The Pacific Northwest


Today we continue the road trip theme started with Monday’s blog.

My first digital camera was a nifty five-megapixel affair with a 5x lens.  That lens was sorely lacking on the wide-angle side, coming in at a pretty pathetic equivalent of a 38 mm lens, but extending out to a not-to-shabby (at the time) 190 mm at the telephoto end.  The lens was also pretty darned  fast, ranging from f2.0 to f2.4.  Pretty state-of-the-art at the time, but certainly not something that would make me want to give up my 35 mm camera and lenses.  Nevertheless, I decided to give this camera a workout by relying on it solely during a 2005 road trip we made though the Pacific Northwest.

We flew into Seattle and rented a car.  From there we first headed south, to Tacoma, for the Museum of Glass.  The Museum of Glass is not one of those venues at which you want to practice your Black & White photography.  Trust me on this.  The vibrant colors are the main attraction here.

From Tacoma we reversed course and proceeded to our farthest planned destination of Whistler, Canada, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Whistler is first and foremost a ski town, and the accommodations and ski lifts emphasize that point.  Don’t let that fool you, though.  Whistler has much to offer year round, including extreme downhill inline skating (but not for this kid), hiking (watch out for the black bears), some great gourmet dining (now we’re talking), and a fantastically stocked wine shop in nearby Whistler Blackcomb.  Take the lift up to the top of the 7,156-foot-tall Whistler Mountain for some great vistas, including the village of Whistler and Blackcomb nestled far below.

Turning back to the south we ferried the car over to Vancouver Island and drove over to the famed Butchart Gardens.  Butchart Gardens  takes advantage of Vancouver’s moderate climate (by far the mildest of anywhere in Canada) to produce some truly spectacular flowers ranging throughout the color spectrum.   Victoria, at the southernmost tip of Vancouver, is the capital of British Columbia (who says politicians don’t know where to meet?), and the town itself is a charming mix of seaport and sophisticated cosmopolitan architecture.  The ivy-covered walls of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, just a short distance from Parliament, is a photographic gem.  Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the wondrous Parliament building on this trip, but in a later blog I will share pictures of it that were taken on a subsequent visit.

Another ferry ride brought us and our rental car to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands archipelago.  We stayed at the Rosario Resort, built on the site of the Robert Moran Mansion.  The mansion still exists as a rather interesting museum and is well worth the visit.

After our stay at Rosario, it was another ferry back to the mainland and a drive to catch our flight out of SeaTac.

Enjoy the sights, but remember that they were taken with some pretty inferior equipment:

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