Brian's Photo Blog — Article 377
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Oregon State University Prime
Saturday 21 February 2015   —   Category: Outings

For more than two years I have been planning to go on some photo outings during which I use only prime lenses — see my article Mystical Union With Ansel Adams Via Prime Lenses? for more details.

I have already gone on two such outings: McDowell Creek Prime and Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls Prime. In addition to these two nature outings, I have also dreamed of making two similar prime-lens-only outings to Oregon State University (OSU) and the Oregon metropolis of Portland.

Because of the unusually mild and dry Oregon winter we are having — as opposed to the normal nine-month rainy season — I decided to take advantage of the sunny February weather by spending an entire morning on a photo outing at OSU in Corvallis — only about 8 miles from where I live, as the crow flies.

I got up at 5:30 AM, left at 6:15, and about 20 minutes later I parked my truck in the southernmost part of Corvallis along bus route 6. I caught the 6:50 bus, and was deposited on the OSU campus around 7:10. So far so good!

My first destination was the JavaStop café, on the third floor (confusingly called the “first floor”) of the four-floor Memorial Union building, where I got some breakfast.

As I was leaving the building, I was so engrossed with the scene before me that I missed the last step of the flight of stairs leading to the Memorial Union Quad.

Down on my knees I went, but luckily only a few drops sloshed from my lidded cup of tea. More importantly, I was so grateful that I had put my camera back into my photography backpack. The only casualties were my poor skinned knees (see photo), which suffered through the rest of the outing — and the rest of the week!

As you can see from the first two photos on this page, the low-hanging, early-morning sun created dramatic lighting on OSU’s numerous historic, century-old buildings. Both the angle of the light and its warm hue were ideal for taking pictures. As I wandered from building to building, a few photographic themes kept catching my eye:
  • The interaction of the bare trees, as well as their shadows, with man’s architecture.
  • Symmetry and repeated patterns in man’s architecture.
  • Interesting combinations of light and darkness.
After capturing such beauty — with a lot of walking — for about three and a half hours, I started to feel quite tired and drained. Although my camera was still focusing properly, my mind was having distinct difficulty focusing on the art of photography!

Abandoning my plans to have lunch on campus, I grabbed the next Route 6 bus at a few minutes past 11:00 to get back to my truck. After a short drive, the bus made its obligatory stop at the Downtown Transit Center (DTC). Despite its grandiose name, the DTC is merely a big parking area with a separate bus stop for each of the city routes.

After a short layover, the Route 6 bus I was on continued on its way. But after a few stops I started to get the feeling that it was going the wrong direction. So I went up to the bus driver to ask her if I was really on the Route 6 bus. She said that I was not! When I argued that I had gotten on a Route 6 bus on the OSU campus, she explained that at the DTC, the Route 6 bus I was on had suddenly become a Route 5 bus!

I was very shocked by this revelation! Even the New-Rider Information page on their Web site doesn’t say anything about a bus silently changing routes at the DTC stop. It seems like a really crazy way to run a bus system, and a really good way to confuse and anger their riders. As a first-time Corvallis bus user, I was not impressed!

The bus driver said that I could stay on the bus, and it would be back at the DTC within 30 minutes. Or, I could get off the bus at that point, which I decided to do. I hoped I could catch a true Route 6 bus before that.

I made my way back to the DTC on foot and waited for the next bus. When it arrived some time later, it was the same driver, with the same bus, which suddenly had stopped being a Route 5 bus and had magically become a Route 6 bus again! Sheesh!

Once I finally made it back to my truck — a half hour later than I should have — I went directly to my favorite restaurant in Corvallis, McGrath’s Fish House, where I had a delicious lunch. After some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Market of Choice, I headed for home.

Of the 120 pictures I took before I ran out of steam, I had the best 62 of them edited within 24 hours. But it took almost twice that long to research the information and Web links that went into each caption! You can view these photos in the OSU Prime 2015 album.

I had expected the OSU Web site to be overflowing with details about all of the buildings and outdoor artwork on its campus, but my hopes were quickly dashed. Often it took quite a bit of time and effort to track down information about the man-made structures in a photo.

Because this was a prime lens outing, it seemed like it would be useful to see which lens was used for each picture. So I made some programming and database additions, as well as some metadata manipulation.

Now, for the first time, the caption of each photo states which of my six prime lenses I had used for that shot. Lens info for many pictures in other albums has been added as well.

All in all, I’m very happy with how my OSU photos turned out. Regarding the equipment I used to make them, don’t miss my final verdict on prime-lens-only photography.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 377
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Reader Comments
On February 23, 2015, Gloria wrote:
My Mom wrote: Brian, these were great pictures. I wish the faculty could see these. I really liked the chimney in the building. The last picture is really great in black and white. You sure do take good photos!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 377
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