The year 2020 is here! “Cautious optimism” remains my default lens for the future, but a look back over the photography of the past decade (like this shot from the Molecular Foundry overlooking San Francisco during my sabbatical), I’m feeling a bit excited. The first major upgrade in my shooting platform is planned for 2020 (the Nikon D7000 is getting a well-deserved retirement) and I can’t imagine the improvement I’ll see when I jump an entire decade forwards in camera technology.
Fire Trails Apart
Foundry in the Canyon
The incredible architecture of Berkeley Lab, like the Molecular Foundry hanging out into the space of Strawberry Canyon, is implanted into an otherwise natural setting. In that sense, being there reminded me of a sort of real-world Jurassic Park. (The flocks of turkeys and herds of goats on the grounds were a bit less threatening than dinosaurs, thankfully. The mountain lions were a different story…)
This auditorium in Berkeley Lab’s Building 66 was the site of weekly seminars, naturally, but it’s that balcony behind the podium that often interested me the most about the room. From there, I captured some of my favorite views of Berkeley, Emeryville, and San Francisco. It was just down the hall from my office and nearly always accessible. I won’t say I took the space for granted, but I will say I enjoyed the ease of popping down the hallway for a stunning vista.
Beautiful Day in the Bay
“Ship” in the Clouds
Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry hangs in the air like a spaceship coming in for a landing in the outskirts of the Bay Area. When the clouds hang low on a spring morning, the effect is even more pronounced.
Enter the Linear Cage
In comparison with the pathways between buildings in Northern New York (mostly shielded against the elements), I’m a bit disoriented by the semi-exposed stairwells and walkways of California. The mixture of features I associate with being inside (like the door with full glass window) and those I associate with being outside (like the tubular steel guard rails) makes for a juxtaposition.
Cartesian Grid of Building 66
End of 2018 (Recalling the Lab)
Professionally, 2018 was a good year: my sabbatical work was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. That came from a long time writing and a long time in this lab.
Berkeley Lab’s Frei Group was kind enough to share their space with me, and I could not have done that work without this high vacuum line. I’ve always loved the way understanding the components of a system can take a complicated image like this one and break it into understandable parts. This image, in particular, gets less odd after the realization that this is two lines, mounted back-to-back, in the same Unistrut frame.
Lights of Building 66
(A) Walk in the Woods
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.