Archive for August, 2014

porttownsend (11 of 45)Last time I told the tale of our Victoria vacation converted to the San Juans. I also mentioned that we stopped by Port Townsend on the way home, and I would post some photos on a future blog post. The future is now 🙂

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Port Townsend, Washington has an interesting history. It was “discovered” by George Vancouver in the late 18th century as a “safe harbor”. In the mid 1850s the town was very prosperous and the future looked bright. The downtown area had elaborate buildings erected as the local industry awaited the arrival of the railroad that would connect them to Tacoma. The 1890s saw an economic depression that halted the advance of the railroad and caused the boom of Port Townsend to become a long economic decline. It was not until the 1920s that this charming city began to see any real improvement. Those gorgeous buildings however had remained. The long period of slow growth in Port Townsend kept investment in new structures away and those grand edifices were simply reused. By the time their was any “pressure” to tear down and rebuild, the historic value in these buildings lead to preservation. Sometimes good things come about from bad situations. Port Townsend is now a significant tourist attraction and those old Victorian buildings house a variety of shops and boutiques. The entire downtown is listed as a National Historic Place.

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This was my second trip to Port Townsend and the first with a decent camera in hand. I got a lot of use out of that lens I ordered from Japan a few months ago. The Canon EOS-M 11-22mm STM performed admirably and allowed me to get some nice shots of the town whilst walking around and looking at the shops. I have always had a soft spot for architecture and these well maintained and nicely restore Victorians were a joy to image. I really liked the courthouse building with the clock tower. By the time I was shooting that shot wifey was about fed up with my camera clicking 😉 I really didn’t get a good shot of it 😦 It would be nice to visit again with time to really set up the shots.

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sanjuans (19 of 22)


victoriahotelSo my vacation in Victoria had a last-minute snafu. Upon checking my wife’s passport I found it was five days expired. Although getting into the fine country of Canada would not have been difficult, getting back would have. So the wonderful folks at the Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites were kind enough to cancel my reservation on short notice with no penalty. I will be booking them again in September when wifey’s new passport arrives 🙂

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Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA EOS-M with 11-22@ 11mm and f/8.0

Now I had to scramble about and find a USA destination that would suffice. We decided to pay a visit to the beautiful San Juan Islands which incidentally are just a few miles from Victoria BC. So off we went driving up to Anacortes to catch the ferry to Friday Harbor.

I brought along my handy little Canon M mirrorless body and a variety of lenses including the 22/2.0 pancake, 11-22 and 18-55 zooms and EF 80-200 USM and that vintage 50mm 1.8 rangefinder lens. I managed to use them all at some point during the several days we were out.

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Sunset over Vancouver Island, EOS-M with USM-80-200 at 80mm f/8.0

After my lovely wife had a chance to snoop through all the shops, we decided to head west to the quiet side of San Juan Island. From this secluded and beautiful area we watched the sun set over Vancouver Island and yes Victoria as well. I even managed to get some photos of Victoria without actually being in Canada.

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Victoria BC and the Olympic Mountains EOS-M with USM 80-200 at 200mm and F8.0

We enjoyed a picnic in a quiet cove before I headed to the bluff to make images of the gorgeous scenery. The light went through several wonderful transitions from the sunset oranges to the twilight pinks and lavender, and finally the deep blue of late twilight. This location had an interesting viewpoint when looking to the southwest. I was standing in Washington looking across the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Canada with the Olympic Mountains of Washington in the background.

That little EOS-M camera is a solid performer and carrying around a tiny little bag with all those lenses is wonderful. My DSLR bag is HUGE!

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The moon over Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains. EOS-M with 18-55mm at 18mm and f/8.0

The moon was out and provided an intoxicating light show as the moonbeams danced on the waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. There is a lot you can do with the changing soft palette of dusk till twilight.

No trip is complete without those obligatory tourist shots though and I certainly wasn’t going to play the exception. I shot wifey on the bluff in front of the sunset and popped off a little fill flash with Canon’s tiny dedicated flash unit for the EOS-M. It did a decent job but it hit a little harsh which is to be expected from such flashes.

One of the things I was looking forward to in Victoria was the architecture. Although Friday Harbor didn’t offer much in that arena we managed to stop at Port Townsend, WA on the way back. That old town has an impressive selection of Victorian era buildings. I’ll have those pics up next time. Meanwhile here are a few more from San Juan Island.

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