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Exploring my Urban Neighborhood in Photographs is a Rewarding Hobby

Updated on February 11, 2015

Take A Walk Along One Block of My Urban Neighborhood - I've Got My Camera

Urban exploring is a relaxing pastime for me, when I take my camera along. Starting out I glance back at my apartment building.

I'm not big on the colors, but they are very popular in this area. Drive through any one of the many Seattle city neighborhoods, or along I-5 where it cuts through the core of the city, and it's easy to pick out the tax credit buildings. I think they all had the same designer and same decorator.

The city of Seattle continues to fertilize a bumper crop of new mixed-income apartment complexes. They are popularly called tax-credit buildings. The owners save bundles on their tax bills, and in turn, renters pay reasonable rents.

These are not low income residences, as the rents are too high to qualify, and renters pay slightly lower than the going rate for comparable apartments. Some buildings operate as communities, offering limited transportation, even those tiny new electric Smart Cars, for 90 minutes worth of shopping. Others have their own vans and regularly schedule trips to restaurants, stores, and casinos, charging very little, or nothing at all.

The tax-credit apartments are a godsend for many seniors, and for persons with disabilities too, because they can live in clean and dignified housing that's located close to mass transportation and shopping. Many buildings boast pea-patch type growing areas on the roofs.

Our building offers residents the use of one half of a corrugated metal livestock watering tank, full of soil from the vendor across the street. It also provides locked garage parking on the lowest level, though most residents use mass transit for longer trips, and walk for short shopping trips - to the grocery, drug store, phone and pizza stores, outlet clothing and the best fish and chips place in the city.

Take the walk to the main street, one block along that street, half a block into the shopping center, and then the back way around the short block home, with me. You'll know we're back home when you come to the metal flower sculpture photograph. Hope you like it.

photo credits: I took all of them

Firewood & Sand & Gravel & Soil - sold right across the street

Walking the short block to the main street, as I waited for the light to change my glance fell on this neighborhood business. I found it very surprising to see a firewood business, complete with the buzzing of chainsaws in the early mornings, when I first moved into this urban neighborhood.

I Took These Photos With a Pentax Q - super easy, super light, super quality

Pentax Q 12.4 MP CMOS Sensor Kit with 8.5mm 1.9 AL [IF] Prime Lens(Black)
Pentax Q 12.4 MP CMOS Sensor Kit with 8.5mm 1.9 AL [IF] Prime Lens(Black)

All pictures were taken with my Pentax Q. They were out of the white model when I bought mine, so I have the black one.

 
Pentax 85226 Q Vintage Leather Case (Brown)
Pentax 85226 Q Vintage Leather Case (Brown)

This is the case I use. It is so easy to use. Screws onto the bottom. I just unsnap the two snaps and let the main body of the case dangle while I use the camera, then pull it up using only my left hand, and snap only the left snap.

That way I can unsnap it with one hand and bring it up ready to take another shot, in a flash. The comfortable leather strap is so easy to put over my head, as I head out the door, so I usually have my camera with me on walks.

 

Cherry Trees in Bloom - right at the corner

I snapped this shot, to my left, while I waited for the light to turn. Drivers turned in front of me so I stepped off the sidewalk onto the parking lot so I could get in close to the pink blossoms. Then when I had the green light they were gone and I was free to cross safely, having gotten my pretty fix.

Never Saw This Auto Shop Before

Looking through the camera, sizing up a shot, helps me see what I normally walk past, sight unseen. The wood yard is prominent in my memory, but only today did I discover the auto repair.

Tailoring For The Bride & Groom

I love the way immigrants turn their homes into storefronts that specialize in their areas of expertise.

The Shops Next Door To The Tailor

After the bridal gowns and suits are measured and pinned, it's off to shop for jewelry and get the nails done next door.

Move on To The Chiropractor

These blocks are jam packed with businesses. It's very postmodern, combining unexpected juxtapositions of tradition and the unusual together.

Sweet Little Shop

Until today I was blissfully unaware that the neighborhood now spots a retail shop in a tiny old garage. Wonder if this was a mother-in-law apartment in the past.

Grandaddy Sign on This Boxy Old Building

Wow, this mellow building oversees the tiny street front shop - I'm sure it was born as a garage or a house, right on the street. Again, until today's walk I was unaware of this shop.

Skinny Weathered House

I'm attracted to weather worm buildings, and if this one weren't right on an arterial I might covet it.

Blackberry Guard Fence

This house sits sort of majestically on the rise above an extensive crop of old blackberry vines. Blackberries grow all around the town, crowd alleys, and plague gardens, but in this case they may serve as pseudo guard dogs.

The New Dandelion Crop

I was surrounded by dandelions at my turn-around spot, so I got in real close to capture them in their full color glory.

Really Friendly Signal Case Decor

See that man walking away from me. When I paused to turn around, at the dandelions, he came up to me, smiling. He used his best body language with smiles and sounds to express his delight in seeing me photograph the neighborhood sights. Then he waved goodbye, and I caught him in the photograph of the signal case cover.

Rare Shot of Nearly Empty Street

This old street is usually abuzz with traffic, even throughout the night hours, when I can hear sirens (it's the main north-south thoroughfare that runs the whole half-length of the west side of Lake Washington, so every police, aid, and fire truck uses it. I took this picture while I waited next to the signal cover pictured above, for the light to change so I could cross to the east side of the street.

Can't Forget The Fast Food Joint

After photographing the milk trucks I looked back at the other end of the block, where I came from, and thought Taco Bell added a nice golden glow to the street scene.

Darigold Milk Trucks in a Row

Since childhood Darigold has meant sweet rich milk to me. It's a local milk wholesaler that happens to be headquartered right in my urban neighborhood. From here I headed 1/2 block to the east and entered the Safeway shopping complex parking lot.

New Advertising in Parking Lot

Surprise, surprise! Now the local grocer has plunked advertising signs atop poles right in the parking lanes. This sign advertises toothpaste.

A New Look at the Grocery Entrance

The photograph gives this supermarket entrance a rather exotic look. I never get that feel when I walk into the store, but today the normally expansive vista seemed cramped by all the new signs that sat next to the outer doors and in the entrance way. It looks friendly and folksy, and I headed for the flowers.

Vibrant Flowers Captured My Heart

Since my camera dangled from my neck, with the case conveniently open, I took some pictures inside the store.

Grocery Thanks Me For Coming

I couldn't resist this tight line of carts standing alongside the sidewalk out to the street. With my camera handy it was easy and cheap to give them a try.

Crows Wished I'd Go The Other Way

Have you ever been threatened by crows? I have, so when I saw a few of them, and heard their irate tone, I wasn't certain I wouldn't comply with their request and turn around. Instead, I lifted my camera and captured some of them to share.

Improvements On The Way

This texter completely missed the latest remodeling work that seems to be turning the old and decrepit house into a new flashy business. Looks to me like it will be a restaurant, with dining behind the fence.

Bike Repair Shop

The entire house is covered in lath strips, over windows and all. I find it a little creepy.

Making Room for New Apartment Building

Trapped in cyclone fencing, the ground work is done for a new tax-credit apartment building. There in the background is my colorful residence home. We made it around the short block and along the long block on the back street.

There's A Line Of These Flowers Out Front

There's A Line Of These Flowers Out Front
There's A Line Of These Flowers Out Front

Video Tours With Urban Neighborhood Ideas

My Personal Favorite Walking Shoe

MBT Women's Mahuta Walking Shoe,White,36 EU (US Women's 5-5.5 M)
MBT Women's Mahuta Walking Shoe,White,36 EU (US Women's 5-5.5 M)

This is the shoe I wore on my surprising walk today. I love the bounce in my walk that comes from these shoes' unique design. They are not knock-offs - but, the real thing! They have excellent foot support and the heel design means it's easy to walk on the paved sidewalk without heel strain. I recommend these MBTs in a big way!

 

Wonderful Seattle Walking Resource

City Walks: Seattle 50 Adventures on Foot
City Walks: Seattle 50 Adventures on Foot

This is a great tool because it is a set of cards, each one taking the walker meandering on a distinct and fascinating urban path.

 

My Hobby of Taking Surprising Urban Walks

Do you have a hobby of taking leisurely urban walks?

Yes, I love to see what I am missing when I drive over the same territory.

Yes, I love to see what I am missing when I drive over the same territory.

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    • lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      @PNWtravels: Know what you mean. I had previously only walked at a fast clip around this neighborhood and I really saw very little of it, but taking the camera along changed that for me.

    • lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      @Seasons Greetings: It really changes the way you see things, doesn't it.

    • Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have a hobby of exploring derelict and abandoned places. I like your post. :)

    • Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Yes, although it is more at a power walk pace rather than leisurely, I take an urban walk nearly every day during my lunch time. I( do take my camera and often stop to take a photo or two.

    No, I'm not so interested that I would develop this as a hobby.

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      • lesliesinclair 3 years ago

        @electrolion: Aww, that would be a real challenge for me too. I love dogs but not when they're running wild.

      • electrolion 4 years ago

        There are too many loose dogs where I live to indulge in a nice walk. Otherwise, it sounds nice.

      Have you ever photographed your neighborhood on a leisurely walk?

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        • paperfacets profile image

          Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

          Yes, a few photos are in my lens about Charley and Barkley and more in the La Verne article. I found your photos and story very interesting. The part of city you live in is interesting to see. I live in a suburb and the contrast between ours and my neighborhoods is intriguing. No rain the day you took the photos?

        • PNWtravels profile image

          Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          Absolutely! I almost always carry my camera on my daily walks and often stop to take a photo. I enjoyed your photos of your urban walk. Added as a featured lens to my best things in Seattle lens.

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          electrolion 4 years ago

          I'd be too busy running from all the loose dogs around my neighborhood to stop to take a photo.

        • newyorkdude profile image

          newyorkdude 3 years ago

          Not during a liesurely walk, but during a leisurely walk ;-)

          I haven't been diligent about keeping the website up-to-date, but please take a look at newyorksights.blogspot.com

          PS Great lens you have here. I haven't been to Seattle yet. You made me put Seattle higher on the to-do list.

        • smine27 profile image

          Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

          I loved walking with you through your neighborhood. Seattle is one place that's on my bucket list.

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          thebookhill 3 years ago

          Yes, I have. I like having my camera ready for the unexpected. Great lens!

        • lesliesinclair profile image
          Author

          lesliesinclair 3 years ago

          @thebookhill: I've found I see my neighborhood and other nondescript places differently when my camera's along.

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