Snapseed in Seattle

Home from the holidays, kids back in school and finally enough time on my hands to get to my ever-growing list of THINGS TO DO. There are tasks on there like ‘sort out the shed’ and ‘book chimney sweep’, which I keep pushing aside, in true master procrastinator fashion, in favour of the more interesting items. Like sharing this post with you.

Let me start by saying that our summer in Seattle was truly epic, as I believe the photos will show. In fact, I’m not going to say much more than that and simply let the pictures tell the story. But one thing I do want to touch on – a bit of photography talk for my fellow camera buffs. If you’re not bothered, then please feel free to skip down to the photo gallery below.

Just prior to leaving for Seattle this summer, I bought myself a new photo editing program. A longtime user of Adobe Photoshop and, for fun effects, Instagram, I wanted something that combined the major features of the two. I tried adding Instagram-like ‘actions’ to Photoshop, but they only offered limited options and none were as good as the  phone-based app. And the phone-based app was, well, phone-based. I wanted something I could use on my laptop. Enter Snapseed.

Imagine if you could crawl inside Instagram’s filters and tweak each one the way you wanted it. Adjust the image (sharpness, brightness, contrast, etc.) as well as the special effects (grunge, vignette, blur, age). That’s what Snapseed essentially offers. Also the much wished-for (by me) ability to easily select a point of focus and blur the rest, controlling scope and strength of the blur with easy point and click. And there’s also a large selection of frames, giving you control over size, spread and ‘grunge’ factor. The desktop version costs €15.95 and the mobile app is £2.99. (Disappointingly, purchasing the desktop version did not give me a free pass for the mobile app., but I still found them both worthwhile.)

But I didn’t set out to write a review of Snapseed, only to point it out to those of you who are Instagram fans and may find it really exciting. Also to share with you some of the photos I took in Seattle, all of which have been given a Snapseed treatment. I realized too late that I should have noted down which filters and effects I used for each shot, as that would have been useful information to give. Sorry. Perhaps you’ll have fun trying to figure it out and duplicate some of the effects on your own pictures?


Ready to 'hit the road, Jack'!

The Space Needle (in case you didn't know)

From the Space Needle observation deck

Signage for MOD Pizza, a local chain that puts your choice of toppings in their wood-fired ovens. Fabulous, but long lines!

Glen and Jim, two of the regular trainspotters who meet every morning on the overpass to the beach near my dad's house. This is their social outlet, a wonderful alternative to sitting in a bar chatting over a beer.

Turns out trainspotting is contagious.

Low tide at Picnic Point Beach (Edmonds, WA)

Dragon boat on the Sound

Chasing seagulls

My daughter found this rock (complete with wording) on the beach.

'Flying Fish' at Edmonds waterfront

Starfish at the Seattle Aquarium

Fur seal at Seattle Aquarium

Flying fish at Pike Place Market

Adam, your friendly crab man. At Pike Place Market.

Pigeon's-eye view of Pike Place.

Seattle waterfront, viewed through the stall of a glass artist at Pike Place.

Restaurant terrace at Pike Place.

Seattle waterfront.

Seattle's answer to the London Eye?

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop - a waterfront favourite.

Rickshaw, Seattle-style. This driver looked gruff but was a real gentleman.

Christopher Columbus in bronze, Seattle waterfront.

The Rat Pack, sculpted in wood and living in Miners' Landing?

As the sign says...

Lady in Green

This is Addis, selling 'Real Change', a newspaper that helps support and raise awareness of issues surround homelessness. He saw my camera and called out to me, 'Hey if you buy a paper I'll let you take my picture." Best offer I'd had all day. The smile came free of charge.

What's left of the Occupy Seattle movement, apparently.

I shot this photo of Jimothy (facing camera) and his buddies playing chess near Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. He asked me to email it to him, so I jotted down his address, but his mail server keeps spitting it back. If you recognize him, will you please show him his picture? Thank you!

Tailgating at Dick's - a great Seattle tradition since 1954!

The incomparable Archie McPhee's - selling all things weird and wonderful. I especially love their bacon bandaids/plasters. Why indeed.

Rex Hohlbein: architect, photographer and founder of Homeless in Seattle, a charity based in Fremont. He photographs homeless locals and gives them a voice. Find Homeless in Seattle on Facebook and check it out. Also look for my article, coming soon!

Fremont outdoor cinema

Fremont rocket

Fremont Troll

Shadow patterns at the Ballard Locks

Watching the Blue Angels' air show over Lake Washington.

Sky Valley (near Sultan, WA). Cue Twin Peaks soundtrack...

"Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher." -William Wordsworth (taken near Wallace Falls, WA)

Wallace Falls State Park, WA


Prickly in Pink

Power (male)

Power (female)

Storytime with Auntie Zetti

Country Fair

Moment of silence for JP Patches, Seattle's favourite clown, who died in July. He had his own TV show which aired locally from 1958 to 1981.

Despite my aversion for Starbucks' aggressive brand of global expansion, we inevitably fell in to a very Seattle routine of stopping at the drive-thru to get our morning fix. It was the smile that won me over - I must admit their customer service is outstanding. And besides, Starbucks in Seattle is a local business, right? Hmm...

Sitting in the SUV, sipping her drive-thru hot choc, she is oh-so Seattle.

No trip to Seattle would be complete with a visit, or should I say pilgrimage, to The Continental Greek Restaurant and Coffee Shop on University Way. If you go (and you should), tell Dimitri that Ruby sent you!

Heading home (on tram at Seatac Airport)