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.

Snoqualmie Falls

on a Smokey, Autumnal Day

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: waterfallssacred placesforest firesTwin Peaks • Places: Snoqualmie Falls

Image On Where-Is-Steve
open_in_full   info

Snoqualmie Falls is among the most iconic waterfalls in Washington State.

I had come close to visiting them earlier in the year, during an ill-fated paddle just downstream from the falls.

I hadn't realized that my paddle had a loose screw, and its two halves could rotate independently, so I was pinned against a rock and had to bail. My supposedly waterproof cellphone did not survive. Meanwhile, my companion had forgotten to wear shoes, and missed our get out point. So, I wound up going on a rather long walk, eventually catching a lift in the bed of a pickup truck.

Rather naturally, I failed to recognize the small turn off to the fishery where my car was parked, and my helpers actually did wind up making a u-turn at the Upper Falls parking lot, so that they could bring me to the right spot.

Strangely, given the above happenings, I was okay skipping on seeing the falls that day. But, I was eager to eventually check them out.

A good opportunity came when Spencer and I had some time to kill after hiking the May Valley Loop. So, the falls were where we headed!

May Valley Loop to Central Peak & Bullit Fireplace

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: forest firesIssaquah Foothillsinsect photography • Places: May Valley Trailhead

Image On Where-Is-Steve
open_in_full   info

Neither Spencer nor I had hiked in a few weeks.

The air in Washington continued to be filled with smoke, more or less of it depending on the wind. We were planning to possibly meet one of Spence's friends for dinner near Redmond afterwards. The situation called for a trail that would allow for flexibility: to go further if we wanted, or to turn tail early if we wanted. Ideally, somewhere not too far from Seattle. Ideally, somewhere not too crowded.

The May Valley Loop fit the bill. It's one of the closest trails from the city, a mere ~35 minute drive or so. The trail is part of an extensive network, and loops of various lengths are possible. You can continue onto additional trails, and connect up to places like Debbie's View if you want, or you can hike a couple of miles and turn around.

We enjoyed the trail (and each other's company) enough to hike a little over seven and a quarter miles. You can see our GPS Track here.

My First Frames with a Soviet Medium Format Film Camera

✍️ 🕑 Mid September through Mid October, 2022 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: gear reviewsKiev 60film photographyferries • Places: West Seattle Water Taxi Fremont Ballard Locks & Fish Ladder

So here goes nothing!

I was browsing Craigslist & happened to see a good deal for a film camera in good condition, and I decided to buy it. I mean, what the heck. Film is expensive, and I might not shoot it all that often, but it's flipping cool to have the option, and it would be really fun to have the option to... y'know, try it out. And if not, the camera can just sit on my shelf looking pretty, right?

Image On Where-Is-Steve

And by looking pretty, I mean, looking bulky and utilitarian, and yet, somehow to my eyes, more aesthetically pleasing than a few of its medium format brethren. Knees for scale!

52 Frames (November 2022)

✍️ 🕑 November 2022 • Series: 52 Frames • Tags: ethicsSurinameMiamibeaches

November 2022 was a heck of a month. Not only did we have some U.S. Elections (ending with the Democrats narrowly holding onto the Senate,) but we also got to celebrate my choice for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. And, besides those things, I embarked on my first trip outside of the United States and Canada since the summer of 2019!

It has been a busy month, made all the more so by travel that was probably faster than it ought to be. So, some of these frames were taken on stopovers, or brief moments where I was catching my breath and had phone service. And so they are pretty interesting.

Let's get into it...