December 2022

The Month In Review

✍️ 🕑 December 2022 • Series: 52 FramesMonth in Review • Tags: good eatsmusicphotography • Places: Cal Anderson Park Teapot Dome Historical Site Toppenish, WA St. Peters, PA

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For a while now, I’ve been thinking that my blog posts focusing on my 52 frames entries aren’t all that interesting. I mean, they are a means for me to share some images that I took each week over the previous month, but they are also basically just stuff I’ve already shared elsewhere re-posted with a bit more context.

The other thing that’s true about 52 Frames is this: it’s a creative exercise that does not necessarily represent my best, or most interesting output. So, why not move the stuff I value more to the forefront, and move the (admittedly very fun and often creatively invigorating) homework to the background?

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There are other things I do in a month, besides weekly photographic challenges. I’ve been trying more and more to incorporate more of this into these posts, and now I think it’s time to make a habit of doing this in a more organized, repeatable fashion. (It should also be much less time consuming than some of the more detailed travel posts, which seem to take me aeons to produce, what with all the writing, editing, post-processing, and sanity checking that comes along with… this blog literally living inside of a scrappy Github Repo.)

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In terms of format, I draw my inspiration from Katrinka Abroad, and for this I make no apologies. I don’t know her, but I really enjoy her approach to writing, photography, and blogging.

So why not try cribbing a format that works for someone else?

From Smoke to Snow

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: Mt. Rainier National Parkwaterfallssnowy hikes • Places: Narada Falls

An unused section of the Skyline Trail parking lot
An unused section of the Skyline Trail parking lot open_in_full   info

I had the last in a series of house guests in 2022: C. (celebrating her 30th birthday) & R… and so, I had an excuse to try to connive them into going on an (admittedly long) automobile journey, to see something of the beauty of Washington State outside Seattle.

The day of their arrival was the day the rain came – lots of it, and so, it heralded the beginning of the rainy season, which will stretch until next June. But it also heralded the end (mostly) of smoke season.

The stagnant smog choking Seattle parted. The air was clean. There was much rejoicing, even as strangers on the street could be heard lamenting the coming of the clouds. The end of sunshine.

Out of places that I visited in Washington State that were jaw-droppingly gorgeous, the surrounds of Mt. Rainier stood out to me, after my visit in August. I would be glad to have any excuse to go back, and now I did.

The trouble was, the unusually heavy rain on Friday & Saturday wasn’t rain at 4,000 ft. It was snow. The park had gone from smokey to snowy overnight, and the National Park Service had only this to say about road conditions:

Visiting Viretta Park

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: beacheseat the richlakesgrungeKurt Cobain • Places: Denny Blaine Park Viretta Park

Chelsea and I head to Viretta Park
Chelsea and I head to Viretta Park open_in_full   info

Last year, I went on a walk to Denny-Blaine, and marvelled at how many mansions had fences just low enough that I could see over them. (See: “Descent into the Valley of the Gnomes”.)

At that point in time, I didn’t realize how close I was to the house where Kurt Cobain passed away, nor a dingy city park that serves as a makeshift memorial. I had long planned to return to the area.

And so, I finally did…

To Whitefish And Back Again

✍️ 🕑 October 09-16, 2022 • Tags: film photographyforest firesdamsfall foliagechannelled scablandsRocky MountainsGlacier National Park & 8 More Tags • Places: Dry Falls State Park Steamboat Rock State Park Grand Coulee Dam Chewelah, WA Quartzite Mountain Trailhead Albeni Falls Dam, ID Sandpoint, ID & 8 More Places

September and October were smokey months in Seattle. The Bolt Creek wildfire raged on. Air quality was not a priority in firefighters’ containment strategy, so capricious Washington winds filled the skies with haze, and my lungs with malaise.

I was looking forward to an excuse to get out of town.

A view out the side mirror, somewhere between Soap Lake and Grand Coulee.
A view out the side mirror, somewhere between Soap Lake and Grand Coulee. open_in_full   info

Meanwhile, two friends planned to buy an RV and embark on a cross-country road trip. Prior to their odyssey, a marriage proposal was planned. The location: the town where they met: Whitefish, Montana. For some strange reason though, Emi did not plan to propose to Jarrod at the precise location where they met: the Enterprise Car Rental.

I left Sunday, a week before, a day after some birthday party karaoke, and a day after saying goodbye to Spencer. As the week continued, I would balance fealty to my work duties with fun outdoor sightseeing.

Just as a general note to readers, this post covers visits to beautiful places across three states, in a week of time. As such, it is heavy on the images, and even though I’ve pared them down, 85 images remain. Please keep this in mind when loading and reading the full post.

(I probably should have broken it up, but I don’t think I’d have been motivated to stick it all up here if I did.)

The Ricoh 35 ZF: A $5 Film Camera Find

✍️ 🕑 October 6-8, 2022 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: film photographygear reviewscheap camerasconcertsEurovisionEurovision 2020Eurovision 2021Eurovision 2021 • Places: Ballard Locks & Fish Ladder Gas Works Park Showbox Seattle

“I’m not planning to shoot film,” I said for most of the last however long I’ve been interested in photography. Except, I started flirting with film with the Kiev 60. The seller suggested I hit up the Seattle Photography Show in Kent, WA.

So, I did.

While I was there, a few things caught my eye. On the digital front, old Olympus DSLRs with the 4/3 sensor, a few lenses for my current camera like a circular fisheye, a very complete Ricoh GXR system – which features interchangable sensor + lens modules rather than interchangable lenses like a normal system – wooo, and the ridiculous Sigma dp2 Quattro camera.

Naturally, all of these things commanded prices larger than I was willing to pay, because they are nice, and not just a lark.

But, there were a few bargain bin things that I was interested in. I wound up walking off with two different $5 cameras. (Spoiler: they’re both fun, and they both work!!)

Of the cameras I picked up, one was in a bargain bin full of $5 cameras. It was a tiny compact, and it caught my eye because it was a Ricoh. I’m super fond of their modest, but capable pocketable digital cameras, and I figured for five bucks I may as well explore their analog lineage.

The camera was a Ricoh 35 ZF – it had a 40mm f/2.8 lens. The seller had no idea as to whether it worked, but mechanically it seemed okay, and that’s all I needed.