Watching the Gradient

Do you see the lone person, sitting on the hillside, on the right side of this image? People provide scale, but also something more in this context. In addition to watching the literal gradient of the sky at sunset, this picture is part of a set of images of the “civilization gradient” from wilderness to dense city center. I quite like the added layer of a gradient from the individual in nature to the greater mass of humanity in cities. Traveling between rural New York and the crowded Bay Area has made me more aware than ever of the contrast.

Watching the Gradient

Between Berkeley and San Francisco

I spent this week BARTing back and forth from downtown San Francisco to “downtown” Berkeley for the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting. Bouncing between the familiar and the strange, all tinged with a general sense of familiarity, gave me a sense of dislocation, like an atom in slightly the wrong place in a crystal structure. Beyond meeting scientists and seeing old friends, I can think of one exciting new discovery this week: the new seat fabric on the BART is an enormous improvement over the horrifying cloth of yesteryear.

Between Berkeley and San Francisco

Old Under New

Striking modern architecture next to industrialization-era brick and ironwork makes for a dramatic combination. It’s also the bedrock style of my favorite cities, including New York and San Francisco. In this particular image, the sport bike and the small group enjoying breakfast at front add the perfect hint of scale.

Old Under New

Rather Be Sailing

Morning sun provides very stark, even lighting across the San Francisco Bay. I know rationally that gravity forces the big body of water to be (basically) flat, but the curves of the shore and the shadows of the clouds have always made the Bay itself seem to have hills and valleys. I can also confirm that the water feels pretty far from level when actually sailing it.

Rather Be Sailing

Coit Tower Blue Hour

Coit Tower, on its leafy green (i.e. unlit at night) hillside, makes for an odd break in the structure of the more northerly parts of San Francisco. I particularly like this short of the juxtaposition of the Tower’s aesthetic beauty with the utilitarian structures of Treasure Island in the foreground.

Coit Tower Blue Hour