It’s safe to say that I’m fascinated with the rich transit history of my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, and it’s certainly something that I’ve explored before in a previous project. This new project started out with a very simple goal – to produce a route map of Portland streetcars at their zenith in 1920 that showed each line separately – but it quickly grew into something much more.
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 30 seconds
Focal Length: 40mm
ISO Speed: 100
A combination of a perfect gradient sky and some lovely light trails from traffic on the extremely photogenic) bridge through the 30-second exposure make this one of my favourite photos ever.
The shot was made possible by the use of a 6x neutral density filter, which allowed me to extend the exposure time, even in pretty decent evening light. The 30 second time is what allows the light trails to build up so nicely, although there were a lot of discarded shots where the trails weren’t anywhere near as nice – orange turn indicator lights blink on and off, creating a dotted line, rather than the smooth, flowing lights in this shot.
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO Speed: various
Composite image of the total lunar eclipse on the 20th of February, 2008 in Portland, Oregon. Photos were taken at five minute intervals from 6:13pm to 7:03pm US Pacific Time. Totality was achieved at 7.01pm. The yellowish tinge to the moon in the first few images is due to its proximity to the horizon at the time. As it rose higher, the yellow colour faded away, only to be replaced by the eerie blood-red of the eclipse.
Technical Details: The camera was tripod mounted with mirror lockup enabled (the bright moon can create a reflection on the mirror that can ruin the exposure as the mirror flips up) and a cable release to minimise camera shake. I shot RAW files to give me more post-processing flexibility. Exposures vary from 1/60th second at ƒ/11, ISO 100 for the first image to one second at ƒ/11, ISO 800 for the final image — the moon is a surprisingly bright object and doesn’t need long exposures if you want to retain surface detail in your shots. I performed some minor exposure and white balance adjustment in Adobe Lightroom before final composition in Photoshop.
Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 60 seconds
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100
Portland has no shortage of fantastic bridges to take photos of, from the industrial (and unique) Steel Bridge, to this one: the graceful arch of the Fremont Bridge soaring high above the Willamette River.
For this photo, I used the “bulb” exposure setting on my camera and simply tried to get the longest exposure I could in order to smooth out the water as much as possible. Trial and error played a big part — hooray for digital photography — until I came up with the settings used here: a full minute of exposure at f/16. The different temperatures of the various light sources (including a pretty bright reflected street light glow off the clouds) certainly makes for an interesting image!
The beautifully Gothic St. Johns Bridge in Portland has always been a photographic magnet for me, particularly from this viewpoint at the eastern end. This photo was taken on a bitterly cold, foggy morning in January 2013: the sun was trying its hardest to break through, which made for some lovely, subtle lighting. My 6x ND filter allowed me to extend the exposure time and blur out the cars crossing the bridge, which always adds an extra ethereal quality to a photo. I also added an extra stop of exposure to compensate for the dark filter, which you often have to do in low light situations or the filter will give you underexposed shots.
The beautifully Gothic St. Johns Bridge in Portland has always been a photographic magnet for me, particularly from this viewpoint at the eastern end. This photo was taken on a bitterly cold, foggy morning in January 2013: the sun was trying its hardest to break through, which made for some lovely, subtle lighting.
My 6x ND filter allowed me to extend the exposure time and blur out the cars crossing the bridge, which always adds an extra ethereal quality to a photo. I also added an extra stop of exposure to compensate for the dark filter, which you often have to do in low light situations or the filter will give you underexposed shots.
Today is the end of an era in Portland, Oregon.
TriMet, under budgetary stress, has done away with the much-loved Free Rail Zone, which allowed free travel by light rail and streetcar within the “Fareless Square” area of downtown Portland and the Lloyd Center. Not too long ago, Fareless Square also applied to buses in the same area, so the writing’s been on the wall for a while.
Somewhat related to my previous post, here’s a new transit map of Portland for your perusal. This piece was born out of two things – a friendly after-work chat with the immensely talented Ryan Sullivan of Paste In Place, where we discussed a concept similar to this; and a chance discovery of a high-resolution scan of a 1943 streetcar/trolley map on the amazing Vintage Oregon site.
Here’s a new transit diagram that I’ve been working on for a while now – a unified rail transit map for the place I live, Portland, Oregon. Portland is blessed with fantastic public transportation, but I’ve always felt that the official TriMet system diagram fails to fully show this, even after its recent redesign.