Photo of the Week (Jun 24-30)

  • Posted on: June 29, 2007
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Portland Watertower Pinhole Underneath the Water Tower, Portland Oregon.

I’ve always had a fascination with Water Towers. They disrupt the cookie cutter layout of suburbia and are ubiquitous to the New York City skyline.

Water Towers became the way to transport water to the communities and buildings all over the world first starting in the 1300’s but becoming more feasable in the 1800’s. They replaced the often bacteria infected town wells as a new, clean way to pump and transport water to the masses.

The Chicago Water Tower is one of the most popular Water Towers in the United States, this amazing piece of architecture withstood the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The tower itself is now obsolete but the pumping station is still operational and the tower also serves as a major tourist stop.

During the 1800’s NYC required that all buildings higher than 6 stories be equipped with a rooftop water towers. Since 2006, the neighborhood of Tribeca requires water towers on all buildings, regardless if they are being used or not! Two family owned companies in NYC, who were originally barrel makers, have been outfitting the NYC skyline with wooden water towers since those early contracts in the 1800’s. No sealant is used to hold the water in. Tank walls are held together with cables and leak through every gap when first filled. However, as the wood swells, the gaps close and become impermeable.

Most water towers are off limits to the public, however the water tower atop Volunteer Park in Seattle is open to the public and offers amazing 360 degree views of the city. No fence was around this water tower in Portland, Oregon, and I was excited to shoot underneath the behemoth. The image was shot with a new pinhole camera purchase, the 8banners superwide medium format camera. I first saw this camera at the f/295 pinhole symposium and knew in my heart that I had to have one. I am a superwide kinda guy and as you can see that pinhole is pretty darn sharp.

Well, have a cup of water and enjoy the pic!

5 Comments

  1. gabriel biderman ~ fine art photography» Blog Archive » St Johns Watertower, Portland ~ Photo of the Week · February 28, 2010

    […] that won my photo of the week! Ironically, this is the 2nd time that this watertower has won!  The last time it was captured via a pinhole camera.  This time I thought I would take “a shot in the […]

  2. Nifer · July 10, 2007

    water towers are the castles of new york city.

  3. Joe Reifer · June 30, 2007

    Cool shot and water tower story. And hi, Angus!
    – JR

  4. angus · June 29, 2007

    This tower is a famous water tower. There was a huge fire in St Johns (our neighborhood) around 1930, and big chunks of the area burned down, because the water tower was too far away for the fire department to successfully draw from it. (They thought the other water tower, a few blocks away, would be close enough.)

    So they built a new water tower, and it was named after the local fire brigade, in all caps, ST JOHNS FIRE BRIGADE WATER TOWER. During the 4th of July, people would joke about which water tower they were going to climb to watch the fireworks, the FIRE BRIGADE’s, or “the other one.”

    After 9/11, fire fighters were all heroes, and it was renamed The HEROIC ST JOHNS FIRE BRIGADE WATER TOWER. Kind of a mouthful, so the locals just call it “the heroic”, mostly when giving directions. “Take a left at the heroic, then your first right”, for example.

  5. Joy Downey · June 29, 2007

    this one is good too. It’s very soothing to me