My favorite view of the Bay Area (and the view that first let me define the idea of the civilization gradient as an element of my photography) is layered up with loads of detail. Down in Berkeley Lab is the building where I worked on sabbatical, and across the Bay Bridge is the completed Salesforce Tower hiding in the marine layer. The differences, particularly from the last time I showed a very similar shot from the spring, are in nature: the high-altitude clouds have been replaced with empty skies and that rolling marine layer, while the green hills have shifted to a dry, highly flammable tan.
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.
There’s a sunset balance point when the intensity of San Francisco’s city lights precisely match the intensity of the light remaining in the sky. When those photons are in equal proportion, even a busy city can look oddly peaceful.
At the right time of day and with the right hints of weather, San Francisco looks extra futuristic. Home to the tech industry, I think the city usually merits the descriptor.
From the graffitied logs of Berkeley’s Grizzly Peak, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco make for an incredible view—when they’re visible. The dramatic high clouds of winter are replaced by an all-shrouding marine layer in the summer that often turns the peak into a cloud bank. On the lucky nights when the marine layer is delayed, the bridge and city lights have a moment to shine before the blanket falls.
The marine layer rolls in to blanket San Francisco in damp cold during summer evenings. My favorite part of this image is the way the Bay Bridge and the bayside buildings are highlighted by that rolling cloud bank. In just a few minutes more, the whole city was covered.
Like many East Coasters, I hadn’t heard of the marine layer until my first visit to the West Coast. The odd, damped mornings in coastal cities seem so at odds with the view of California in popular culture. Even sunny San Diego is matte and dull under a blanket of morning clouds.