I love finding the little details in epic landscapes that provide the sense of human scale and presence. (It’s a bit like a photographic “Where’s Waldo?”) In the lower center of this image, at the left edge of the Berkeley Marina, you can see light tiny lights of the restaurant where diners look out over the Bay and the sunset.
Nostalgia views the world from a distance but with specific acuity. A view from Grizzly Peak of the Berkeley Marina might look like a warm, buzzy vision of NorCal, but with my own memories I attribute specific instances and moments to every aspect of the landscape: Kites flying over Caesar Chavez Park. Stories of a ferry to San Francisco that once ran from the decaying jetty. Learning to sail on the tiny boats on the “left” side of the peninsula. Sailing from the Marina to Angel Island, crewing a professor’s 40-foot sailboat. Finding a place to live, driving up and down University Ave. from the hotel to the hills. Crossing the highway on the bicycle bridge for a long, flat, sunny ride along the shore. All of that experience is encoded into the image, but I’ll always be the only person with the key to decrypt it.
It’s a little cold for my taste but the folks around the Bay really like to get out on the water. Right around the Berkeley marina the water is absolutely jam packed with windsurfers, kitesurfers, and just small sail craft of all types. This surfer’s colorful sail really caught my eye here against the sort of drab backdrop of the waterfront condos.