The Giants of San Francisco

Standing tall they can be hard to miss unless you look up. Taking advantage of a warm and sunny Saturday, I grabbed my camera and rode the CalTrain north into the city. Walking from the station towards the heart of the city with no plan except the camera in my hand. The city has such unique architecture, with some of the giants so staggeringly large they can be missed if you aren’t from afar. Having to remember to look up to appreciate the presence they hold over the city. Capturing some of the city’s architecture from the Rincon hill, financial district, Chinatown, and north beach neighborhoods. All captured with the 35mm f/2 lens.

Kelly Butte

Always on watch. The Kelly Butte fire lookout is perched at the top of the a stunning ridge just north of Mt. Rainer National park and south of the I-90 corridor. Only an hour and a half drive from Seattle, I decided to give the hike to the top ago and it did not disappoint. What started as a overcast Seattle morning and drive into the mountains gave way to a beautiful sunny Saturday.

The trailhead is sits in a valley in the ridge line about fourteen miles off the main road. Navigating forest roads that were primarily dirt was not an issue besides the occasional big rut. I mean shoot, a Honda Odyssey van with a right rear spare tire was parked behind me. The hike consisted of a traverse along the previous forest service road before Turing to short steep switch backs with a rock face near by. Some climbers were attempting routes on the dockside off the trail before the mid-day heat set in. What was initially a speed hike quickly gateway to a beautiful meadow tracking up to the ridge top. In all it was about four miles round trip with most of the adventure stemming from navigating the forest service roads.

I brought along my 16mm and 50mm F2 Fuji primes on todays adventure. I’ll have to admit that I’ve been enjoying shooting on the 50mm lately and tossed it in the bag with out thinking. However once at the top I did regret favoring the 50mm over 35mm. Having the 36mm and 16mm would have allowed me to capture the fire lookout while including as much of the surrounding beauty. That said I was still able to capture some beautiful photos of the lookout.

Unfortunately the lookout is only open to the public when manned by a volunteer from the forest service advocacy group. Even on a busy Saturday in July the lookout was shut. But after reading how it had been heavy vandalized in the past this was probably for the better. I’ll have to return to see the true beauty of this almost forgotten lookout watching over the Central Cascades.