locks, and somebody told me that there was also a wedding although I saw no sign of it. In any case, having such a nice day in Seattle brought out tons of folks to the water.

Virtually every second person at the Locks today had a camera, so I wasn't sure who might be there in support of Ian. I was an obvious target for folks who were part of the group, though, as I was wearing my "I'm blogging this." T-shirt. Several people came up to me as I wandered to check if I was with the group. My husband had suggested getting a t-shirt that says "I'm a photographer, and I vote" but there wasn't time to make them before the event. I looked for people carrying tripods. Eventually we started to congregate.

There was never a huge group, more of a milling group of like-minded people looking for good shots. We did pull together at one or two points for group photos, but I don't think everyone was there any time we did. One guy was going around getting names and home towns... I hope he wasn't with Homeland Security. We also had the presence of Louis The Freedom Pug:

I wandered over to the other side of the Locks with my fellow Bothell blogger, Garrett Fitzgerald to get pictures of the fish ladder and wave sculpture. My pictures of the fish ladder didn't come out, but I got two good shots of the waves.

I ended up with a good set of just over 100 pictures, about 80 of which I'd be willing to share if someone asked nicely. I'm putting many much reduced versions up in this blog. The larger shots are nicer, but I've got limited disk space for all my pictures.

Here's a shot from the Lock gates, which pedestrians and bicyclists can walk over when they are closed. This shot is of boats headed towards Lake Washington.

A boat named "Outlaw" heading into the ship canal after being raised in the Locks. The name seemed appropriate for the event.

We had many different people and many different cameras. This is the ACLU rep with a camera that some of us wondered if he'd borrowed from a museum. Very cool. The ACLU guy had a shirt that read: "It's a Bill of Rights, not Suggestions".

Here's another cool camera there for the event. As fun as digital cameras are, there is something deeply satisfying about seeing a good old-fashioned looking camera at a photographers' workshop like this. It looked like he got some really incredible pictures out of it, too.

We lined up between the two locks and started taking photos. At times we looked really quite professional:

However, whenever we got together, we couldn't think of anything more enjoyable than taking pictures of people taking our pictures. Oh c'mon, you would've taken these kind of pictures, too!

The local wildlife wasn't impressed with us.

When the Goodtime III came up to the lock, I shouted and waved, and we got a little bit of a response from the folks enjoying the sun on the deck. I noted that the more I waved, the more they waved back, but it was hard to snap a picture and wave at the same time.

I got a lot of good shots (for me) and was pleased with the event. I think my favorite shots came right at the end of the event, before I left to avoid another killer sunburn. I noticed that the train bridge had been raised, and then saw a lot of boats headed toward the locks. I snapped a couple of shots. This is the best one. Note that it was taken from about the same spot as the opening shot on Ian's Artist's Statement.

After a lot of milling around and taking cool pictures, we got together for one last attempt at a group picture, then the group kind of broke up as everyone wandered off.

As we were leaving, one of the marshalls pointed out that Ian had apparently been taking his photos from Commodore Park, across from the main body of the Locks and part of the City of Seattle instead of the Army Corps of Engineers. It was proposed that we do a follow-up event and take pictures of the Lock from Commodore Park sometime in the future. I'm for it. I had a blast and learned quite a bit from talking with actual photographers.

I'll also note that I picked up two brochures in the Visitor's Center, for free, which give a lot of details about the Lock and its history. It is not at all difficult to get information about the Locks, and taking pictures from Commodore Park seems like a less dangerous spot than the Locks themselves for such an activity. Ian was harrassed for no good reason. We already knew that, but I've got even more proof.

If you were at the event, and blogged about it, please leave a comment with the link. I'll update this entry to include links to other coverage.

I made the front page of the Local Section of the Seattle Times for Monday, August 2nd... (try this link if the first one doesn't show me). I was resigned to showing up on other people's blogs, but was extremely shocked to turn to the Local section of the paper and see my own face there.

And let me apologize right now to anyone reading this via a feed. I'm going to keep updating as I get more links, sorry.