Right after I took this picture, I started glowing yellow, I turned invincible, and the mario star power music started playing from the skies

Right after I took this picture, I started glowing yellow, turned invincible, and the legendary mario star power music started playing from the skies.

Portland’s a funky town. I like it. In Atlanta where I grew up, I always got the feeling that everything was very politically correct, businessy, somewhat conservative and restricted, following society’s conventional (boring) norms. One thing that I like about Portland is how unconventional and out of the mold it is in many ways compared to what I’m used to. One such example is when some guy went down a bike lane and started painting Mario Kart symbols on the ground. As you bike down this street, you’ll pass over slippery banana peels, dangerous red shells, powerup mushrooms, lightning bolts, and of course the legendary gold stars. 😀 It was about two months ago when these things were painted down and they are still here today. Woohoo! After hearing about this on the news, I had to figure out exactly where it was and go see it for myself. Now that I’m getting my groove back and went down to shoot a marching band competition in Eugene, OR, the photo bug is kicking back in and armed with a fresh new replacement camera in hand, it’s time to do some explorin’! 🙂

Driving towards Portland under the skybuckets

Driving towards Portland under the skybuckets

Whenever I drove into Portland from the suburbs southwest of town, I’d always pass under these skybuckets that float over the highway. I’m not exactly sure what they’re for, but they’re cool. 🙂

Now one of the things I really wanted to see before leaving town was the mario kart symbols on the road that I’d seen on the news. After doing a little research about where they  were, I drove on up to Portland east of the river to N. Williams Ave. The fall colors are rockin’ here right now and so that made for even more awesomeness… as if real life Mario isn’t badass enough. 😉

A cyclist about to turn invincible by biking over a super star

A cyclist about to turn invincible by biking over a super star.

A cyclist narrowly avoids disaster by riding around a banana peel in the road

A cyclist narrowly avoids disaster by riding around a banana peel in the road.

A lightning bolt! There's also red turtle shells ahead so you can bash people you've shrunk!

A lightning bolt! There's also red turtle shells ahead so you can bash people you've shrunk!

There’s a big park downtown with a wonderful little japanese garden tucked inside. I felt like stopping by there as well as it’s a place that I’d seen in photos many a time. With the fall colors a’bloom, I figured it was a great time to go check it out. and yep, it was. 🙂

Japanese style building under colorful trees

Japanese style building under colorful trees

When I saw the tree below, it jumped out at me because I had seen pictures of it posted online many a time. It was nice and colorful and the backlit sunlight made it look pretty sweet. There was a line of photographers armed with cameras and tripods eager to shoot this pretty mama.

Colorful backlit tree

Colorful backlit tree

Speaking of trees, I was strolling through the park when I saw a tree that looked like it was smoking. Seriously! Turns out it was backlit steam coming off the moss on the trees. So cool!!

Steam coming off a mossy tree

Steam coming off a mossy tree

All over the place in this park there were beautiful colors, and the professionally landscaped landscape was such a pretty landscape.

Landscape.

Waterfall and colors in Portland's Japanese Garden

Waterfall and colors in downtown Portland's Japanese Garden

Now the reason I’d bought a new camera while the insurance dealio is processing is because I had a photo gig scheduled down in Eugene, OR shooting a marching band competition. Time to earn some more cash money!

A clarinet player rockin' a horn pop

A clarinet player rockin' a horn pop

We shot some 32 bands total and I cleared over 7,000 shots in about 7-8 hours, having a great time in the process. It was drizzling off and on throughout the day in the University of Oregon’s football stadium. Fortunately the rain held off and so every band had a chance to shine.

A member of the color guard performs

A member of the color guard performs

The entire gallery of all the photographer’s photos are up available for sale here, for those that somehow manage to find my marching band photos and are looking for their band’s performance photos. 😉

Normally after shooting prelims in the morning and afternoon, we stay to shoot the top 12 bands perform again for finals in the evening. This is what I was expecting since we’ve always shot finals in all the years I’ve shot for this company, but perhaps they have a different contract with the festivals out west here because we only shot prelims.

Since I unexpectedly had the evening off, I decided to celebrate my free time by finding a local sports game and watching the Ducks game. Everyone in Eugene was wearing the team’s colors and in high spirits. I love the energy college towns, especially when their football team is doing awesome. 🙂 After this weekend’s win against USC, the Ducks are now the number one ranked college football team in the nation. Go Ducks!!

The Duck!

The Duck!

There’s something really amazing I noticed about Ducks fans. About Oregonians in general. They’re really cool people. For example, the two rival schools here are Oregon (here in Eugene) and Oregon State (an hour north in Corvallis). The announcer would periodically come on the PA and update the crowd on the local sports scores (as usually happens during Saturday events). At one point the announcer came on and revealed that Oregon State was beating California 35-0. Completely annihilating them. The crowd started cheering in celebration. Wait.. what? I’m confused here. I thought Oregon’s game wasn’t supposed to start for a few more hours. Were they actually cheering for their rival school doing well? When I went to school at GA Tech, the sentiment was basically that we hated our rivals UGA and would essentially cheer for whoever was playing against them. UGA losing is a good thing. Here in Oregon, it’s different.

I asked one of the local photogs what was going on and he explained that they were cheering for the team because they were also from Oregon. When Oregon and Oregon State plays then yes, they cheer for their team, but when their rival team is playing someone else, they actually cheer on their rivals. I loved this!

Another great thing that was awesome was that I stayed in this wonderful hotel in Eugene the night before and after this shoot. I slept in an amazing queen size bed with these thick, comfy, plush sheets. Laying in bed, it struck me that I hadn’t slept in a proper bed in about a month. lol… Usually when I couchsurf I actually stayed in a spare bed. I kinda wanted to actually sleep on a couch for a change, since that somehow felt more fitting, and so I’m glad I’ve done that. That said, it’s amazing how much you come to appreciate a quality bed after not having used one for a while! 😀

Perhaps one of the best things about being on the road so much is getting to meet friends you’d only ever talked to online. Back when I was doing the spiritual blogging thing I spent some time networking with other spiritual bloggers who I eventually wound up linking up with on facebook. One of my fellow bloggers is Akemi Gaines and I had the pleasure of meeting up in Eugene. We had some wonderful conversations together and I LOVED seeing how she’d light up talking some of the cities she’s lived in before. We pulled out some atlases and shared stories about where all we’ve been and explored various routes to take for upcoming trips. 🙂

Monday morning I hit the road again, heading back up to Portland to return the 70-200 lens I’d rented for the weekend’s shoot. The drive up was amazing, watching the sun rise up over the cloudy horizon. Lots of people I talk to in Oregon really get bummed out about the constant rain and cloudyness here, and I can totally understand that being an issue if you lived here for an extended period of time, but as someone who’s just visiting and absolutely adores watching the clouds move through the sky and creating some incredible sunrises and sunsets, I gotta say that the constant weather is one of my favorite things about the PNW.

On the drive back up, passing some signs telling me that I was now in the grass seed capital of the world (lol… groovy), I passed miles and miles of sheep munching away on the grassy farmland. I can’t tell you how giddy it made me, watching them jump around in the field. They look SO COOL when they run! Especially the younger lambs…

Sheep along the side of the highway

Sheep along the side of the highway

and check out those cloudy blue skies and mountains in the distance… Isn’t that gorgeous? Seeing this, I literally pulled my car off to the roomy shoulder on the highway and had to fire off a few shots. 😉 I noticed that when cars are zooming by along the highway, they don’t pay them a second glance. When one pulls over onto the shoulder, they all stop, raise their heads, and take notice. When you get out of the car and start walking towards the fence, they all turn and bolt. Even in the picture above, you can see them looking cautiously over their shoulder at me while keeping their bodies pointed away, ready to sprint. Guess I must be a predator to them. :p

So yeah, I’m back in Portland now, enjoying the wind and the rain. I found a local coffee shop here instead of going to another Starbucks for a change. In addition to a coffee I ordered an egg bagel sandwich with sausage, cheese, and tomato. The thing was absolutely amazing… You see, instead of scrambled egg or fried egg or anything, the guy actually steamed the egg in the espresso machine! Seriously! The thing came out looking almost exactly like a big blob of mashed potatoes. Same yellowish white color and same looking consistency. Turns out the thing tasted so awesome. If you’ve never had steamed espresso machine egg, it’s worth a shot… 😀 Life throws so many cool unexpected surprises… 🙂

I’ve got a dude flying in from New York this coming Saturday and we’re gonna go cruise around and shoot for a week. He’s also a landscape photographer. Should be a fun way to spend some time being out and about again. That’s about a week away and in the meantime, I’ve scored a gig to help a friend set up his blog so I’m gonna hang out in (a) town for a little while to take care of some computer business. I “rented” (aka. bought and will return) a cheap laptop for this past weekend’s shoot and it looks like it’s gonna come in handy to help build this guy’s blog as well. Go universe. You and your timing rock. 🙂

One Comments

  1. Sviridov
    on November 17th, 2010
    1

    Very beautiful place. You should always go and make a video!

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