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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was recently searching for a shot for a project and was having a hard time finding it. I knew roughly when it should have been as it was when shooting at SFO during a visit. I scrolled through to the day and found the shoot and realized that I hadn’t keyworded the photos from that trip. Consequently, the search had failed to run them up. I therefore spent a little while running through everything and adding keywords.
This proved to be way more fun than key wording usually is. I hadn’t looked through these shots after taking them and, while it was a pretty standard sort of collection that a day at SFO would provide, it was all new stuff. I was enjoying looking st stuff I had forgotten I had taken. These shots are just a few from that day out.
I once got to shoot the United retro colors on the A320 while I was at SFO up the tower but I had not got a decent shot of it actually flying. When it showed up on approach to SFO, I was pretty pleased. Sadly, the cloud cover was not cooperating terribly well. Only when it had got past me did it pop into better conditions. It was okay when further out on final but neither of these were too helpful. One day!
The Thomas Cook A330s do come in to Seattle and I got some distant shots of one once – it was actually one of the Voyagers that is leased out by Air Tanker – but they were not much use. SFO proved to be a better hunting ground and the light even played ball. This is not a Voyager – just a standard A330 – but the Thomas Cook colors popped a bit better this time around.
During the summer season, Asiana was flying their new A350s in to SeaTac. I did get some more distant shots but nothing of significance. With the introduction of the winter schedule, they changed to a lower capacity type. However, while I was at SFO, I was able to shoot one of the A350s as they continue to run there in the off season. The light was quite nice as it came in so I was pleased to get a shot. They will soon be pretty common but, for now, it was a nice catch.