52 Week Project #2: Landscape
Eagle Harbor in digital infrared and long exposure.

Week #2 assignment is a landscape.

No problem.

Eagle Harbor is a location I’m very familiar with as I lived on Bainbridge Island for a little over a year and commuted to work in Seattle on the ferry.   I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of the harbor from the top deck of the Wenatchee or Tacoma ferries which cross between Seattle and Bainbridge Island but rarely traveled to the harbor outside of my commute.   The waterfront is accessible at two points, along a path near the ferry terminal and through Hawley Cove Park along Wing Point Way just north of the ferry parking lot.

The harbor is dominated by the ferry terminal, the Bainbridge-Seattle route is the busiest in the WA ferry system and uses the largest ships.    The enormous Jumbo Mark II vessels dwarf the pleasure boats which are the other users of the harbor.   A few homes line the north end of the Harbor while the south entrance to the harbor, Wyckoff Point, is undergoing an EPA superfund cleanup due to decades of creosote usage at a wood-treatment factory located there.

The mouth of the harbor points east making for a spectacular sunrise over Seattle for early morning (or not so early morning during the darkest days of winter) commuters. While beautiful, the sunrise makes it very difficult to shoot the harbor in the morning due to the sun and glare from the water. Fortunately the Puget Sound area is frequently overcast which softens the glare.

Unfortunately for me the day was clear and bright. The low angle of the sun during winter in the Pacific Northwest is a concern. I was shooting with two lenses, the Fuji 10-24mm f/4.0 which handles flare very effectively and the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 which does not. Using a budget lens like the Rokinon gives you an appreciation into the optical qualities of the Fuji lenses. I use the Rokinon primarily for shooting digital infrared as zoom lenses tend to produce a horrific hot spot right in the center of the frame. The Rokinon does produce a faint hotspot but it can be dealt with carefully in photoshop to some extent.

I’ve been using a string 3.0 ND filter on the Fuji 10-24mm and infrared filter on the Rokinon for the past several months and its been helping my landscape photography.   Shooting using a tripod forces me to slow down and think about my composition.  It also provides a pleasingly smooth appearance to water due to the long exposures.   The ND filter gives around a 5-10 exposure at f/8.0 and ISO 200 (the lowest Fuji offers) in Sunny 16-like conditions while the Hoya R72 filter gives you between 1-3 second exposures.

Overall a pleasant early afternoon of photography even if I wasn’t completely thrilled with the composition.   The low sun limited me to shooting with the lens pointed North as the glare would intrude past the lens shade otherwise.   Clear skies took quite a bit of interest out of the scene as well.   I’ll have to return, possibly for the panoramic assignment as I think the expanse of the harbor will lend itself well to that.