[/caption] Panoramic view of Portland from Mt. Tabor offers some great photo opportunities as well as some great exercise hiking the winding trails. The water in the foreground is one of the three reservoir’s found in the Mt. Tabor park. The west hills are directly behind Portland and the houses in the foreground is part of east Portland or better known as the Hawthorne district. If you do decide to visit the park and expect to take some pictures of the city, you may want to be aware of the sun glare and the relative distance between you and Portland. Due to the distance and the sun, you will find that taking a photo with your camera in a horizontal position can and will probably create a more drab image than if you position your camera in the vertical position. By turning a camera sideways, photographers achieve a vertical photograph in order to further limit the field of vision. Having the camera in a horizontal position won’t achieve the same effect. Basically, the light that enters your camera sensor in the vertical position is more ideal than in a horizontal position. This isn’t always true in other settings, and mostly just the opposite but due to the fact that the sun is at a left angle, at about 90 degrees, and due to the distance between the foreground and the background, vertical photos have a much better chance of looking more crisp. You should try it out for yourself and find out. I’ve been visiting Mt. Tabor for several years and I’ve concluded that my vertical shots look a hundred times better than my horizontal shots and I’ve pretty much concluded that it’s due to the reasons I just explained. I’m sure that someone else has a different theory but this is the best that I could come up with.
[/caption] One of the best views of downtown Portland is from Mt. Tabor Park. However, you will have a difficult time capturing the entire city in just one frame due to the fact that the city spans a pretty long distance from north to south. The photo includes the northern part of the city with only a few of the high rises showing and most of the old part of the city in the scene. The West Hills are in the background and the brewery blocks starts just to the right of the tall pink building.
[/caption] Mt. Tabor offers some of the best views of Downtown Portland along with the West Hills and East Portland. However, since you’re so far away from the city you are advised to bring a pair of binoculars if you want to get any close ups of the city. It’s almost impossible to get the entire city in a single frame using a wide angle lens since 80% of the photo will end up showing mostly sky and foreground due to the distance and the fact that Portland spans a long distance from North to South. I spent two days last Spring hiking Mt. Tabor in order to get some shots of the city but I was frustrated with the lighting since it was either too overcast or the lighting was just plain bad. I hope to come back during the peak Fall season since the majority of the vegetation seen in this photo show that the colors of the leaves changing should be spectacular. I took this photo on 5/24/11 at about 1:35pm and unfortunately the morning was completely clouded over and the evening glare was too much. The sun glare made it hard to get a good focus on the buildings so I ended up discarding the majority of my photos. The distance also made it difficult since that will always play a role in the quality of the image. I was using my Canon 55-250mm lens and had the focal length at 163mm. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to try and reduce the overexposure due to the sun and warm the tones of the buildings and vegetation. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7. Since the camera was in program/normal mode the aperture was at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/256 seconds. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any camera shake. I also ended up using the sharpening tool in Photoshop while trying to sharpen the image of the buildings.
[/caption] Mt. Tabor may be a few miles from Downtown Portland but if you have a descent telephoto lens you can take some pretty spectacular photos of the city. I would recommend bringing along a tripod in order to avoid any camera shake. However, even with being this far out from the city you still can’t photograph all of Portland’s high to medium rise buildings in just one frame. You would need to stitch 3 photos as well as crop out parts of the sky and foreground. In this photo, you can’t see the South waterfront with its 7 highrise condos or the gigantic cluster of massive hospitals in the west hills. You also don’t see the many medium rise condos in the Pearl district or any of the high rise commercial buildings in the Lloyd district. This truly shows that Portland is a very stretched out city. In this photo you can see the trendy Hawthorne district in the bottom left as well as Washington and Forest Park in the right corner of the photo. The amount of lush green trees and vegetation in the neighborhoods of east Portland can really be seen from Mt. Tabor park. I found that there are 3 really good places to view the city as well as a great place to catch a view of Mt. St. Helens. There are far less hiking and biking trails as Forest Park but the views are stunning and can’t be matched by any park that I’ve visited. I would recommend visiting the park on a weekday if the weather is nice since it is far less crowded. I took this shot while using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I arrived at the park around 8:30am but the clouds were much heavier which caused the landscape to look very gray with little personality. By about noon the sun had appeared and the clouds were giving way to some sunny areas around the city. I took this shot at about 1:35pm when the clouds were a bit thinner and the sun was dancing around the landscape below. I watched for the sun to move around the city as well as the trees below so I could find the best lighting. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I had the focal length at 79mm an attached my warming filter and CIR-PL. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F6.3 and the shutter speed at 1/160 second. I was wanting to have my ISO at 100 but speed up the shutter speed in order to avoid any blur or camera shake due to the distance of the photo as well as the wind. I was able to set the white balance at -0.3 since the sun was out and it was pretty much at a 90 degree angle without causing any glare or sunspots. I was forced to crop some of the foreground since I didn’t want to show the telephone poles or cables in the photo. In fact, you won’t be able to go any less than 75mm without having to crop too much of the shot or you will have to include a lot of unpleasing distraction in the foreground. I plan on coming back on a sunny or mostly cloudless day. I would also like to take some evening shots when the sun is lower in the sky and some backlight. I would be a little concerned about getting a descent sunset shot due to the distance.