Tag Archives: downtown Portland

Portland, OR waterfront at night

[/caption] Downtown Portland during the summer months offers some great opportunities to take photos with very long exposures since the air is usually still and the city lights are strewn perfectly along the waterfront. The Hawthorne bridge also offers great opportunities with the steal covered road creating an awesome patchwork of stenciling along its beams. I took this picture on 7/27/10 and it was about 10:40pm so the sun was completely gone with nothing but the dark night sky to work with. I made sure to remove my CIR-PL and warming filter since I didn’t want any grainy color in the background or along the lights. However, I wasn’t immune from the little red dots that seemed to run rampant along the photo. The Focal length was at 24mm so I would just crop out the dots in the background and foreground. I set the shutter speed to 30 seconds, which caused the dots to appear. Each light shines like a well lit lantern and really creates a dynamic personality and highlights just how spectacular Portland is. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch and continued to check the histogram for the proper exposure. The camera was set at Shutter/Priority mode and I had the ISO at 400 and the white balance at -0.3 so the aperture was automatically set at F-22 due to the low light.

Downtown Portland, OR

[/caption] Portland is a very challenging city to photograph, due to the high vegetation and hills that engulf the city. However, one of the best places to get a good view is from the SW Vista Ave. bridge. The only downside, however, is that you will have to look at the view below that includes the many power lines and the tall trees that obscure the view. It’s also too bad that the bridge wasn’t another 100 feet higher in order to get a better view of the city. Mt. Hood is also partially hidden behind some of the high rises but if you move around you can get the mountain in plain view but then you won’t be a able to take a photo with the majority of the buildings in the photo. I wanted to include a photo with all of the buildings so I took this panoramic shot with the KOIN tower and the Ben Franklin. However, I had to crop out the unnecessary power lines and street below as well as some of the sky above. I have never been satisfied with any of my photos from the bridge but I always return hoping that I can someday get a good shot. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens but set the focal length at 25mm since anything wider would have included too much vegetation.

Downtown Portland, OR

[/caption] Some of the best photographic opportunities are along the walking and bike trails that span between the Hawthorne bridge and the Steal bridge on the east side of the Willamette river. However, you have to get a little help from the light and the season. That’s because some of the hardest photos to get are also along the same exact stretch of walking/biking trails. I find that early Fall and late Spring offer some of the best opportunities since the sun is lower in the sky and the vegetation is at its best. I took this shot near the steal bridge and I was riding a bike so I didn’t have a tripod. The lighting was excellent and it was late spring so I was lucky enough to have the best photo opportunity. The sun was at about a 90 degree angle and the date of the photo was on 5/20/11 and the time was 10:33am. The sky was perfectly saturated and the buildings had a warm glow with very little overexposure. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to take advantage of the lighting. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 38mm. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 seconds. I also set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 due to the brightness of the morning.

Portland, OR

[/caption] Due to all of the rainy and cold weather that we’ve been getting lately I have decided to post another photo that I took about 2 weeks ago when it was actually sunny and warm. I took this photo on the east side of the Willamette river. The photo is looking towards Salmon Street and Naito Parkway in the central downtown district. If we could only get some more days like this before summer arrives. I took this while riding my bike along the esplanade as well as over some of the bridges that span across the Willamette river. I wasn’t using a tripod when I took this photo but I’m pretty sure I got off of my bike to take this one. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I was using my CIR-PL as well as my warming filter to enhance the blue sky and the colors of the vegetation and the buildings. The sun was at about 90 degrees in the upper left which made some of these photos crystal clear with little to no overexposure. I set the focal length at 50mm in order to frame the photo with the buildings and blue sky. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.3 so I could create the best photo. The time was 9:55am and the sun was in the upper left hand corner of the photo. I was lucky to have some of the best photographic weather of the year during my trip along the water.

Portland, OR along the waterfront

A great way to photograph parts of the city is by riding a bike along the waterfront on both the east and west sides of the river. One of the best starting points is at Sellwood Park which is in SE Portland which offers ample parking and its free. There is a great bike path that takes you right into downtown Portland and it offers several viewing spots along the river. I took this shot near the Hawthorne bridge and I was pleasantly surprised with how good it turned out. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens as well as my CIR-PL and warming filter. The sun was at about 90 degrees in the upper left of the photo, which really helped with the great coloring and rich blue tint in the sky. This photo was taken at about 9:52am and I was facing west. I was fortunate to be here at the best time of the morning along with a little help by a beautiful sunny day. Since I was on my bike I didn’t bring a tripod. I took the time to get off of my bike while photographing most of the time but I believe that I was on my bike when I took this shot. I was wanting to get the most panoramic photo as possible so I could highlight the city as much as I could so I had the focal length at 17mm. I also wanted to create a large field of view without having any parts of the city out of focus. Since I had the camera mode in Program/Normal the aperture was set at F-5 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 9:52am.

Portland, OR

[/caption] Downtown Portland as seen from the Portland Viaduct bridge that’s located on SW Vista Ave. Trying to find the perfect panoramic view of Portland, without any obscurities, can be very frustrating and pretty much impossible unless you live in one of the many mansions that line the west hills. Unfortunately, there aren’t any parks like Seattle that provides the best views of the city. The tall and lush trees almost always play the biggest role in hiding the best views. Portland is also a very long and spread out city that makes it impossible to get all of the tall building in one photo. You pretty much have to choose which buildings you’re going to leave out. On this particular photo I ended up leaving out the Lloyd Center in order to include the KOIN tower and Wells Fargo building. I also had to crop out 1/4 of the bottom portion of the photo in order to remove the less than photogenic street below. A car lot and telephone poles don’t make for the best scenery. I decided to include this photo since it provides the best shot of the city, which includes the majority of the buildings that can be seen from the east. You can see Mt. Hood in the distance as well as part of the hallowed out Federal building with its crane sticking up. The one thing that I think really destroys a photo and that’s an unfinished building with a huge crane jutting out. I took this photo with my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter since the sun had only just set and the light was still a little overexposed. The sunset was at 8:38pm and I took this shot at 8:55pm and the sun had set directly behind me. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any blur or camera shake. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-3.2 and the shutter speed was at 1/6 second. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7. I usually visit the bridge during the day and I have never been happy with any of the photos mostly due to the color but if you visit during sunset the light is much better.

Portland, OR

[/caption] Portland can be a very challenging city to photograph when you are trying to get a panoramic shot. Unless you are in a plane you pretty much can’t get all of the highrises in one photo. Early morning or during sunset is the best time to take photos of the city. I took this shot from the hills of South East Portland. So far I’ve found that this is the best spot to get a panoramic shot of most of the buildings in the city. You can also see Mt. St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and Mt. Hood in the distance. If the skies are clear and free of any haze or particulates you can place them in the background of your photos. In this particular photo you can see Mt. Rainier in the far distance and parts of Mt. Hood in the far right. Unfortunately, trying to get this type of panoramic shot along with the mountains is very challenging. I should have used my wide angle lens so I could include all of Mt. Hood along with Mt. St. Helens. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 17mm. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at 0 in order to get the best quality photo without any noise. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any camera shake or blur. I set the camera mode to Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-2.8 and the shutter speed at 0.6 seconds. I took this shot at 8:53pm and sunset was at 8:16pm. I attached my warming filter in order to increase the colors of the lights from the building as they were just beginning to show.

Portland, OR

[/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.

Portland, OR

[/caption] This is one of my favorite and better photos of Downtown Portland. It looks really good as a printed 8×24 panoramic printed photo since you will have to crop out a majority of the water and some of the sky in order to print at this size. Portland is a very difficult city to photograph when trying to get all of the buildings and bridges in the frame. This is especially true if you want to have the Willamette river in the foreground. You most definitely need a wide angle lens if you plan on getting the majority of the city scape in the photo. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens and had the focal length at 12mm. Luckily it was 10:30pm at night when I took this shot so I was able to remove my warming and CIR-PL filter which creates shadows on each of the corners of the frame. Therefore I was able to maximize the frame potential of the scene. I took this photo on 7/27/10 so the sky was void of any clouds and the air was a bit stale since the temperature in the afternoon hovered around 90 degrees. I was wanting to capture the glare and colors of the lights illuminating the night sky as well as the glare of the lights on the water so I set the camera in shutter priority and set it at 16 seconds. Again, since it was 10:30pm I increased the ISO to 400 and kept the white balance at 0. Since I wasn’t using the manual setting the aperture was at F-13. I was also using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch.

Portland, OR

[/caption] One of the most interesting and impressive buildings doesn’t include any of Portland’s high rise buildings. This is a photo of a very old building with a mural that gives the illusion that you’re looking at a flat apartment wall. However, you can see the windows in the middle that show that it really bows in where the windows are but you can never tell without really studying it. The rest of the windows shown are just a facade. I never get tired of admiring the artwork on this historical building. I have seen several photos from other photographers but I’ve never really been impressed. Either they are taken from a bad angle or they include other buildings or vegetation in their shot. I believe the best way to photograph this building is by standing directly in front of it. However, I do have to admit that I could have included more in the left part of the photo in order to include more of the people. To get this shot I stood about 50 feet from the wall and crouched down so I could angle my camera so I could include as much in the frame without having any distraction in the photo. It’s surprisingly difficult to do this since the building is much taller than it is wide. The building also has a tight angle on one side and a very large tree on the other side. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. The FL was at 37mm. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F5.6 and the shutter speed was at 1/64 second. Since I took this photo in February the light was low but the glare was pretty intense and it was early in the afternoon. Therefore, I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1. I also attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL in order to bring out the colors of the building and filter out some of the afternoon glare.