11 June 2013

[pdx_photo] Mt Hood and Division Street and The Hood and The Camera Thereunto

2942.I'm very happy with the area of Portland I live in, even if it's not the fashionable, Portlandiable part.

As a matter of fact, I think I'm happy with it because it's not fashionable.

Recently I took advantage of a view point that I'd actually not visited before. At SE 136th Avenue and Division Street in outer East Portland, there's a pedestrian overpass. Its south end is located square between the Dairy Queen on the corner and the Dutch Bros of which we have much custom. We had decided to go it rough, get our coffee from Da Broze and our lunch from the shabby but so very good Cruiser's Cafe and pack it off to Parklane Park and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. The Wife™ handled the coffee-purchasing duties and I ascended to the apex of the overpass to catch the view.

It was so nice, the camera came out.

Division Street in Portland runs, from the river out through Gresham, and if you don't count the part calling itself SE Division Dr just beyond Gresham, about fifteen miles. That's a long, straight piece of pavement; when I was a kid and growing up in Silverton, Salem was fifteen miles down the road.

I've always been impressed with streets that run that long

The thing about Division is that it's unabashedly suburban. It's rode hard and put away wet and it's still got a sort of grace. In the above picture there, the little blue-gray apartment complex called the "Swan Court"? Back when this was how you got from city to city, that was a shabby little motel called the Swanee. That's been quite a while.

The division it's named after isn't obvious, but I've wrote of it before. This street runs parallel to, and exactly one mile south of, Stark Street, which is on the Willamette Base Line.  Division Street is laid out along the first section line south of that base line; that's the division it refers to. It was, before it was urbanized, called Section Line Road.

It, of course, beckons one to Mount Hood, which is my other fetish.

The hood I speak of is perhaps a bit of a lazy coinage these days, and I'm a little sorry for it, but it's hard to avoid using it when speaking of the peak. I've lived in its shadow all my life, and it's kind of a lodestone for me. When I see it, I know I'm where I should be. Home ground.

The challenge with my meagre equipment is to frame and choose the perspectives. I don't have the luxury of attaching a telephoto lens when I want to get a perspective that highlights the way Mount Hood seems to loom on the horizon in subjective view; I have to stand and look and then crop the result.

I use in-camera effects.

But it's not entirely bad. I think it makes me work more creatively. When you don't have fancy devices to support your artistic vision, you have to be nimble. Still, I'm always surprised; Hood always comes out so much smaller in my photos than the impression I get simply looking at it.

Cities in Oregon usually impress the visitor because there are so many trees. I remember as a kid in Salem going up to the Chemeketa Parkade, that garage that overbounds Chemeketa Street; you look north and you can't see the city for the trees. Outer East Portland, with so much green, is the same way. As urbanized as it is, the urban gets lost in the urban forest pretty quickly.

And if I take another POV, I arrange more of humankind's works, such as they be, power towers and power lines and transformers and plastic signage and roofing and insurance offices in front of that great mountain and, well, it's something I've been able always to find some sort of odd beauty in.

It's our world. It is what it is.

And so it goes.

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