Photography . . . Travel . . .

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decorations

We have a 3/4-height wall with a shelf area separating our dining area from the family room area. Along with a walnut clock that my mother made many years ago, we generally keep a few of Heather's bear collection up there. We vary the bears based on the season. The most recent set was the Halloween Bearista Bears from Starbucks. Now that we are back from our Thanksgiving trip to Seattle, Heather felt it was time to update the seasonal bear collection to the Christmas ones. The Grinch apparently found his way in there as well, along with a set of light-up antlers that I came across several years ago.

Something was missing though . . . . so I fixed it when Heather wasn't looking.

That's better.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Arctic Club Hotel - Thanksgiving in Seattle

We stayed at the Arctic Club Hotel for our Thanksgiving week trip to Seattle. The building was originally constructed as a private club around 1917, and has probably the most character of any hotel I've found. We've stayed there in the past, and it is always very comfortable. The staff is great.

I don't generally hang out in bars, but the Polar Bar at the Arctic Club Hotel is a very comfortable place to sit and visit. The food and drinks are good too.

Heather was resting one morning so I took along a walrus for some company.

The food at Juno's is good, one morning I had the french toast. They also serve a particularly good cup of coffee.

The elevator cabs have mirrors on opposite walls, so you get a sort of infinite view of yourself. I didn't notice until after I looked closely at the picture that it alternates between front and back of the head view. I've been working on this shot for a while now (much to Heather's dismay), and finally got one that, with a bit of cropping and straightening, kind of works. I'm still working on one of the two of us.

There is a link to more images from the Arctic Club Hotel in downtown Seattle at the end of the Thanksgiving in Seattle post. 

Thanksgiving in Seattle

We arrived in Seattle around Noon on Monday, 22 November - just in time for the Arctic Blast of 2010. By 5:00PM that afternoon SeaTac Airport had been shut down to incoming flights, and several major roadways, including parts of I-5 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct were also closed. We checked into the Arctic Club Hotel and watched the chaos from the comfort of what I think is the best hotel in Seattle. They gave us a 9th floor corner room, so we had a great view, and the walrus was there to greet us.

Well okay, maybe he wasn't quite waiting on the bed for us, but still, the view from the room was great. This is what it looked like at about 3:40PM, shortly after we checked in.

Earlier in the day we had stopped at Chinook's at the Fisherman's Terminal for lunch. The sculptures on the fisherman's memorial looked cold.

While we were at Chinook's I finally got the shot I've been wanting to try for a while, ever since I first saw the polished steel trash can by the door of the men's room.

By 9:45PM things were looking a lot whiter out there, and cars were really having trouble getting up the hills. 

During the night the skies cleared, and then the temps really dropped. By Tuesday morning it was beautiful blue skies, with highs in the low 20's. Everything was frozen and icy, even the fountains like this one at the bottom of the Pike Place Stairs.

Heather and I went for a long walk through downtown, it was different to see the waterfront without many people. Many of the stalls in the Pike Place Market were empty, and many businesses were either closed or very short staffed as employees and suppliers could not get around.

This had to be the least crowded I had ever seen the Market. 

Walking along the waterfront we found Ivar feeding the seagulls.

Later Tuesday evening we went out for another walk, and found a way to get up close to the walrus carvings that ring the 3rd floor of the Hotel.

Here's an abstract night shot of the new Seattle Public Library building.

After all that cold it was nice to sit in the Polar Bar and have a light dinner. Being Seattle, the sunshine didn't last long, by Wednesday morning it was back to being cloudy, damp and grey. It wasn't snowing, but it wasn't melting quite yet either. 

We spent Thursday with Heather's family celebrating Thanksgiving, and continued the visiting on Friday with a lunch trip to the Seattle Yacht Club and then a group dinner at the Palace Kitchen. Licorice the cat was waiting for us when we got to Heather's cousin's home on Thursday.

It was cold and raining hard on Friday when we went to the yacht club, but it's a comfortable place to hang out and visit for a few hours.

The Palace Kitchen is one of the Tom Douglas restaurants, and is a great place for dinner. On our way there we stopped to watch the lighting of the Macy's Star and Christmas tree at Westlake Center. The light rain did not deter the crowds. The whole area was jammed with people.

Click here to see more images from our week in Seattle, from November 22 - 27, 2010.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anza Borrego with SCCX - Fish Creek & Sandstone Canyon

I lead a trip to Fish Creek and Sandstone Canyon with the So Cal Club Xterra on Saturday. It was stormy - windy and raining in San Diego, but beautiful in the desert. Real dramatic skies, and a full moon at the end of the day. 

A few of us caravanned out from San Diego together, with a stop in Santa Ysabel to pick up some freshly baked apple pies. Here's the view looking down at Borrego Springs from the overlook spot on the Montezuma Grade.

It rained almost the whole drive out there, and was still sprinkling and really windy at the overlook.

We gathered at the State Park Visitor Center, then headed over to the trail head at the end of Split Mountain Road, with a brief stop along the way to check out the steel sabretooth cat and horse sculptures on Borrego Springs Road. There were 9 of us at this point, and 2 more would join later.

We stopped to air down our tires at the start of Fish Creek Wash, and a fisheye lens seemed so appropriate.

We made a stops along the way in Fish Creek to check out the scenery, stretch our legs and visit. We had people in the group that I have known for years, and several new people as well.

We found our usual lunch spot about 1/4 mile up Sandstone Canyon, and afterwards drove the last mile of so of the canyon, then turned about and came back out the same way.

On our way back to the trailhead, as the sun was setting.

We split up when we got to the trailhead, with part of the group heading north across the desert to do another trail, and the rest heading home for the day. After everyone had left I found a couple of spots to try some photos of the rising full moon before heading home.

As I was driving home along County Road S-2 I saw something I never seen before - or even heard of. I saw what appeared to be a rainbow, even though it was almost an hour and a half after sunset, and was quite dark. There was a full moon of course, but it was cloudy and raining where I was. You could see the full arch of the rainbow, to my eyes at night it lacked color, appearing a light grayish white. I pulled over, set up my tripod (glad my Pentax dSLR is weatherproof, at least the body) and tried a couple of shots. The files straight from the camera were dark, but with a bit of lightening I got this. The red glare on the right is from the taillights of the Xterra and probably some raindrops on the lens. You can just make out the roadway in the foreground.

Click here to see more images from Saturday, November 20, in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunday Evening in Balboa Park

I spent a couple of hours in Balboa Park on Sunday evening with my camera and a tripod. It was a beautiful, warm, clear evening, perfect for getting a few shots of the Reflecting Pool. Looks like they've added some new landscaping.

Click here to see a few more images from Sunday evening.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cabrillo Monument & Point Loma Lighthouse - San Diego DSLR Photo Group November Group Shoot

For this month's Group Shoot we met at the Cabrillo Monument at the end of Point Loma, site of the Point Loma Lighthouse and some great views of San Diego Bay. It was clear and sunny, with bright blue skies.

There is a little spiral staircase that leads to the top of the Lighthouse.

There is quite a view of San Diego from the end of Point Loma.

Lunch was not all that photogenic, but the iced tea had some potential.

After lunch I wandered around the Liberty Station area. This is the former Naval Training Center that has been restored and converted to retail, office, residential and park space. They've done a nice job with it, especially in restoring the old historical buildings.

Some of the buildings are still in their original state and are yet to be restored, most likely a result of the economy and lack of office and retail tenants.

Click here to see more images from Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument.

Click here to see more images from the former Naval Training Center San Diego and Liberty Station.

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.