The Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000



by on Dec.16, 2011, under Asia, International, Night Photography, Places, Sunsets, Vistas

Busan at Night

During the first part of December I was in South Korea for work. I flew into Seoul and spent the night there before making my way down to Busan and eventually Changwon and Sacheon. Although I was in Korea for nearly two weeks; I had little time to myself. When I wasn’t otherwise engaged with business, I found some time to wander the streets with a camera.
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Wake up and shoot something

by on Feb.22, 2010, under Ballard, Places, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas, West Seattle

Golden Gardens Tree

The conditions were such that I simply had to take some photographs. February Seattle was being treated to unseasonably spectacular weather, it was the weekend and I just adopted a new member into the Explosion family… a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. After enjoying a literal boat-load of sushi on Friday night, I got a phone call from UPS around 9:30 PM saying that my new hunk of glass was at their Seattle hub. Sharat and I bombed down to Georgetown in the Explorer and picked it up just before Josh, the UPS customer service rep, called it quits at 10 PM. Since I knew Saturday was going to be as clear as Friday, I made up my mind to be at a particular spot in West Seattle as the sun came up. Sharat quickly translated my proclomation into reality by iPhoning an almanac: surise at about 7 AM. The best light of a sunrise occurs in the hour before the sun becomes visible. This meant getting to my spot around 6 AM, which called for a 5:30 AM wake-up time. On a Saturday. I know.

I noticed a lookout point on Admiral Way when I drove over to West Seattle earlier in the week to meet a couple of friends. The photographer bell went off in my head and I began thinking about how I could shoot it. Immediately I settled on shooting a sunrise because the silhouetted buildings with their lights might look great against the mountains and morning sky. With the convergence of the weather, the weekend and new gear—Saturday was going to be my moment of truth.

West Seattle Sunrise (continue reading…)

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Wandering the Washington Coast

by on Sep.14, 2009, under Nature, Places, Sunsets, Vistas, Washington State

Driftwood window

I was not sure where I was heading, I just knew I needed to cross the Puget Sound and head west. After catching a boat to Bremerton, I headed north on 3, caught the 104 to the 101 and eventually cruised along the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the 112. Five hours later the Explorer pulled into a campsite in Ozette, WA. For the next few days this secluded plot would serve as our base camp as Caitlin, Sharat, Emily and I explored the very western edge of the United States. Above is Emily jump standing on the coast of the Pacific at the Dungeness Spit.
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A Bridge from Air, Land & Sea

by on Jun.12, 2009, under Fremont, Night Photography, Queen Anne, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

Fremont Lights

The George Washington Memorial Bridge is not in this picture. My camera, a Nikon D300, is hanging over the edge of the aforementioned structure, better known as the Aurora Bridge. I bolted the camera to a tripod, tilted it against the rail, and extended the center post so that the camera hovered some 160 feet above the ground. With a remote shutter release clenched tightly in my fist, I fired off frame after frame. The result is the latest addition to my “Scene from 99” series. In this entry, I captured the George Washington Memorial Bridge from the air (above), land and sea (below).

Scene from 99” is an ongoing series exclusive to the Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000 that features images and commentary about Seattle’s iconic Highway 99.

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New Deal Redux

by on Mar.09, 2009, under Places, Sunsets, Vistas, Washington DC

Sunset Walk

I snapped this photo on an exceptionally warm day for early March. Temperatures in Washington DC climbed into the high 70s and hints of the coming summer humidity permeated the balmy swamp that is our Nation’s capital. Scott Zaleski, who was visiting from Chicago, and I had been wandering around the FDR memorial. I eventually ended up on the bank of the Tidal Basin. The setting sun cast a warm light on the Washington and Jefferson memorials. When I looked west towards the Potomac, I noticed that passersby were pleasantly silhouetted against the golden sky. I creeped out, zoomed my lens to 200mm and grabbed a few shots of people as they walked (or biked) by the sunset. (continue reading…)

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The Sun Sets on Twenty Six

by on Sep.18, 2008, under Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

The Space Needle and The Brothers.
Taken from a roof near 15th and Howell in Capitol Hill.
7:30 PM. September 14, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 170mm.
Manual. 1/125 sec @ f/5.6. ISO 200.

I found myself on the roof of an apartment building on my twenty seventh birthday. The plan was to meet up with Sharat in Capitol Hill, get dinner with him and Caitlin and then head to the Spiritualized concert at Neumos (review coming soon). Since I planned on shooting the show, I had the D300 and some gear in tow. When I arrived at Caitlin’s condo, Sharat informed me that she had a meeting and would be tied up for a few more minutes. After sitting in her smartly decorated apartment for a few minutes, I commented on how nice of a place it was. He agreed.

“Not bad, right?! It even has roof access. Hey, let’s go up there.”

Roof access? Nice. Not seeing a stairway anywhere, I start walking towards the door. Sharat beckons me to come into the other room, “Roof access is in here.” I walk into Caitlin’s bedroom and see Sharat sliding out of a window onto a fire escape. Roof access? Shit.

Sharat scurries up the iron ladder while I contemplate hanging off the side of a building. After Sharat reaches the top, I diligently begin my slow ascent. I am not sure if 26-year-old-Andy would have been any less cautious, but the newly 27-year-old-Andy did not have any rush. “Three points of contact, yall!” Thanks for the tip, Sharat. The vista that awaits me on the roof is worth the moderate anxiety of climbing an old ladder. The Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, Space Needle and Seattle skyline contrast prominently with the gold September sky.

Sharat offers to run down and grab my camera after I realize I should have brought it. I am grateful to him for this since I did not want to climb that ladder anymore than I had to. To avoid photographing electrical lines, I positioned the camera several inches from the surface of the roof. Since Program Exposure or any automatic mode always ruins sunsets; I took a meter reading of the sky straight above my head, switched to manual, plugged in the settings and worked from there. Since my Dell (loaded with Photoshop) insists on showing me her Blue Screen of Death, I could not edit this photo. This image, for all intensive purposes, comes straight out of my Nikon D300. I promise to repost a cleaned up image once the Dell is fixed or I drop $2.5k and finally get a MacBook Pro.


Who does not love zany Capitol Hill hipsters and their hilarious sense of irony? I found this sign at 11th and Denny. I cannot think of a better neighborhood to display it. Capitol Hill is easily the most progressive and artistic neighborhood in Seattle. Wild fashions and alternative lifestyles are not simply tolerated, they are essentially the dress code. As with any effervescent center of music, fashion, and art; the progeny of its denizens ranges from the everlasting to the ephemeral. Much can be made of any single moment, especially when the moment-makers are striving to be earnest. I still smile at Jack Kerouac’s clever turn of phrase, “art is short, life is long.” It is easy to succumb to the gravity of a scene or cultural whim. Remembering that such episodes are likely “ONLY A FAD” serves as a poignant check. Ultimately, the details of our discourse are unimportant. What really matters is that we had the conversation.
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The Moon and Mount Baker

by on Aug.19, 2008, under Sunsets, Vistas, Washington State

Mount Baker from Lynden, Washington.
August 16, 2008. 8:39 PM.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 112mm.
Program Exposure. 1/4 sec @ f/5.3. ISO 200.

Here are few shots of Mount Baker from Uncle Jim & Aunt Sharon’s house in Lynden, Washington. We were just sitting down to dinner when my cousin, Derek, noticed the moon coming up. For this exposure, I used my dad’s classic technique. I dialed in ISO 200, threw the D300 in P mode, pointed straight up into the sky, half-pressed the shutter release to get a metering, tapped the AE-lock button, recomposed on the mountain and fired.

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