The Bay Area features a surprisingly large number of preserved open spaces. The lone figure on the hillside, looking from the relative emptiness of the Marin Headlands across to the grid of San Francisco residences, emphasizes the point well.
Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.
Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.
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.
The orange hue and misty hills remind me of the poster for Apocalypse Now, but this is just the northern end of San Francisco Bay. In this age of upward-climbing property values and Silicon Valley rags-to-riches stories, I’m continually amazed that there’s room for industry. If these facilities had to be started today, I can’t imagine that they’d wind up in the same position.
I’ve had an attraction to Datsun Z cars since I read Wangan Midnight as a teenager and first encountered the “Devil Z”. Around the Bay Area, plenty of these cars are still running, and those that have survived this long come to resemble the style goals of their owners. That might be the “rough style” Z I photographed in Berkeley, or this super-clean example that was kind enough to park in the Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.