TIA’s Adventures in “Photocycling” / Chapter Two

Prologue: This chapter’s timing for publication unfortunately coincides with the recent news about the Los Angeles Police Department that stopped a black man who was riding his bicycle for an apparent “vehicle violation”. The situation escalated, and the man was shot and killed by the police. This occurred yesterday, on August 31st. Local protests immediately ensued in Los Angeles given the details of what happened after the man was stopped. Considering that I ride my bike almost every day and frequently stop to take photographs, which involves publicly digging into my backpack to take out my camera (and what that could look like if one is ready to misconstrue based on one’s personal bias), this story is unnerving. I will wait for more facts to be released about this matter, but — to me — the premise of why this man was killed sounds preposterous and unjustifiable. #DijonKizzee

Updated September 22, 2020: Attorneys say independent autopsy shows Dijon Kizzee was shot 15 times

In order to fully enjoy the content in this new chapter of “Photocycling”, I highly encourage you to read Chapter One if you have not done so previously. Since this is a relatively new series that will play out like a novella or miniseries, there are references to characters who have names and a brief story behind them. These names may not make sense if you start from Chapter Two.

Nevertheless, compared to previous decades and centuries, I do acknowledge that we are in an era that reads less and less, and prefers information to be very abbreviated, so I will accommodate this trend. Here is a brief synopsis for the series thus far:

As we established in Chapter One, “photocycling” is “the art of using a camera to capture images of different subject matters while cycling.

“Melbourne” is the name of the principal protagonist — my bicycle. In the last five years, Melbourne has typically been utilized for commutes to and from work and for recreation in my own personal bike season between the months of March and October each year. In 2020, however, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Melbourne has been my primary and weekly source of transportation since March.

Meet Melbourne (again) / Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle.

“Sydney” is the name of the principal antagonist — my vehicle. She has had significantly less use in the Summer of 2020 compared to previous summers (and years, for that matter) as a result of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for Sydney to provide transport for Melbourne when I must journey to a particular trailhead or cycle on trails outside of Seattle. In my mind, if my car had feelings, I imagine she would be Melbourne’s adversary because her function is currently low in demand and, yet, she must frequently carry the protagonist (in the trunk) to different destinations for photocycling projects.

This is Sydney (and some of my alter-egos) / Discovery Park, Seattle.

“Ananda” is the name of my camera, a veteran of the Sony Alpha digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) series. Over time, like her previous relatives, Ananda and I have become almost inseparable when I’m cycling on Melbourne or driving in Sydney.

This is Ananda. She is an awesome companion for what I love to do in life.

Alright, now you are up to speed and we can embark on this new chapter!

“Seattle is a Fair-Weather City”

Seattleites cycle and jog along the Burke-Gilman Trail in the Wallingford neighborhood. (August 2020)

One thing I have noticed while cycling around Seattle each morning since March is that different (or the same) people definitely follow a routine or pattern of activity. This observation also underscores the routine of my own activity. For instance, if I start cycling at 7am, and follow a particular route for an hour or two hours, I can correctly predict who I might see along the way, and what they might be doing (i.e. other cyclists and runners with similar schedules, or construction workers at a development site, or traffic controllers at the same development sites and adjacent street intersections). The same assessment applies if I should start cycling at 8am. I can verify this because I have become friendly with some of these people. Familiar joggers and cyclists might nod their heads in recognition upon passing. The same construction workers and traffic controllers often wave or say “Hi!” when I arrive at their respective locations. I suppose this isn’t altogether foreign to one’s daily commute, be it by bicycle, bus, car, or walking, etc. The difference is that photographing the routine can sometimes reveal interesting traits. Please allow me to illustrate with a somewhat humorous example.

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that Seattle is a very fair-weather city. People tend to come outdoors en masse when the weather is sunny and pleasant, which has been the case for most of July and August this year. However, in mid-August, I was able to capture the same scene on two days of the same week. On the first day — a Monday morning — the weather was idyllic for Seattle in the summertime, very sunny and warm. Some teenagers or young adults were sunbathing and swimming at a small pier on Lake Union near the Aurora Bridge in Fremont. It was such a beautiful morning. As the setting was so delightful to the eye, I decided to capture it with Ananda.

However, four days later — at the same time on a Friday morning — a potential storm was brewing within the billowing, overcast skies. The clouds were moving very quickly and changing formation (which is often quite fascinating to observe). The weather was slightly cooler in temperature, and the wind was breezier that day without the summer sun visible to the eye. At the same pier on Lake Union, on a Friday, no one was there. The pier was empty and no one was around to frolic in the lake.

Keep in mind that it wasn’t actually raining. It wasn’t even cold outside. Conditions were just windier with grey clouds hovering. Alas, it was the threat of rain that kept people away, which is all that’s necessary to alter one’s outdoor plans if you’re a resident of the Emerald City.

Please use your mouse to toggle between the images below in order to contrast and compare the same scene previously described.

(TOP) On a Monday morning, young adults sunbathe and swim at a small pier by houseboats on Lake Union with the Aurora Bridge overhead. / Fremont, Seattle / August 17, 2020.
(BOTTOM) The same small pier is abandoned at the same time on the following Friday. / August 21, 2020.

“Cycling by the Dock of the Bay”

One odd conundrum that I have in Seattle regards something so obvious but I have never thought to pursue it or question it. I live within five miles of three of the city’s several marinas, and I have never been sailing. In the 13 years that I have lived in Seattle, I have never been on a boat. (The Washington State Ferry is the only exception).

I’m dedicating a special section of my adventures to Shilshole Bay, a body of water on the western edges of the city that merges with the Puget Sound. As the saying goes with human nature, people are typically intimidated or fearful of something (or someone) that they don’t understand. Perhaps, but I have to admit that I am curious about maritime culture to the point of fascination. When I cycle by these boats of various sizes, I do wonder what the “sailing life” is like and what is entailed to sustain it. When I look with intrigue at Shilshole Bay Marina in the Ballard neighborhood, I realize that I’m viewing an entire way of life of which I know very little. However, acknowledging this fact doesn’t make me fearful or riddled with trepidation at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. I would like to know more about nautical life. What must it take to maintain a boat, to operate it, and navigate it? It all looks very engrossing to me, albeit very complicated, probably as a result of how uninformed I am about sailing. (Selfishly, I would also like to hitch several rides so I can take some exhilarating photographs of the city skyline and Olympic Mountains from the water, but that’s entirely beside the point of what I am trying to convey)!

With a curiosity that remains consistently piqued, I have cycled to Shilshole Bay a number of times during my photocycling excursions just to ride by the boats and see the people who either frequent or work at the marina. I could be incorrect, but I have observed enough of this locale over time to conclude that some individuals may have a temporary or permanent residence within their floating vessels. (Again, wow)!

Please enjoy what my fascination has generated in terms of photography. Click on any image below for more details about it.

Please use your mouse to toggle between the images below in order to contrast and compare the same enigmatic scene that I photographed along Shilshole Bay.

(LEFT) Photographed from the Ballard neighborhood at 9:39 a.m., Shilshole Bay, enshrouded in fog, covers and conceals the shores of the Magnolia neighborhood in the background.
(RIGHT) Photographed from the Ballard neighborhood at 9:43 a.m., Shilshole Bay, previously enshrouded in fog, reveals the shores of the Magnolia neighborhood in the background. / Seattle / August 2020


In relation to my inquisitive theme pertaining to the “sailing life” above, I would like to share some images from some of my longer excursions with Melbourne. During these trips, I discovered some riveting scenes along the shores of Golden Gardens Park and West Montlake Park in Seattle, as well as in Renton, at the southern end of Lake Washington. The way in which water and earth complement each other in this region of the world is so spectacular that sometimes I find myself marveling at the fact that I live in such an aesthetically gorgeous location. I have appreciation for many of the cities where I have resided previously — from Minneapolis and New York to Denver and DC — but I believe a combination of the pandemic, quarantine, social distancing, and getting some fresh air on Melbourne has provided me with a newfound perspective of appreciation and gratitude for my life in Seattle. Also, as many might opine, there’s something very soothing and soul-replenishing about the sight and sound of water in a habitat or ecosystem. Even surrounded by the metropolis that is Seattle, one doesn’t have to journey too far in any direction to feel connected or reconnect with nature. I am fortunate to enjoy both worlds here.

Please click on any of the photographs below for more details about the subject matter featured.

Thanks for accompanying me once more. Stay tuned for Chapter Three of my Photocycling series to view some more atypical material in the future!

Thanks for reading this article. If you enjoyed the photographs here, please visit my official website @ www.tia-international-photography.com for an indelible, visual experience.

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