Walking in a City Centre Wonderland

It feels like it was only a few days ago that I had started writing “Happy Holly Jolly Holidays”, the article featuring holiday images of Seattle from last year. Now another year has passed and it’s time to share some of my favorite holiday images from this year.

Once again, TIA would like to wish all of you a wonderful, relaxing, and tranquil holiday season in another year filled with as many challenges, frustrations, and mind-boggling moments as the previous year. I’m not certain anyone could foresee the 2020s being like…this…but there’s optimism in perseverance and resilience now that we’ve concluded another zany year in this new decade for Planet Earth.

After TIA was officially established as a small photography business in December 2009, I’ve reserved days every December to photograph the city centre’s holiday decorations. There’s a relatively familiar saying in French: “Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes.” In English, that means “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Please click on the images below to view Seattle’s city centre during the holidays in 2009, 2014, 2016, and 2021.

In many regards, my personal tradition of capturing downtown Seattle during the holidays has not changed, and the subject matter hasn’t changed significantly. However, like evolution and life, time changes our individual and collective realities. Seattle in 2009 is not the same as Seattle in 2021. Like most cities, Seattle has evolved dynamically, which is evident in both its population increase as well as its culture. I have long observed that Seattle, contrary to so many cities, strives arduously to retain a small town, folksy vibe despite being one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States year after year. Many things have changed and, depending on how observant a native or long-term resident is, sometimes it takes longer to notice just how much his or her vicinity has transformed.

This year, I decided to switch things up a bit with capturing the holiday mood in the Emerald City. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t really the one who decided. Mother Nature decided for me. We’ve had a very wet and rainy December this year, so instead of trying to evade the rain and waiting for a dry intermission, I thought it would be a fun and creative twist to grab my umbrella and photograph the holiday decorations of downtown in the rain or after rainfall.

Because of these conditions, raindrops falling on Ananda (my camera) were unavoidable. Every so often, I had to wipe her clean to avoid water entering the camera body. Ananda has been helping me to create images for about seven years without fail, so there really was no point sabotaging this productive relationship to potential water damage unnecessarily. Nevertheless, raindrops on Ananda’s lens were captured in several of the photos. Admittedly, some photographers might balk at raindrops appearing in their images, but I thought they created a special effect to further underscore my objective. In addition, I wanted to take advantage of the wet conditions’ effects on pavement and lighting. This creates magnificent reflective surfaces, especially in long exposures.

As a result, I did not perform any elaborate, time-consuming edits to “perfect” the scenes. Seattle is renowned for being a rainy city, after all. All I did was illustrate this fact. Please enjoy the images and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

(Setting the mood for this special collection with Whitney’s powerful rendition of “Joy to the World”)

Please click on any image for a larger view and caption.

Pike Place Market & Downtown Street Scenes

Westlake Center & Westlake Park

Occidental Square & Pioneer Square

One of the best renditions of the Christmas carol “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was also delivered by Whitney Houston. I shared this last year and must share it again this year.

You can view, license, or purchase prints of several more images of Seattle during the holiday season here.

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