Northwest weekend

This past weekend, Suzi treated me to a weekend in the Sound. We stayed in Tacoma, at the same place we’d stayed a few years ago.

We got much-needed rest and explored Point Ruston and Point Defiance Park. A ferry ride to Vashon Island sounded like a good idea.1Did you know that people just sit in their cars on ferry rides? That’s like not looking out the windows when riding an airplane. Some people? ;-) We visited the lighthouse at Point Robinson Park and ate in Vashon.2After deciding not to wait 3 hours (!) for a table at May Kitchen. Seems a reservation there is a good idea. On the ferry ride back, we were one of eight vehicles. There’s not a lot of people headed from Vashon Island to Tacoma late Saturday night.

The next day, we decided to head to Seattle. Somehow we ended up in West Seattle, along Seacrest Park. I’m sure the view of downtown would have been spectacular if the tops of the buildings weren’t dipping into the clouds. Since we were already pretty much there, we stopped by the Alki Point Lighthouse, then headed back downtown where we caught a larger ferry to Bainbridge Island. We walked downtown, exploring a cool little bookstore, some fun little shops, and the local art museum. After eating, it was time for the drive home.

Thank you, Suzi, for a fun birthday weekend!

My Open Apology to a Nighttime Cyclist

Dear Nighttime Cyclist:

I’m sorry.

I didn’t see you.

You hate to hear that, I know. I’m a cyclist, too. I’m sensitive to the issue.

But I didn’t see you.

I’m glad I didn’t hit you. I would have had no excuse. You were riding where you were supposed to be — on the right side of a residential street. And even though it was dark, you had a front headlight.

But I still didn’t see you.

I pulled up to the stop sign. I looked left, right, and left. There were no car headlights. There were no pedestrians crossing the street. Unfortunately, my brain didn’t register your dim, steady headlight as anything other than the park lights much farther away. Until I pulled in front of you.

Then I saw you.

Had I looked for a dim light, had I looked longer, I’m sure I would have seen you. I can and will be more careful. One safer driver.

I’ll see you next time.

But that doesn’t really solve our problem. We cyclists need to be more visible, especially at night.

We need to be seen.

I bought lights last week for my commute. Although I’ve only used them in daytime hours, it was in their flashing modes. Rather than being dim lights that don’t even register on the same brightness scale as car headlights, when flashing they can seem blinding. Or maybe not. I’d settle for being noticed.

I want to be seen.

Would I have seen you if your headlight was flashing? I think so. But I understand why your light was on steady. You wanted to see the road in front of you. A blinking headlight wouldn’t help with that. Maybe two headlights with one blinking, or a blinky on your helmet? The more lights, the better. The blinkier, the better.

I want to see you.

I’m sorry I didn’t.



Digital Grain

Taking pictures of fireworks on the Fourth forced me out of my comfort zone with my DSLR. I couldn’t use the programmed exposure mode. Instead, I used shutter priority, or what Canon calls Tv mode.

I was amazed at how easy it was: make a guess at an appropriate shutter speed, take the shot, and look at the LCD. Adjust and repeat.

I had to try again. Tonight, the subject is the view from the back porch swing, looking north. With some breezes moving the trees, I had to decrease the shutter speed even more, forcing me to increase the ISO to 1600 to get adequate exposure. The high ISO resulted in some digital noise.

I think I like it.

Now I want a tripod. ;-)