Portland Photographs

A story for every stone

My explorations of Portland’s historic Lone Fir Cemetery found lots of fascinating headstones. Each represents a life, a full story, a story that intersects with hundreds of other stories. And how do we remember these former residents, who are now but forgotten. Cemeteries remain a good place to contemplate one’s life and what one does with one’s life. Because ultimately we all return to the earth, and our life is but a speck in the passage in time in an infinite universe. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)


Winter’s long shadows on the campus of Reed College

I love the long shadows cast by late afternoons on a winter’s day. Late yesterday afternoon, I realized the conditions were near optimal on a clear day in Portland. I visited the campus of Reed College, a private liberal arts school that now costs about $60,000 for tuition and room and board.  The school has three landmark buildings that utilize Tudor Gothic style: the old dorm block, Eliot Hall, and the old library building. All make for excellent photo props in every season. Despite the exorbitant costs to attend the four-year college, the campus is beautiful, located next to a wildlife refuge that is the source for Crystal Springs. The campus’ orientation is mostly east and west, so the sun will hit most buildings at an angle, creating the aforementioned shadows, except the library which faces west. Right after the simple shoot with my trusty GoPro camera, I headed to my ultimate destination, the Gigantic Brewing Co., co-founded by one Reed grad and former musician. I always like to support home-grown suds businesses, especially a creative one from a fellow alum.

Belmont Street, old meets new and with a bit of art thrown in

Belmont Street is one of those quintessential streets in Portland that fuses “weird Portland” and gentrifying Portland. Off the main drag one can find the old Portland wooden Victorian homes, painted in lovely colors. Sunnyside Plaza is quite boisterous, with an entire intersection painted, and I would like to see more of this. The upscale food store Zupan’s has an entire city block of Belmont, surrounded by businesses like the Anasasi Beat African drum and crafts store and Stumptown Roasters coffee shop. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

A few more churches, it is Sunday afterall

While exploring a part of Northeast Portland, i spotted two churches that needed some photographic attention. The light was just setting as I pulled up to St. Stephen’s Catholic Church on a cold day last weekend, and then minutes later, the sun dipped, and the entire look and feel of the church changed.

Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

Westmoreland, on a very cold fall day in Portland

Technically I live in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood, but I consider Westmoreland to be distinct unto itself. I once lived here oh so many years ago when I was an undergraduate, so it is a place I have called home. The defining features are the massive rail right of way, the Westmoreland Manor retirement community off McLauphlin Boulevard, and the newly restored Westmoreland Park. They all mash together in a valley. I now run and walk here and enjoy the park, the local eateries and brewpubs, and cozy little homes. It would be a good place to call home for the long haul. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Portland scenes, trail to hilltop mansion

There is a wonderful hike you can take from the MacLeay Trail, to the Wildwood Trail, and then to the Pittock Mansion, which rests high above the city and has a commanding view of Mt. Hood in the distance. I snapped these shots on my first trip to the mansion this week on a clear and cold day, and I was rewarded with excellent views. (Click on each photo to see a larger photo on a separate picture page.)

Two perspectives on two Portlands

I had thoughts of developing a blog devoted exclusively to the divisions I see in Portland, where the professional and monied class have lives as radically different from those at the bottom as did the nobility of France prior to the collapse of the Old Regime in the late 1700s–a topic I studied at great length back in college. I am stil not sure what the point would be. I mean this is so obvious to everyone who lives here, what would I say and show that is new. So with that on my mind, I share two of the most commonly observed images one has that define the Portland I see all the time.

These two homes are actually less than 1.5 miles apart, as the crow flies. The homeless shed is one of many one sees, everywhere under the freeways and in green zones and transportation corridors and downtown. The Pittock Mansion is the crown jewel of the postcard Portland the city likes to beam out to the world. From this former home-turned-museum, one has a grand view of Mt. Hood, the shipyards, and downtown Portland. It is a beautiful place. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Sellwood neighborhood, first impressions

One of the golden rules of photography I learned years ago was to immediately take pictures when you see something fresh and your mind is open to new ideas and perspectives, not deadened by familiarity and routine. I have always taken my best pictures usually the first days or hours of arriving in a new place, because I am receptive and attuned. So this morning, I did a stroll in my new neighborhood, Sellwood, in southeast Portland. I do not want to make any comments yet, since it is all fresh. But there is a certain degree of “hipness” that permeates the air, and I generally do not like that subjective word. Sellwood is what it is, and it is now home, and here is how it looks with a GoPro fisheye lens, with some added contrast for effect.