Subject Isolation

In photography there is a concept called subject isolation, which simply means make sure what you want people to see in your photo stand out. This is commonly done by using a narrow depth of field to cause an intentional blur of everything that is not the subject. This effect is often called bokeh, and its popularity is the reason that so many wide aperture lenses are being made to day.

I recently got the ‘thrifty 50’ 50mm 1.8 prime from Sony. With the aperture open to 1.8 this lens should have a very narrow focal plane and lots of background blurring. Throwing on a tube extender for some ‘macro’ shots narrows the depth of field even further. I went for a walk to the local rose garden, self assigned to practice some subject isolation and try out the new lens.

Pink Haze

liDue to forest fires in Canada, Seattle has been covered in a haze of smoke. While we’ve been advised that could be damaging to breath for long periods of time, it acts as a massive light diffuser. In the early morning everything has an amazing orange-pink glow.

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You’ve got Mailbox

Mailbox peak is a famous hike in the Seattle area, know for very steep elevation gain and beautiful views. Mailbox peak has been so popular there are now two trails up the mountain. We hiked the new trail which is better maintained and takes a gentler path up to the summit, though going back and trying the old trail is still a possibility.

The hike was challenging, but it was not as hot as the week before and most of the trail was under a protective canopy of trees. The last mile climbing in the sun was hard, but by that point the end is so close.

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Start with a sturdy bridge. Not very steep.

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Fording the ‘river’

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Into the woods…

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…and through the trees…

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…to the top of the mountain, please

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Stopping at the first overlook

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Not a bad view, but there is still a lot of elevation left.

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Does this count as rock climbing?

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Scaling this rock slide really feels like we are going straight up

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Climbing the rocks in the the hot sun does provide a nice view

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I thought the rocks were the top of the mountain but it keeps going up

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Saying hello to the natives

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Looking out over the edge

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THE SUMMIT! Those post workers really have it tough.

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What a good spot for a new profile picture

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Someone should open up a portrait studio here

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One for me too! Photo by Mark

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Rainier is the true star of the photos

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Even the locals like to stare out at the mountain

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Need to take a selfie to make it official

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The gang. Photo: Sean/Shiwani

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Time to do it all again in reverse

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Mark, Sean, and Anthony far ahead on the trail

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Wondering through the trees

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So many trees

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What a beautiful forrest

 

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Required: Picture of a Bee

Comic Con haul

This weekend was Emerald City Comic Con and though I was a little late to get tickets I didn’t miss it entirely and managed to go for a few hours on Sunday. The main floor was a little to crowed for me so spent almost all my time there perusing the Artist Alley. I found some cool prints and fun stickers.

Go Visit a Glacier

This week my good friend Ben’s cross country road trip finally took him close to Seattle. He wanted to climb some mountains, though there are lots of mountains nearby, one really stands out.

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Rainier as seen from the banks of White River, near our campsite.

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Sunrise lookout point, the mountain doesn’t look so big from up here.

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Leaving from Sunrise, ready to start.

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Above the tree line its like we landed on another planet.

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I think it says “this way to mountain”.

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A few park rangers wielding shovels.

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That’s a very large mountain.

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The mountain man in his native habitat.

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A fantastic way too cook tuna.

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We are about 7000′ up and Rainier extends at least another 7000′ further.

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Rainier is taking up more and more of the horizon.

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The end goal of our hike, still miles away.

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Sometimes, you have to go down to go up.

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No a glacier, but a little bit of snow.

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Walking across a pumice field is like being on the moon.

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We won’t be going to the top today, Ben.

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Other than Rainier we are the tallest in the land.

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Still a really tall mountain.

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With a peak still very far away.

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Yellow and red grass seem to be the norm here, very alien.

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Looking down into the valley, as we are still above the tree line.

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Another view of White River and its source.

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A refreshing break on the way back at Shadow Lake.

 

Out on a walkabout

Today I had no rush to get home. Its was beautiful day by Seattle’s standards. I walked to the bus stop and then just kept walking, trying to go down streets and paths that I had never explored before. An urban hike, with thousands of trails to choose from.

It was an exploitative and meditative experience, and though I did not have my camera with me, I did get a couple of nice photos.

Viewing my starting point from about halfway

Home is a welcome sight after miles of hills