Thursday, May 2, 2013

Curtis' Fourteenth Post

"Believe it or not, despite the fact I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over forty years, I've never taken any of the many ferries that ply the bay.  In the early decades of the last century there were NO bridges across either the bay or the Golden Gate.  All travel was by ferries that carried passengers, cars and even rail cars.  Once the major bridges were completed in the decade of the thirties, ferry traffic diminished greatly and certainly didn't serve commuters who could travel much faster to their destination on the opposite side of the bay by car.  But with increasing traffic congestion and the difficulties of finding parking in San Francisco, new ferry routes were developed.  Of course, Marin was able to maintain ferry service, often more focused on tourists than on commuters.  But eventually high speed ferries made their way into service and commuting became a more realistic option.  One can park in huge lots adjacent to the terminal in Larkspur and take the thirty minute ride into downtown San Francisco then either walk to the nearby financial district or take either a bus or cable car into the heart of downtown.

Since this was my first time on the ferry I took the opportunity to shoot favorite landmarks from the water.  I’ll begin this final segment of my time with Nikki with photos from the ferry.  Then I’ll move onto land and play a bit.  Of course, first we have to say goodbye to the two seagulls waiting for our departure.

Then on the bay.

And one of my fellow passengers enjoying the breeze as the speeding ferry creates wind that blows her hair backward.

Alcatraz captures the imagination from every angle but I've only once before been on a boat when I've shot it.  But when on my friend's sailboat I was using Canon gear.  That seems like ancient history...

The city comes into view.

As we approach San Francisco the first landmark is Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill.  We won’t visit them all, but San Francisco’s beauty comes in part because it is built on a series of hills that offer spectacular vistas of the city and surrounding bay.  These hills tend to be the most precious to home buyers and renters alike with prices that rival the most expensive cities on earth.  Multi-million dollar price tags are the norm.  One listing I saw recently noted the monthly mortgage payment would be $111,038.  Can you imagine the kind of income required to handle that?

In the foreground you see a couple of the ships that cruise the bay, giving tourists a San Francisco treat not produced by Rice-a-Roni.

The next landmark is the TransAmerica building with its pyramid shape. These are among my favorite photos taken with Nikki so please indulge when I share a few of them. Please note that I converted these to black and white because that allowed me to manage what was a difficult sky. You will also note in the second photo the Bank of America building to the left of the TransAmerica building. When it was proposed it created a great deal of controversy because San Francisco’s buildings have typically been much lighter as can be seen here. Many people are still unhappy with the decision of Bank of America to go black. At the time the bank was headquartered in San Francisco and this was their statement. Subsequently, BofA as it is known, was taken over by a bank in North Carolina, which didn’t help matters...

And we approach the Ferry Building at the convergence of Market Street and California Street.  Buses and trolleys travel up both streets but cable cars only travel up California Street.  We’ll be there shortly."

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