Everett’s on the Arcata Plaza, 2010, Sony R1.

I initiated a self-directed project to document the business districts of both Arcata and Eureka. I often photographed in the early morning pre dawn light. I started this in 2010, and have worked on it through to the present time. I stayed busy with this through the first five or so years. Nowadays, I only work on the project a few times a year. The city scapes are slowly evolving, and so it seems that I could work on this until I no longer can get out there.

RSVD, Downtown Eureka, 2010, Sony R! (best of show Northwest Eye)

The Sony R1 had some great innovations. The articulating LCD could be positioned to allow it to become a waist-level camera. It also made it easy to take low-level compositions. I like this feature so much because I used twin-lens cameras in my film days. I always liked the waist-level view for certain subjects. It was handy for street photography and candids.

As much as I liked the R1, I felt that I was moving beyond its capabilities. The fixed lens was great giving a 24-120mm equivalent focal length. That range was enough to handle at least 80% of my needs. If I needed a wider view I was out of luck as the lens could not be changed. There were numerous other issues, and I thought that Sony should update the camera to something with image stabilization, a higher pixel count, and a much faster buffer.

Dance Macabre at the Lloyd Building, 2010, Canon 5dMll with 17mm tilt/shift lens.

In the summer of 2010, I convinced myself that I “needed” a tilt/shift lens, and the camera to attach it to (a Canon 5dmII) if I were to continue with architectural photography. In my film days, I used a four by five view camera. That camera had all sorts of movement possibilities for distortion and perspective control. These were, and may still be, the ultimate tool for “correct” perspectives of this type of subject. The tilt/shift lens mounted on a SLR provides for some of these controls. Of course, nowadays, software can correct a lot of those issues, but at a cost of image quality. The TS lens on a modern high pixel camera can make some highly detailed and accurate photographs.

Lloyd Building, 2020, Canon 5dmII with Canon 17mm TS lens.

About Thomas Bethune

THOMAS ALLEN BETHUNE I have been interested in photography for most of my life. I started taking photographs with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera when I was eight years old. My early subjects were trains and engineered structures as well as landscapes and family portraits. My interests and vision have matured, but the subjects that catch my eye continue to be of the same genre as my earliest visions. A neighbor man had a darkroom, and he showed me the basics of camera operation and darkroom processing. I took courses in art and photography in high school and college. I worked as an apprentice to a commercial wedding and event photographer, and I was in charge of a recreational dark room while I was in the military. As an adult, I earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from Humboldt State University. My experience with film formats included 35mm, 2 ¼”, and 4”x 5”. I exhibited at galleries near my home in Arcata California, and in Santa Fe New Mexico. All my current work is digital. I am scanning many of my legacy negatives and slides. I sometimes process and print the scanned negatives. I often post them on my blog. I process all of my prints with archival media. An award winning fine art photographer living in a redwood forest. BA Photography Director, Redwood Art Association, Eureka CA Co-curator, F Street Foto Gallery, Eureka CA
This entry was posted in arcata history, arcata plaza, black and white, building, buildings, eureka, fine art photography, historic humboldt, history of humboldt county, humboldt county, photography exhibit eureka, street photography. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Interesting project. I have passed through both towns and thought they might be cool to photograph but kept going.

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