[/caption] Downtown Portland with the Willamette River and the Burnside Bridge in the foreground. This photo was taken from the east side of the river and I was standing just north of the bridge. I used some of the shade that the bridge was providing in order to avoid some of the glare due to the intensity of the sun. The sun was at about a 90 degree angle and just behind the steel girders.
[/caption] The Burnside Bridge was originally opened in 1894 and it was a slow-opening swing-span bridge. The newer bridge was opened in 1926 and was constructed as a Three steel deck truss spans with one double-leaf Strauss bascule movable main span and two fixed side spans. The main span length is 252 feet and the height above the water is 64 feet. It’s the only Willamette River bridge in Portland that was designed with input from an architect. This led to the Italian Renaissance towers and decorative metal railings. However, the two towers were only built on the south side of the bridge and this photo was taken from the north side. Street cars crossed the bridge until 1950 but now it’s used by automobiles, pedestrians and bicycles. It a great bridge to walk across and the Burnside skatepark is located underneath the bridge on the east side of the river. Some of city’s best views are from the south walkway of 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.
[/caption] The Fall colors are finally starting to dominate the downtown Portland landscape and the weather was sunny and warm. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than biking along the Willamette river and the many bridges that span the river. One of the best ways to really get a good look of the city is by bicycle. There are miles of paved paths that travel on both the west and east sides of the Willamette river. Most of the bridges also have pedestrian paths that allow walkers, joggers and bikers to safely cross. Normally I walk along the river so I can spend a lot of time photographing the city. However, this time I decided to try something a bit different by traveling as much as I can while photographing several different areas throughout the city. You pretty much have to ditch the tripod and only pack a few lenses but it’s well worth it. There are plenty of free 2 hour parking spots throughout the city which makes it easier to travel by bike. Especially since you can quickly get back to your car before you get a ticket. Biking through the city can be tricky during the early afternoon on a warm sunny fall day but it’s a great opportunity to get people in your photos. This photo was taken just north of the Burnside Bridge with the Ben Franklin building in the background. You can see the rich colors along with some of the still green vegetation lining the river near the city. I like this shot of the wispy cloud almost directly over the top of the building and with the Made in Oregon sign next to it. It almost looks like a giant chimney billowing out smoke from its top. This photo really shows just how much personality Portland has. The combination of several bridges, the Willamette river, vegetation and the buildings create a fantastic atmosphere. To get this shot I was using my Canon T1I Rebel along with my Tokina 12-24 wide-angle lens and the focal length for this photo was at 15mm. I had my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter attached to my lens. Because I was riding my bike, I wasn’t carrying my tripod. The glare was fairly intense since I took this photo at 12:25pm and I took this photos almost due south. I usually just put the sun in the upper left or right of the frame in order to avoid sun spots or too much exposure. However, my warming filter and CIR-PL always eliminates this problem. Again, I can’t stress the importance of using these filters anytime you are taking pictures during full sun. I had the camera in program mode so the shutter speed was at 1/64 second and the F stop was at F-5.6. I set the ISO to 100 and adjusted the white balance to 0. I always make sure to set my camera to the histogram setting so I can quickly review the photo and make immediate adjustments if needed. I highly recommend a bike trip in the city if you really want to get a great opportunity to get some great views of the downtown area.