It’s all about Perspective


Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing my fair (and hot, so very hot) city of Portland from an entirely new vantage point – up above.


My friend Brian is a photographer and a pilot, and he was kind enough to take Mike and I up in the super rad, 50’s era (with upgraded engine, etc) Cessna he flies for a local tourism flight company.


Our flight got rained/fogged/clouded out last month so I was very excited to get up in better weather – turns out, 40 degrees hotter and also veiled in a haze but at least that haze was see-though. I took in the views through my Velvet 85 – partly because that’s the longest focal length of the lenses I own, and partly because I figured that hazy aesthetic was a good match for Velvet. I shot most everything at f/2.8 to capitalize on Velvet’s glow, the already hazy aesthetic and the subtle additional miniaturization it would add to the scene. Then I also took accompanying shots at f/8 to make sure I had a range of options without additional glow.


Brian and Mike sat in the front of the tiny 4-seater, and I sat in the back. Mike is very tall so that was the only option…but luckily Brian is on the shorter side so I still had plenty of room behind him. We kept the windows open (they pop out from the bottom) and were able to stick our cameras out the window to shoot. The air cooled as we climbed in altitude and we wore headphones with mics to communicate because it’s loud and windy.

We began our route toward the Columbia River toward Mount Hood.


The Sandy River.


Bull Run Reservoir nestled far from public view, delivering delicious water to the city of Portland.


The mighty Cascades.


The beautiful Lost Lake, lots of great hiking trails traverse its sides.


Two shots illustrating the damage from last summer’s Eagle Creek fire, started by a bunch of ignorant teenagers throwing smoke bombs into the woods at the height of fire danger season. It wrought heartbreaking devastation to the forest and its animals, and put a lot of lives and homes at risk.


The majestic Mount Hood.


Bonneville Dam along the Columbia River.


Crown Point viewpoint.


Multnomah Falls, one of the most crowded, touristed spots in the gorge with a historic lodge. Note the burnt trees – it was only the heroics of fire fighters that saved this treasure during the Eagle Creek fire.


Beating the 100 degree temps by hitting the water.


A view of Fremont Bridge & Industrial NW.


Some ships.


Our City of Bridges – this view includes from the top: Ross Island, Tilikum Crossing (a pedestrian & public transport only bridge), 405 South and the Hawthorne.


Providence Park, home of the MLS Cup-winning Portland Timbers #RCTID


Not a terribly interesting shot except look, it’s my house!

A few other technical notes. I shot these on my new Sony A7iii and this was the third photo-worthy event of my day, and I was still at 81% battery at the end of it. Had I shot it on my A7ii, I’d have killed one battery and be on to the next. So nice not to have to worry about that! Also, I’m not a big post-processor, I do the basics in Lightroom but don’t tend to spend too much time beyond that. Shooting in hot hazy conditions when you’re essentially bobbing for photos while manually focusing sticking your arms out an airplane 1000+ feet above the ground, taught me the value of the dehaze slider.

Next month’s post will hopefully provide yet another unique view of our beautiful state should all go well. Stay tuned! Next up in this month’s Lensbaby blog circle is a story of serendipity – being in the right place at the right time and being able to capture something pretty extraordinary. Check out the next post from Birgit Fostervold.



5 thoughts on “It’s all about Perspective

  1. Last things first: wow, about that battery capacity! Neither any of my two Nikons nor my entry-level Olympus EM10 would match that, not even with the LCD screens disabled I think. Then, the flight: I would NEVER be able to replicate those pics, simply because I am too chicken to get up in a small plane like that. Yikes, I get nauseated just by thinking about it. I am able to enjoy your photos, though. 😉 My favourite is the Cascades, by far – wow! The layers! Forest fires are tragic. This summer has been crazy warm here, and BBQ etc. is strictly forbidden. Still, people seem to think that they can judge the risk themselves, and there’s been several fires. Luckily, nothing quite as bad as the one you experienced last year.


  2. Great post and pics. I love the colour palette in the shots. What a great opportunity for a shoot. For what it’s worth, I am presently “pondering” over the Sony A7r111.


  3. How lucky you are to go on a plane to take pictures! Were you ever scared you might lose your camera? I worry about that all the time. Love your collection of your Portland landscapes.


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