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

December 19, 2014 at 6:46 PM

This way for some Christmas spirit

Posted by Katie G. Cotterill

MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dressed for cold and rain, Ruby Pippin passes out candy canes on her corner, Thomas Street and Boren Avenue North, where she directs traffic and trucks at a South Lake Union construction site. "There's a lot of stress out there," she said, "and I just try to make people smile."

December 19, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Northwest Wanderings: All aboard for a visit with Santa

Posted by Alan Berner

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

John Graddon, fireman on the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, readies the 1929 steam engine for a Santa Express run from the station in Elbe.

This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the embed player with chromeless buttons. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites.

ALAN BERNER & CORINNE CHIN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Santa is the star, but the steam locomotive is the draw on the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad.

Three hundred people are on board the Santa Express, a misnomer, as it takes a leisurely pace from the station in Elbe, Pierce County, to Mineral in Lewis County, about seven miles away.

The uneven tracks make for a gentle rock 'n' roll at 10 mph.

At the station, engineer Zeb Darrah and fireman John Graddon prepare the 1929 Alco 2-8-2 Mikado oil-fueled engine for the run. Engine 17 once made short runs in Northern California for the Hammond Lumber Co. With no seals on the moving parts, there's oiling to be done at each stop.

Graddon explains how the engine works. "Boil water in a pressure vessel, control the steam into a valve into pistons, which drives the rods. The wheels turn."

No wood or coal is burned as they produce sparks that could start a fire in the woods along the tracks.

In the car where Santa is seated, he waits to hear wants and needs of more than 100 children and a few adults. There's no Prancer or Dancer, no Donder or Blitzen. He explains they're in a pasture.

One child wants a forklift, another wants "purple dogs." A grandmother says she "needs a boyfriend. It's getting lonely." Each who visits him receives a small, stuffed toy.

Back in the passenger cars people sip hot chocolate and eat cookies.

In the cab of the steam engine, Graddon tends the boiler.

Just like the children in line for Santa, he says what working on the railroad feels like: "I'm 12. I haven't grown up yet."



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Santa makes his way to a seated passenger to hear her Christmas wishes.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

December 18, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Lake Union Crew's jingle shells

Posted by Colin Diltz

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

With the Seattle skyline glowing in the background, six racing shells from Lake Union Crew, some with seasonal lights, set out on Lake Union to sing carols to a few houseboats. They modified some of the carols such as "Jingle Shells" and also sang "Frosty the Snowman" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The lights are battery-powered LEDs.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

Get your jingle on at holiday events and activities in and around Seattle.

December 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Postcards from the past: Christmas tree construction, 1968

Posted by Colin Diltz

GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Pat Hauck decorated a Christmas tree on a painted beam as it was lifted into place during "topping off" ceremony on Dec. 22, 1968. The beam was the last piece of steel framework to be used in construction of the 40-story Washington Plaza Hotel.

Postcards from the past is an occasional feature, highlighting images from The Seattle Times historical archive.

For more postcards from the past and links to other posts, visit the gallery


December 17, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Walking with the dinosaurs

Posted by Colin Diltz

GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Technicians fine tune a 17-foot Allosaurus, one of 20 life-size dinosaurs before the opening of "Walking With Dinosaurs" which opened Wednesday night at the Tacoma Dome. The show continues through Sunday with multiple shows during the weekend.



GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Two puppeteers control the giant animals' movements remotely and a driver navigates the life-size monsters on and off the stage.



GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Twenty dinosaurs are in the show, 10 separate species are represented. Each large dinosaur contains more than 3000 feet of cabling and 24 microprocessors along with 15 hydraulic rams and 6 hydraulic motors.

December 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Therapy animals visit Quail Park

Posted by Colin Diltz

KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Quail Park of Lynnwood's Memory Care resident Biz Stratton, age 99, holds a baby wallaby named Opal, provided by Animal Encounters, during Animal-Assisted Therapy on Tuesday.



KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A resident of Quail Park of Lynnwood holds a bunny, provided by Animal Encounters, during Animal-Assisted Therapy on Tuesday.

KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ann Brown, Betty Width and Dorie Owens, Quail Park residents, interact with bunnies.

December 15, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Argosy Christmas Ship Festival

Posted by Colin Diltz

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

People watch the Christmas Ship, center of the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival, from the Mercer Island Beach Club grounds. The ships visit Seattle-area waterfront communities each night until December 23, where choirs onboard give 20 minute performances that are broadcast from speakers to the audience on land.

December 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Northwest Wanderings | Behind the scenes of "Beta Test"

Posted by Courtney Riffkin

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Atop the Dexter Horton building with Smith Tower in the background, actors Larenz Tate, with gun, and Linden Ashby, with sword, prepare for the next scene in "Beta Test," local indie film by Nick Gyeney.

Independent, local filmmaker Nick Gyeney's favorite film, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger cost $102 million and had a 186-day filming schedule. That was more than two decades ago.

Gyeney's indie sci-fi action thriller "Beta Test" costs less than $2 million and has a 21-day filming schedule.

The "tiny" cast and crew of 85 works quickly and efficiently with very few re-takes atop the Dexter Horton building.

Actors are expected to hit their marks, know their lines.

The villain, Linden Ashby, known for his roles in "Mortal Kombat" and "Teen Wolf," is about to be gunned down. Between scenes he keeps limber and plays shuffle board with fellow actor Larenz Tate known for "Crash," "The Postman" and "Menace II Society."

ALAN BERNER/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Director Nick Gyeney, left, checks the camera setup for the next scene, one of 127, in his film "Beta Test," an indie sci-fi action thriller.

Born in Seattle, Gyeney, began making short films as a student at Henry M. Jackson High in Mill Creek, went to USC film school on full-scholarship and lived in Los Angeles for 7 years before moving back home.

Gyeney (pron. Genie) says there are "a million working parts to a film." This film has 127 scenes and with his Type-A personality, "I have a very specific vision."

The final, finished assembly of these parts is "the movie magic" he hopes will premier next year at a major festival.

Gyeney is the producer, director and co-writer and is working with actors who liked the script sent to them.

He knew their work. No one was flown in for auditions or screen tests.

He says, "I'm not Steven Spielberg."

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Actor Linden Ashby stays limber between scenes. He's known for his role in "Mortal Kombat" and for martial arts skills. He appeared in soap operas "The Young and the Restless" and "Days of our Lives."

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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