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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

May 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

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Seattle: Water, Water Everywhere


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ron Dunphy, a busker, mingles with friends at Pike Place Market during a shower. "I like the rain," he says. "It knocks the pollutants out of the air. I can smell the trees. It makes it cozy. It makes your pillow more comfortable back home."


Like it or not Seattle is a water city.

For many photographers, water has a dual nature.

Water gives our city a beautiful aesthetic. It's moody, even a touch romantic.

But, in seconds, a heavy downpour has the potential to destroy camera gear, make the road barely visible and soak through multiple layers of clothing.

A friend's brother, who recently moved here, likened our enjoyment of the rain to a form of Stockholm Syndrome, "an affection built through abuse as a means of survival."

Having lived in Seattle for seven years, I can relate.

I've come to adore foggy autumn mornings, ribbons of light peeking through steel-blue clouds and the texture of water running down windows—making ordinary street scenes painterly.

This next week, The Seattle Times is asking readers to share their favorite rain and water photos on Instagram with the hashtag: #SeattleWaterCity. Below is a selection of reader-submitted images.

Read Tyrone Beason’s essay, "We are water: In it, on it, around it all the time, it shapes us," in this week's Pacific Northwest Magazine.


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

We are surrounded by water, from above as well as below. Lauren Ylvisaker poses for a portrait after a rainy practice with the Highline Premier Football Club in West Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

At dusk, the Great Wheel on the Seattle waterfront offers glimmering, dramatic views of the downtown skyline and Elliott Bay. The climate-controlled gondolas shield passengers from the elements, giving riders a chance to see the city in all of its moods.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

LEFT: A lone rower sets out on Lake Union during a foggy morning. Although many people complain about the weather, the moist climate can make everyday scenes seem painterly. RIGHT: Seattle is 41 percent water, and that doesn't even count the 36 inches of it that falls from the sky on average each year. Here, raindrops accumulate on feathers at the Washington Park Arboretum.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A pedestrian walks near Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill on a rainy morning.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rust forms on 55-gallon drums at All Metal Co. in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood. Famously nicknamed the Emerald City because of our lush landscape, it's easy to forget that our bayside location also makes us an important industrial port town.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

LeRoy Johns, of Sisters, Ore., loads his net on the Pacific Rose in Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal, where the city's historic status as a maritime hub still rings true. "All the ports I've been to, Seattle is the best port to do boat work and gear work," Johns says. "From California to Alaska, no one comes close to it."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A gaggle of black umbrellas, a strangely uncommon sight in a city where natives pride themselves on not owning any, crosses the intersection at Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

An onramp to Highway 520 shelters a man from the rain as he walks through Washington Park Arboretum on a drizzly day. The weather creates a climate where plants can thrive, but we have found a way to thrive in our soggy surroundings, too.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Water droplets glimmer on a leaf at Scriber Creek Park in Lynnwood. The park is home a small area of wetlands.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A pedestrian waits in the rain for a northbound bus in downtown Seattle.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Randy Sue Coburn walks her schnauzer past the gum wall in Post Alley. Coburn, a novelist, said she loves rainy days. "They are the best ones for writing," she said. "I get depressed when there are too many consecutively nice days."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A strip of blue sky can be seen at twilight through the clouds at Fremont Peak Park overlooking Ballard. On certain days, the weather brings a mix of rain, slush and sunshine.

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