Nothing like a little procrastination to get me through the week. I finally got out on Saturday to shoot. Before I got started though, I tried asking for suggested locations from locals on Twitter….without any success. My choice of locations was shaped by an earlier decision that I needed a better tripod. I found a store in Lakewood, Robi’s Camera Center, and decided to go and check them out. My old tripod was a pretty cheap Quantaray Titan II that has been my workhorse for years. For a basic tripod, it was fine, but it lacked features and flexibility. Years ago, while Deb and I were in Victoria B.C. celebrating one of our wedding anniversary’s, I picked up a Manfrotto monopod that has been wonderful. I had pretty much decided I wanted a tripod by Manfrotto as well, so off to Robi’s to see what they had to offer. Robi’s is a full service shop with framing, printing (standard paper, metal, fabric, canvas, etc.), darkroom supplies, and camera equipment. A knowledgeable sales guy, I think his name was Robert, approached me and took me to the tripods. They had a great selection of Manfrotto tripods, monopods, and heads in stock and he showed me a lot of options. I finally settled on a “kit” unit. When you start looking at tripods at this level, you buy the legs, and then buy a head to go with it. This is very different than picking up a tripod at Best Buy or Fred Meyer. But, manufacturers often also will have a couple of kit options available where they have already paired the legs and head together and offer it at a discounted price. I probably could have purchased it even cheaper from Amazon, but then I wouldn’t be supporting a local camera shop, and let me tell you….these are becoming more and more rare, and I would have had to wait for it to ship.
With my new tripod, I headed over to Steilacoom and Sunnyside Beach Park for my first shots of the day. I hadn’t realized before that the Steilacoom ferry dock is where the former workers for the McNeil Island detention center caught their ride to work each day. Honestly, I had only been through Steilacoom a couple of times on my motorcycle as part of the State’s Combined Fund Drive charity ride. This was a nice opportunity to see the town a little bit and check out the view.
After some time in Steilacoom, I drove down to DuPont and hopped on the freeway to my next destination, the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
I was soon met by one of the resident pan handlers. This little guy followed me around for awhile on the boardwalk. Sometimes he was on the railing, sometimes on the walkway.
At one point in the rich history of this land, the area was used as a farm.
Some of the residents of the refuge.
All of the images are HDR. The ones of birds are single image HDR processed since they are almost always moving.