[/caption] Another picture perfect sunset along the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon. The best thing about this type of sunset is that it’s October but it feels like July. This shot was taken just a few minutes after the sun had set with the intense glow of the sun just behind the Wells Fargo building and the KOIN Tower. I took several other great shots with the shutter exposed but I wanted to get a photo with the outriggers on the river so I set the shutter speed at 1/3 second. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm ultra wide lens and in order to avoid any vignetting I had to remove the CIR-PL. I made sure to set up my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any camera blur or shake. I was lucky that the outriggers were taking a break and kept very still long enough for me to get off a few shots. I kept the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.7 in order to reduce some of the suns glare.
[/caption] The Willamette river and the waterfront with some of the buildings in the background of a beautiful sunset. This photo includes Big Pink, with the Burnside bridge just below. The majority of the taller buildings are to the left but there are many smaller but much older buildings hidden behind the downtown corridor. This shot was taken just after sunset with many shades of pink being cast throughout the clouds in the background. I left the shutter open for 4 seconds in order to enhance the lights and capture the ghosting effect of the river.
[/caption] September is looking more and more like July in the Pacific Northwest with 70 degree temperatures during the early evening. The only thing missing were the additional tourists flocking to the esplanade. However, there were enough local bikers, walkers, runners and boaters to give you the feeling that summer wasn’t ever going to end. It’s hard to imagine that wearing jeans and a short sleeve shirt was considered too much clothing at sunset. I can remember colder nights during peak summer or even colder days. I was also surprised to see so many boats on the Willamette river. Either the explosion of people moving to Portland has shown more on the river or the warm weather brought out additional locals to take advantage of the calm moving river. I’ve never actually seen someone wake boarding behind a jet ski under the Markham bridge or a paddle boarder paddling across the river. With another week of warm weather predicted, I’m assuming that it will continue to be busy along the Willamette in downtown Portland. I took this particular photo at about 6:00pm, which was about an hour before sunset. The suns glare was pretty intense during the last 2 hours of the day so I had to look for ways to prevent the glare from ruining too many of my photos. The sun was at a 90 degree angle and continued to create sun spots unless I kept the focal length well out of the sight of the sun and aimed in the opposite direction of the suns glare. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter in order to eliminate as much over exposure as possible. I made sure to use my tripod and bubble level and set the focal length at 54mm. Since the sailboat was tacking a lot I wanted to ensure that the shutter speed was pretty quick and luckily the bright sun allowed the shutter priority to stop at 1/128 second, even though the ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at -0.3. The aperture was at F-5.7, which also helped reduce the shutter speed but also allowed enough light through the shutter with too much overexposure.
[/caption] It may be looking a lot more like fall in other parts of the Country but in Portland, Oregon the weather has been calling for an extended stretch of warm and sunny weather. We have only experienced 1 rainy day since July and almost no cloudy days that I can think of. This is what you call global warming at it max. The last time Oregon experienced heat like this was just after the earth was born over 4 billion years ago. Some of the vegetation is already starting to show yellows, browns and reds but I can’t tell if its due to stress from the heat or the fall colors. Normally I would be photographing the change of colors high in the mountains of the Cascades but unfortunately the wildfires have turned me back every time. It’s hard to find a good photo opportunity when the skies are covered in thick brown smoke and most of the glaciers have been melting like a hot tin roof. I took this photo yesterday on 9/23/12 and the sun was at a 90 degree angle in the far left. I was hoping that the skies would have been more clear but a lot of the smoke from the fires have made it’s way into the city.
[/caption] The saying states that April showers brings May flowers but I wonder what the recent rains will give us in May. March was the wettest month ever recorded in Portland and April is more of a mixed bag of rain, wind, clouds and some sun breaks. The flowers are doing fine in the city but most of the trees are still trying to bud, which makes the vegetation look like it’s still winter. I’m hoping that the trees will bud so I can start photographing the city again. This photo was taken last Saturday when the weather was pretty awesome and the temperature was about 64 degrees. This shot was taken on the east side of the esplanade. I noticed this shrub blooming and framed the city in the background. I wasn’t using a tripod since the light was pretty descent and I was moving around so much that it would have been too cumbersome and wasn’t needed. I crouched down so I could get more of the red flowering shrub but also include the river, cityscape and clouds in the background. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7. The aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode in order to ensure that the correct aperture and shutter speed would be used. I was facing south west and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle. The color was a little grey due to the clouds and time of month but overall I was surprised at the lighting available. Unfortunately, the river was still too brown due to the amount of mud being carried down river and the vegetation is still too dormant. Hopefully May will be much better.
[/caption] Beautiful day along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, watching the Coast Guard arrive as the Portland fire boat gives a salute. This photo was taken from the 2011 Portland Rose Festival. They were still setting up for the Festival and the Navy ships weren’t due until later in the day. However, I was more interested in photographing the Coast Guard ships since I spent four years in the Coast Guard and enjoy photographing the boats enter the city. The Rose Festival offers some great photos since you have several opportunities to include the dozens of ships and boats that tie up along the downtown waterfront.
[/caption] Portland’s Steel Bridge was opened in 1912 but its precursor was built in 1888. This bridge is the only double-deck vertical lift bridge of its type in the world and it’s one of the most multimodal in the world. It has three steel double-deck truss spans and two fixed side spans. The lower deck of the lift span was built for trains and may be lifted independently, telescoping into trusses of the upper deck that was built for street railways, pedestrians, automobiles and horse-powered vehicles. Eventually, the light rail train travels over the upper deck and pedestrians and the Union Pacific Railroad use the lower deck. However, both decks may be lifted together. This makes it one of the most amazing and spectacular bridges in the world. An it’s hard to imagine that it was built in 1912. Its main span length is 211 feet and the center height above water is 72 feet. The Steel Bridge is what most people use to cross the Willamette river when they are jogging, walking or bicycling around the city. There are also several Osprey or Hawks that can be seen resting on the tops of the bridge. This photo was taken from the east side of the river with parts of downtown Portland in the picture.
[/caption] The Hawthorne Bridge was first opened in 1910 but it’s precursors were built in 1891 and 1900. It’s the oldest vertical lift bridge in operation in the United States as well as the oldest highway bridge in Portland. It’s also the busiest bicycle and transit bridge in Portland. However, sometimes having one of the oldest bridges can come with some baggage since it can be raised as many as 200 times per month. The bridge is only 49 feet above the river and even less during spring runoff. The Hawthorne bridge was one of the first vertical lift bridges built and is now the oldest of its kind surviving in the United States. The bridge literally lifts straight up unlike a drawbridge. It’s an awesome thing to watch and bridge buffs will stare in awe as it slowly climbs towards the sky. The vertical lift is 110 feet and the horizontal clearance is 230 feet. Some of the best city views can be seen while walking or biking across. There are several great views of the bridge but the most photographed spot is from the east side of the Willamette river. You can choose the best views from either the south or north side of the bridge. They’re both awesome and I’ve spent hours taking pictures of the city with the Hawthorne included.
[/caption] The St. Johns bridge is the Willamette Valley’s only major suspension bridge but at the time of its opening in 1931 it had the longest span of any suspension bridge west of Detroit’s Ambassador bridge. the main span length is 1,207 feet and the tower height is 400 feet above the water. The St. Johns is also the tallest bridge in Portland. There is pedestrian access for both joggers and bicycles and you have a pretty nice view of the Port of Portland and downtown Portland at about the mid point of the bridge. It’s worth making the walk and make sure to bring your camera and tripod. You can get a good view of the bridge from either side of the river. Forest Park, on the west side, has several vantage points and the St. Johns neighborhood, on the east side of the river has great views from the park. You also have a good chance of seeing Osprey, bald eagle or Hawks near the bridge.
[/caption] Portland is one of the World’s best bridge cities and the cities core is defined by one or more rivers crossed by bridges. Only a few other cities from around the world have as many spectacular bridges as Portland. It’s almost impossible to take a photo of downtown Portland without trying to include at least one of it’s bridges. However, it’s also hard to choose between them since they all are so spectacular and photogenic. This photo was taken just below the Burnside bridge with the Morrison in the distance. I was standing just north of the Burnside bridge and saw this great photo opportunity. The best viewing area is along the east side of the Willamette river along the esplanade that will take you past 8 bridges and provide you with access on either side of the river. However, there are several more bridges, from as far north as the Suavie Island bridge and as far south as the Oregon City bridge. All are worthy of a quick visit since they all have some historical value to them that only select cities can match. You can also watch as several Osprey and Hawks fly over the river and sometimes land on the arches or steal beams high atop the bridges.