Thursday, September 12, 2013

The New Span of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge...

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The new span of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge opened on the evening of Labor Day Monday Sept. 2, 2013. The fact that this happened about 8 hours ahead of schedule was great for me as I was able to get out and photograph it that night. The originally scheduled time of 5 a.m. on Tuesday would have made it very much more difficult, if not impossible, for me to get shots just after the opening. As it is this was a great opportunity as the lights of the old span were still on. 

This shot is from the top of Yerba Buena Island looking towards Emeryville. The new span is simply beautiful and is a stark contrast to the old. The demolition of the old span is already in progress and should take anywhere from 3-5 years to complete. I'd read somewhere that it was going to take as long as 15 years but that doesn't appear to be the case. 

Going through the sailGoing through the "sail" for the first time was amazing, it's quite a beautiful structure and the lines are very pleasant. As beautiful as it is, rolling along next to the old was somewhat sad in a way. I mean it's an ugly old structure and I'm glad it's been replaced, but there's always a bit of nostalgia for things like this, at least for me. With the lights on it seemed like it was still trying to hang on for attention as long as it could. Heading across on subsequent nights was even more eery with the lights off. It now looks dead, which I guess it is.

As for the main image, my original plan was to shoot from the area on Treasure Island just up from the main gate. I was setup about half-way up the hill heading into TI and another photographer came up, so we chatted for a bit and he turned me on to this site. A fortunate occurrence for as many times as I'd been to TI and Yerba Buena, I'd never been to this spot. I'd been near it but as there are some great perches for shots of the span going into San Francisco, but I'd never wanted to take shots of the eastern span until now.

So after knocking out a few sets from my original spot I headed up to the top. Yerba Buena isn't a big place but the roads of there snake around and branch off into some interesting directions, so it was just a bit before getting to the top.

New and the old
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Along with a T.V. crew, there were a couple other photogs on the roof of a structure where this was taken. The area is a Coast Guard comm station but it's unclear whether it's open or not. As such, a major disappointment was in the making when, just after getting setup, five CHP cars rolled up. Not wanting to lose this view I quickly fired off a couple of long exposures just to have SOMETHING, thinking we were soon going to be removed, hopefully without a ticket or worse. But the cops lingered around their cars for a bit, so I got things set up for more exposures. My intention was to get an HDR out of it and that takes some time. 
Finally, one of them walks towards us but he's checking his phone. He comes and stands next to me, I say hi, he says hi back and asks if I'm getting any good shots. I show him my LCD and the rest of his buddies come up to take a look. Then we all start jawing about things and it's obvious they're just up for  the view and we're all good. 

I asked if they'd had any problems and the first officer said only that people were stopping on the bridge to take photos. I'm sometimes amazed out species survives, but at least there were no accidents, at least as of that time.

Images captured, I was in no mood to hang around for these guys to change their mind so once done I packed up and bailed. 

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I went back the next night with my buddy Jason and we captured a few more shots, this time with the old span completely dark.

This time I wanted to get a tighter shot to get a real closeup of the new and old. This turned out perfect, and is a great contrast between the two. The new, bright and shiney baby with the old and dark old-timer simply biding it's time until the end.

Thankfully, this time no law enforcement departments showed up and we had a relaxing time. I also found another spot to take a few shots of the western span, which turned out really cool. But this post is about the new eastern section. If you're in the area I highly recommend checking it out.

Until next time, happy shooting!

Don't forget, I'll be showing at the RAW Artists Ecompass event at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco. It would be great to see you there. It's quite an exciting time for my work and it's nice to see it getting attention. I will be joined by a wealth of other up-and-coming local artists. Tickets for the event are $15 pre-event, $20 at the door, and you can pre-order at -

Also, please let me know you're coming at PhotoWorks by Don at RAW Artists

Those who pre-order will entered in to a drawing to win a 32x24 signed canvas wall piece! Out-of-area folks are eligible*!

*No purchase of art necessary. Drawing will be held at the event and the winner need not be present. However, if the winner wishes to have their canvass shipped, they will be responsible for shipping costs. If local they can stop by PhotoWorks by Don Studios to pick up the prize. Winner will be responsible for any local and state taxes.

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