Portland Pill Hill Evening Views

Portland Aerial Tram Upper Station | 1/40 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 1600

Today is March 1st. Technically we are in Spring now. Although it doesn’t show here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s freezing cold and it’s still raining. As promised in my last post I’m showing a few more photographs I took on Portland’s “Pill Hill” the other night. Marquam Hill, as the real name is, provides for some spectacular views across downtown, the Willamette River with its many bridges and on clear days onwards to Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens. Join me for some evening views of Portland by continue to read after the jump….

Marquam Hill (where the Oregon Health and Science University  and the Portland VA Medical Center operate large hospitals – hence the nickname “Pill Hill”) can be easily accessed by driving up Terwilliger Boulevard. There are some turnouts where you can stop to have a first glimpse up towards the Aerial Tram’s upper station that is built into the OHSU hospital. It offers also views of the Portland Downtown Skyline and the bridges of the Willamette River.

Portland Downtown | 1/30 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 1600
Marquam Bridge | 1/50 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 3200

I did find some free (up to 2 hours) parking up on Sam Jackson Park Road and then just walked down towards the Tram Station. To access it, you need to go through the OHSU building.

OHSU Kohler Pavilion and Tram Station | 1/13 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 1600
Portland Aerial Tram Upper Station | 1/13 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 1600

The platform can be accessed and from the open side you have splendid views across Portland. You can do this also in the rain, as you are protected by the station’s roof. In dry weather there are plenty open air walkways around the OHSU and VA buildings that you can explore for different views of the cityscape and the mountains beyond.

Portland Aerial Tram | 1/15 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 2500
Marquam Bridge | 10 sec @ f/10 and ISO 200

The image above is a more wide angled version of the one in yesterday’s post. Due to a relatively slow shutter speed I was able to capture the light trails of the flowing evening traffic.

Portland Downtown | 1/3 sec @ f/5.6 and ISO 640

To capture the photos I used my  Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the mZuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom as well as the Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom. Bringing two bodies for sure is luxury, but then again a mirrorless camera is not that big and it spared me the need to change lenses in the rain and wind. For the longer exposures (the last two images)  I put the cameras on my Rollei travel tripod, the rest of the shots I did hand held. You’ll notice that due to the low light available, most photos I took with a f-stop of f/2.8 which is the widest aperture on both lenses. But the Olympus Pro Zooms are awesome lenses that are tack sharp across the images already wide open. Really great pieces of glass!

This little evening photo shoot on the “Pill Hill” of Portland is a good example that even on business trips with a full agenda there are some opportunities for a bit of photography. I have my gear in the car and got going here despite rain and the late time of the day. It was definitely a good start to see more of Portland in the coming months.

Have a great day!


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25 thoughts on “Portland Pill Hill Evening Views

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  1. lovely photography. I like the Marquam Bridge and Portland bridge pictures. I’m assuming you have used tripod for slow shutter photographs. 🙂

  2. Wow! Dieses typische USA Flair begeistert mich immer sofort. Portland scheint eine (hierzulande) ganz schön unterschätzte Stadt zu sein. Sieht richtig einladend und spannend aus. Ich gebs zu, beneide Dich ein wenig drum… 😉

  3. I’m happy you found a little time to escape. Night photography is one of my favorites, although I have to do more of it and learn more of the techniques it become more fluent and second nature.
    You captured this city of lights beautifully once again and I always love to explore new places through your vision and your eyes. Thank you for allowing us to do so. ❤❤❤

  4. the 2nd, 5th and 6th photos are my favorites! One day soon I’m gonna get brave and try night photography – you inspire me so much always to try something different (even when mine are epic fails 🙂 ) I’m laughing as I type this that if Pintrest had an “epic photo fail” I’d probably get a prize!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth, this is much appreciated! There is no science to night photography, go out and try it. At the end it comes down to practice, practice, practice. I would assume Houston (I’ve only been at the airport there) has much to offer to capture at night! Would love to see something! Marcus

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