Joe Is a Jesus-lovin, picture takin fool from banks, oregon. His other hobbies include climbing, hiking, fixing his vanagon, and pretty much anything slightly dangerous or far from the ground.

With an enormous love for life and people, joe brings a smile to everything he does. this blog is a small glimpse of his view on the world and the things created in it.


Wicked Deeds in the Darkness

Wicked Deeds in the Darkness

“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”
— Ephesians 5:11

So I think I've been on a little bit of a bridge craze recently, but this shoot was particularly fun for a few reasons. 1: I figured out a way to capture the St. Johns bridge in a way that no one else has before. 2: It got my adrenaline pumping. And 3: I got a gun flashed at me, I saw a drug deal, and I scared a bunch of thugs.

When I set out to capture the St. Johns bridge the first time, I didn't get any results I was happy with. Not one. I wanted to find a way to capture this bridge in a way no one else had before, but it was a lot more difficult than I thought. There are a million pictures of this thing! My only thought was to climb onto the top of the bridge, but that wasn't going to happen; even at night it is way too bright to get away with. So after a long time and nothing exciting I went home. 

A few days later I went to try my luck for a second time. I walked all over the area - on the bridge, around the bridge, under the bridge - with nothing really standing out to me. As I approached that gated room (the one built into the bottom of the pylons,) I saw a group of guys standing in a circle by two cars. There were two other guys outside the group that looked to be protecting whatever was going down, and as I got closer, one of the men pulled his shirt to the side and put his hand on a gun. He gave me this chilling glare, and I responded with a nod of my head and and an altered course. I wanted to see what was going on though, so I did a massive inconspicuous loop and arrived at the other side of the building they were standing at. It didn't look so hard to climb (what with it's nice even slots all the way up,) so I shimmied on up and peeked over the other side. They were waiting for someone else to show up. I plunked down in a place where I could observe unnoticed and waited for something exciting to unfold. 

Sure enough, another car pulled in about ten minutes later, though nothing happened for the next five to ten minutes. No one got out of the car, no one said a word, and no one really moved either. It was weird. Then the back door opened on the passenger side, and a man got out holding a large brown paper bag under his arm. He then proceeded to walk over to the other car and get in the drivers seat. Two minutes later he got out bagless and drove away in his own car, and all the remaining guys in the huddle walked around the corner of the building. I was confused but I didn't want to stick around for long, so I went to the corner farthest away from both of their sides and scrambled back down. 

When I go on my night shoots I usually take one or two flashlights with me, and today I brought my dad's high-powered-focus-beam-flashlight with me. Well I thought it would be really fun to mess with these guys, so I got back on the bridge and walked to the point directly above the pylon. I couldn't stop laughing at what I was about to do! I got the high-powered-focus-beam-flashlight out of my bag, leaned over the side of the bridge, and pointed it directly on their little huddle. I'm not sure what they were doing all huddled so close together, but they only lasted about four seconds before one of them broke ranks. With a massive beam of light being shined down in their ultra-dark corner they could no longer remain secret, and they all scattered! I don't mean like moved to a different corner or anything, I mean they all literally scattered in every different direction and didn't come back! I was dying! To have even more fun with it, I shined the beam from one individual to the next as they tried to dissapear, and watched as they would veer in a new direction. Ah! It was so much fun. The whole time I couldn't stop thinking of that verse in the bible that talks about exposing the wicked deeds of darkness. And that made me laugh.

I walked back into the city to avoid any confrontation from some random angry thugs, and about an hour later I was back on the bridge with a new idea. I couldn't shoot it from on top of the bridge, but what about from underneath? The St. Johns bridge has a unique set of pylons to identify it by, and no one has ever shot it from the underside. 

I think my absolute favorite part of the night was during one of my shots when I discovered my second favorite noise on the planet. Maybe even my first. There was a HUGE train going down the tracks by the river side, but at some point it came to a stop nearby me. That alone didn't create anything exciting (I think trains are designed not to make an excessive amount of noise when they stop, relatively speaking.) but when it reversed, a loud chunky noise sounded from the front - "CHUNK-CHUNK-CHUNK-CHUNK" - all the way down train, over a hundred cars in all. It was wonderful. Just loud and full of so much energy with each collision, I couldn't even believe my ears!

Anyway, I've rambled enough. It was a really fun night, and I like the shots I got. Enjoy.

A boat drifts along the river under the St. Johns Bridge

The view above Cathedral Park

The Hawthorne Bridge in all its black and white beauty

"There's gotta be a law against this"

"There's gotta be a law against this"

Structural Infatuation

Structural Infatuation