We’re not far from the ninth anniversary of the founding of Decaseconds, and I came upon this arresting image of Berkeley Marina, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge (never before published here) while searching for just the right anniversary shot. I’m fascinated by the way the orange emission of sodium vapor lamps lighting Berkeley (I’m sure now all swapped for white LEDs) matches the Rayleigh-scattered oranges of the winter sunset. The same wavelengths of light, coming from completely different mechanisms.
When my graduate school co-conspirators visited the Bay Area during sabbatical, we couldn’t avoid a trip to the Muir Woods to be back among the enormous redwoods. I won’t deny that I pretended for a moment that I was on Endor.
As busy as the cities of the Bay Area become, there are the spaces in the fire trails (like the one in the foreground) to get some quiet and distance. There’s an odd orthogonality of the senses in being able to see all of the commotion below with none of the accompanying sound.
Far, far out, under the span of the Golden Gate Bridge, boats move through the haze. The extreme distance compression of this 500 mm lens puts the end of the old Berkeley Peer practically beneath the bridge, despite them being on opposite sides of the Bay. Optics are fascinating.
Lovely, gentle dusk colors—pinks and magentas and purples and aquas—settle over San Francisco and the Marin Headlands, but it barely touches the bright red (technically International Orange) of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sutro Tower has a Neo-Tokyo style at any time of day, but a hazy orange sunset adds a layer of Blade Runner/Cyberpunk 2077 style to the overwatching structure.
The Golden Gate Bridge is so often depicted either in strong primary colors or in classic black and white that a hazy, pastel-hued summer version is a mellow contrast.
Watching the summer sunset behind Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Marin is the perfect setting for a dinner picnic. This weekend is Memorial Day: the unofficial start of summer in much of the United States and the perfect time (i.e. time off) for picnics and barbecuing. Though this picture came from another big barbecuing holiday (Independence Day), the scene is likely to be replicated this weekend.
Under the redwoods’ canopy, Muir Woods is usually a pretty dark place. Where trees have fallen or hillsides disrupt the valley flood, sunlight sneaks through.
Given all of the natural or semi-natural textures in Muir Woods National Monument, the metal patches (held in place with nails that look like rivets on an early aircraft) in the pathway make for an odd juxtaposition.
Historical patterns of land conservation in the Bay Area mean that the gradient between densely populated and relatively “empty” spaces is particularly steep. That nearby density means that maintaining “wild” spaces requires a theme-park like approach of fenced, paved trails. Given the erosion challenges faced by the peaks of the Adirondacks, perhaps this isn’t the worst solution.
In a forest of very vertical forms, this V-shaped pair of trees is another example of Muir Woods contrarians. Taken with a tiny aperture, the resulting V-shaped lens flare makes me think of some optical axe, chopping trees apart.
On this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, the coastal roads through the Marin Headlands were completely packed with people searching for the perfect view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate.
A special weekend post: Happy Earth Day from Decaseconds!
Among the vertical redwood shapes, the occasional contradictory tree trajectory is on its way to becoming a bridge.