I visited the Sound Transit operations and maintenance facility in the south part of Seattle for meeting recently. This is the original facility but they have added one in Bellevue and another will be built in Federal Way in the coming years. Plenty of the trains were parked in the storage tracks including the original cars and the new ones getting delivered by Siemens for the extensions due to open soon. Too good to pass up the chance to grab some shots with my phone.
On our trip to Victoria, we took the BC Ferries crossing to Vancouver Island. On our return journey, we got to the terminal at Swartz Bay quite early and the sun was shining so I wandered down to the water edge near the ferries to see what was going on. There were more BC Ferries vessels in place along with a competitor ferry, Seaspan, that appears to be focused on freight traffic only.
That ferry left before we loaded but it ended up following us through the passage towards the Strait of Georgia. We made a couple of turns through the passage which meant it appeared and disappeared from view for me but I managed to catch it a couple of times. The passage is also the place where the ferries pass in opposite directions since it is mid journey. A chance to get some more ferry shots. After a pause, it seems I am back on the ferry photography trail!
A while back, I produced a post about the way in which ships look a lot rougher when up close compared to from a distance. In that case, it was a Washington State Ferries vessel I was considering. In the shipyard in Victoria that was across from where we were staying, there was a catamaran ferry undergoing work. The bow of the ship was very close to the fence and you could see exactly the same thing. The steelwork welds were easy to see at that range and remind you that these ships are heavy engineering.
One evening, while up near Everett, I had a bit of spare time on my hands. I had noticed a park along the waterfront called Picnic Park and had noted that I would check it out at some point. This was a good time to try finding out what it was like. The weather was not great but, with time on my hands, I headed down there. It is a small park along the water and there is a bridge across the railroad to reach it. As I walked across the bridge, there was a nice view down to where the coast curves around and the trees along the shore had some nice fall colors.
With the sun popping in and out on a regular basis, I thought this would be a good place if a train was coming. As it happened, the Sounder commuter rail train from Seattle to Everett was not far off so I decided to wait for it to come through. A few minutes later it came in to view. There was a family with a young child standing on the bridge waving to the crew and, when I looked at the photos at home, I could see both crew waving back. It was a pretty short train. The Sounder North has not been too successful and the commuter rail ridership is well down due to COVID. I guess there is no need for more cars just now.
The Avants event at Chateau Ste. Michelle had some very high end hypercars on display. A Ferrari Enzo or a La Ferrari might seem like they are the best. How about a McLaren Senna? Seems like the best huh? That might be true but the one next to them was the one I really was taken with. I am not a big Porsche fan. I don’t have a problem with Porsches but I have never been taken with them in the way some have. However, I make an exception for the Carrera GT. That is a car that seems to be special and the end of an era of car types. I recall seeing one on the streets in Chicago and being blown away. Consequently, when I saw this one next to the more recent high end creations, I was really excited. It is a great looking car and something more traditional in the way it is designed. It was also super expensive when it was new. Of course, if you want one now, it is even more expensive!
I was chatting with one of my neighbors and he mentioned a car event coming up at Chateau Ste. Michelle, a local winery. This event was arranged by Avants and was a selection of exotic and unusual cars on display in the grounds of the winery along with wine and food to enjoy. Sounded interesting and Nancy was keen to try it out so we got ourselves tickets. On the day, the weather started out looking pretty bad but, since the event started in the afternoon, we decided to see how things turned out. As it was, the day became overcast but basically dry so it worked out fine. I’m not sure whether it actually reduced the number of people there or not but it felt busy but not crowded.
Exotics@RTC will provide a bunch of unusual cars but this had some very special vehicles and was definitely worth going to. I am going to have some specific posts on some of the vehicles but this is more of a general overview of what we saw. The cars were spread out across the lawns so were not crowded together. Also, while there were people around most of the time, the cars were often clear of visitors if you were trying to get a shot – even when it came to some of the most unusual vehicles.
There was wine from the winery to purchase as you walked around (assuming you hadn’t bought the more expensive tickets with packages of wine and food) and you could order food. However, the food options were not that impressive and didn’t seem to fit with the nature of the event. That would be my only complaint with the event as a whole. Whether you wanted race cars, hyper cars, vintage sports cars or even more unusual vehicles from Europe, there was something to see. Nancy is not a car person but she certainly enjoyed looking at the beautiful styling of some of the vehicles (and the quirky styling of others).
When I go to Exotics@RTC, I just enjoy the vehicles and occasionally know something about them. Most of the time, I don’t know much about them at all. Some of my friends are far more knowledgeable about cars than I am and they can recognize what is significant and what is not or even what is genuine and what is not. I don’t have that knowledge. Instead, I see something that appeals to me or doesn’t.
German day, earlier this summer, included a vintage BMW. This car looked like the sort of thing that would have appeared in old movies. The sweeping lines of the car, the suicide doors, the shape of the windows – all of these just looked really elegant to me. This was a car that had a certain something and I was drawn to it. The fact it got a central position in the display must suggest it was not an average vehicle but I don’t know why. Maybe some of you will instantly recognize it and point out I was looking at something amazing or something decidedly average!
Exotics@RTC provides cars of many vintages but I always find myself drawn to cars from the 80s. Since I was a teenager in that decade, they were the cars that I was paying attention to – assuming they were available in Europe at the time. US cars of that vintage are generally a mystery to me. The appearance of a Renault 5 Turbo 2 was a really nice surprise. The Renault 5 was not a particularly wonderful car. I drove one for a while and, while it could go quite quickly in a straight line, it didn’t have great grip.
However, the similarities between that car and the Turbo version were basically the name and nothing else. The Turbo was a monster of a vehicle in comparison. It went like stink and it was so wide, it was basically a different car. There wasn’t even a back seat because the engine had been put there instead. The owner happened to open up the engine cover while I was walking by which was a lucky break. It showed up again at a following meet so I was able to get a few shots of it from various angles. I was back to being a teenager dreaming of a hot hatch.
I might be sneaking some planes in to a post that would normally be a non-aviation day but I am going to claim that this is a post about trains rather than planes. If you don’t agree, I shall refund your subscription fee! The BNSF main line runs alongside Boeing Field and I saw a train run past the north end of the field heading south with three 737 fuselages on their railcars. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get around in time to see them up close but then the train seemed to slow.
I figured it was worth a shot and drove around. The train has stopped but it was also behind another stopped train so I couldn’t see it easily. Instead, I head further along the track to a location where you could look up towards the train and where you would have an angle on it as it moved again – assuming it did of course. There was quite a wait for some passing commuter trains before it finally got going. The three fuselages will probably have been switched out at the yard just south of where I was and then moved to the Boeing factory at Renton.
This was not something I really made a proper effort at during a visit to Exotics@RTC but I did have a brief go just to see how things might work out. With all of the lovely looking cars on show, there are plenty of people checking them out all of the time. This does mean the chances of getting a shot without someone in it are limited. I figured I might play around with using a bunch of shots and Photoshop to blend out the people and get left with the cars.
To do a good job of this I really could use a tripod to keep the shot identical and take way more photos than I did to give the algorithms something to work with. However, I didn’t have the tripod and wasn’t too keen on staying in exactly the same position for ages trying to hold the camera in place, so this was always destined to be a feeble effort. With limited data, people aren’t going to vanish but become ghostly. Added to that is that a few people were chatting with friends for ages so didn’t move much at all during the time I was shooting. They clearly were not going to disappear. Still, it was a good thing to play with and might encourage a more planned approach next time.