Photographing The Port of Seattle

Posted: March 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Photography, Seattle | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

A photo taken from a bridge heading to West Seattle showing al he infastructure of cranes and shipping containers in he port of Seattle.

Seattle, WA., March 12, 2015: The Port of Seattle. Shell Oil has signed a lease which would allow it to winter-over its Arctic drilling equipment here. That is causing a lot of controversy with everyone from the mayor to an upcoming court battle. Photograph by Evan McGlinn for The New York Times.

The National desk of The New York Times called me the other day with what appeared to be a very simple assignment. They wanted me to spend the day photographing the port of Seattle for an article on Shell Oil storing their Arctic drilling gear in the port. At first blush it appeared to be a simple landscape, but once I drove around the complicated nexus of freeways, freight train tracks and overpasses it quickly occurred to me that this was going to no cakewalk.

After getting lost several times and getting stuck behind freight trains, I drove over to West Seattle and photographed from Jack Block Park and made a terrible photograph. All the infrastructure of the port was too far away. Even with a telephoto lens like the Canon 70-200 it was not a very compelling image. I then drove to Kinnear Park in the Queen Anne section of Seattle. The view of Seattle from here was stunning but the port was still too far away.

Then I got an idea. Weeks before, I had driven over to West Seattle and marveled at the view that I got of the port. Could I possibly park my car on the West Seattle Bridge? Not really. The shoulder is very narrow. But I have always loved shooting from cars so…I put my camera on ISO 640 and a shutter speed of 2500/sec and an aperture of F13 and then drove over the bridge four times holding my camera high out the passenger window as best I could in hopes that I could capture the amazing infrastructure the port. In the end, I was able to capture this image after doing some straightening in Lightroom.

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