You know you have cool friends when one of them asks if you are interested in photographing his wedding on a glacier. I never for a minute thought he was joking—it made perfect sense to me. Russ and I were backcountry skiing last November when he first mentioned his and Kala’s plans to get married in the wilderness. Both Kala and Russ have bagged dozens of peaks, routes, climbs, scrambles, skis, ridges, saddles and anything else on a mountain in the Pacific Northwest. I did not doubt Russ and Kala’s resolve to have a wedding perched on the side of a mountain; but once I ventured onto the Sulphide glacier with them and two dozen guests and the weather turned, I began to wonder if it would really happen.
Kerry Park features one of the most iconic views of Seattle. Nestled several hundred feet up Queen Anne hill, the tiny plot of land features a sweeping vista of downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, West Seattle, and Mount Rainier. On any given gorgeous night, photographers, tripods and enough camera gear to make Ken Rockwell blush line the fence at Kerry Park. Although this was my second expedition at this photog hot spot, it was my first foray into creating a commissioned image.
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.
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.
“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.
August 16, 2008. 8:39 PM.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 112mm.
Program Exposure. 1/4 sec @ f/5.3. ISO 200.
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
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
I decided to return to the
Nikon D300. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens @ 11mm.
Manual. 6.9 sec @ f/7.1. ISO 200.