Seattle’s Gas Works Park

Until June 29, 2012,  I had actually walked on the ground of the city of Seattle for only once, back in 1997 (or 1998, I don’t quite remember), although I’d driven through the city a thousand times. So unfamiliar with the city, I had to do some map study and set certain GPS way points before I drove into it. One of the way points, the Gas Works Park, will stay in my GPS for a long time, I think.

The site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant, the Gas Works Park is a very interesting place for sightseeing in general and for photographing in particular. It is located on the north shore of Lake Union and offers a waterfront view towards downtown Seattle. The main structures of the former gas works are basically rusting ruins but remain standing firm. The textures of the rusting metal, the lines and curves of the towers, pipes and stairs, and the industrial jungle feel of the entire plant are definitely good photographic elements, especially for black and white photography. The pump house has been turned into a “Play Barn” in which the old machines are painted with bright colors and housed indoor. Again these machines easily become good photographic background (or subjects). Both the outdoor structures and the indoor machines are also good candidates for HDR photography.

Not surprisingly, during the two hours I was there, I saw four couples having some of their wedding gown photos taken in the park (despite the harsh early afternoon light).

Below are a few pictures of the main structures of the gas works. Except for the third one (which is a product of three bracketed exposures), they are all single pictures post-processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1 (as a plugin of Lightroom) with the “Details Enhancer” preset (click the pictures to view them in better details).

And here are some color pictures of the machines in the “Play Barn”:

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Seattle’s Gas Works Park

  1. Hi nice industrial pictures well composed, did you ever wonder what these would look like without HDR, I feel the HDR has eliminated the vital contrast needed for strong black and white pictures. Am I just being old fashioned? Andy

    • Thanks Andy for your comment. Yes, you’re right, the HDR eliminates contrast. On the other hand, these images lose details if they were not in HDR. As I’ve been talking about HDR lately, I intentionally processed them as HDR. I think the “dirty” grayish black & white look of the images may be appropriate for an old-time industrial jungle. You may find a picture of the park in color in my previous blog “An HDR Exercise”.

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