May 7, 2023

Seattle Part Un….

Back in early April, I was voluntold to travel to Seattle to attend a meeting with a potential business partner to the company I’m contracted to. They needed someone technical in the discussions as the primary members were business types with little to no technical expertise.

I’ve not typically done this in the past, but all of the others who had were, for various reasons, not available. So, lucky me I got to spend 10 hours of plane time for 2 hours of meeting. Yay!

The benefit was there was going to be ample downtime to go out and exercise the new to me Fuji XF16-80 lens I bought with the proceeds from the Fuji X100s that was sold before Christmas.

This was one of those serendipitous events that lately I’ve been blessed with. A year or so ago, I had done a tech refresh on my Fuji stable to get all three cameras in the same “generation” if you will. The X-Pro1 got replaced by a X-Pro2, the X-T1 by a X-T2 and a X100f was acquired to round out the group. I had tried to sell the X100s but it’s sale value had dropped to the point where there was little value.

Well lo and behold, the Instagram generation latched onto the recently release Fuji X100v as the “thing to have”. New ones are virtually impossible to find, and when you do find them, the prices have escalated to absurd levels. Over 50% over MSRP. What this has done though, is raise the value of the older X100 models, my X100s included. I did a quick check on E-Bay and was astounded what they were selling for. A 10 year old digital camera going for half it’s new sale price.

So, I listed the camera for sale on a couple of camera forums, and a week or so later it was sold at asking price. The proceeds covered the price of a mint XF16-80 from my favorite e-bay vendor Map Camera. I’ve now bought 4 items from them, and while not cheap, the products always exceed their descriptions, and their shipping is literally overnite from Japan. It amazes me that items from 100 miles away take a week or so to be delivered when Map Camera can get a camera delivered from half way around the world in 3 days.

So, I packed the X-T2 with the XF16-80 in my backpack and away I went early in the morning. There aren’t a ton of non-stop flights from the WMA to Seattle, so I grabbed the early flight as I don’t like flying into strange cities landing at night. Scar tissue from an unpleasant experience my son and I had in front of a Marriot Courtyard hotel in Atlanta many years ago.

The benefit to this is we landed around noon Seattle time. I caught a ride to the hotel with one of the other travelers and arrived at the The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown Tapestry Collection shortly after noon. I’m a dedicated Hilton traveler, and my wife and I try to stay in their “Tapestry Collection” hotels when we can. They tend to be unique and interesting properties, and this one was no different. I was very early for check in, but luckily the desk clerk was able to juggle some stuff around and find an available room for me.

After unpacking, I did my usual Wednesday yoga routine, grabbed the camera and “hit the streets”. I got a quick bite to eat and then headed toward the biggest tourist attraction in town, the Space Needle. There was lot’s to see on the way:

I had never been in the Space Needle, and knowing the likelihood of my ever coming back was minimal, I went ahead and ponied up for the admission. Being mid-afternoon on a Wednesday, the crowds were relatively light, but there were ample tourists there to take part in the adventure.

Getting on the elevator we headed to the top. If you haven’t been there, there are two levels, with the top being the famous rotating floor section. I started on the bottom section, which is open to the air, but has a protective covering of 2 layers of shatterproof glass with small openings between them.

I walked completely around the structure looking at the glass which inflected some interesting distortion to the view that I knew wouldn’t make for very nice photos. Then I realized that there were gaps of about 4″ between the panels that I could stick the lens through and get an unimpeded shot of the horizon. So I walked all the way around again grabbing a shot at every gap. I won’t bore you with all of them. If you want to see the rest check this out.

Once making my way around, I made my way upstairs to the rotating section. I found a nice place to sit, and this time there was no avoiding the glass, I sat for an entire rotation taking pictures as we went around. Again, I’ve omitted most of them. You can tell these are through the glass by the distorted colors.

After waiting in line for a bit to catch the elevator down, I headed in the general direction of Pike’s Place. Home of the infamous “Farmer’s Market”, I had been here in 2015 on my first trip to the area.

The first thing I noticed was the sparseness of the vendors in the market. I suspect this is an artifact of the COVID restrictions, but it’s sad to see. The market was over half occupied, so perhaps it will fill out to the wondrousness of it’s former self.

And, as always, Johnny Hahn is on the corner hammering away at his piano. He was here in 2015 when I was here, and I suspect he will be here forever. Awesome pianist. He hardly noticed me taking his picture as he was fully in “the moment”.

Leaving Johnny, I started heading away from Pike’s Place. I had sort of arranged a photo shoot with some of the folks from Cameraderie, but by this point I was well and fully knackered. It had been a full day. So I waved off of the meet and headed back to the hotel.

Well, that’s all for Part Un. Next time we’ll close up this adventure and talk more about the XF16-80 and how it acquitted itself in the first foray.

Until then:

Oh, and the comment experiment has been something of a bust. The only comments I’ve gotten have been those that seriously would never be approved. A lot of them from the Ukraine. Interesting.