Tag Archives: Hawthorne bridge

Portland, Oregon at night

[/caption] Another perfect sunset along the Willamette River with downtown Portland and the Hawthorne Bridge. It’s pretty hard to get a shot of a somewhat smooth and calm river when there are dozens of outriggers and small boats motoring around the river. This is especially true if your trying to get your first opportunity to take advantage of a good glare of the city and its lights for the first time in 5 try’s.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Another sunny October day in Portland, Oregon! I never thought I would say this but can we please get a few months of rainy weather! Enough with the smoggy and hazy skies that make me feel like I’m in the Southwest. Can we please water the suffering vegetation that’s beginning to look like tumble weeds that are ripe for an inferno. And if the Willamette river gets any lower, you will be able to see all the trash that’s been sitting at the bottom of the river over the last 100 years. Seriously though, it’s great that we’ve have had 81 straight days of sunny and rainless weather but I’m ready for some true fall weather. I took this shot while standing directly under the east side of the Hawthorne bridge. I was able to walk out pretty far onto some old concrete pilings that I had never seen before due to the shallowness of the river. I set up my tripod and tried to get a good angle of the bridge and the city in the background. The personality of the sky and river are somewhat bleak due to the hazy smog but at least you can see that the weather was nice. I was really hoping to get a good glare of the buildings reflecting off the river but as you can see I was disappointed. I wanted to get a good panoramic view so I set the focal length at 17mm and set the ISO at 100 in order to remove some of the over exposure caused by the poor air quality. I also attached my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters so I could avoid too much noise from the sun and glare from the river.

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.

Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, OR

[/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.