When you’re out on the hunt, looking for the next photographic opportunity, sometimes you happen upon something unexpected. This past weekend, I was in Portland, near PSU and Pioneer Square, it was hot and I was not finding much inspiration. After a couple of hours of aimless walking, I drove down to see Brooke, who happens to have some works available at Artistic Portland. After a visit, I told Brooke I was going to head to south east Portland to see what there was to offer.
I got in my car and headed towards the bridge, when I spotted a street closure due to a humungous crane and related construction. I immediately decided to pull over and check it out, and I’m glad I did. Upon arrival, I couldn’t quite discern if they were setting up the crane, or tearing it down. The crane was in pieces, on the ground, and it took up the better part of the entire block. Within minutes I realized they were tearing the crane down. What I also noticed was that these men were very well coordinated. It was like watching a show. They moved in unison from one section to the next, adeptly pulling out pins using sledge hammers, strapping pieces together for placement on flat-bed trucks, and disassembling all of the riser (for lack of a better term). Clearly these men had done this several times before, if not dozens upon dozens of times.
I decided that this was just too good to pass up. I ended up pacing the block up and down, taking hundreds of frames over the span of about 2 hours. The men were generally aware of me, but they paid little attention until the job was nearly done. It was as though this has happened before for them, but for me I was fascinated. I knew that my son would appreciate seeing the images, but I also hoped that I had a blog post in the making. I shot the scene from every angle I could without intruding on their marked off work area.
Towards the end of the event, the crane operator put on googley-eyed glasses while operating the crane, and I grabbed the shot. Although that shot won’t appear here, I did get another more cheesy shot to post. Afterwards, one of the men approached me to make sure I got the silly photo, and he also mentioned that they do that every time for laughs.
Staying in one place for roughly two hours, shooting an entire scene that could almost be made into a time lapse was a rare luxury for me. Having spent the time and the effort, I have to say I highly recommend it if given the opportunity. It was a lot of fun to feel as though I was a photo journalist, and certainly I was documenting a very small slice of history in downtown Portland.
Overall, my message is to go with your gut. If you think you see something, or you feel as though there’s an image to be made somewhere, stick around! Get the shot or keep trying until you find the shot you’re envisioning. At the end of the moment, you will feel a greater satisfaction than usual, and you will have a story to tell with your images.