Reaching out against the sky, spires that would make a cathedral jealous poke holes in the blue. Massive footings – shoes that would be big for Paul Bunyan or even Finn McCool fill house sized footprints on the riverbank. Gothic arches soar, leading the eye up and onward towards heaven, or at least the underdeck of the road.
And where is this architectural marvel?
Up in the north end of Portland, Oregon, a massive cathedral sits. While it can be a spiritual place to commune, it is not a conventional church. Its name is Cathedral Park, inspired by the architecture of the St. Johns bridge and the grandeur of the spaces it occupies.
Click on any photo for a larger, clearer view.
We came to the park to enjoy a lovely spring afternoon and the aura the bridge provides. I, of course, had an ulterior motive; I wanted to see what kind of effect I’d get off the water with my infrared camera. Wouldn’t you know it, the bridge just happens to cross the Willamette River…
The park resides on the east side of the river, filling 22 acres under the bridge footings and beyond.
We began by heading to the river. There’s something about water that has almost a gravitational pull for the soul. Is it evolution calling us back to our roots? Maybe not, mountains pull at me too.
Looking south, towards downtown, a pair of railroad bridges crosses the water.
(Note to visitors new to infrared photography: the colors are all fake, they are what I make them. The only visible light I pick up is oranges and reds and I usually spin them towards blue. Foliage reflects a lot of IR light, that’s why it appears white in the B/W shots and whatever color I feel like in the color shots – IR light doesn’t have a visible color. See earlier posts for more details.)
Looking north, I found Love.
If only, for all those years I was a bachelor, I knew it would be this easy. But this is Love at a distance, and what fun is that?
Heading up from the river we walk a riverside trail southbound. Just beyond the grounds of the park, we find a large flask outside a city Water Bureau building.
And looking out, beyond the grassy bank, the water.
Being a city bureau, it’s inevitable they get a bit behind on maintenance. Behold the weeds…
Yes, that picture is in visible light, albeit somewhat enhanced. I wandered around the park wearing two cameras, one infrared and one standard, straps slung diagonally crosswise across my torso, bandolero style. El Bandito Fotografía.
Just for fun, here’s another dandelion picture I’m stealing from another outing; a dandelion with a big zit.
Here’s another natural light shot from the grounds, a Dogwood blossom.
Folks who have followed this site for a few years may have a feeling of deja vu. I wrote about the St. Johns bridge and Cathedral park four years ago. Check out the link for more visible light pictures and facts and figures about the bridge. At the time they built it, it was the longest/tallest/highest clearance bridge of its type in the country.
Heading back to the park, it was time to take in the bridge vistas.
The bridge has two spired (inspired?) towers, one on each side of the river.
They say you should never look directly into the sun. Shade your eyes…
But the aspect that really gives the park its hushed, cathedral like feeling is the arched, gothic footings.
And the burning bush only adds to the feeling.
Ok, so it’s just a back-lit tree. Even in green, it’s pretty impressive.
The whole thing has a sort of stark beauty to it. Power, finesse, rigor, all wrapped in a velvet glove.
And in the end, despite it being a lovely warm spring day, by not abridging the bridge by merely seeing it in visible light, by looking beyond into the infrared we see it’s truly a bridge for all seasons.