Online Photography Exhibit Featuring the San Francisco Bay area
San Francisco's 2011-12 Fireworks Display
"Ringing-in the New Year in Style"
photography by CONRAD TAN
Conrad Tan was one of about 200,000 spectators braving the cold as the temperatures dipped into the low 40's on the evening of Saturday, December 31, when midnight struck and 2011 gave way to 2012. When we saw this image, one of the first to be submitted for this exhibit, our Submissions Review Team immediately decided that this spectacular shot should also be the first one shown! What could be more suitable to open this brand new photography gallery, than with an image of an annual SF event that celebrates new beginnings!
What's not to love about this gorgeous image? The crisp lines traced by the first burst of the evening, the detailed pin-points of lights in the cityscape and the deep black sky all unite to create a scene that's rich and exciting. Don't you just love how the Bay Bridge glows yellow from the sodium-vapor street lights, softly framing the left portion of the frame?
As for the technicals, notice that Conrad kept the ISO relatively low; after all, fireworks are bright enough and really don't need any help by unnecessarily boosting light sensitivity. His 2.5 second exposure was long enough to capture the fullness of the first volley of explosions of the night, but not so long that skyline lights would become blown-out. His wide 33mm focal length captured a nice wide vista. Thank you for opening this exhibit with such fanfare Conrad!
But where did he take this picture? It's a gem of a view from Treasure Island on the Bar Channel side (not the Clipper Cove side). Technically, this small bump of land is called "Yerba Buena Island", with the slightly larger Treasure Island attached just to the north. Conrad tells us that he came across this great picture opportunity during a scouting trip just a few days prior to the New Year's Eve fireworks event shown in the picture above. He produced the beautiful sunset-skyline image shown below, featuring the same general view. After seeing the result, he just knew that this would be his perch for the fireworks show later on during the weekend!
Having to negotiate a tiny strip of land on a steep slope, trees blocking the view just a few feet in either direction, Conrad found the perfect spot, but certainly had to work for it. We absolutely love the warm colors in the image below. The natural frame created by the tree branches on the bottom and right along with the Bay Bridge on the left, come together to encourage the viewer to focus all attention on the eye candy inside that frame.
We are so pleased that Conrad decided to participate in this exhibit!
You can see more of his photography at: conradtanphotography.com
This is not the first time Raphael Freitas has submitted and been published in one of our 'Great Cities Exposed' galleries. One of Raphaels' images was selected to be part of our first exhibit, "NYC Exposed" as well. While traveling through the US, Raphael, who calls Brazil home, captured a quintessentially San Francisco scene.
This street view, familiar to San Franciscans as one near the Union Square neighborhood, is on Geary Street between Stockton and Powell, looking west. With the Louis Vitton, Salvatore Ferragamo and Macy's stores to the left, and Union Square to the right, this is a bustling piece of the SF city landscape. Although you really don't get a sense of the slope in his photo, Raphael tells us that the steep pitch of the streets looks and feels as though they go on forever. He said that while negotiating the slope by foot, he read the "Bus Only" lane sign and it made him think that taking the bus seemed to be a better option!
The hilly San Francisco topography can certainly be intimidating to the uninitiated. While this is an interesting street scene, our team also selected this photo because of the warmly colored backlighting created by a soon-to-be-setting sun. We love how the windows to the left glow with a soft but sure contrast, while the rest of the street scene appears to be bathed in the dim pre-twilight. It's also very intersting how the camera lens interprets the sloping street in an unexpected and odd manner. The buildings on the left appear to rise straight, while the buildings to the right appear to be leaning in toward the street. It's not the usual convergence of lines that one would associate with street and architectural scenes, but the steep grade plays tricks with perspective, making for a very interesting look!
Palace Hotel Parking Garage
Photography by CHRIS MAERTZ
Set across the street from the Palace Hotel and half-way down Stevenson Street, the hotel's parking garage entrance is a throwback to a different time. Photographer Chris Maertz of Milwaukee told us that he loved the neon signs and thought about the history of the building, in that this is where horse carriages used to be kept. The garage serves one of the oldest hotels in San Francisco; this venerable old building has hosted parties and formal functions of the rich, famous and very powerful, serving the likes of Presidents Harrison, McKinley, Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Clinton. Oscar Wilde, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan were also notable guests over the years.
The original hotel was badly damaged by the devastating 1906 earthquake and was then gutted by fires that swept the city. It took three years to rebuild, but has stood proudly since, beckoning locals and world travelers wanting to take a trip to old-school opulence.
While most visitors would be satisfied with taking pictures of the front and lobby of the hotel itself, Chris had a better idea. He knew that the formally embossed concrete, red, yellow and green neon, and old louvered windows of the garage's facade, would provide for a far more interesting photo opportunity! Chris made some good choices in composing this picture. His perspective is perfect. Rather than photograph it from face-on, he caught the wall and sign at a bit of a diagonal, and got close enough to it that the low angle looking slightly upward adds to the mystique. Choosing to include the green neon enter sign with it's old style arrow and cropping the bottom just below the concrete arches were brilliant photographic decisions. Finally, Chris' exposure is bang-on! Enough ISO light sensitivity to allow the red glow to bounce off the walls, but not so much that he lost the color. The 1/13 shutter speed was fast enough to provide clarity as long as Chris was super-steady with his camera (which he obviously was).
Beautifully done. We are very happy to have this piece of history as part of this San Francisco EXPOSED photo exhibit!
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