Another awesome day in Paradise! It’s currently 80 degrees and the weather couldn’t be anymore perfect. Nothing better that hanging out along the Willamette river while taking in the views of Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Hood. The only thing that could make it better is to be enjoying one of the many craft beers outside. The one thing that Portland has mastered is perfecting the outside seating all along the city. When the weather gets nice, it’s hard to find an establishment that isn’t offering some type of outdoor seating. With the year round tourist trade in full force and the bombardment of transplants, you can expect to see most outdoor seating at capacity. Not to mention that Portland has been named the best food city in America as well as offering the most breweries on the face of the planet. When the weather is nice, you really need to visit and take in the sights as well as the outdoor spaces available for biking, running, walking or kayaking. I took this shot of the Portland skyline from the east esplanade. I used my Canon Rebel T1I and attached my Canon 28-135mm lens in order to get a descent zoomed in shot of the buildings and blue sky. Some of the vegetation is still working hard to pop but the allergies are in full swing. Almost all of the cherry blossoms have inundated the Willamette Valley and if you’re allergic to pollen, I would recommend that you load up on your medicine.
Spring has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest and if you live near Portland, Oregon, you know that Forest Park offers some of the best places to take in the lush green vegetation that surrounds the Northwest. There are still some dormant plants along the edges of the trails as well as the underbrush but you can still expect to see some amazing wild trillium’s blanketing the forest. The past few weeks have brought a lot of rain to the trails and forest canopy but we are looking at a pretty sunny and warm next few days. You can expect to be hiking on a very soft trail system as well as still enjoy the coolness surrounding the park. Summer can be really bad, with the trails as hard as a rock, stagnant air and lifeless vegetation. However, Spring offers the exact opposite, with the best hiking opportunities that the Pacific Northwest could ever create. The weekend’s can get pretty busy, so I would recommend that you go on a weekday. Early morning or later in the day can be the best time to go if you can’t get the time off, during the afternoon. If you plan on taking some photos, I would recommend that you attach your wide angle lens and plan on getting some great shots of the towering and lush trees overhead, like the photo that I just posted, You can also get some great shots of the trails, winding through the green canopy. You will also have the opportunity to get some shots of the creek since the previous rains have swollen the brooks and small creeks that wind throughout the park. However, you may want to bring a tripod in order to get the best shots. You will also have some great opportunities to see some of the woodpeckers that call Forest Park home.
After years of refusing to utilize photoshop to distort any of my photographs I finally decided to take some time and see what I could do in order to make some of my photos look more creative and obscure. I was surprised to find out just how hard it is to do anything with landscape photos. It seems that it’s more difficult than I thought that it would be. I ended up going through hundreds of different patterns and never really ending up with anything that I liked. Usually the photo would end up just looking like it was a horrible photo or I wasn’t able to keep the photo from becoming so obscure that you couldn’t even make it out. I finally just decided to go with it and pick a few different patterns and see how it looked. I ended up using the ceramic tiles for most of my photos but I was again disappointed with the result. However, I was told by someone that they looked really cool and I should do more like that. I guess it’s hard to judge your own work and it’s sometimes good to work outside the box and take some chances. I chose to post this photo since it’s pretty easy to make out the the city landscape but you can easily see that I used the ceramic theme to change the photo. I ended up enhncing the photo from a raw picture and then just utilized the ceramic application to enhance and then feed off the photo. It was fun to play around with your photos as well as create a whole new market or appreciation for the technology available. However, I wasn’t impressed with most of the photoshop applications available and I will probably end up utilizes the same ones over and over.
One of the best places to snow shoe inside the Mt. Hood forest is along the Barlow Trail. There is a small ski park just off of Hwy 35 and it offers some of the best terrain within the area. You can cross country ski, snow shoe or if you feel up to the task, you can carry your snow board or skis to one of the many higher elevations and make some fresh tracks. The trail system will take you as far east as you can go but if you plan on heading west, you will find yourself standing along Hwy 35. However, you won’t have any problem getting some great shots of Mt. Hood as long as you can work your way to an open clearing or higher elevation. You will pretty much be engulfed inside the forest so you can expect to be standing below some pretty spectacular trees. There are also hundreds of small creeks that wind throughout the area so you will want to be prepared to cross a few of them as well as navigating through some of the underbrush that grows along the creeks. However, if the snow pack is deep enough, you may not have to worry about any of the creeks or underbrush since they could be several feet below the snow pack. If you plan on taking some photos you will want to keep in mind that you are directly south east of Mt. Hood and since the sun will most likely be at about a 90 degree angle from the mountain, you will want to be sure and attach your CIR-PL and plan on looking for ways to avoid too much glare. This is especially true if you encounter clear blue skies like the one I posted. The direct sun along with the intense glare from the mountain and snow can really make it difficult to get a good quality shot without too much overexposure. Normally I would bring my tripod on days like this but since the trek is so strenuous and difficult due to the trees, you would be better served if you leave the tripod in the car and just plan on taking a lot of photos and utilizing your histogram as much as possible. Since I took a lot of photos of the trees, covered in snow inside the park, I made sure to remove my Cir-PL in order to maximize the limited light penetrating the forest. You can end up passing some pretty spectacular shots without even knowing it while trekking through the snowy forest if you’re not careful. I try to remember to look up as much as possible in order to take advantage of every opportunity. Because the snow park if pretty small you can expect it to fill up on weekends but if you get a spot you can expect limited crowds. The best thing about the Barlow snow park are the views of Mt. Hood and the forested trees so you may want to pick a day when the skies are clear and just after a big snow storm blankets the trees.
Beautiful photo of downtown Portland, Oregon in early Fall. Portland, Oregon offers some of the best fall colors, weather and temperatures on the planet and if you don’t believe me, check the local weather and you will see that the first week of October offers clear and sunny skies with temperatures reaching the high 70’s to low 80’s. You can almost guarantee some of the best fall weather anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. The awesome fall colors are just an added bonus but also offers visitors some of the most spectacular colors on the planet. I’m beginning to believe that the term “Indian Summer” was started in the Pacific Northwest since we experience that exact type of season perfectly. We experience early frost in the morning with cool temperatures that can dip down into the high 30’s to low 40’s. The morning’s can sometimes be a little foggy but by afternoon, the temperatures reach well into the 70’s with nothing but blue skies overhead. Almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest offers the same Indian Summer season during September and October. Again, the fall foliage is an added bonus and it can hold it’s own to almost anywhere on the planet. It’s also nice to know that you can have a massive waterfall, river or snow capped mountain as your backdrop. One of the great things about visiting Portland, Oregon during this season, is that the tourists are gone and the days are perfect. There are still several festivals celebrating the fall season and you can get a much cheaper hotel as well as avoid the massive crowds at the best drinking holes and eating establishments. The Willamette Valley also boasts some of the world’s best wineries and wines. You are only a few miles from many of the best wineries, near downtown Portland, and I would recommend that you take advantage of them since the harvest season is at the same time.
The Pittock Mansion is located in Portland, Oregon and is one of the best sites to get some great shots of downtown Portland with Mt. Hood in the background. The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style Château and it was built in 1909 and sits on 46 acres of beautiful and scenic land. The mansion has gone through many upgrades and renovations but recently the city of Portland took out many of the vegetation around the building. Now you can get a better view of the mansion while standing on the lawn. They city also took out several of the tall trees that blocked the view of downtown Portland. It was kind of a double edged sward since I hated to see the trees taken out but they really blocked the panoramic view of the city. Now you can get the most epic views of the city without having anything blocking your view. However, those of us that had taken photos in the past are pretty much needing to throw most of them out and start taking advantage of the views available now. I’m pretty sure that I recently added a panoramic photo of Portland with the new view. The site surrounding the Pittock mansion is a must stop for travelers or photography junkies visiting the area. There are several hiking trails in the area as well as dozens of flowers and rare vegetation that several volunteers maintain year round. You also have the opportunity to view bald eagles, osprey, hawks, turkey vultures and other birds soaring above. On a clear day you can see Mt. St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood and just the tip of Mt. Jefferson. It’s also a great place to bring a lunch and sit on the manicured lawn or sit along the small bleachers that face towards the city.
One of the most epic places to visit when visiting Portland, Oregon is Forest Park. There are over 5,100 acres of forested trails with over 70 miles of hiking terrain. Most of the trees are second growth with a few patches of old growth. However, compared to other city’s forests’s, you may as well call Forest Park the largest forest in America. There are over 100 species of birds and over 60 mammals that call Forest Park home. If you really want to take advantage of the incredible vegetation I would recommend that you visit between May and June. May is great since you’re able to see wild flowers, such as iris and trillium but June is the best month to witness the park in a complete canopy of neon green vegetation. It almost takes on the effect of a tropical forest. There are millions of ferns and several creeks that cut through the forest as well as several small wooden bridges that carry hikers over the sometimes muddy creeks. Most of the trails are fairly easy to hike but if you’re interested in getting a good workout, you can easily find parts of the trail that have steeper inclines and cover more elevation gain. If you’re interested in mt. biking, you will be glad to find out that there are over 30 miles dedicated to bikers. Most of the trails are pretty steep, so you will have to be in pretty good shape if you expect to climb some of the challenging and sometimes muddy trails. However, a good part of the biking trails are on the old road that traverses the park but the city has done a good job of doing some maintenance work in order to make it more of a wilderness trail. There are several areas where you can start from and if you’re driving to the trail there are several parking areas where you can find the best trail. Since the trail is just seconds from several Portland neighborhoods, most people just step out of there front door and make a quick trip to the nearest trails. There are several viewing spots that will give you a glimpse of the Portland skyline, views of Mt. Hood, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier. You can also get a glimpse of the st. John’s bridge as well as the train bridge and the Willamette river. However, the best views are from nearby Pittock mansion.
The Collaborative Life Science Building (CLSB) is located on the South Waterfront district and is located in Portland, Oregon. Oregon Health and Science University and the Oregon University System have gotten together to bring a new facility to Portland State students in 2014. It seems like the construction of the building has taken over a decade to construct but considering the sheer size of the building as well as the fact that Portland’s newest bridge is just east of the project and will take pedestrians, buses and light rail directly through the building, it seems like the project has actually gone pretty quickly. The city also constructed an overpass between downtown Portland and smack dab along the South Waterfront and over to the CLSB and then eventually over the new bridge. The CLSB will offer opportunities for students from PSU, OHSU and Oregon State University to study together under one roof as well as trimet operating part of their hub from the building. Buses and light rail will pick up and drop off pedestrians from the building. The CLSB is being built on 19 acres of land that was donated by the Schnitzer family. Undergraduate students will be studying alongside scientists who will be conducting cutting-edge research. There will be over 185,000 square feet of education space as well as a 400 seat lecture hall. Other portions of the building, such as OHSU’s School of Dentistry will also be located in the building. The building will also be LEED certified and offer storm water management, ecoroofs and atrium heat recovery. The building will also offer hundreds of bike storing stations, which will make it more accessible for students and bike commuters. The entire stretch between the South Waterfront and downtown Portland is very pedestrian friendly and there has been a tremendous amount of money spent on constructing lots of pedestrian access throughout the entire area. The new bridge that is being constructed over the Willamette river and is only a few hundred feet from CLSB was recently named Tilikum Crossing and it will be getting plenty of traffic once it’s completed. The entire area surrounding the bridge and the CLSB is just about to explode with new pedestrian lanes, river access and other construction projects.
Portland, Oregon isn’t considered one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the United Sates, so it can make it very difficult to photograph the city in a way that allows someone to see Portland as a large metropolitan city. Most photographers can utilize their talent and trickery to make something look bigger or even more stupendous that it really is. Hotels are a good example since they will hire a photographer to take photos of their property outside and only take photos that will give potential visitors the perception that it’s located in an ideal location or that their property is more stellar that it really is. Unfortunately, once they arrive at the property, they are surprised that the hotel is less than desirable. However, you can’t blame the photographer since they only took photos that didn’t include any of the undesirable buildings or other obstructions that make the hotel less than desirable. This brings me to the fact that photographing an entire city can be very frustrating and difficult. Portland, Oregon is no exception since it is mostly regarding as a very large town with some tall buildings dotting the cities landscape. Actually, it is a pretty descent sized city but it’s high rises are located in several different parts of the metropolitan area. If you have looked at any of my other photos that I’ve posted on my blog, you have noticed that I’ve chosen several different locations to photograph the city. This causes you to only see a very small part of the buildings due to the fact that the city is very spread out. However, I did want to post the photo on this article to show how you can only include a cluster of building in order to give the impression that Portland is much bigger than it really is. I chose a day when there weren’t any clouds and the skies were perfectly blue. I also made sure that there weren’t too many shadows being cast from the buildings. This allows one to see only the cluster of buildings, rather than dark shadows hiding the subjects. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to eliminate the bare trees in the foreground of the city scape. I was hoping to crop them out but then I would have had to also crop out parts of the buildings. Too get this shot, I made sure to attach my telephoto lens and zoomed in enough to capture the buildings on both sides and made sure that there wasn’t any bare or open spots on either side. Again, this gives the allusion that the buildings are never ending.
Here is another photo of the city skyline of Portland, Oregon. It’s very similar to my most previous post but I included this photo to show the contrast between looking due east and north east. This photo was taken while shooting north east. The best part about this view is that you can see almost all of the downtown building but unfortunately you aren’t able to see any of the snow capped mountains. Mt. Hood is just to the right of the KOIN tower and Mt. Adams is just to the left of Big Pink. Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Rainier are pretty far out of the picture. This photo and the last are pretty common sights during the last few days of November or early parts of December. The days are mostly sunny with little to no clouds but the temperatures can become bitter cold with an even colder wind chill. You can see that there isn’t any snow along the foothills of the Cascades and there is still some vegetation on the trees. Cold and sunny early winter days offer some of the best days to photograph the city but unfortunately the lack of green vegetation can really hamper it’s effect. To get this shot I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Canon 28-135mm lens. I had the camera mode in Normal so the shutter speed was at 1/128 second. I opened the zoom at 28mm and had the ISO at 100. I also had the aperture at F-7.1 and reduced the white balance to -0.3 due to the bright sunlight. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter to adjust for the sunlight and take advantage of the warm light.