[/caption] One of the best times of the season to photograph along the Willamette river, in Portland, is during Fall if you’re wanting to get the glare of the city in the foreground. The contrast won’t be as good as late Spring or early summer but you will have a better chance of getting the glare. I took this shot in late November about 2 years ago and forgot about it until I was going through my inventory of Portland photos. I wasn’t using a tripod and I was shooting with my very basic Canon 18-55mm lens and had the focal length at 34mm. I was using my CIR-PL and warming filter and had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -2 since the sun was still pretty bright even though it was late in the season and it was about 2:00 pm.
[/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.
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.
[/caption] I had to go to Portland on the last day of our sunny weather so I could take some photos and enjoy the weather. The sky nor the sun did me any favors but it was nice to spend the day along the water. It really felt more like the middle of spring rather than the last week of February. Due to only a few of the vegetation blooming, I wasn’t very satisfied with 99% of my photos. The Willamette was pretty dark, which also didn’t help. However, I did find some great spots that I will return to once the trees and plants bloom more. Gotta love the Portland waterfront when the sun is out. Especially when it’s in February.