Portland is a wonderful city. I’ve been living in the area for many years now, and I simply love it. One of the benefits to living in a place for a long period of time is the photo opportunities. Any place can be beautiful. But the truly magical moments are sporadic and fleeting. You might luck out with timing, but that’s sheer coincidence. To guarantee success in a particular place, living there certainly gives you the upper hand.
Over the years, I have found there are so many things I love photographing in this city. Here are some of my favorites – something of a personal photo tour, if you will.
This is the city of bridges, after all! And we have so many pretty ones to shoot. I probably shoot the Hawthorne most, simply because it’s the most photogenic on my daily route. However, the Tilikum is quite picturesque, and the Fremont is my favorite. Occasionally, we like to pop up to the elegant St. Johns as well.
We have some very interesting characters in town! Even the ones who look most innocuous often have fascinating stories behind them.
I love shooting events as well as scenery (which is why I keep coming back to Kumoricon each year), and Portland has a lot of them! From the annual celebrations to one-off spectacles, there are so many things to choose from that we never get bored year-to-year.
And some of those events are odd. And some of the normal events have odd things. And some odd things just exist for no rhyme or reason at all. An obsession with our airport’s carpet? Sure, why not? “Keep Portland Weird,” right?
From the Rose Test Garden to the Waterfront sakura, Portland has a lot of flora to flaunt. After all, this is also the City of Roses. Close up, in fields, purple, pink, and blue, there are myriad petals to fill my SD card.
And flowers typically constitute only one of the stunning seasons we experience here. Wintertime is usually more raining than photogenic, but when we do get some snow, it’s magical. And of course, fiery autumn will always be my favorite season, here or anywhere. But we’re fortunate to have some spectacularly vibrant colors in this town.
I’m drawn to scenic shots, so of course I’m going to be seeking out the best vantages in the city. I’ve found a few favorites, and I periodically discover new ones.
In the summertime, it’s usually dry enough that we have nothing but blue skies at sunrise (which doesn’t make for very jaw-dropping scenes). In the wintertime, most mornings rise grey, with nary a sun to be seen. It’s quite rare that we actually have some clouds that are patchy enough to let through the morning rays. And even then, the breaks have to be in just the right places to let the sun bounce off of what is in the sky, and there has to be enough to provide the perfect blanket of color.
As you can guess, all the right conditions converging at sunrise is rare indeed. And then I have to be in the right place in time to catch it.
These are my unicorns. I’ve caught a few, I’ve missed many, and I’ve been in-place only to be disappointed far more times than I can count. But the thrill of the chase keeps me coming back.
Have you ever been to Portland? What are your favorite things to shoot? Do you find these same things in your own home town?