Over Seattle. Aerial Shooting with Sony a7r2 and Zeiss 55mm

Got about an hour’s notice to go flying but I can definitely be ready quickly.  We flew for about an hour around Seattle and I was able to capture several great shots.  Most were keepers in fact.  I was shooting through glass in a Robinson R66 copter. #seattle #aerial


How to Shoot Through Glass in an Observatory

As the in-house photographer for the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory, I have a bit of experience shooting through glass to get photos of the awesome city view.  Reading reviews of people’s experiences/frustrations there and at other similar properties around the world, I would like to share some of the expertise I’ve gained over the years shooting at SVO.

Basically, the issue is the reflections in the windows created by interior lighting.  My solution for this doesn’t involve filters or anything in-camera.  The work around involves bringing a black cloth.  This can be a 2×2 foot piece of black cloth bought at a fabric store which is what I carry or a scarf, jacket, or even an umbrella cover like I saw last night up there.  It also helps to be wearing something dark.  Try to avoid the gold lame sequin dress look.  It doesn’t help.

Recently I have added a new tool, the LensSkirt.  This beauty slips around the lens and attaches to the glass with four suction cups.  Except for the widest of lenses, say 10mm, its awesome.  It also works great in airplanes and helicopters.   LensSkirt on Amazon


If you didn’t bring a tripod, set your camera on the ledge, use timer release and then cover it with the cloth.  If you did bring a tripod, you can check out my technique and or use something of your own.  Notice how the cloth is rolled up, wrapped around the lens up to the glass and then the ends cross over the legs of the tripod.  I usually check below the lens for light leak as with wide angle lenses, that’s where the reflections creep in.  In addition, notice how my tripod legs are unextended and perched on the railing with one leg down, so as to get closer to the glass.IMG_3602[1]IMG_3604[1]

A recent favorite:

Seattle Fog Moves In

…and two short timelapses:

Seattle and Rainier Sunrise from Sky View Observatory

Seattle and Rainier Sunrise from Sky View Observatory

Seattle Sunset from Sky View Observatory

Seattle Sunset from Sky View Observatory

I hope this helps.  Please feel free to contact me with questions or ask if you see me at SVO.  I helped 3 people last night get better shots and that gave me the idea to write this.


Seattle Area Photography Classes and Tours

photography classes and tours

Seattle area photography classes and tours from a Seattle native.


People reach out to me from time to time about classes and tours around the area.  I think my body of work online and in print leads people to ask if I can help them get similar results.  This is something I really enjoy doing especially in small groups.  I have a training background in software instruction and teaching comes naturally to me.  I can put together a half day class or tour or more.  Contact me for details.  Contact me for more details about a class or tour

Flying Around the Snowy Cascades

Had the chance yesterday to go flying with some friends up around the Central Cascades as we got a nice clear day finally.  I went with my Sony A7R2 for its in-camera lens stabilization and my Zeiss 55/1.8 lens for its fast aperture and great rendering.  With the settings on Continuous AF, Steady Shot set at 55mm and burst mode, I got mostly keepers.


View of the Snowy Cascade range


Snowy Cascades in the foreground leading up to Mount Rainier

seattle arial photography

A snowy Ridge atop the Cascades


Very popular hike called Mount Si peaks here, with a view back towards Seattle

Where Magazine Cover and A Movie Prop

One of my favorites taken from the Sky View Observatory recently made the cover of the January 2016 Where Seattle Magazine.  Not only that, Universal Studios contacted me to use the image and the cover in their upcoming 50 Shades movie.  A great day all in all.where seattle magazine cover photography sky view observatory mike reid

Seattle Foggy Sunrise Timelapse Video

I woke up early and noticed that the Space Needle was covered in fog so I got up and headed to Kerry park.  I set up my Sony a7r2 and Zeiss 85 Otus for a time lapse video.  I also took some stills with my other Sony a7r.  #timelapse #video #zeiss

Seattle Sunrise Panorama with a Tribute To France

We had a small clear weather window this morning and I headed to Kerry Park, a famous spot in Seattle for its view.  I have been using the Zeiss 85mm Otus on my Sony a7r2 for panoramas and have been very happy with it.  I simply rotate it on my Acratech ballhead and use the shots to create a pano in LR.  #seattle #france #panorama #zeiss

Seattle sunrise panorama from kerry park

…and an earlier non pano shot

Seattle sunrise in French Colors from Kerry Park