Creative Work

“Creative” is my catch-all for photography that either is a concerted artistic endeavor on my part, OR it might just be work that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

The City Panorama Project: ‘Traffic’

UPDATE: Looks like “Traffic” did make the cut after all, which I’m pretty happy about. Funny enough, when I submitted it, I had named it “Walkway” and only later did I decide “Traffic” was a more clever title for it. Still waiting to hear where KC Metro ends up installing it and the others…. But read the original post:


‘Traffic’ is an image that didn’t make the cut during the King County Metro curation process for the City Panorama Project. I held special affinity for it (view it larger here), because it was the first image I completed, at a time when I was searching a bit for subjects and topics that would be compelling and fit the 4:1 format ratio.

I had been driving to work super-early one autumn morning, waiting in traffic on Western Avenue to reach the Alaskan Way Viaduct on-ramp. The low-angled sun filtered through a pedestrian overpass, and I saw one person crossing, on their own short commute from a parking garage to the Art Institute of Seattle. The walkway was long and immediately I knew it would fit the panoramic format almost perfectly. I vowed to wake up early the next day and shoot that overpass!

By a stroke of luck, Seattle was briefly between storms, and the weather was nearly identical the next day. The sun was still streaming through the grungy plexiglass windowing. I parked on Western, pulled out my tripod and zoom lens, ignored the fuzzy stares of commuters, and started shooting away. I knew right away I wanted many overlapping pedestrians in my final image, as well as all three traffic signals (red, yellow, green) to be “on”, in order to tweak the viewer’s sense of reality. With only one or two people crossing the walkway at once, Photoshop was going to be my friend.

I’m pretty proud of my final image, even if it didn’t make King County Metro’s cut. Most people viewing it have no idea that there weren’t truly that many pedestrians on the walkway, so until they become aware of the traffic lights being “on”, they don’t quite know what’s “off” about the image. I like the color of the sunlight, and the trees framing the walkway, and the one or two pedestrians looking back at my camera. I think it would have made for an interesting bus shelter backdrop.

UPDATE II: It’s been installed in downtown Seattle!

Map to find ‘Traffic’

Find it in downtown Seattle!

The City Panorama Project: ‘ningyō’

This image of Japanese dolls (view it larger here) hanging on my wall was the last image I created for the City Panorama Project and it came together pretty quickly.

Initially I was intrigued by the dappled light that came through some stained glass, but the sun was dropping rapidly and I didn’t really get a great shot of it, so I decided to focus only on the dolls. I set up a tripod, flipped my camera on its side, and shot each doll separately with the intent to stitch them together in an appropriately-sized panorama. After having done a few photo-stitching processes for some of my other images, I was happy to see how little I had to fix — a few string transitions here and there — and so I only had to play with color and contrast a bit, and add my own extra touch. Can you find it?

P.S. ‘ningyo’ is Japanese for ‘doll’!

The City Panorama Project: ‘Dancers’

The first image of mine from the City Panorama Project is titled “Dancers” (view it larger here) and you might guess why.

The image is a panoramic composite of six photographs, some of them shown below in the raw image gallery.

I met Rachel Randall (leftmost individual, hair in a ponytail throughout) while trying to find a unicyclist for a different image, which I’ll highlight later. Not only does Rachel teach circus skills at a SANCA Seattle, she’s a former competitive gymnast and has her own dance troupe. She invited me to photograph during a dress rehearsal comprised of her and Morgan Nutt, and it was there that these images were taken.

Not knowing exactly what my lighting options would be during this rehearsal, I brought a tripod and a flash unit. As they ran through their routine with the music on stage, I found it best to just place my camera on the floor, slightly propping the barrel of my lens off the ground. This low angle gave me the reflection of the dancers’ feet in the floor that I wanted.

I triggered my shutter with a cable release once to lock up the mirror (cutting down on shutter vibration), and then once more to take each photograph. I kept the focus on manual setting since Rachel and Morgan typically were dancing the same distance away at all times, but I let the camera handle the shutter speed calculation, which is why some of the images are more defined, and others contain more light smear. It was then a question of trying to snap the shutter to capture the dancers in the most interesting poses.

Later as I went through the images on my computer, I was happy to see the variety. Some were relatively sharp, some had grand sweeps of motion and color, and I knew that I could stitch together an interesting panorama. I’m quite pleased with the result, and it sounds like King County Metro was too!

UPDATE: It’s been installed in Kent, WA!

Map to find ‘Dancers’

Find it in Kent, WA!