Tag Archives: Orcas

San Juan Ferry and Barge

The Washington State Ferries service is the main way of getting between the San Juan Islands but it isn’t the only one.  On a previous trip to the islands, I had posted about an operator of a small ferry.  That post is here.  The operator is San Juan Ferry and Barge.  The boat in the original post is the Henry Island but they have a second, similar boat.  This is the Nordland II.

The Nordland II came past us while we were staying in Orcas a couple of times.  It had a truck with what looked like propane on board.  I imagine moving from place to place with a hazardous cargo is easier when you charter the boat yourself.  The front ramp means they can load and unload at any number of launching ramps around the islands which makes them super flexible.

They are based at Friday Harbor and, while we were walking around the waterfront, I saw them in the marina.  The Nordland II was making a trip out so I got a shot as they pulled out (along with a friendly wave from the crew!).  The Henry Island was still moored up so I grabbed some shots of it while I could.

Experimenting With Night Shots of Ferries

With the ferries coming and going to the terminal at Orcas, I was able to have plenty of chances to take photos.  I did get standard shots of the boats in low light conditions.  They are not easy to shoot since they are constantly moving.  No long exposures at low ISOs are possible so it is high ISO and the associated noise.  However, I did decide to experiment with some long exposures and blending of shots.  The boats make a curving approach to the terminal.  I thought this might make a nice long exposure.  It worked okay but the curve is a bit disguised by being too low down to really appreciate it.  However, it was fun to try.

Orcas Hotel and Ferry Terminal

The ferry to Orcas Island comes in to the town of Orcas.  (I think it counts as a town but it is pretty small!).  Right across from the ferry terminal is the Orcas Hotel.  It is an old style hotel and has a café as well.  Restrictions meant eating in the café was out of the question but we did get take out food from there one night and it was great.  The south facing harbor gets some nice evening light in the winter.  The first time I was out walking there, I figured I would get a shot after I visited the local shop.  That was a mistake.  When I came out, the lovely light was gone and everything was in shadow.  I didn’t make the same mistake again.