Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Wintertime Architectural Walk through Portland's West End

On December 21st, 2008, we had a BIG snowstorm. This was the view outside my living room at about 10:30 that night, so you'll have to forgive me for not running outside to get a beautiful, perfectly-composed shot! It was also windy and frigidly cold! By the next morning, this is what the world looked like:
Yes, that's my teeny-tiny house, blanketed in nearly 18 inches of snow! It was such a beautiful morning, and I have a four wheel drive car, that I decided to drive over to Portland's beautiful West End to capture some of its more interesting features, similarly blanketed, but hopefully more impressive than my modest bungalow.

The first place I went was State Street, with its rows of beautiful Victorian houses and churches.

If you turn around and face the other way from the above shot, you'll see Portland's very own poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, staring down at you from his lofty granite pedestal:

He's dressed for the holidays, as it was a few days before Christmas when I took this shot. Behind his chair are a bunch of boxes wrapped to look like presents.

Next, I went to Portland's famed Victoria Mansion, . I drove down State Street to Danforth with my mother and daughter, who patiently sat in the car as I slogged my way through the snow that still covered the streets to capture this five image vertical panorama of the mansion in all its snowy glory. Taking a full picture of the mansion from the front is difficult at best, and nigh impossible, without including the power lines that line the sidewalk I normally would have had to stand on. But there were so few cars out that morning, that I was able to stand almost in the middle of the street to take this and I had to crop the power lines out afterward. (Here's a little-known secret: I have a photoshop wizard who goes by the name "Dad," and he's the one who actually removed those pesky lines for me!) This next picture is a small panorama of an historical building I've long admired on the West End, The Howard Milliken House, also on Danforth Street. The two types of facing materials, brick and yellow clapboard, really stand out for me. The odd-looking picture below is a 5 shot handheld panorama of Portland's illustrous and oh-so-tweedy men's club, The Cumberland Club, on High Street, established in 1877, according to its website: . It has an interesting history, if you visit the link and view their history page.
From the Cumberland Club, I continued up the street to Portland Museum of Art's wonderful McClellan House, which is attached to the museum (or perhaps the museum, having been built in the 1980s is attached to IT, which is Federal-style and obviously built a few years prior to the 1980s!) You can tour the inside of McClellan House for the price of entrance to the museum, or just wait until Friday nights, when the entire museum is open to the public (free) from 5-8 pm. This panorama of Portland's interesting City hall wasn't actually taken after the storm, but I thought it deserved to be a part of my not all-inclusive tour. City Hall is located on Congress Street not too far from my favorite church:
This is First Parish Church, of the oldest buildings in Portland, dating back to 1726, and the coolest Universal Unitarian Church you could hope to encounter! Obviously this one wasn't taken after the snowstorm either! It is an HDR (high dynamic resolution) composite of 3 photos taken in the early fall.

Finally, driving all the way back down to the waterfront, you will find the Portland Customs House, built in the 1800s, I believe. here is its website, so if you're so inclined, you can learn more about its history:

I took this picture because I was trying to capture the beautiful moon in the middle of the picture on the right, above the right front corner. Unfortunately, it looks more like a dust speck than a moon, I'm afraid.

If you walk less than a block more on the water, you might see a view similar to this one I took in November:

This is the view behind Harbor Fish Market, a wonderful place that my grandfather used to take my brother and I to when we were little.

Well, that's all for now! I hope you enjoyed my little mini-tour. Be sure to check out my new products page at I've got a CFW Photography landscapes calendar for sale so far and I intend to have more products available soon! I think you either click on the website listed after this or paste the address into your browser and it should take you right to my page there.
Thanks for reading, as always! Cindy

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