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Washington State Ferry


I read somewhere a while ago that photography is a great excuse to explore. This statement has stuck with me because in the past few years that I have been in business, photography has allowed me to see and do some pretty cool things. I almost feel guilty sometimes that I can have so much fun while making a living. On a recent shoot in Seattle for Microsoft and Hartmann Studios, I was able to take a few extra days to explore the Northwest Coast. Far different from the sunny beaches of Southern California, the shoreline of Seattle was rugged and wildly beautiful.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best ways to see a city is by ditching the car and getting around on foot, bike, or using available public transit systems. Whether it’s Boston’s commuter train to Fenway Park, New York’s rustic, smelly subways to lower Manhattan, or the bells of San Francisco’s streetcars as they crawl up and down the steep streets of the city, public transit is a great way for really getting the feel of a place. Seattle was no different as we hitched a ride on the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island. The original idea was to arrive at San Juan to get a look at Orcas in the wild, however the ride to and from the island turned out to be a real treat. Beautiful views of the various islands and small fishing villages interrupted the otherwise tranquil cruise from stop to stop over a three hour period.

In the distance as you can see in the photo above is Mount Rainier, an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice, surrounded by old growth forest and stunning wildflower meadows. I would have loved to spend an entire day exploring the national park, however as close as it looks, Mount Rainier is a good two hour drive away from where we were staying in downtown Seattle and our time was limited.

We were able to stay on San Juan Island for several hours before boarding a late ferry back to the mainland. The night time cruise was almost magical as we slipped by silent shoreline and sleepy villages lit by only a few small streetlights and the orange windows of small, quaint homes. You can catch a Washington State Ferry right of the docks near Pike Place in downtown Seattle for great views of the city and the islands almost anytime of the day. The ferries are mainly used as transportation for locals who live or work on the surrounding islands, but for travelers it is a great way to get a different view of Seattle for a great price.

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