Thursday, May 20, 2010

Above Portland

It's pretty obvious that we love Portland. Bruce Forster, owner and lead photographer at Viewfinders Stock Photography, photographs the city at all angles. Underground, eye level, and then, of course, from the air. And you'd think, after shooting for over thirty years in town, he would have photographed everything! Nope, just the other day, he did something he has never done before. He photographed Portland at night from a helicopter. If you're a photographer, you know night and motion don't mix very well. Out of 60 shots, Bruce got 6 in focus. Hey, not bad!

Aerial photography is like an old hat for Bruce.  Commissioned by multiple clients to get shots of various buildings and spaces makes flight costs lower for everybody. One client who wants to be a part of each flight is Cameron Publishing in San Francisco.  They've hired Bruce to produce the photography for a new book about Portland.  Entitled "Above Portland", this coffee table book will be the first since the death of Robert Cameron, 98, owner of and photographer for Cameron + Company. His grandson-in-law, Chris Gruener, chose Portland because of it's popularity in the bay area. This will also be the first book with a new branding design. Owner of an extensive collection of aerial photography from over the years, Bruce was the best candidate. So, in company with Chet Orloff, a well known local historian and writer, Bruce is combining his library along with new shots to create a perfect aerial view of Portland.

Chris Gruener called just in time too. It's spring in Portland and it just so happens to be Forster's favorite time to get in the helicopter and capture the new growth and greenest greens around this beautiful place. On a routine late afternoon flight after knocking out a few locations, Tyler, Bruce's trusty pilot, informs him of how hungry he has become. Agreeing to grab a bite (not a beer, of course) at Old Town Pizza, they touch down at the helipad nearby. After some incredible pizza, up again they go with the sun below the horizon. It's dusk. Turning the helicopter power off (so they're floating or dropping) reduces the vibrations and therefore reduces camera shake enabling Bruce to capture Portland's nightlife. And how alive it looks! 

Bruce plans to head up again. Preparing will be key. He might take his rigged mono pod for some fisheye shots or maybe a gyroscope to reduce the motion. Aerial photography is Bruce Forster's specialty. It will never become a commodity. Flying in low, sometimes below rooftops makes most people uncomfortable (me included). Please let us know if Portland aerials are something you need. "Above Portland" will be out at Christmas.