I am always on the lookout for a good photo location. Everything from driving around town scouting locations, to scouring the web for tips from other photographers. Below are some of my favorite locations for taking photographs in the Seattle area.
- Kerry Park
- University of Washington (UW)
- View of downtown Seattle from Alki
- Gas Works Park
- The bridge on Puyallup river
- Mount Si over Borst Lake
- Tapps Lake
- Seattle Center
- Pike Place and surroundings
- 12th Avenue near Rizal park
- Elliot Bay Marina
This is perhaps the most popular location for photographers in Seattle. Located on Queen Anne hill, in downtown Seattle, this park gives the quintessential view of the city with the Space Needle and Mount Rainier. I have found sunset and dusk to be the best time for this location. Try going there during weekdays when the office lights in the buildings are still on. The foreground has a lot of trees. I personally like the shot when the trees have shed their leaves.
VIEW OF DOWNTOWN SEATTLE FROM ALKI
This is perhaps the second most popular spot after Kerry Park. There are several locations along Harbor Avenue SW where you can get a lovely view of the Seattle skyline across the water. Go there in the evening to catch the city lights at dusk. If you continue on Harbor Avenue, past the tip of Alki (the western most tip of Seattle metro area), you will get to Alki beach. From here you can get some nice shots of the Olympics along with the ferries.
GAS WORKS PARK
Gasworks park is located on Lake Union, near the University of Washington (UW). The site was the location for a plant to convert coal into gas. The site was converted to a park when the plant went out of use. Early in the morning, you can see the UW rowing team practicing at the lake, with downtown in the background.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
The buildings and trees at the UW have a lot of character. The Liberal Arts Quadrangle, or the 'quad', is lined with cherry trees that were first planted in 1939. The trees were transplanted from the path of the 520 floating bridge, in an effort to save the trees from damage due to construction. Today, the trees make the quad one of the most popular spots at the UW. In autumn, the trees are bright yellow. In spring, the quad has an amazing display of cherry blossom. Try getting there early in the morning to avoid the large crowds. Another good spot during fall is the Memorial Way avenue. You can take a classic shot of the tree lined avenue, or get creative with the trees and lamp posts near the sidewalk.
MOUNT SI OVER BORST LAKE
This is a lesser known spot, mostly known to local photographers. The Borst Lake is a small lake near Snoqualmie falls, off Millpond road. On a clear and calm day, you can get a perfect reflection of Mount Si in the water. During cold winter days, the lake is frozen and you can catch a dusting of snow on the mountain. During autumn, you can capture it with foliage of the trees across the lake.
The lake is about an hour south of Seattle. The lake is now filled again, after being drained recently in order to fix the aging dam. The first photo below was taken at sunrise when the lake was drained. On a clear and calm day, the lake gives a stunning reflection of Mount Rainier. The second photo was taken during sunset on a cold winter day when parts of the lake were frozen and the still water giving a perfect reflection of Mount Rainier.
The prime attraction in the Seattle Center area is the Space Needle. It was built in the 60's for the world trade fair. Also in the same complex are the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum and a Dave Chihuly blown glass exhibit. The steel structure of the EMP radiates with vibrant colors at sunset time. The exhibits at the Dave Chihuly museum are best photographed at night when lit up with bright colors.
PIKE PLACE AND SURROUNDINGS
The Pike Place market is a great place for people photography. Within walking distance of the market is the famous gum wall. This place gets crowded quickly. So the ideal time to go is early in the morning when there are few tourists. Try some backlit shots when the sun is low. A good location to experiment with HDR. About 10 minutes away from the market is Pier 66 from where you can get views of the skyline and the ferris wheel.
12TH AVENUE NEAR RIZAL PARK
Another very popular location for views of downtown Seattle. The photos below were taken on a cold winter morning with the rising sun casting a pink glow on the Olympic Mountains in the background.
ELLIOT BAY MARINA
The marina offers views of the Olympic Mountains, Rainier and downtown Seattle. The marina is in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. It is worth driving around this neighborhood, especially the Magnolia bridge and Magnolia Blvd for views of downtown and Mount Rainier.
BRIDGE OVER PUYALLUP RIVER
Located at the intersection of River Road and 66th Ave in Puyallup, this bridge provides a beautiful view of Mount Rainier over the river. If you are using a tripod, watch out for the vibrations caused by cars on the bridge. Ideal may be to go early in the morning when the traffic is low.