This Reeves photo postcard of the Columbia River Highway at Mitchell Point captures how precarious to highway was at that point, just hanging on to the edge of the cliff as you rounded the corner to the viaduct and tunnel.
Loved going through that tunnel when I was a child. I have always thought there was a way to have preserved that tunnel. Maybe by doing some landfill. Yes, it would have been spendy, but look what it would have saved. Would have been a wonderful addition to the walking and biking trail they are spending millions on up and down the gorge.
Just shows the difference in the river at this time, with the sand bar showing out there.
You really had to be on your toes when meeting an auto coming the other way and hoping you had room to get over before you hit something or sent yourself down and over.
Gladys on 6th December 2019 @ 7:05am
From the new two lane road below I would look up at the one time windows and think what a great location inside for a restaurant. We had traffic delays for an entire season while blasting it off rather than double decking the new road below. Traffic lights were installed later for one way truck traffic, some conduit remains at the east end of the tunnel location.
Kenn on 6th December 2019 @ 8:09am
I wish they’d managed to save the old tunnel too. If it’s any consolation to the folks who remember first-hand what it was like to drive the old highway as it was, all this new construction is giving a whole new generation of people the ability to experience it a lot more like you used to. I’ve biked all of what’s currently built many times, and that feels much, much closer to riding in a 1920s/30s automobile than riding in a modern car does. When you bike past that one shaded tallus slope that has ice year-round under it, you can feel the wave of cool air washing over you.
Kyle on 6th December 2019 @ 8:45am
I marvel at the quality of these old pictures. Anything you can share with us about photography back then Arthur?
nels on 6th December 2019 @ 9:48am
(Photo quality back then) The biggest difference was probably the sheer size of the negative. Because lenses weren't that good at first, photos made on tiny little pieces of film just didn't show enough detail when printed large enough to see. Actually most early prints were made by contact, meaning the size of the negative WAS the size of the print. So you had 6 x 6cm cameras, 6 x 9cm, 8" x 10", etc. As lenses got better (the 1930s), we started to see 35mm cameras with their relatively tiny negative size be ok to use, because when you enlarged that negative to print, there was enough detail.
Now we have Arthur putting those huge negatives (glass plates, prints, etc) into a high resolution digital scanner, and cleaning anything up he needs to for us.
Kyle on 6th December 2019 @ 12:35pm
I'll add one fact to Kyle's comments: the resolution of B&W negative emulsions didn't change much between 1900 and 1980, so the information per square inch of negative was the same. But the Anne Lang photos from 1900 were 40 square inches, while Sally Donovan's slides from 1990 were about 1 square inch.
Anne Lang's images were "contact printed" at 5"x8" with no enlarger, so when I zoom in the our digital scan we're seeing all sorts of detail that even the original photographer probably didn't see.
On the flip side, lenses today are much better so even a phone camera has less distortion around the edges than a professional camera from 1900. If the photographer in 1900 held the camera steady and focused and what I want to see is in the central field, the 1900 image frequently shows more detail, but not if I'm interested in something off to the side.
ArthurB on 6th December 2019 @ 1:08pm
Thanks. Makes me appreciate those early photographers all the more to get such clarity and depth. Lot of planning and lugging big cameras around. But they evidently knew it was for the ages. Thanks Kyle and Arthur.
nels on 6th December 2019 @ 3:50pm
You bring up an important point. Each exposure was a commitment: you needed to make the decision to bring a camera with you, expend the cost of film, developing and printing, and you didn't see the results for a day to a year. Taking a photograph was a far more deliberate act.
ArthurB on 7th December 2019 @ 9:54am
yes....we old folk remember that each and every photo was an economic decision that after the camera purchase when buying a roll of film...24 or 36 or ? and that was in the easier days....no idea how those glass plate folk did it....
Arlen Sheldrake on 8th December 2019 @ 12:04pm
When I shoot 35mm (still sometimes do, for fun), I find myself thinking "is this worth a dollar?" before I hit the shutter button. There's something to that.
Kyle on 9th December 2019 @ 9:56am