Category Archives: Bay Area

Philippines Airlines Spot the Difference

Someone recently was after a picture of a Philippines Airlines Boeing 747.  When I looked up my shots of this airline, I came across a picture of one of their A340s landing at SFO.  It had an anniversary marking on the fuselage.  Just below it in the catalog was a 777-300ER which also had the same marking and was also landing at SFO.  The similarity of the aircraft in these shots amused me so here they both are in case something like this is of interest to you too.

Air France A380

The Air France A380s have gone away.  Their retirement had already been identified prior to the COVID-19 outbreak but it accelerated their departure.  I had shot them on a few occasions with SFO and LAX being regular destinations.  Since I won’t be seeing them again, here is a farewell tribute to the Air France A380.  Hope one or two of the airframes find a second life.

Transbay Transit Center

Our January visit to San Francisco included a visit to the park above the Transbay Transit Center.  We did walk down through the Center itself while we were there.  It was a weekend and therefore pretty quiet.  From the park, you can see the glass dome over the center below.  We peered in while we were up there prior to heading downstairs.  We also saw a pretty interesting cable stayed bridge that brings a roadway in for the buses to arrive and depart.

Inside, the use of the glass domes makes for a pretty airy feeling space.  When no one is around, it all feels pretty relaxing.  I imagine during rush hour (or what was rush hour before we stopped going to work) it would be a bit less relaxed and rather more urgent!

Evening on Embarcadero

Lockdown continues to be an opportunity to go back to previous photos and these come from our trip to San Francisco in January.  What a long time ago that now seems and how strange it is to think of a time when we freely traveled across the country.  On our first evening, we met up with friends for a drink and some food.  We met them down around Embarcadero.  At the end of the evening, before heading back to our hotel, I took some photos of the area.  The Ferry Building was nicely light as was the Bay Bridge.  It was a lovely evening to be out which I guess is indicative of the benefits of Northern California in the winter!

Looking Down on SF Bay

As we left San Francisco after our brief visit in January, I was on the side of the plane looking down on the Bay as climbed out and headed north.  The usual departures of the 01s take you straight out over the bay and then you turn north as you head towards Oakland.  The lighting was a bit harsh on this day but it was a good view of the city as we made our way home.

Some Old SFO Jumbos

The 747 was still the mainstay of many long haul operations when I started shooting digital and SFO was a place that was served by a bunch of airlines using the type.  I used to go to SFO quite a bit when I lived in Chicago because work brought me to the Bay Area frequently.  That meant I got some opportunities to shoot the movements there.  Of course, in due course we moved to the Bay Area so I got more chances but, by then, the 747s were swiftly disappearing and the 777 was becoming dominant.

Here is a selection of shots of different marques of 747 and different operators all operating in to SFO.  Hope they amuse a few of you.

Cable Car After Dark

The cable cars are a staple of the San Francisco tourist scene.  I still grab the occasional shot of them, even having seen them more times than I can recall.  As we were walking back one evening after a fun night out with friends, we crossed the street at Union Square as one was heading up Powell.  I figured an evening shot was worth the effort.

Gondola That Doesn’t Go Far

If you want to get from street level to the Salesforce Park, there is a more unusual method.  A gondola runs from the ground up to the park level.  We first came across it as we walked through the park and passed the top station.  For some reason they only want you to use it in one direction so we watched the car come up and then moved on.

After we had come back downstairs, we checked out the base station.  It was not a busy day so there wasn’t any form of line but there were customers taking the ride to the top.  It was a simple device and slightly odd.  The car was a box with no effort made to style it in an interesting way.  However, it did provide a point of interest.

San Francisco Waterfront

The waterfront at the Embarcadero is a very attractive place to wander around.  What I have rarely had a good view of, though, is the view from above.  Fortunately, a friend of ours works down there and, when we visited, he took us up to have a look at the view.  We stopped in at the end of the work day so it was still daylight.  The view of the Ferry Building and across the Bay Bridge was very nice.

We did stop in again after dinner since the night view is a great one too.  San Francisco on a sunny evening is a fun place to be with old friends.  It does have its quirks though!

Salesforce Park

During our visit to San Francisco, some friends told us to check out Salesforce Park.  This is a park that has been built on top of the transit center in the heart of the city.  The transit center is, by demand, a large area so the space on top of it makes for a decent area.  The park was fun to wander around.  It is surrounded by some interesting buildings which will warrant their own posts in due course.

There are seating areas, children’s play areas, an amphitheater, a dome over an atrium for the transit center itself and plenty of plants.  The plant beds are broken down into categories covering different types and plants and different origins for the plants.  There are sculptures around the park including one that is a series of water jets.  These are triggered by sensors in the transit center such that, as a bus drives beneath them, they squirt up.  A bus driving the length of the lane beneath has a sequence of jets that will ripple along the sculpture.  We were there when one bus passed beneath and, having been hoping for some action (aside from the occasional random jet of water), we were almost caught out when the wave of jets came by.

If we hadn’t been told about the park, I would never have known.  Even when we got to the entrance area, it was a little inconspicuous.  It is worth a visit if you are passing by.  There is also a more interesting entrance than the elevators but that will have to wait for another post.