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Portland River View Cemetery 2015 — Album Description
Photos in Album: 110 Album Created: 4 Mar 2015 Last Updated: 7 Mar 2015
To begin viewing the photos, you can browse the album — or view the contact sheet.
You’ve no doubt heard the old joke: “Why did they build a wall around the cemetery? Because people were dying to get in!”

It is no joke that I have been dying to get into a certain cemetery for the past few years — before I died! One of the items on my bucket list of photographic outings was a trip to River View Cemetery, 70 miles up the I-5 in Portland. Last week I finally made that dream come true!

Why in the world would I want to take pictures in a cemetery in the first place? Well, my thought was that there would be a lot of interesting headstones — not so much the inscriptions, but photo-worthy shapes and shadows and colors. What I saw while I was there, and what I captured in photographic images, was even beyond what I had imagined!

River View Cemetery, and the smaller adjoining Greenwood Hills Cemetery and Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, are situated on a steep hillside overlooking the Willamette River. From the eastern border along Oregon Route 43 to its western border along SW Boones Ferry Road is a distance of about 0.7 miles as the crow flies, with a rise in elevation of about 400 feet. This translates into an approximate grade of 11 percent.

For three and a half hours I wandered around the 150 to 200 acres of burial space with more than 75,000 graves. Once I was high enough, I had a great view of the 8,365-foot Mount St. Helens 56 miles to the northeast in Washington state, as well as the 11,249-foot Mount Hood, the highest peak in Oregon, 48 miles to the east.

Out of the 234 photos I took at the cemeteries during my morning visit, a whopping 110 have been deemed worthy of being included in this album. That’s an unusually-high “keeper” rate of 47 percent. Who knows? After seeing all of the interesting shots I got in the graveyard, you might be dying to get into a cemetery yourself!
For further details about the story behind the photos in this al­bum, see the related article, Dy­ing to Pho­to­graph a Ceme­tery.
The photos in this album were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.
To begin viewing the photos, you can browse the album — or view the contact sheet.