Tag Archives: downtown Portland

Riverplace in Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Another beautiful and sunny early March day in the Pacific Northwest. This photo was taken along the waterfront on the western side of the Willamette river in a part of the city known as Riverplace. Portland’s marina is located in front of the Riverplace hotel and offers some great photo opportunities when most of the boats are moored and there isn’t too much traffic. There are several different areas that you can walk along while looking for the perfect shot as well as get a little exercise. I took this shot without a tripod and just made sure to keep a steady hand since I reduced the white balance and had my CIR-PL attached to cut down on the overexposure and glare from the sun and water.

Portland, Oregon and the Willamette River

[/caption] A great place to get some great photos of the city is along the east side of the willamette river. And an even better time to visit is during Fall, when the foliage is starting to change colors and the skies are hinting at developing into a storm. I took this photo while standing between two of Portland’s most prominent bridges. The skies were a little bit gray but there was just enough blue sky and color to create a really nice scene. The river was calm so I was able to take advantage of a somewhat descent reflection of the buildings. The vegetation wasn’t quite peaking but the foliage was emitting a burning red glow from the tops of the trees. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, remote switch and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic shot as possible. I didn’t want to have any vignetting, so I wasn’t able to attach my ND4 but I was able to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. The aperture was at F-5 and I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.7.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] The many parks surrounding downtown Portland allows hundreds of tress the opportunity to show their colors during Fall. This is a way for the foliage to pay back the city for allowing so much green space within its borders. This photo was taken on 11/2/12, which is obviously the peak time to capture the foliage in Portland turning on their wicked colors. However, normally the trees start to hit their peak during the month of October but I’m sure that the lack of rain over the previous 82 days and the above normal temperatures had something to do with it. On this day it was pretty overcast and the sun was pretty much hidden behind a large band of clouds. However, the sky in the foothills of the mountains were somewhat sunny and overexposed which caused this photo to be somewhat challenging. You can see how overexposed and bright the sky is in the background and how dark the buildings are. I ended up keeping the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0 and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to ensure the correct amount of light. The camera was in Program mode so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter speed was at 1/60 second due to the low light and filters. Fall is my favorite time to photograph Portland and this picture shows just why.

Portland, OR

[/caption] One of the best places to stand in order to view downtown Portland is up on the hills of SW Portland. You will have the opportunity to not only get some great views of the cities buildings and green parks but as well as views of four volcanic mountains and the Cascade foothills. Whenever I’m taking photographs I’m always looking for ways to change up some of my photos and one thing I’ve noticed is that you can zoom in close and eliminate any views of the hills or sky but only the buildings. This allows me to put Portland in a whole new realm since I can include several different buildings, including the many church steeples and trees. This photo is a perfect example of just how beautiful and diverse downtown Portland really is. The fall coloring of the trees jut out in the foreground and the old church steeples poke out amongst the towering highrises.

Portland, Oregon

[/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.

Portland, Oregon

[/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.

Portland, OR waterfront at night

[/caption] Looking across the Willamette river with downtown Portland and outriggers resting along the pier. By the time I took this photo it was already 9:20pm and over an hour after the sun had officially set. I wanted to get a shot with the river, bridge, city and the outriggers in the photo but I also wanted to get the most panoramic photo without distorting the scene. The clouds were moving pretty fast so I was concerned that it would look too blurry but I ended up setting the shutter speed at 16 seconds in order to get as much color from the lights in the buildings as well as the trail of headlights traveling across the Hawthorne bridge. Since it was so late in the evening I ended up removing my ND4 and CIR-PL due to the lack of light. I kept the warming filter attached as well as the UV filter. The camera was in TV mode so the aperture was automatically set at F-5.7 since I had the ISO at 100 and increased the white balance at +0.3. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to take advantage of the entire scene. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake, especially since it was pretty windy and the light was very low. I set up my tripod at the edge of the river that overlooks the small pier in order to avoid the foliage from entering the foreground and causing too much blur due to the high winds.

KOIN Tower in Portland, OR

[/caption] The KOIN Tower offers a great view looking into A modern high rise with the sky and clouds high above. The best part of photographing around a modern city is finding buildings that are photogenic and have a great personality. If the light is good, you normally won’t need a tripod and that can save you a lot of time and frustration. However, the type of day can really dramatically affect the saturation of the photo. On this day, it was partly cloudy with spots of blue sky. I was hoping to get several shots with the clouds moving around and even getting a photo with all blue sky. Unfortunately, the clouds pretty much just sat high above the KOIN Tower so I wasn’t able to get all the photos that I wanted. I usually like to frame as much of the building in the photos and only include the sky in the background. This really highlights the personality and dominance the building has. However, I will normally spend several minutes photographing everything around me and find many different photo opportunities that may include other building or vegetation surrounding me. I could spend hours in just one small area looking for a great photo opportunity. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I set the focal length at 17mm and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. Since I had the camera in Program/Normal mode and had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3, the aperture was automatically set at F-6.3 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I was facing north east and the sun was pretty much directly behind me and mostly shrouded behind the clouds. Since this photo was taken around 4:00pm and the lighting was low, there wasn’t any glare. I tried to position myself directly in the center of the building so I could show the lines in the architecture of the building.

Portland view on the waterfront, OR

[/caption] Fall weather can be hit or miss when trying to photograph the changing of the vegetation along the riverfront near downtown Portland. Either the vegetation hasn’t started to peak yet or the trees are just starting to change. The weather is the culprit when missing the best opportunities since I normally find myself standing in a rain storm as the trees reach their peak color. This photo shows a storm moving in from the west and the vegetation is just about to peak. Unfortunately, the rain stayed for several days and the trees peaked and then started losing their leaves before the skies cleared. This is a classic scenario that repeats itself almost every year. However, this particular day wasn’t at a total loss since the clouds were pretty cool and I was able to saturate the city and the trees as well as separate the clouds from each other in order to create a really cool contrast in the sky. Since I was riding my mt. bike, I didn’t have a tripod to steady any of my shots but the sky was pretty well lit and I just made sure to keep a steady hand. However, it was pretty difficult since it was really cold and I made the mistake of wearing short. My day was also cut short since my saddle was coming lose and I forgot to bring my wrench to tighten it. I was using my Canon T1i and my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I set the focal length at 42mm and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 and the camera mode in Program/Normal. This made the aperture set at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second. The photo was taken at about 11:30mm so the sun was at about a 90 degree angle with little light due to the cloudy skies. However, the clouds did create a very bright light and overexposed setting.

Portland, OR waterfront

[/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.