Dan Cole’s Local Guide to Seattle by Dan Cole in Seattle, Washington

I chose these photos because they represent the variety of places I like to visit and capture some of the diverse things I’ve seen, whether I was specifically out looking for photo opportunities or just playing tourist in my own town. Looking back over them, I enjoy the fact that so many different perspectives and scenarios can be seen within the city limits.

Name:Dan Cole

Occupation: Photographer and video game artist. I’ve worked in the Seattle video game industry for more than 16 years and took up photography in 2006.

Place you live: I live in the unique Seattle neighborhood of Fremont, the self proclaimed “center of the universe.” And in many ways I’ve found this to be true, at least for my universe. It’s conveniently located between downtown and the north end. As well as being equidistant from Ballard and I-5. I love hanging out in Fremont, there’s a rocket, a statue of Lenin, and The Troll. Every day offers something new and different. When photo adventures await, Fremont is the perfect launchpad to go exploring.

Can you describe Seattle? To me, Seattle is the vibrant cultural and industrial hub of the northwest. Seattle is known for having a rich artistic history. Musically, many jazz players like Quincy Jones got their start here. And two of my photographic heroes happen to be from Seattle – Chase Jarvis and Chris Jordan. The tech industry plays a large role in the city’s success, companies like Boeing and Microsoft are worldwide leaders in their fields.

Can you sum up the people of Seattle? The people of Seattle are very friendly when approached but generally tend to keep to themselves when in public. Social groups can be tight-knit and finding one you relate to can feel like becoming part of a family.

What are the three best outdoor actives in the city of Seattle? My favorite three outdoor activities in Seattle are hiking, cycling and snowboarding. And during the right time of the year, it’s possible to do all three of these in the same day. One activity I would like to add to the list is kayaking. Water makes up so much of Seattle’s surface it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

What was the experience like shooting for a campaign to promote Seattle to the world? Taking this time to share the city how I see it and revisit some of my favorite places reminded me of the things I love about Seattle and gave me an opportunity to appreciate them again. Some of the places I hadn’t been to in a few years and it was nice to go back and see if I could present them in a new light, artistically. My hope is that by creating intriguing images, people will want to seek out a side of Seattle they weren’t aware of before.

Describe a perfect day in Seattle: The perfect day in Seattle would begin with cappuccino and a pastry from Honore Bakery. Lunch at Monsoon, followed by a walk around Green Lake. I would finish the evening by catching sunset at Golden Gardens and having dinner at Delancey Pizza.

What do you love about Seattle? The thing I love most about Seattle is its geography. The seas, rivers, forests, mountains, and lakes all create a rich environment for people to enjoy sailing, skiing, bicycling, camping, and hiking year-round. Downtown, I find myself drawn to the architecture. Two of my favorite buildings are the Rainier Tower and the IBM Building. Both were designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the designer of the original World Trade Center.

What would be surprising about Seattle to an outsider? Most outsiders would be surprised to find out it doesn’t rain as much as everyone says it does. (That’s supposed to be a secret!) And many have remarked at how quickly they can transition from a dense, thriving city, to being lost in the wilderness 30 minutes later. It’s really quite special in that way.

Can you give a couple of tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? My advice is to try to find your own voice by practicing and taking lots and lots of photos. Emulating others is a great place to start but repetition and the application of your own interests are what’s going to set you apart from other photographers. While shooting, take your time and make sure you get the shot you want before walking away. There’s no sense in posting for the sake of posting when taking an extra second can create a photo you’re really proud of.



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Name:Dan Cole

Best place to eat?

My favorite place to eat is The Wandering Goose. They have the most amazing biscuit sandwiches and their bacon tastes like it was cooked over a campfire.

Best place to drink?

I’m a little biased when it comes to cafes as I’m a co-owner of Milstead & Co. Our shop is based on a multi-roaster model, sourcing the best of what’s in season, roasted by skilled artisans all along the West Coast.

Best place to shop?

My favorite place to shop is Ballard Ave. It’s the polar opposite of a strip mall. All the shops are as uniquely crafted as the goods they carry and each one really feels like an extension of its owners.

Favorite park?

My favorite park is Seattle’s largest, Discovery Park. At the top you’re surrounded by old government houses and structures. As you make your way through the tall grass and down the wooded trail you arrive at the bottom to find a quaint lighthouse on the beach. I’ve visited Discovery many times and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Favorite neighborhood?

That really depends on what I’m looking to do. Most of the best restaurants are on Capitol Hill. A fun place to spend the day would be Ballard. And of course, Fremont is home.

Local tip?

If you’re looking to take pictures, two very unique and not very well known spots are Union Station and the Pioneer Bus Tunnel Station. And if you don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb when it’s raining, leave your umbrella in the car. No one in Seattle uses them.

If someone was visiting what must they do?

Photography-wise, I always recommend visiting the Seattle Public Library. There are so many interesting details to see. I also recommend folks take a ferry ride across the Puget Sound and back. The view of Seattle from the water is truly incredible.