The dividing of the southern end of the Hudson River into New York and New Jersey is subject to a great deal of mythology, but whatever the truth is, the practical reality today makes the difference between the two feel pretty fuzzy.
Visiting Governors Island (lacking that apostrophe since 1784) for the first time this weekend, I was astonished to see its historic buildings standing in such contrast to the sleekly modern shape of One World Trade Center in the distance. The island is only 800 yards off the coast of Manhattan, but seems a generation away.
I produce a lot of photographs every year, but there’s still a special feeling when one of those images moves a friend or acquaintance so much that they ask for a print. This particular image, fully cleaned-up and pixel-peeped to optimizing for printing (after starting life on Instagram) is one such example. I have to admit, the sinuous curves of the marine layer snaking through the Golden Gate, and the shadows beneath the clouds providing additional contrast, are a solid image.
There’s this perfect moment during a summer sunset in the Bay Area, as darkness falls and the flawless gradient fades through oranges to purples, when the lights haven’t quite come on yet. Marin is dark, Angel Island is silhouetted, and the world is seems to revert to an uninhabited state.
No offense to Salesforce, but the rainbow sunset reflections off the curved surface of their tower seem to fit much better with a building named “Transbay Tower”—particularly when it sits on the skyline near the Transamerica Pyramid. The darkened and humble shape of Alcatraz in the foreground makes for an appropriate memento mori to San Francisco’s grand architecture.
Brooks Island Reserve Preserve is a thoroughly undeveloped space in the chaos of the Bay Area. It almost seems as though it was transported to the present from another time.
Alcatraz remains an icon of twentieth-century America. With a 500 mm lens and a view from Berkeley Lab, I was able to arrange the island with Golden Gate Bridge behind it (but not overlapping).
This is also part of my ongoing experiments, of late, trying postprocessing techniques that produce dramatic (if a bit less photorealistic) results.
Much of the Bay Area, packed densely with people, perforates with light-emitting devices after sunset. When a volume avoids that, there’s a story and an active effort by conservationists behind it. At either extreme of this picture, Albany and Marin fall clearly into light-emitting category. In between, however, are special spaces: the Albany Bulb in the foreground and the Brooks Island Regional Preserve (the titular island).