Bonneville Power Reflected

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There’s a pair of powerlines that cross I-5 in Federal Way, south of Seattle, that catch my eye every time I drive by, in part because one of them is on unusually large towers. You can get a sense of how much juice a line is carrying by how long the chains of insulators are, and by that measure this line is a biggie. I’m guessing they’re carrying Columbia River hydro power to Tacoma. (Just in case there are any other powerline geeks reading this, I realize I’m being a little loose in my terminology. Properly speaking, each set of three wires is one line, so a tower with six arms is carrying two lines, but then what’s the correct term for a line of towers?)

Anyway, I happened to be in the area and took the opportunity to try for a decent photograph. One of the big towers is in the parking lot of a Best Western, so it’s easy to approach, but the straightforward shots weren’t too exciting. When I turned around, however, I saw this nifty reflection across the parking lot. It would of course be even cooler with dramatic clouds, but there weren’t any available.

Technical note: without a view camera, it’s nearly impossible to make the vertical lines of a building like this come out vertical (they will look vertical only if you’re aiming perfectly horizontally), and in the un-tweaked version of this photo the building tapers towards the top. Lightroom’s Lens Corrections panel, however, let me fix this with the Vertical slider, which squeezes in the bottom of the building until it’s the same width as the top. This makes the bottom of the photo narrower and hence requires cropping the sides off the top to end up with a rectangle. Anticipating this, I left some extra space on the sides of the building when I made the photo.

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