The Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000

Tag: Olympic Mountains

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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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.

BONUS: ZANY CAPITOL HILL HIPSTER PRANK!!!!

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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Summer Seattle Sunset

by on Jul.10, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

Lake Union and The George Washington Bridge.
Seattle, WA. 8:54 PM. July 7, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Manual. 1/125 sec @ f/10. ISO 200.

The fifty degree weather of clouds and rain that plagued Seattle through May seems long behind us. Atmospheric conditions in the Pacific Northwest are nearly perfect right now. Seattleites don rain jackets and pour coffee down their throats during the winter because they know life in July, August and September is unrivaled anywhere else.

Throughout much of the year, The Puget Sound withholds its beauty; only occasionally does it allow un-overcast glimpse of mountains, water and sky. About a week ago, I drove along 10th Avenue in Capitol Hill on my way back to Wallingford from Volunteer Park. The view looking west was striking: Lake Union, The George Washington Bridge, Gas Works Park, Queen Anne, Ballard and The Olympic Mountains. Expansive vistas like these boldly contrast with the limitless gray endured during the winter.

I decided to return to the 10th Avenue vantage point with my camera on a clear night to catch the sunset. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many clouds in the sky to play with the light, but this image conveys the absolute wonderful climate we are experiencing here in the corner of the country. Let me know when you’ll be visiting.

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Discovery Park

by on Apr.18, 2008, under Ballard, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

Discovery Park. Seattle, WA. April 11, 2008. 7:40 PM.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm lens @ 18mm.
1/160 sec. @ f/7.1. ISO 200.
Last week Friday Jon and I drove over to Magnolia to photograph Discovery Park. It is hard not to notice Discovery Park when looking at a map of Seattle; it’s a big chunk of green on the western edge of the city. Fort Lawton, an old army outpost, is also located in there.

(continue reading…)

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Sunday Sunset

by on Apr.10, 2008, under Ballard, Night Photography, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas, Wallingford


I try to get out of the house around sunset if the sky looks interesting. Living in Seattle provides endless opportunities to explore new vistas. The city nestled between the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and surrounded by water conveniently has hundreds of municipal parks that stay open after dark. The view from each park has its own striking combination of water, mountains, buildings, roads, structures, trees and sky. Couple those elements with Seattle’s interesting weather and finding a good photo is not that hard. (continue reading…)

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