Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Years Blues

The last setting observed was from Bernal Heights ~ was amazing to see the glow looking west toward the Pacific, above the fog approaching over homes on San Franciscan hills. On the other side of the bay, Mt Diablo was gorgeous surrounded by the glow of the sunset, as windows of homes in the East Bay reflected the sun, lighting up the windows like sparkling little tree lights.

So today it’s a bright cloudy day in the City, and I’ve been running around on the third day of this new year with so many things to do and capture with camera before I leave. I took pictures recently at Twin Peaks, a place I’ve never been to as a teen or an adult, but amazingly haven’t had the time to see the first sunset of the year.


Many sunsets prior, I started a personal routine of photographing the last and first sunset of the year. Last year – just a few days ago – I wasn’t able to see the sunset due to a thick fog that came in and even thought it was wreck havoc on the fireworks, and the next day was the same. I hate missing my routine habits that help me to exist from one year to another – when one is alone, these things keep things sane and tolerable.

I went with a photo buddy to take pictures of the fireworks, and that almost didn’t happen due the fog and my friend’s work schedule. Luckily he was able to join me and we got to the
Embarcadero near the Ferry Building two hours prior to stake out a good spot. Things changed and we walked around snapping pixs and changing locations till the last half-hour, when we parked tripods and cameras in front of the Ferry Building. As it was with this huge crowd, one must think of the mass of moving people, plus where to set up a tripod where it won’t interfere with people passing, yet still be safe enough for us to work.

After the final countdown, the fireworks actually started about 200 feet to the right – south – of where we stood!! Shocked and surprised that the exploding spirals was closer to the bridge, we both folded up the tripod in one sweep of the arms, and ran at break-neck speed toward the bridge and into a loud, noisy and full-motion crowd where one would normally have difficulty walking slow!! I found a spot about 150 feet from where I stood just minutes before, and of course, inside the sardine can there was NO space to set up the tripod. I instead kept the legs extended but together, and used it as a monopod. I also had to change my camera settings, configured for a tripod-still relaxed shoot but now in the mist of a jumping crowd and walkers. It was still pretty amazing and I did get good shots, though not as many as I thought
I would have liked. Looking at a map predicting where the fireworks would be, I see I had confused the location of the Ferry Building and then of course set up wrong.

That aside, after the fireworks we started walking down the empty streets, previously closed off due to the special event and the mass of walkers. The sight wasn’t pretty: drunk adults teetering on high heels or even being carried by their men-friends. The sight of many men and women puking their old year’s stomach contents and being held by friends…. This is one of the many reasons why normally I quit going out at night in the many places I’ve lived around the world. Otherwise, it was a nice walk at night with the great architecture of the City lit up in all its eerie glory, and I
stopped often to snap a pix. Luckily I parked far enough away and avoid most of the traffic that bottle-necked immediately after the fireworks.

The next day I went around the City to get some 2009 pixs, this being the HOW of how I ended up in the Twin Peaks area…. I had no idea there was even a lookout point up there!!! I also went to another spot not much farther from there, and discovered a San Franciscan spot that overlooks the Market Street and Castro area, but seems it could be out in the boonies in rocky, mountain terrain. I love little discoveries like this and is one of the few reasons that San Francisco is so unique to me…. more picture are displayed at my foto site if you care to see them.

Today I finally went out and got a little remote controller for my camera so that I can finally snap away in a night-time situation and not worry about touching the camera itself to release the shutter. I originally wanted to get it later after returning from Spain but oh well…. I’ll now take it to Spain with me! I now just discovered that when used for long exposures, the camera displays the time of the duration by counting UP the seconds the shutter has been open!! How cool is that? While in the Marina District to buy the remote at the photo store, I walked on the street without my jacket and as I've been wearing men's suspenders for some months, I noticed a lot of interesting looks from women, and stares & giggles from men. I actually like wearing the suspenders, helping keep my pants up without the binding restraint of belts. But I usually use a belt-held lens holder when traveling and wonder how I'll be able to "carry" that now without wearing a belt. hahahaaa

My two suitcases are packed and just within ounces of being over the weight allowances for my flight. One suitcase has been opened twice now to pack yet more things within, and amazingly enough with the assistance of a friend, was even able to shut it!

Just two and a half days more and I am on that plane, and it’s going to be a very difficult decision for me to return in February…..

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy your time away. I hope you get a chance to get on line at some point to send photos of spain. I looking foward to seeing where you live. (Need to see how beautiful it is for when i come and saty)

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