Friday, July 3, 2009

The Made in Oregon sign set to change soon

made in oregon sign portland oregon
made in oregon, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

Some of you may have heard that a local landmark will be changing...again. The “Made in Oregon” sign, which once read “White Stag” will soon simply say “Oregon” in deference to the University of Oregon who happens to own the building on which the sign sits. There was a bit of political theater in the city of Portland and some debate but a compromise was reached. My fellow night photographer, Doug Richardson, also mentioned the upcoming change to the sign along with some of his signature black and white shots.

It's funny how two photographers can shoot the same subject and get completely different results. I'm constantly amazed. You wouldn't think that something as static as the "Made in Oregon" sign could yield such varied creative interpretations and yet it does.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Upcoming Movie Event: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at the Bagdad Theater

Friday, May 29
Fleur de Lethal Cinematheque presents

10 p.m. | $5 per person | 21 & over
Bagdad Theater, Portland, Oregon

A rare 35mm screening of the Paul Rubens classic. We are going for a world record “Largest Amount of Pee Wee Herman Look-A-Likes On Bicycle!”

There will be a pre-show bar crawl on the way to the theater — and as with all Fleur de Lethal events, a costume and dance contest will open the movie. Yes indeed — buff up those white platforms because we are doing a “Tequila” showdown”!! The grand prize will be a retro inspired cruiser! More details will be available as they develop…

**It’s the first night of Rose Festival, so a post-film mass ride may have to take to Naito Pkwy.***

Bagdad Theater Portland Oregon
There will be a kid-friendly matinee showing on May 30th at 2pm. More details here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Year Ago

May 5, 2008 was the first time that I took photographs of Portland at night and it was reluctantly, at the invitation of my friend, Patricia. I was pleasantly surprised with my results that night but it wasn't until the Fall of 2008 that I became officially hooked on night photography.

The shot of Union Station taken from the Broadway Bridge is still one of my favorite shots. Someone on flickr commented that except for the skyscraper in the background, the shot could be from 50 years ago. It does give me the feel of a lonely Edward Hopper painting.

Steel Bridge Portland Oregon

The Steel Bridge was shot earlier in the evening from the east side when it wasn't quite dark. Lately I've been feeling that I may have lost my night photography mojo. While there is still a long list of venues around Portland that I'd like to capture (Reed College, Ross Island Bridge from the east side, Tip Top Cleaners to name just a few) I seem to have trouble motivating myself.

As for Patricia, she recently moved to Arcata, California and I will follow her down to the California in another month. But I'll be moving all the way back to the Bay Area and maybe the change will jump start my passion for night photography. Here's hoping.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Five years ago

autumn chase apartments
Portland at night, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

Five years ago I moved into this apartment. It wasn't meant to be that long. This was only supposed to be a brief stop on my journey. How did it get to be five years!?!?!? Cwazy. And no, it wasn't snowing on that day either. All I have are these snowy night photos of the apartment complex.

I have decided to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area in June. I'm going to miss Portland, there's no doubt about that. For financial reasons, I have decided to pull up the stakes and head south. There will be plenty to photograph where ever I go.

Greyhound Station, Oakland, California

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One more weekend left to see the exhibit of Portland at night at Powell's City of Books

If you haven't had a chance to get down to Powell's bookstore to see the Portland at night exhibit of black and white photography, it's not too late. The show will be there through the weekend and possibly the beginning of April. Nobody's contacted me about taking it down yet. So be sure and hop on down to Powell's at 1005 West Burnside in Portland, Oregon as soon as you can. The exhibit is in the Pearl Room on the third floor.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Daylight savings time has gotten me seriously discombobulated, even a week later. It seems to take forever to get dark these days. Or is it just me?

Patricia and I drove over to the Rose Quarter a few days ago in a quest to find the best vantage for the Broadway Bridge. All my shots of the BB were from the west side and slightly out of focus. In order to fit the planned bridge mosaic, I had determined that I needed the vantage from the southeast. So we got there at our usual sunset time and waited. And waited. Finally I had the right amount of darkness and the bridge did not disappoint me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

You are hereby cordially invited to an exhibit of my photographs at Powell's Books

A few weeks ago I received a call from Powell's Books letting me know that my photographs had been chosen for an exhibit in their Basil Hallward Gallery located in the Pearl Room on the third floor of the Burnside location in downtown Portland. The exhibit will continue throughout the month of March and the opening reception will be held on First Thursday March 5, 2009 at 7pm. I hope you all can make it. I'm going to be featuring about 26 photographs of varying sizes, all black and white, all Portland, all night.

Remember: It's Powell's City of Books, 1005 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Re-shooting: A nuisance but a necessity

Recently I have been working with a great guy and awesome photographer by the name of Glen Plam (he goes by mud_dog on flickr). Working to improve my technical skills. There's always room for improvement right?

I asked Glen for help with my shadows. Shadow detail hasn't been much of an issue when shooting the bridges but as I've branched out into other parts of towns and neon signs in particular, well...I had a hard time reconciling the highlights with the shadows.

Glen pointed out something that I had long forgotten: Expose for the highlights and develop for the shadows. Of course! This simple rule was deeply buried in my sub-conscious but yes, it was still there. It makes perfect sense. You can't recover information that isn't there and if the highlights are blown out by over-exposure, there's no way to bring them back.

Glen patiently demonstrated some simple post-processing techniques to bring up shadow detail and encouraged me to shoot raw. All of this led to the fact that I needed to re-shoot certain places. I didn't really want to but I forced myself.

I went out one night recently, sufficiently motivated to re-shoot, or so I thought. At first it felt awkward. The light wasn't right. I got there too early and it wasn't dark enough. The shop was still open and, worse, there were people lingering inside. Had I lost my mojo?

Deep breath.

Re-shoooting isn't so bad after all.

Immortal Piano Company Portland Oregon

Here is the Immortal Piano Company, after it had closed for the night and the customers had gone home, re-shot and re-processed. It's a difficult subject...still. I deleted the original from flickr which was hasty of me. I have it somewhere in my archives. I'm still not sure if I got it right. I think what makes this shot so difficult is that the neon happens to be white instead of a color as in most of the neon signs around town and therefore a white, hot highlight.

Immortal Piano Company Portland Oregon

What do you think?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Still experimenting with Portland at night

barber shop on Broadway in Portland
Barbershop, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

I'm still playing with the idea of a portfolio site and a new, "improved" blog. Based on some feedback I received regarding my last blog post, I've been re-thinking the whole idea. I hastily put together this viewer at my old, old (over 10 years) website, heavy duty design. As, always I'd love to know what you think.

Your feedback - good, bad and/or constructive - is always welcome. Thank you for your patience while I work things out.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Portland at night is moving

mock crest tavern lombard avenue portland oregon
Mock Crest Tavern Portland Oregon, originally uploaded by alicethelma.
I've been working on a version of this blog in wordpress and you can check it out here. While it's still a beta version as I continue to tweak, I'm finding it a little difficult to maintain three blogs - I also have alicethelma - and continue to prowl the streets of Portland at night capturing digital images. There just aren't enough hours in the day...or night.

I hope you will continue to check the new blog often.
I enjoy your visits.
And, as always, your feedback is most welcome.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Let there be light

portland at night
Lux, Portland Oregon
Originally uploaded by alicethelma
I did a little window shopping in NW Portland recently and discovered two very illuminating shops – both on NW Glisan Street coincidentally. Hive sticks out like a little box of store but the lighting attracts the eye. The window display reminded me of an old, old Woody Allen movie. Sleeper I think. The futuristic movie he made - futuristic in that mod 60s sort of way. Know what I mean?

portland at night

Traveling a little farther up Glisan I encountered Lux lighting. Lux’s lights sparkle like diamonds and it’s especially pretty at night, Check these two shops out next time you’re in the Pearl.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Portland at Night: Hawthorne Bridge

I love the Hawthorne Bridge almost as much as I love the Steel Bridge. I love the Hawthorne Bridge because every night it 's a vibrant hub of human activity humming with the noise of human movement in all it's various forms. I say humming because the bridge isn't solid pavement. The deck is constructed of open steel grating, which is lighter, allows the rain to fall through and "sings" from the sound of vehicle tires. This information was gleaned from the Portland Bridge Book by Sharon Wood Wortman.

Yes, you can be entertained by this bridge all night long just watching the many cars, buses, pedestrians and especially bicycles cross it. More bikes now than ever before. Did you know that the bridge officially opening in 1910 - the same year the Boy Scouts of America and the NAACP were both founded? All true my friend. All true.

hawthorne bridge portland oregon

From Wortman's book, I also learned about Dr. J.C. Hawthorne (1819-1881) who moved to Oregon and founded the Oregon Hospital for the Insane in 1859. At that time the hospital was located on Asylum Street in East Portland, which was, renamed Hawthorne Street in 1888, five years after the hospital was moved to Salem. Dr. Hawthorne is buried in Lone Fir Cemetery in Southeast Portland. Bloc 8M, Lot 44, Grave One North.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What's happening with Pioneer Courthouse?

I made it downtown the other night and was surprised to find Pioneer Courthouse covered in scaffolding. I didn’t know it was being renovated. Or had it always been covered and I just never noticed before? Or had it been so long since I’d been downtown? I think the recent snowstorms have turned my brain to mush (or maybe it’s just old age).

Some internet sleuthing revealed that the Courthouse had been renovated as recently as 2005 when the Post Office was removed and five additional parking spaces were added to the basement. It’s been more than 10 year since I’ve been inside the Courthouse but I am saddened by the loss of the Post Office. The building still houses the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the chambers of the Portland-based judges on the Ninth Circuit.
portland at night

The Pioneer Courthouse is the oldest federal building in the PNW and the second oldest west of the Mississippi and I should point out that the scaffolding covers only the west side of the building. The east and north sides were uncovered. I forgot to check out the south side.

If you know anything about the recent remodel, renovation or retro-fit, please let me know and in the meantime, you can learn more about the Pioneer Courthouse here.