Photography . . . Travel . . .

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scottish Highland Games - Vista, CA - June 26, 2010

We went to the Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans on Saturday. It was a lot of fun, but very difficult to get any good pictures. We did get to sample some meat pies, and listen to Scottish and Celtic music. There was a piping and drumming competition, heavy athletics (throwing the hammer and stones, tossing the caber, etc), some Scottish dancing, and our favorite to watch, the sheep dog trials.

The San Diego Triumph Club had a few cars lined up in one corner, including these 4 beautifully restored TR-3's.

The only decent picture I could get of a bagpiper was this one at the dance competition. It's hardly creative, being centered like that, but it will have to do. At least one shot in this post will have a Scottish look. As for shots of the dancers, operator error on my part pretty much made everything there unusable.

The sheep dog trials were fun to watch. The dogs were great, and sheep looked almost crazed.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Week in Seattle - An Evening in Tacoma

We spent the last night of our trip staying with some old friends in Tacoma. While most people might not think of Tacoma as a tourist destination, there are some really interesting things to see there. We drove around Point Defiance Park for a bit, then headed over to the old downtown area and the old warehouse district that is now home to the University of Washington Tacoma campus. They have done a great job of cleaning up that area, and with the conversion of the old Union Station to a Federal courthouse complex, and joining it by bridge to the Museum of Glass complex across the rail yards, have created a quite a nice area of town. There are still some shady characters wandering around, especially at night, but it is a lot better than it used to be.

While we were waiting for the sky to darken up a bit (in order to fully appreciate the Chihuly Bridge of Glass) we had a bit of dinner at Stanley and Seafort's, a traditional chop house style restaurant that sits up on a hill with a great view of downtown. 

The bone-in ribeye was cooked perfectly medium-rare, and paired well with a glass of Guinness.

After dinner we cruised downtown. The lowriders were out, the light was getting nice, I guess you could call this a drive-by shooting, since I was holding the camera out the passenger window of the car as we were stopped at the light.

The 500-foot long pedestrian-only Chihuly Bridge of Glass connects the downtown near the old Union Station to the waterfront and the Museum of Glass, which sits on the other side of the railroad tracks. It is full of glass sculptures, which are lit at night. The domed building to the right is the old Union Station. (I'll apologize in advance for the slightly blurry night shots, these were all shot handheld, as I did not have my tripod with me.)

In this shot the old Union Station is just out of view to the left, and the Museum of Glass is just of out view to the right.

While the views from the bridge may be nice, it's what's on the bridge itself that is truly spectacular.

The background of that giant display case is translucent, so you can actually see the lights of the city and the traffic on the roadway below.

The sculptures in the shot above are on a wall on the side of the bridge, the ones below are from a series of backlit panels that form the ceiling of a tunnel on another part of the bridge.

Looking out towards the waterfront, a long ramp leading down to the Museum of Glass.

The old Union Station, which has been renovated and converted to the Federal Courthouse, is beautifully done. By the time we got there the building was locked up for the night, so we could not go inside to see all of the glass art on display. That's a bronze statue of a train traveler standing in front.

Click here to see more images from our brief visit to Tacoma.
Click here to see more galleries from our week in Seattle, June 13 - 19, 2010.

A Week in Seattle - Kubota Garden

We spent our last night in the Seattle area at the home of some old friends in Tacoma. On our way south we stopped for a few hours to tour the Kubota Garden, in the Renton area near the Boeing Museum.

Fujitaro Kubota came to the U.S. from Japan in 1907 and taught himself how to garden and landscape. In 1923 he started the Kubota Gardening Company, installing Japanese gardens throughout the Seattle area.  In 1927 he acquired the first 5 acres of land that would eventually grow to a 20-acre nursery business. The City of Seattle acquired the Garden from the Kubota family in 1987, and the Parks Department and volunteers now maintain it. Admission is free, and there are almost no facilities. It is a very peaceful place to wander for a few hours.

There is a series of ponds and waterfalls that cascade down the side of a 65-foot tall mountain that was built in the 1960's with 400 tons of stone. A series of little trails switchback their way up the mountain, crossing ponds by way of artistically placed stones.

There is a huge assortment of plants and flowers.

Click here for more images from our visit to the Kubota Garden on June 18, 2010.
Click here for more galleries from our week in Seattle June 13 - 19, 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Week in Seattle - In the Mountains

We spent Wednesday and Thursday nights at Heather's family's cabin in the Cascade Mountains east of Everett, just off of U.S. 2 at Baring. In order to get to and from the cabin we got to drive across this one-lane bridge. If it was not quite so cloudy you would see Mt. Index in the distance.

The cabin looks out into the thick forest, with Index Creek just down the hill a bit.

On Thursday we drove further east on U.S. 2, over Stevens Pass and to the town of Leavenworth. Along the way we found a display detailing the history of the Great Northern Railroad line that runs along the same route as the highway.

We also found some stretches of the original Cascade Highway, from before U.S. 2 was put in. It's not quite 2 lanes wide, and even narrower in some places, but the pavement has been maintained. It's always nice to get off the main road for a while.

The town of Leavenworth is on the dry side of the Cascades, so it was much sunnier and warmer out there. They've built the town into a Bavarian village. It's sort of tacky, but still fun. Too bad the food isn't as good as the real thing. It's close, but not quite there.

We did find a good Danish bakery in Leavenworth for a mid-afternoon snack, in my case it was the cherry-custard danish, and it was every bit as good as it looks.

There are some great old iron bridges along U.S. 2, this one is near Gold Bar. The pedestrian walkway (which is only on one side) is decked in wood. Heather long ago got used to me abruptly pulling over the car in order to run back along the road to get a few pictures of old bridges like this.

Click here for more images from along U.S. 2 in the Cascades between Everett and Leavenworth.
Click here for more images from our trip to Leavenworth on June 17, 2010.
Click here for more galleries from our week in Seattle June 13 - 19, 2010.

A Week in Seattle - Woodland Park Zoo

More from our week in Seattle, June 13 - 19, 2010, this time some images from the Woodland Park Zoo. This is a great zoo, in many ways I think it is right up there with the San Diego Zoo, considered one of the best in the country. With all the last minute stuff we had going on I wasn't sure we would have time for a zoo trip, so I didn't take a long lens. The longest I had was 70mm, hardly first choice for a trip to the zoo. That meant no close up pictures of the animals unless I could get creative or really lucky. I was able to get close to these bears.

These giraffes let me get close as well. I was surprised, as I think they are usually a lot more skittish.

The Northern Trail exhibit has a great brown bear enclosure, and depending on what the bears feel like doing, you can be pretty close to them at times.

The monitor lizard was just on the other side of the glass.

The jaguar was napping.

Click here for more images from our trip to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on June 15, 2010.
Click here for other galleries from our trip to Seattle June 13 - 19, 2010.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Week in Seattle - Pike Place Market

We spent the week of June 13 - 19 in Seattle, one of our stops was the Pike Place Market.

We tried the bing cherries, they were quite good.

Lots of fresh fish for sale.

The Sur la Table kitchen supply store is always fun to visit, it jammed with stuff and people all the time. 

The colorful things always seem to catch my attention.

Click here for more from the Pike Place Market in Seattle on June 16, 2010.

Click here for other galleries from our week in Seattle, June 13 - 19, 2010.

A Week in Seattle - Around Town

Heather and I spent the week of June 13 -19 in the Seattle area, mostly visiting her family but also doing a bit of sightseeing around her home town. While we were up there we spent 2 nights in Baring, which is in the mountains east of Everett along U.S. 2, and our last night was spent in Tacoma.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon, and our first stop was for lunch at Chinook's at the Fisherman's Terminal, which is just south of the Ballard Bridge. Heather's steamed clams were pretty good. My crab and shrimp caesar salad was equally good, just not quite as photogenic.

The sun was out, so we took advantage of it and went for a long walk in Discovery Park, a City park on site of the former Fort Lawton Army base. The old officers' homes are still there, and there is also an active FAA radar dome. The trails range from wide and well maintained, to narrow and overgrown.

We spent our first 3 nights with Heather's cousins in Ballard, which meant I was able to visit my favorite neighborhood coffee shop for breakfast.

That also meant we got to hang out with their cats, Licorice and Belle. We hardly saw Belle this trip, but Licorice was around quite a bit, especially towards dinner time. He had his own seat at the dinner table.

Occasionally you have to wait for a boat to pass under the Ballard Bridge in order to get back south to downtown Seattle.

Heather had some family things to take care of on Monday, so I went off to visit the Locks and Garden. The Locks, built in the early 1900's, connect Lake Union to Puget Sound.

Some of the old architectural details are really great. 

There are also some newer sculptures out by the Fish Ladders.

The ships are raised quite a bit going from Puget Sound towards Lake Union. Here's the Alaska Mariner when it first enters the large lock at the level of Puget Sound.

Here it is getting ready to cast off before pulling out towards the lake. These 2 pictures were taken about 3 minutes apart.

There were almost no fish in the Fish Ladders, but the foxgloves in the Garden were blooming nicely.

From the Locks I continued around Shilshoe to the Marina area, where there is a newly renovated memorial to Leif Erikson. The tablets around the base of the statue represent rune stones, and have plaques with the names of local Scandinavian immigrants, of which there are quite a few in this area.

No visit to the Ballard and Fremont area of Seattle is complete without stopping for breakfast at The Dish, on Leary about halfway between the 2 communities. The corned beef hash was excellent, as were Heather's eggs benedict.

 LIke many trolls, the Fremont Troll lives under a bridge, in this case it's the Aurora Bridge. That is a real Volkswagen bug under his left hand. We were there in the daytime, but the best time to see the troll is on a foggy, dark night.

He's not hard to find at all, just head for Fremont and look under the Aurora Bridge, on the corner of 36th St and Troll Ave.

Heather and I stopped to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard, it was definitely worth the time. 

There are quite a few displays about the immigrants from the various Scandinavian countries, what they had to go through to get to the U.S., and what they did once they got here. It's very well done, and one of the better museums of its type that I've seen.

For lunch on Wednesday we went to the Risotteria at Il Fornaio in downtown Seattle. One of the more tasty appetizers is the grilled octopus with celery and potatoes. I had that, a cup of soup and a salad for lunch.

Our table was tucked under the circular staircase that comes down from the main restaurant above. At first I thought it was kind of dark and out of the way, but then I looked up and realized it did have a view, just of something a bit more artistic than the downtown street outside.

Click here for more shots from around Seattle during the week of June 13 -19, 2010. 

Click here for other galleries from our week in Seattle.

I'll also post separately for some of the different places that we went, like the Woodland Park Zoo, the mountains east of Everett along U.S. 2, the town of Leavenworth, Kubota Gardens, and Tacoma.

About Me

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.