Something about that shapely highway winding around all those shapely bluffs and forests spoke to Vancouver photographer Matthew Smith, one of two local winners in the fifth annual Friends of the Gorge photography contest.
Smith meant to be scouting photogenic balsamroot flowers in the Columbia River Gorge, but weather got in the way. He ended up wandering about the Rowena Plateau near Mosier, Ore., until he noticed those three harmonious curves in the Columbia River Highway below. Smith loved the way the curves lined up so neatly from his viewpoint, and he also knew a little something of the road’s remarkable backstory.
“(The highway’s designers) pioneered a new era of civil engineering, building roads not just as a means of travel but with an elegance to take travelers through all the natural beauty along the route,” Smith wrote about his photograph.
It took top honors in the photo contest’s “Nature and Nurture” category for documenting the intersection of the Gorge and human beings.
“The angle of this shot perfectly conveys how the historic highway follows the curves of the topography within the Gorge,” contest judge Debbie Asakawa wrote.