Seattle Gold Rush

You can’t throw a rock without hitting a construction crane in downtown Seattle these days.  I was just there and there were so many new buildings that I literally didn’t recognize the Lake Union neighborhood where I’d stayed the year before.  It’s insane!  We visited this awesome museum of wooden boats on the lake, and when I looked around, I could see at least 20 tower cranes just from where I stood.  There are literally more cranes in Seattle than any other US city right now.  It’s the new Klondike Gold Rush.  And you really feel it in the traffic.  My drive from the suburbs for this shoot should have been a leisurely 35 minutes at 5:30 in the morning, but I nearly missed a 7:15 sunrise!  Of course I was battling ferry traffic (that’s a thing in Seattle) and a six car pileup, but I feel for anyone who drives I-5 daily.

So the traffic’s not great, but there’s a huge payoff…  How many cities offer such an amazing sunrise view over the skyline?  We got to take a nighttime boat ride and cruise past ships in holiday lights and hundreds of gorgeous house boats.  I ate pounds of fresh sushi that my friend caught nearby.  Every day was a new adventure.  It’s easy to see why so many people love this area.

Post processing technique:  I used Lightroom to prep the RAW files.  I used two different exposures, but created a third by double-processing one of the RAW files to give me the full range of sunrise detail and tone I needed.  I then used Lumenzia to create luminosity masks and blend exposures in Photoshop.   After blending; I finished the image with extensive use of curves, as well as selective color on the sky, dodging to enhance the sun and increase detail in the buildings, and a custom vignette to help simplify and unify the image.

Here was the original primary exposure:

Greg Benz Photography