For the lunar eclipse last Sunday, Nick and I went to Magnuson Park to watch and take photos. A bunch of other people had the same idea; we couldn’t believe how busy it was!
We got there at sunset, about an hour before the peak of the eclipse. The sky was pink and Mount Rainier looked gorgeous, so I snapped a few shots.
We stayed for a couple hours, drinking hot chocolate, watching the night sky, and taking photos. It was a nice end to the weekend. 🙂 Unfortunately, the moon was pretty dim during the eclipse, so my photos came out grainier and blurrier than I thought they would. I got a neat photo of the moon as it was coming out of the eclipse, at least!
A few weeks ago, I went camping for the first time! My great aunt and uncle, Martha Sue and Jim, had reserved a couple camping spots at a state park in Newport, Oregon. Grandma was planning on going down to join them and Nick and I decided to tag along.
One of the yurts at the campground. We slept in a tent, though!
The weather had other plans.
There was a bad storm in the Pacific Northwest on the Saturday we were going to drive down and there were high wind advisories… not ideal weather for camping in a tent. We canceled our plans and I went down with Grandma on Sunday instead. Nick wasn’t able to take an extra day off work, so he had a relaxing weekend alone at home.
We drove down in Grandma’s Tesla, an electric car that gets ~250 miles per charge. It’s over 300 miles to Newport and we wanted to be cautious, so we stopped a couple times each way to charge up. The drive took a little longer in the electric car because of needing to charge it, but it’s awesome to not have to pay for fuel. Plus, the Tesla charging stations are located near restaurants and shopping areas, so you have something to do while you wait.
My handheld photo of the moon
Despite the bad weather on Saturday, the weather was pretty nice (albeit cool) while we were in Newport (Sunday through Tuesday morning). I wanted to take advantage of the reduced light pollution and get some nice photos of the night sky… but there was a full moon. Oh well, I hadn’t taken any photos of the moon yet, so I decided to try that instead. I brought my tripod with me, but after I setting everything up in the dark, I realized that I didn’t have the part that holds my camera onto the tripod. Uff da! >< So I took a few handheld photos of the moon. They came out blurry, of course, but I was surprised they came out as well as they did.
Our campsite was only a 5 minute walk to the Pacific Ocean. On Monday, we walked along the beach in the morning and around Newport’s historic bayfront in the evening. There were some floating docks where the sea lions like to hang out and we stayed to watch them for a while. It was funny to watch them bark at each other and try to push each other off the docks. There was also a jetty in the bay that was covered in sea lions. Crazy!
Snuggling sea lions
I had a good trip and would do it again. 🙂 Hopefully, Nick will be able to come next time! If you’d like to see more photos, I have a few more in my Newport Flickr album.
We had a little earthquake yesterday afternoon! So little that, although Nick and I both felt it, we didn’t realize it was an earthquake. It felt to me like someone slammed a door nearby and Nick said it was like someone nearby jumped and landed heavily. We were both sitting at our computers upstairs, looked at each other, and shrugged it off. It wasn’t until I was checking Reddit later that evening that I found out it was an earthquake. 😛
For my birthday hike, Nick and I went to Lake 22. I’ve actually done the hike before, though I was too young to remember it. I can’t believe that my 83-year-old great-grandmother hiked Lake 22 on that trip. O_O
Lake 22 hike circa 1991. I’m the little one in blue and white stripes standing behind the baby (my sister, Amanda).
Lake 22 hike circa 1991. My 83-year-old great-grandmother and I are taking a snack break.
Lake 22 hike statistics*:
Roundtrip: 5.4 miles
Elevation gain: 1350 ft
Highest point: 2400 feet
* These stats were taken from the WTA website (I forgot to track the hike using my apps – whoops!).
There is a parking area at the trailhead with room for about 50 cars. Nick and I got there fairly early on a Friday morning and didn’t have a problem getting a spot, but I could see the lot easily filling up, especially on weekends.
You start by walking through an old growth forest of ancient cedar trees, past streams and small waterfalls. About 1.5 miles in, the trail gets to a rocky, open talus slope.
Nick, the happy hiker!
We had been having sunny, dry weather in the 80’s and 90’s for about two months straight prior to this hike. It finally decided to start raining as Nick and I were driving to the trailhead. We hardly noticed the rain prior to this point in the hike, because the tall cedar trees protected us. When we got to the talus slope, though, we were completely exposed to the rain for the next mile or so and the rain had intensified since we started hiking. We got drenched and I took breaks to wring out my soaking wet hair.
Although we honestly didn’t mind the rain much, we were relieved to take cover under the trees again at the top of the slope. From there, it was a short trek to the lake. By the time we got to the lake, it had more or less stopped raining. I took some photos and then we sat down on a rock to eat sandwiches for lunch.
Lake 22 isn’t very big, but it’s a beautiful turquoise color. There is a trail around the perimeter of the lake, which we walked partway.
The clouds had cleared a bit by the time we started hiking back down the mountain. We were surprised when we got back to the open talus slope that there was a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. On our hike up, it was completely shrouded by rain clouds.
We really enjoyed the hike, though it was a bit rocky. There were spots on the slope where we had to scramble a bit over boulders. I’m so surprised that my great-grandma did it.
For my birthday, Nick and I went to Woodland Park Zoo. I was hoping to get some photos of the tigers in their new exhibit, but I had no such luck. It was a hot day and the tigers were sleeping out of sight in the shade. I got some good photos of the other animals, though, like the lions, gorillas, and sea eagles.
The newest photos start with the Humboldt penguin at the top and end with the turkey vulture.
The next day, Nick and I hiked Lake 22. I’ll write a blog post about the hike soon.
Mom’s birthday is only a few days after mine and to celebrate her birthday, we went to Emerald Downs, the local thoroughbred racetrack. The horse I picked for the first race lost his rider at the starting gate and ran around the race track by himself. That was amusing. 😛
2015 4th of July Fireworks in Seattle; Photo by Tim Durkan
For the last several weeks, the weather here in Seattle has been stupid hot. Temperatures have been in the upper 80’s and low 90’s almost every day, which is pretty awful in a city where very few people have A/C in their homes. We’ve been breaking all sorts of temperature records.
Seattleites typically joke that summer doesn’t start until July 5th (because of soggy 4th of Julys), but the 4th was hot and sunny this year.
Anyway, it makes me very happy to see a little break from the heat wave in our current weather forecast. Maybe even rain on Monday? Yippee!
I’m a little overdue for this post about our trip to Michigan a few weeks ago, whoops! While we mostly spent time visiting family, we did a few new things, too.
Despite living in Michigan for the better part of a decade, I’d never been to the Detroit Zoo. Nick and Margaret hadn’t been there in years either, so we spent a day at the zoo!
The Detroit Zoo is a bit bigger than Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Detroit has about 3 times as many animals, but WPZ has more species.
Probably the coolest (ha ha, pun) exhibit at the Detroit Zoo is the Arctic Ring of Life, which opened in 2001. It is the largest polar bear exhibit in North America and is also a home for arctic foxes and seals. Visitors can walk through a large transparent underwater tunnel and watch the animals swim. Unfortunately, the polar bears were not cooperating while we were there! We didn’t get to see them at all!
I also liked the prairie dog exhibit. You can walk all the way around the exhibit and watch the prairie dogs burrow. Kids can go underneath and look out from inside two glass viewing areas in the middle of the exhibit.
I think everyone’s favorite were the rhinos, though. We don’t have any at Woodland Park Zoo and they are massive animals. Pretty cool to see in person.
We also went to Stahls Auto Museum, which is a vintage car museum that opened a few years ago in Chesterfield.
Stahls has over 80 cars on display, the oldest being an 1886 Daimler prototype. The cars aren’t roped off, so visitors can go up to them and look inside. There are a few cars they let you climb inside, too.
The most expensive car in the museum is the 1948 Tucker Torpedo Sedan, which is worth about $3 million. Only 51 of these cars were ever produced. The car was in the 1988 Jeff Bridges movie, Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
At the front of the museum, there is also a collection of automated musical instruments from the early 20th century. A docent told us about the various instruments and played several of them for us.
There’s also a 1924 theater organ that an organist plays periodically. It has more than 1500 pipes, which are distributed throughout the museum. The biggest pipe is about 17 feet tall and the smallest pipe is smaller than a pencil. There is a video of the organ below:
If you Michiganders want to go, Stahls is open on Tuesdays 1-4 pm and the first Saturday of the month 11 am – 4 pm. Admission is free, but a donation is appreciated.
We had a fun project during our trip. A ceramic lawn gnome we had gotten for Margaret years ago had lost almost all of its color, so we chose new colors and painted him by hand. He turned out SO cute! His name is Marickine, an anagram of Nick and Marie.
When we got back from our trip, we stopped at my mom’s to see the litter of beagle puppies that had been born earlier that day. It’s Mom’s first litter in 6 years and, if you’re interested, you can read more about the litter on her blog.
I’ve been having fun experimenting a bit with photography lately:
Long exposure of the lake at night
At my grandparents’ cabin a few weeks ago, Nick and I experimented with long exposure photography for the first time. We took some photos of a fire in the cabin’s wood-burning stove and then we went down to the dock to take some photos of the lake.
It was completely dark and nearly freezing, but we had a lot of fun. Because it was so dark, we couldn’t really see what the camera was pointed at until the photo was taken. We tried to take photos of the stars, too, but there was too much light from the full moon.
I read an article about using aluminum foil to create a bokeh effect and decided to try it out. I set up Lego minifigures on my kitchen counter so there would be a reflection from the granite. Then I crumpled up a piece of aluminum foil and used it as a background with a shallow depth of field to get the bokeh effect.
I don’t have any flashes or other lighting equipment yet, so the lighting was just overhead lighting from the kitchen. I wanted extra lighting on the Lego, though, so I turned on the flashlight app on my phone and pointed it at the Lego while I was taking the photos. Pretty crude, but it was fun to use just what I had lying around. 😛 I already have a few ideas for when I try again.
Sunday was both Mother’s Day and Nick’s birthday. We celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday by going to Seahurst Park in Burien with Mom and Amanda. It had been a few years since our last visit to Seahurst Park and they’ve done some nice renovations since then, adding new picnic areas, a playground, and a fish ladder.
Nick wanted a relaxing day at home for his birthday, so that’s what we did on Sunday. In the evening, Amanda, Sean, and Dad came over to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode and play games.
Not a terribly exciting post, but that’s what we’ve been up to. 🙂
Woodland Park Zoo’s new exhibit, Banyan Wilds, opened to the public on Saturday. The first phase of the exhibit added a habitat for Asian small-clawed otters and an aviary for tropical Asian birds. This final phase created a home for the zoo’s sloth bears and three Malayan tiger brothers.
One of the Malayan tigers
As members of the zoo, Nick and I got a sneak peek of the exhibit on Thursday. It was packed, so it wasn’t a great photo-taking opportunity. I’ll go back for better photos when it’s less crowded. 😛 The exhibit was nice and it seems like the animals have plenty of room to move around. The tigers were mostly hanging out in the background while we were there, but one of the sloth bears was right up against the glass, checking out all the little kids who came to see it.