What’s going on in Portland’s Lloyd district and parts of the Pearl District as of today! Currently a massive construction project got under way and as I drove by the construction zone I noticed a crater about 30 feet deep and an area about the size of 5 football fields being torn up. They are in the process of building a 21 story apartment high rise as well as 3 additional 5 story buildings which will include parks and walking areas. This is probably the Lloyd areas largest and most extensive building project in it’s history. This is especially true since it’s primary reason is for residential housing. If you look at the photo, the tower will be located just behind the green glass spire that’s part of the convention center. Another major construction project that is supposed to start soon is the Portland convention center hotel that will be between the convention center and just east of the I-5 freeway. If you look at the photo, it would be almost right in the middle of where you see the Moda center and the convention center. This high rise is expected to be at least 22 stories and have 600 rooms. It’s also expected to attract several smaller construction develops around the hotel. For anybody interested in what’s going on in the Pearl District, they are almost finished with a 6 story hotel that they have been working on and it’s located along the train tracks and across the street from the Encore building. There is also a lot of buzz about two different towers that they are planning to build near the Encore. One is slated to be around 26 stories and the other around 24 stories. I’m not holding my breath on these but if they do build them, it will really change the entire face of the Pearl District. This is especially true since there are several residential building currently under construction on the north end of the neighborhood.
[/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.
[/caption] It may be looking a lot more like fall in other parts of the Country but in Portland, Oregon the weather has been calling for an extended stretch of warm and sunny weather. We have only experienced 1 rainy day since July and almost no cloudy days that I can think of. This is what you call global warming at it max. The last time Oregon experienced heat like this was just after the earth was born over 4 billion years ago. Some of the vegetation is already starting to show yellows, browns and reds but I can’t tell if its due to stress from the heat or the fall colors. Normally I would be photographing the change of colors high in the mountains of the Cascades but unfortunately the wildfires have turned me back every time. It’s hard to find a good photo opportunity when the skies are covered in thick brown smoke and most of the glaciers have been melting like a hot tin roof. I took this photo yesterday on 9/23/12 and the sun was at a 90 degree angle in the far left. I was hoping that the skies would have been more clear but a lot of the smoke from the fires have made it’s way into the city.
[/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.
[/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.
[/caption] Most people say that the view from Kerry Park is hands down the best place to view the city. It’s pretty hard to argue that statement especially when you can see Mt. Rainier in the background as well as the Space Needle in the foreground. It’s the only place that I was able to include the mountain with the city. You can also see all the way across Elliot Bay and view parts of the Olympic mountains as well as watch the boats enter the harbor. However, I can’t really decide if this is truly the best place to view the city. It is by far one of the best places but I don’t know if I agree it’s the best. As a photographer, there are several parks to get some amazing panoramic photos and unfortunately Kerry Park is on the north side of the city which limits your view of how massive and long the city really is. There are also a lot of tall trees that obscures the views as you can see in this photo. However, Gas Works park and West Seattle allows you a much better panoramic view of the city. I had to use my 12-24mm lens to have the Space Needle and Quest field in the same frame when I took my photo from West Seattle. You can also see that photo that I took and posted on my blog on 8/1910. I also wrote a very extensive article when I first returned from my photography trip last summer. Gas Works park offers some great views as seen from the east part of the city. I will admit that Kerry Park is the most well kept and tranquil park that I have visited so far in Seattle but I don’t think it offers the best panoramic views of the city. My vote for the best place to view Seattle is in West Seattle. But then again that’s just my opinion. To get this shot I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my 18-55mm lens. I was using my CIR-PL and my warming filter. There was a huge wildfire that started in the Olympic mountains a few days earlier which caused the orange haze as seen in the background. The 90 degree weather and stale air didn’t help either. However, it did create a really nice hue around mt. Rainier. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since we visited the park to get some nice sunset shots. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F5 and the shutter speed was at 1/20 second. Due to the glare from the haze I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1.3. This photo was taken at 8:17pm so the sun hadn’t set yet. I believe the sun set around 8:50pm. Unfortunately many of my sunset photos didn’t come out as planned since the forest fire had created a strong glare and each time I took a photo after sunset the glare from the lights made the photo look blurry. However, I was able to get a few keepers and I will be posting them on my blog soon.
[/caption] This is now only my second photo of Seattle, WA that I’ve posted on my blog. Recently I’ve been pondering my next visit to this great city so I can take some more amazing photos. This photo was taken from West Seattle which is just across Elliot Bay. It’s an easy and quick drive from I-5 and it offers some of the most amazing photo opportunities in the city. The sun sets behind you and you can capture the glare of the sinking sun as it shines over the sky scrapers. You can also get some great shots of the Olympic mountains as the sun sets behind the mountains. This shot was taken last July and the temperatures on our trip were in the mid 90 degree mark. The temps were so warm that the air was a bit stale and a forest fire in the Olympic mountains really ruined the air quality all over the city. You can kind of see the smoke behind the city. I took this shot at about 9:00 pm, just as the sun had set. I wanted to be able to use the shutter mode on the camera but there was still too much glare. However, I just attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to filter out the glare from the lights and water as well as soften the glare from the lights. The shutter speed was at 6 seconds and the F stop was at F-14. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I was using my Canon EOS Rebel T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. The focal length was at 109 and I set the ISO at 800 and the white balance at 0. I spent over two hours photographing from this spot and I experimented with several different settings including several different filter’s. I was wanting to get a shot using the shutter but without having any boats in the frame. This would eliminate any tracers created by the movement of the boats and their lights. However, this is not an easy task when taking pictures in one of the busiest harbors in America. On my next trip I will try to visit during either the months of April or May so I can have a better chance of getting some great photos with clouds and some cooler weather. This shouldn’t be a problem since we all know how rainy and unpredictable the weather is in Seattle. I will be posting some more photos of Seattle in the coming weeks so I can show off some of the great views from all over the city.