For the site of their engagement portraits, Carolyn and Erik picked one of Seattle’s coolest places: Gas Works Park. What a great place this is for photographers, with its collection of beautiful and bizarre features!
Gas Works Park is the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, which turned coal into gas. The plant closed in 1956, but parts of it were left intact, even as the City of Seattle converted the prime piece on land on which it sat into a public park that opened in 1975. As a result, it’s a park that redefines the idea of beauty. It cleverly blends natural, urban and industrial beauty in a single location.
We started our session at the row of orphaned concrete train trestles near one entrance to the park, where we got a variety of great shots of Carolyn and Erik posing, laughing and walking together.
These next two photos are an interesting pair — as different as they are, they were shot with Carolyn and Erik standing in the same place! The primary difference is due to the lens I used.
In the first photo, I backed up and used a telephoto lens to make the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle seem larger and more impressive. In the second photo, I stood much closer to Carolyn and Erik and used an extreme wide-angle fisheye lens, which put more emphasis on the waters of Lake Union, in the process shrinking the city on the far shore.
This is the largest of the six synthetic natural gas generator towers at Gas Works Park, photographed from an angle that effectively hides the chain-link fence surrounding it behind the grassy hill.
Here we’re up on the park’s large man-made hill, molded out of thousands of cubic yards of rubble from building foundations covered with fresh topsoil.
And here we found a shady spot by some cedar trees for a simpler backdrop.
At another park of Gas Works Park is the former pump house, now called the play barn. Most of the original pumps, compressors, and piping are still in place and painted in bright colors. In this first photo, Carolyn and Erik are framed by a nine-ton flywheel that continuously generated 3,000 horsepower of compression to keep the plant running 24 hours a day.
The pump house and adjacent boiler house/picnic shelter have great architecture — though in the last photo, I was standing uncomfortably close to a man sleeping in a corner!
I shot these portraits back in February, and enjoyed going through them again because I’ll be photographing Carolyn and Erik’s wedding in just two days!