Wednesday, September 25, 2013

View from the top

Many of the pictures that were clicked in and around San Francisco was from the top deck of the tourist bus.



 This resulted in many of them going into the dustbin, mostly due to a shaky picture or being out of focus, or just simply “oh this is not what I wanted”
Clicking pictures of the bay bridge from a long distance was easy



but clicking from the bay bridge while seated in the bus was a real challenge as the cross beams kept intersecting every 1.5 seconds when the bus was in motion. But still I managed to get this :


A bottom view of the Bay Bridge


And another one going over the Pier 26 and 24


Talking of piers, I found one in half measure too:


Among the tangle of the over head wires (for the trams) you can see the Ferry Building.


All the even numbered Piers were to one side of the Ferry building, while the odd ones to the other side. There must have been some logic for this type of numbering. 
One of the well maintained trams (and still functional)


When it comes to the Golden Gate it is a different story. Most of the time it is shrouded in fog. But the presence of the fog has given photographers an excellent chance to get some lovely pictures.
What I got was this:



It is very rare that you get a clear picture of the bridge on a bright and sunny day. As I had a two day comprehensive pass for the bus, I crossed the bridge thrice and managed to get a good picture on a sunny day.


More on the Golden Gate bridge in a later post.

The old and the new: The Transamerica Pyramid stands close to the Sentinel building (the green building -  also known as Columbus Tower) which was built in 1907. The Sentinel bldg. was later bought by film maker Francis Ford Coppola in 1970.


As for the Pyramid, it is the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco skyline. Maybe that is why it did not fit into my frame J
 Managed to get some clear shots of some statues, like this one.


Looks like a plate shearing machine. Was admiring the perfection of the body angles of these five men. Even the keyway has been shown in the propeller fan lying down.  
Another one, probably about some discussion during the gold rush time.


In San Francisco you get to see a lot of graffiti. Painted as well as tile graffiti.




People catching up with a bite as the day begins.


Occasionally you get to see some fancy cars



The wavy pattern of the road was captured from top deck of the bus:


The weeping women on top of the Palace of Fine Arts


 Noticed some beautiful and well maintained villas too.



A church at the cross road of Van Ness and Broadway


which was built more than a century ago


OK now that is too many pictures for one post. So here is a last one, to put a smile on your face.



Friday, September 20, 2013

The Union Square

The union square is a nice place to sit back and relax. If you are lucky you can catch up with some art exhibition or maybe there will be a live show. We were lucky to witness both.


Originally this was a park surrounded by churches and houses. Now it is the commercial retail center of the city. It serves as a stage for gatherings of all types, including dance, art exhibitions, musical performances, theater and speech.
A good place for window shopping (as the prices in the area is bit high I must say)
The big building facing the square is the Macey’s where there is ample opportunity for shopping and eating. This building looks more appealing in the night with the lights on.
We had been to the Cheesecake factory at Macey's which was on the 8th Floor (Terrace level) It gave a good view of the square.


There was this live music show in the evening. People waited while things were being set up for the event.


Some read books while others thought it was the right time for a quick snap shot.



Some people waited patiently (and their dogs were equally patient)



Some thought that this was the time to show off their attire. This young man with a fancy hat and coat had a matching parasol.



The professional photographers had enough time to assemble the right lens and be ready


For meditation, any place was a good place, while the blue flowers played the right music for the right mood




There was this lady who had a bunch of hula hoop. Looked like she was in charge of distributing the hoops.


 Hula Hoop was the craze in the early sixties. There were some records created, like Aaron Hibbs of Ohio managed hooping for 75 hours non stop in 2009.
Earlier the hoops were made of willow or rattan, but now it comes in plastic or HDP (high density polypropylene)
This small boy here in green was full of energy and did the hooping with ease.


Once the music started the mood changed



Some just tapped their feet to the music while others (young and old) took to the dance floor.



I noticed about six cameras like these, placed at different locations, capturing the event. Probably the combined result would be mixed to make a good video.

Well, I had only one camera and tried my best to capture the event from different angles. Those who like to watch live performances like these may find this video interesting. More emphasis was given to the drummer and his performance. It is a pleasure to watch some one play on an actual drum set, than on an electronic drum.
 The last shot in the video was taken from the Cheesecake factory at Macey’s.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The crooked street

The most crooked street in the world?  Yes this is the most winding street within a short span.

The hill's natural inclination of 27 % from Presidio Boulevard to The Embarcadero was a safety hazard for pedestrians (and vehicles) This gave rise to the idea of creating a street with hairpin bends in 1922. 

Th long exposure picture from Wikipedia will give you an idea of the sharp bends


The speed limit on this  400 meters long road is 8 km/hr.  


We did not drive down the crooked street but walked down, which helped me to get some pictures of the street. 
The cable car line stops at the top of this block and I was lucky as two cable cars from both directions came at the same time.  
The cable car is another interesting mode of transport in San Francisco. Started in 1873 this is the only place in the world where it is still operative. Even though it looks like the tram, the operating system is totally different. There is cable that runs under the ground on which the grip lever holds for traction.



The driver of the cable car is known as the grip man. Its a highly skilled job and requires to smoothly operate the grip lever, to grip and release the cable. As I had read about it earlier, I made it a point to zoom in onto the grip man while he was driving. (you can see his concentration in the video)



Getting a ticket at the start point of the cable car is very difficult but at this point where the crooked street starts, many of the tourists alight, so you can easily hop in and get a seat.
Stretch limousines are a common sight on these roads.



There is a Crooked Street Task Force which regulates the traffic and takes care of the traffic problems in the neighbourhood. 
In this picture below one can see the Coit tower and the Golden bridge far away.


While at the other end, you can see the Alcatraz island out in the sea


There are many types of vehicles that pass through the crooked street.



Some of them have people popping out of the hatch back


while some of them are literally hanging out of the windows from both sides


No doubt residents on either side must be having a wonderful view but there must be some exiting moments like a tourist hit a water hydrant last year and the car had to be moved by the fire dept to access the shut off valve (the water ran for about half an hour) 



A picture of 1933 showing the street before the hydrangeas were planted:


And another earlier picture during the construction (both the above pictures are from Wikipedia)


Like they say, if you are in San Francisco, don't miss the crooked street.