[/caption] You can get some of the best views of Downtown Portland from the Sellwood neighborhood in SE Portland. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Sellwood park and almost anywhere along the river offers some unique photo opportunities. You might also see a bald eagles or blue heron when you’re there. It also offers the best views of SW Portland and OHSU up on the hill. You can also see as far north as Lloyd center. However, some of the best views are of the Wetlands that team along the rivers edge. I spent almost the entire day hiking up and down the parks as well as the river and took well over 1,000 shots. I was using my Canon T1I along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I had the focal length at 50mm in order to frame the city skyline along with the marina and buildings stretching along the river. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I was using my warming filter and CIR-PL in order to defuse some of the harsh light emitting from the water and clouds. I also wanted to saturate the sky as much as possible in order to avoid any overexposure. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 due to the low clouds. Since I took this shot at 12:00pm I thought that the sky would be completely washed out but the incoming storm clouds kept most of the day interesting and created an awesome personality.
[/caption] The weather hasn’t been very kind to the tulips all across the Pacific Northwest this year. The heavy rains have created a lot of stress and the colder weather hasn’t allowed the spring flowers to flourish very much. While visiting the Woodburn tulip festival I was concerned that it might be too muddy as well as finding several stunted patches of tulip. This year I decided to take a different approach while photographing the tulip fields. In fact, I spent most of the day in the Tulip garden since they were more colorful and seemed less stressed. I decided to get as low as I could to the ground and try to get a panoramic photo with as many tulips in the frame as possible without too many distractions in the background. Unfortunately, the tulip fields were too muddy and the bottom parts of the tulips weren’t as photogenic. On the other hand, the garden was surrounded by grass which allowed me to lay on my stomach or crouch on my knees in order to position my camera up at an angle. I decided that it was better to position the camera on the ground and then just point the camera towards the sky with the tulips in the foreground. This allowed my to get much lower than using my tripod and I was able to completely rest it on the ground to ensure that there would be no camera shake. I used a bubble level in order to ensure that the photo would be perfectly aligned with the ground. I took this photo at about 11:10am and the sun was at a perfect 90 degree angle on the right. I wanted to create a look that made the tulips look enormous as though they were towering over the landscape so I adjusted the camera as close to them as possible and simply pointed the camera at about an 80 degree angle. It took me several try’s before I got the shot I wanted but I spent a good part of the day perfecting this method. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24 wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 14mm so I could get the most panoramic photo as possible without having any vignetting in the corners. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3.
[/caption] Crater lake offers so many different shades of blue that you can almost see the color of the lake turn to different shades of blue as you hike along the rim. The time of day, season and direction that you are facing is the major factor in the changing of the blueness of the lake. I took this shot back on 6/30/10 and the time of day was 4:00pm. I was facing towards the west so the sun was at about a 90 degree angle on my left. My position helped bring out the amazing blue color of the lake. I made sure to include some of the snow in the foreground in order to highlight the trees. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 13mm in order to get the most panoramic photo that I could. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter as 1/60 second. I set the ISO to 100 in order to ensure that the sensor captured the best light and set the white balance to -0.3 due to the intense glare from the lake, sky and snow. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and my warming filter.
[/caption] Winter may be over but it’s still snowing in parts of the Cascades all along the Pacific Northwest. It looks like several of the ski resorts will stay open well into May. Now is also the best time to snow-shoe in the mountains now that the days are longer and the skies are clearer. I took this photo just before noon at about 11:35am so the sun glare was very high and the sky was pretty well overexposed. I made sure to stand next to a tree in order to block the direct sun from the lens and made sure to limit how much I tilted the camera up in order to avoid the snow from creating too much glare and damaging the contrast in the sky. To do this I just stood as tall as possible and tried to keep the lens at a straight line. I also kept the sun at about 90 degrees to my right. The clouds were very thin and moving pretty fast so I made sure to wait until most of the streaming clouds moved away from the mountain. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I had the focal length at 55mm in order to fill most of the frame with the mountain as well as surround the photo with the snow covered trees in the foreground. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to limit the glare from the snow and saturate the sky. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-9 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I set the ISO at 100 due to the harshness of the setting and reduced the white balance to -0.3. Because there was enough light I didn’t use a tripod when I took this photo.
[/caption] The photo was taken at Cattle Point which is located on South Beach and is part of American Camp. The name of the lighthouse is Cattle Point lighthouse. You can see Lopez island and the mainland of Washington State in the far distance. I took this shot last summer on 8/24/10 at about 11:10am and the sun was high overhead and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle which helped limit overexposing the photo due to the harsh light. There were no clouds in the sky which really made the light very harsh and difficult to work with. However, you don’t get too many warm sunny days in the islands so I was pretty content with what I had to work with. You can watch dozens of sailboats and yachts cruse by the lighthouse as they leave Griffin Bay and head out into Haro Strait. Because the sun was so bright and harsh I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to help saturate the sky and bring out the warming tones of the warn fence and grass. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I had the focal length at 36mm so parts of the horizon are somewhat out of focus due to the shorter field of view. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-8 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. I set the ISO at 100 in order to limit the sensitivity of the lens to the harsh light. I also had to reduce the white balance to -2 so the photo wouldn’t be overexposed. This shot was taken at one of the absolute worst times of the day along with one of the hardest scenes possible due to the lack of cloud cover or shadows, but I utilized the angle of the sun and the settings on the camera to get this shot. However, I did utilize photoshop to enhance the saturation of the sky and the foreground.
[/caption] Aside from photographing the many waterfalls in the Gorge I think that photographing the tree lined forest is the second most impressive thing about the area. However, it can be very difficult and challenging to take a really good photo of the forest. Whenever I’m photographing a waterfall I take several minutes if not hours setting up my tripod and looking for the many angles that I can shoot the falls. I normally use a waterfall as my destination so during my hike I sometimes don’t take the time to see the forest through the trees. But when I decide that I want to concentrate my photos on the forest it can take a lot of time hiking with my tripod and camera attached as well as setting up on some really uneven ground. The rewards can be well worth the effort but getting really good shots of a tree lined forest is very challenging. I took this shot while hiking the Herman Creek trail. There is an area that is exposed to the cliffs and tree lined forest. You can see the trees climbing up against the basalt rock cliffs with other species scattered about. The weather was partly cloudy with the sky partly backlit. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL due to the overexposed sky and the desire to capture the warm tones of the trees and basalt cliffs. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure no blurring of the landscape. I learned very early that you can’t take landscape photos of the forest without using a tripod if you don’t want any camera shake to appear. A forest filled photo can really confuse the sensor and the different lighting effects will guarantee a blurry photo.
[/caption] This has been one of our wettest seasons on record and there is plenty of water to go around for the next decade. As I patiently wait for the wildflowers and trees to take bloom so I can descend on the many waterfalls around Oregon I am ready to photograph Portland while the air is still clean and void of any particulates. This photo was taken early last summer along the marina near the Willamette river. I wanted to include the foliage in the foreground as much as possible, without losing any depth of field, since I was mostly wanting to photograph the city skyline. I wasn’t using a tripod so I had to make sure that there was plenty of light and made sure to keep a steady hand. I squatted down low enough so I could frame the picture with the many types of flora surrounding the marina. I was still able to keep the focal length at 28mm without losing any of the field of view even though I was only about 3 feet from the tall grass. Since I was pointing the camera lens upward, towards the skyline and the sun was bright, I was able to take advantage of the huge field of view. The sun was directly behind me with almost no shadows in the photo but this worked well for me since I was wanting to show all of the colors and different shades of the flora and the skyline. I didn’t want any dark shadows to hide any of the subjects. This is one of the few exceptions when forward lighting can be used to your advantage. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens to get this shot. I attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL in order to bring out the warm tones of the grass and tone down the overexposed and cloudless sky. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-7.1 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. I utilized the histogram to ensure the best exposure and I ended up keeping the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3.
[/caption] The Oregon Zoo is well worth the fee and you won’t be disappointed. The recently added Safari exhibit is an awesome addition and you will find yourself taking a lot of photos and waiting for that unbelievable shot. I know that the Oregon Zoo isn’t the largest zoo in the world but it’s a favorite since its built on a large hill and there are several walking trails that connect to one another so you can re-visit an exhibit without having to walk all the way around the park. Although parking is limited, you can park within just a few yards from the entrance or you can take the MAX light rail and get dropped off right near the park. The Zoo has a very intimate feeling and I’ve always felt that I can spend all day there without having to walk too far to get a second or third glimpse of one of the animals. I took this photo with my Canon T1i and my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I removed my CIR-PL since it was mostly overcast and I wasn’t using a tripod. However, I made sure to attach my warming filter so I could bring out the warm tones of the animals. I also set the Picture Style mode in Portrait so I could concentrate on close-up shots. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-6.3 and the shutter speed at 1/320 seconds. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance at -1. It was about 12:00pm and even though the sun was pretty high there were low clouds that kept the skies very dreary. However, this was the perfect lighting to take portraits of animals from a distance. Almost all of the animals at the exhibit were either behind 10 inches of glass or wire fencing so I had to try to eliminate any glare. The fast 1/320 second shutter speed helped me keep the ISO at 100 and also kept the camera shake down. This was especially important since I wasn’t using a tripod and mostly kept the focal length at 250mm, like I did in this particular photo of the lioness perched on a rock staring at me. Because the focal length was at 250mm the field of view was short so the lioness really stands out and the blur of the dirt and grass makes it almost look like this photo was taken in Africa. Man, I wish!
[/caption] The Columbia River Gorge can offer some pretty spectacular scenery but there is nothing better than catching a scene like this. After spending a sunny morning and afternoon along the Gorge a monster of a storm was moving in from the northwest, so I decided to drive up near the Vista House to see what kind of shots I might be able to get. The sun continued to peak out from the fast moving storm clouds so I was able to take some shots as the sun moved down and along the river below. I started taking several photos just as the sun had shined directly over the Vista House and the surrounding trees. You don’t get many opportunities like this so I felt pretty blessed even as I had just taken some of my best photos of the waterfalls earlier in the day. Spring is the best time to take pictures in the Gorge and May is the best month. This shot was taken last year on 5/18/10 and it was about 5:25pm. The sun was actually directly behind me but I was able to take advantage of my position as you can see from this photo. Though very few good photo opportunities arise when the sun is behind you, this was surely an exception to the rule. The sun was low enough to create some awesome cloud shapes as they quickly engulfed the mountains and river below. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL and made sure that I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I maxed out the focal length to 55mm but you can see that the field of view was high so I wasn’t worried about any blur. In fact, I had to max out the focal length in order to avoid any of the tall trees near me to show up in the photo. This would have ruined the photo for sure. The camera was in Program/Normal mode and the aperture was at F-7.1 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. I had the ISO at 200 and the white balance at -0.3. Each time I set the ISO to 100 it was too dark and increasing the white balance wasn’t enough to offset the need to increase the ISO. It’s finally April and now there is only one month until May and I hope to spend as much time as possible trying to get more photo opportunities like this.