When most people think of Seattle, a lot comes to mind – Microsoft, Starbucks, the Space Needle, Nirvana and, of course, rain. And for the most part, there is a lot of drizzly weather in the Emerald City. But when the clouds do clear, few cities can compare.I escaped from Aspen for a week to wander through the myriad neighborhoods in Seattle; there are so many things about Seattle that make it a wonderful playground for a photographer. So with the sun warm and bright, I set off to find those things that make Seattle one of a kind. Seattle is basically a handful of smaller cities all under the same umbrella. Each neighborhood is like a mini-city, with its own style and character. From the bustling downtown Pike’s Place, set on the waterfront, to the hip and happening Queen Anne, to the student-filled U District, I wandered across Seattle savoring each neighborhood’s unique flavor. Beyond the stunning urban skyline, Seattle is a place of rolling hills, spotted with small lakes and surrounded by high mountains – the volcanic Cascade Range to the east, the jagged Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound to the west. The self-proclaimed coffee capital is also home to a diverse population. Little neighborhoods sprout different styles and trends, breeding artists, musicians, athletes and other eclectic personalities. In an old warehouse in west Seattle, for example, I found one such pocket community: the Rat City Roller Girls. Here, roller derby is full-contact and very competitive, complete with mascots, dressed-up fans and some hard hits as four teams fought it out for the championship. Another such quarter in Seattle is Fremont, otherwise known as the Center of the Universe, where a massive concrete troll crawls out from beneath one of the neighborhood bridges. If the sun hadn’t finally disappeared behind the rainy skies on the last day I was there, reminding me what the weather was typically like, I might still be in some corner of Seattle exploring another neighborhood.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.