Most of my family live in California. More than decades ago when I came to Oregon for vacation, I fell in love with it. My family was against the idea for me to move away from them and come to this non-famous state (some of my friends still do not know where Oregon is). People like me with Asian origin usually choose big cities with large Asian population to live, such as Los Angels, New York or Dallas, but I am living in this small town Eugene. I grew up in a large city, this small hippie town is an oddly new and strange fit for me.
I live here because I met my husband here and because the residential area in this town is mostly surrounded by nature green that I love. Here is in Willamette Valley with clear four seasons and it is a gardener’s heaven. Though I don’t have a green thumb, I love to visit the nurseries here where great varieties of flowers and shrubs are in abundant supply. University of Oregon makes Eugene a college town. It is also a track town where world famous runners came here for Olympic trials. In recent years, UO football team (Ducks) has made its imprint on the sports map.
5th Street marketplace is the landmark of Eugene. The famed Nike store was originally on an upstairs location and later expanded to a much larger space. This large space is now Inn at 5Th and Nike has moved to a prime mall location. Since I moved to town, I witnessed the evolving of the place. Many businesses have moved out of the area for lack of traffic. A few staple stores remain and they seem to wrap around the outskirt of the place. The buildings are mostly contemporary with classic molding and painted with either red or black as accent colors. There are several nice restaurants within the area, but I seldom came here. If I do, I usually have my camera with me.
In fact, I have made many attempts to come here trying to capture something that represents Eugene, natural, free-spirit, anti-culture, tie-dyed and organic. These are the elements that I was certainly not familiar with before I’d moved here, but I am gradually mingled in it regardless I like it or not. Since I started to photograph more often, I came here about four times. One time was to shoot neon, the other time I tried to figure out how to take a good shot of the fountain inside courtyard, the third time I was looking for interesting architecture or simply anything. There is a florist, a cafe, a paper store, a jewelry store, a clothing store, and a glass home deco store surrounded the fountain, but I have not been any of the stores. They are not my type of stores to visit. My mind is set on photography, and only photography. Before yesterday (the 4th trip), I have not come up anything that I am thrilled about.
I have not made it inside this restaurant since it became ‘Pure’, but I certainly like the new look of the building.
Just recently I learned a new trick to shoot neons, but I have not been able to do it right. We talked to go out this week sometime to try again. Weatherman reported that yesterday was a better day than today, so we planned to go out in the evening. Neon would be fun, but I still wanted to be able to capture something else, something that would bring me a smile. Out of nowhere, I suddenly decided to grab my wide angle lens and shoot out of the door in the day light. And, I went back to this inter junction that I had not known how to take a good shot. It was a slow time of the day, not many people walking by, so I got to shoot from many different angles, up and down, left and right. Bingo, I spotted the shot from my camera viewer and I took a few more. Below is my favorite.
The simple stairway leads to the entrance of the basement where more businesses are located. The mural is colorful and has all business names on it. The coloration and style are very Eugene and from this angle, 5th street marketplace sign is included. It was shot with wide angle lens, so the metal handrail on the left and wood one on the right have become two welcoming hosts. I have not felt so welcomed here till this point….
Evening came, I came back here with my husband and did some experiments with neon. There are not that many neon within the area and most of them are distracted by the lights nearby. We drove around and hoped to find some neon in more isolated locations, but not much luck. However, my husband took some very dramatic shots. He seems better than me with technical shots. I was lucky enough to get this one. I like it because it is simple, clear and it is fashion.
5th Street businesses go through changes year after year. Andrea Fashion is always there. Provisions at the basement is there since Marche becomes the staple restaurant. I like to go upstairs to enjoy my fresh cup of espresso and pastries. Upstair food court is certainly more a tourist attraction since it offered great varieties including Mediterranean favorites.