[/caption] Another spectacular sunny but very cold January day in Portland, Oregon. Again, not a cloud in sight and going on a record setting consecutive sunny streak in Portland, Oregon for the month of January. the views stretched well beyond Mt. Hood and into Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helen’s and even Mt. Rainier. I was again drawn to the waterfront since the calm water and low sun had created another great reflection of the city in the Willamette River. I was able to take this shot without using a tripod and even took it while walking my dog along the east esplanade. I took most of my shots while only using one hand since my dog was diving for goose poop and anything else he could sniff out. However, I was able to use both hands part of the time by standing on his leash. I was using my Canon 28-135mm lens and set the focal length at 28mm in order to get the most panoramic shot without cutting off any of the reflection of the buildings. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL, set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.3 due to the intense glare that was being created by the sun. Since this shot was taken while looking south the sun was particularly harsh and caused me to constantly adjust the white balance. The sun was actually in the upper left of the frame and at about a 90 degree angle. The color in somewhat washed out so I had to photo shop the color back into the shot. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed was at 1/125 second.
[/caption] Even an overcast day can offer some great photo opportunities. This is especially true when you have calm waters and the foliage is starting to turn there golden fall colors. Even though the morning was completely overcast and the winds were starting to pick up, I was fortunate to take advantage of the many other things that help make taking pictures priceless. It helps when you have a fast moving river that’s completely calm which helped create a nice reflection from the buildings and it’s also helpful when the trees along the waterfront are starting to show their fall colors. Even though the scene could have been better, I was actually pretty happy with how some of my photos turned out. Especially since I was able to get some great shots that have eluded me before. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 38mm in order to frame this particular shot. I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0. I had the camera made at Program so the aperture was at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1/60 seconds since I did attach my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the sky. I also made sure to use my tripod, remote switch and bubble level to ensure that I wouldn’t have any blur or camera shake due to the low light.
[/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.
[/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.
[/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.
[/caption] The Pittock mansion offers a great view of the entire city of Portland as well as Mt. Hood, Aams, St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. Since you’re looking due east the lighting can be challenging as well as the huge trees that block some of the views of the city. You have to get pretty creative when trying to get the best shot and you really have to be patient in order to take advantage of the best lighting. The sunset was at 8:30pm and this photo was taken at 9:10pm so I had to try and get a good photo that took advantage of the city lights but also kept Mt. Hood in view. To get this shot I removed my CIR-PL and attached the warming filter and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I had the camera in Program/Normal so the aperture was set at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1 second. I was using my Canon 28-135mm lens and set the focal length at 44mm in order to keep some of the vegetation from making an entrance on either side. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I arrived at the mansion at about 7:15pm and left just after I took this last photo at 9:10pm. Next time I plan on arriving before sunrise and try to take advantage of the sun coming up just behind the mountain.
[/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.
[/caption] Some of the best photographic opportunities are along the walking and bike trails that span between the Hawthorne bridge and the Steal bridge on the east side of the Willamette river. However, you have to get a little help from the light and the season. That’s because some of the hardest photos to get are also along the same exact stretch of walking/biking trails. I find that early Fall and late Spring offer some of the best opportunities since the sun is lower in the sky and the vegetation is at its best. I took this shot near the steal bridge and I was riding a bike so I didn’t have a tripod. The lighting was excellent and it was late spring so I was lucky enough to have the best photo opportunity. The sun was at about a 90 degree angle and the date of the photo was on 5/20/11 and the time was 10:33am. The sky was perfectly saturated and the buildings had a warm glow with very little overexposure. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to take advantage of the lighting. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 38mm. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 seconds. I also set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 due to the brightness of the morning.