Remains of Berkeley Pier

In the era before the Bay Bridge and BART tunnel, the ferry between the East Bay and San Francisco departed from the end of a long pier. (The pier used to be even longer—the Berkeley Marina extended into the water around it.) The ferry ended service in 1937, after the bridge opened, but remained a popular location for fishing until it deteriorated to its current unsafe state. I’m kind of fascinated to see its skeleton jutting out into the Bay, a linear form amid rolling marine layer clouds.

Remains of Berkeley Pier

Golden Gate in Summer

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.

Golden Gate in Summer

Saturday Afternoon on the Pier

Spending an afternoon on the pier in Pacifica, CA is as good a time as any. Crab fishing has its varied sets of tools and techniques, but the experience to me has been about more than that. Cooking on a portable hibachi and getting crusty with salt spray is the real core of the process.

Saturday Afternoon on the Pier

Birdblur

If this week on Decaseconds has had a theme, it has been structures suspended over water at sunset. It has also been a week of long-exposure shots that live up to the site’s title. Hoards of gulls riding on the waves are reduced to weird ghost-blurs in the foreground of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena, and the Port of Oakland.

Birdblur

Terminal Aquatic

From San Francisco’s Embarcadero, looking south a sunset, the water provides a gentle palette. (At least compared with the jagged edges of the office buildings against the smooth gradient of the almost-night sky.) My only regret is that the water could not have been a flawless, glassy mirror. Perhaps next time, I’ll settle for a longer exposure.

Terminal Aquatic

Hey, Surfer Girl!

This shot of a surfer in La Jolla, CA is another from near the Scripps pier that I featured previously here. The contrast between the reflection on the sand and the rough, concrete pier turned out pretty well, by my favorite part is also the one over which I had the least control: the surfer (and her brightly-colored board) just happened to be walking by. The whole scene just felt so classically “Californian.”

Hey, Surfer Girl

Scripps Sky

A recent trip to San Diego gave me a chance to wander around the gorgeous La Jolla Shores neighborhood, home of UC San Diego and the Scripps institute. The salty air on the beach really speeds the degradation of structures; when you take that in combination with the minimalist concrete structures favored by UCSD, you can get some really dystopian looks. When you combine this with the traditionally “idyllic” beach, it makes for a disturbing contrast.

Scripps Sky

Pacifica Pier

On a chilly Christmas Eve, it can be nice to think back to warmer times. I thought I would continue from Brendan’s shot over Puget Sound and post a shot from the beach. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to go crabbing with some friends in Pacifica, CA. The pier was absolutely packed with fishermen and all of the contraptions used to get crabs. I was most struck, however, by the hexagonal cross section of the pier itself, and the great rust colors next to the water.

Pacifica Pier