Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Paying homage


Monochromatic golden
San Francisco, CA, March 2007 [Click all images to enlarge]


I'll admit to my little boy fascination with large pieces of engineering. The thought of suspending 4200 feet of road over a heaving chunk of sea is pretty cool no matter how you slice it. That it was done in 1937, before the advent of computers and all the modern-day tools of design, makes it that much more extraordinary.

But until yesterday, the Golden Gate Bridge existed for me solely in theory. As much as I had read about this structure and understood the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances of its creation, I had never seen it live. So when I found myself with a couple of free hours in the afternoon, I pestered the concierge for instructions on how to get there, hopped a bus and was on my way.

As I got off the bus and turned the corner in the Marina district, I had to pause as I first saw the familiar shape in the distance. Pictures don't do it justice. They never do. You never know how you'll feel until you're actually there. And I felt...small. It was at least a couple of miles away from me, and it still took up a large swath of my vision, dominating the huge gap between the two sides of the bay. No one else seemed to be staring at it on this sunny afternoon. I seemed to be the only person who found this anything but routine.

The technical side of me was disappointed with the light. Lots of haze, bad backlight and not enough time to really get up close and personal with the structure. But I was just being nitpicky: I was here, and I was privileged to spend a few solitary moments thinking about what I would take home with me from this experience.

More images from the road soon...

Your turn: You're far away from the people who matter. You see something neat. How do you bring the experience back to them?

23 comments:

MissMeliss said...

I lived in California on and off - mostly on - from the age of 10 until the age of 34, and I consider it "home" more than any other place. My university was in San Francisco. The first week we were there, I struck up a friendship with a girl named Emily, and we walked through the Presidio and across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then down to Sausalito - it seemed a very special coming of age sort of thing. (We took the ferry back).

Madame Courtney Whiny Complainy Pants, Esq. said...

Either with a picture, like you did, or a postcard sent from the spot.

Years ago, when I was traveling in California with one of my girlfriends, we stopped over at Berkeley. The university my father refused to pay for, in fear I'd turn into a hippie activist. So, I sent him a postcard from the Berkeley campus, with a few private jokes thrown in. I recently found it in a pile of mementos at my mother's house. I need to give it back to him.

Holly said...

It is an amazing site isn't it? My favorite part of our trip there was the drive up Highway 1 northward. I'll have to go search my photo archives to see which Pier we enjoyed the most while there as I can't remember but I'm think it was 39 - it was the one with the acquarium. Enjoy your trip and keep sharing those fantastic photos the way only you can. ;)

Hugs,
Holly

Bob-kat said...

I'd definitely take photos :-) It's great being able to take pics with my mobile phone and also video phone now too!

It must have been fantastic to see the bridge close-up. It's on my list to see one day. I cross a large bridge across and estuary at least once a week. I am awed by the structure every single time but I suspect it is dwarfed by the Golden Gate Bridge. Thanks for sharing your pics with us.

craziequeen said...

I take photos, but they aren't half as good as yours.

I like the light in your photos, the mist kind of makes it more 'dreamlike'.

We're hoping for lots of good photos of crumbling castles and medieval people this summer....

cq

Awareness said...

Hi Carmi.....have never been to California and would love to one day...

How do I bring my travel experience back to family and friends? Through my written words at first and then in person.

Enjoy your adventures and conference.

ps......you won an award. check out my blog.

kenju said...

It is definitely an imposing bridge! I have a pic of mr. kenju and miss kenju standing under it.

In your photo, the land beyond looks sculpted from velvet. In mine, it is washed out by the sun.

Anna said...

After seeing these great shots and hoping that one day I too can get a shot of this magnificent bridge...

I have just one question for you...

How did you pick just two shots to share with us Carmi? That must have been hard!

:)

Take care and have a great trip!

Mrs. Fun said...

The bridge is awesome until you are stuck on it with a 15 month old that does not want to be in the car any longer.... woah, didn't realize what a bad memory that that was for me until now.

I of course take photgraphs to share.

Mr. Althouse said...

THERE ARE a few sights that leave me speechless. The Golden Gate Bridge is among them. Like Lake Tahoe, I have seen the bridge countless times over my 44 years. Even though the San Francisco is less than an hour away from my home town (and I wouldn't want to live there) I always get excited when I have the opportunity to visit.

Although the Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the best known and most impressive landmark, the city is unique in so many other ways. Culturally, architecturally and historically, there are many stories to tell. But like you, I find it hard to do the live experience justice.

I haven't been to The City in a while, but I traveled to Lake Tahoe recently. As I crested the 7,100+ foot Brockway Summit on Highway 267, coming from Truckee, the lake in all her grandeur was laid out before me. I knew what to expect; I've seen the same sight so many times before but even my own memory couldn't replicate the experience.

BTW: Like Tahoe, the GG Bridge can't take a bad picture. I love when she's shrouded in fog!

Mike

Linda said...

This is a great question. Having spent a year in Germany and doing a bit of traveling while there, I wanted to take everything home to show my family who could not come visit. I took a LOT of pictures...I do mean a lot. In France, only on the Normandy coast, I took 2 memory cards (1G and 256k), plus the camera's internal memory (looking at about 500 pictures) along with 4 rolls of film and my point and shoot camera. You still can't do it justice...but you sure can try.

When we took a trip to London, we had our video camera and shot 4 tapes - along with as many pictures as we took in Normandy...and we were only in London for FOUR days. But still, there is no justice...to see in person what is on the picture is so different.

rashbre said...

I also love the bridge and the experience of crossing it, looking back to SF from the other side near the 'Dirty Harry make my day' spot.

And the road towards Marin where the eagles fly is great too.

Similarly, the little tourist boats that turn under the bridge are a great experience, come sun, rain, smog or mist!

Natsthename said...

I first touched the Golden Gate back in 1979, when I visited with my aunt who was living nearby. We viewed it from both sides of the bridge. In 1983, my new husband and I drove up the coast from San Diego to San Fran. for our honeymoon. We stayed in a nice little room at the Presidio (we were military back then!) with a view of the bridge. It's still a special memory, but earlier this year I found out a dear friend from years ago died in the 90's when she jumped from the bridge. Now I get a little pang of pain when I see photos of the bridge. I'm sure that will eventually pass. I still try to think of the good times, though.

tommiea said...

sweet memories...I lived in the east bay of SF a couple of years ago. Lovely lovely all the time!

to answer your thought: I started my blog. Husband can keep up with us without being here...next best thing I guess.

Catheroo said...

I've lived in CA nearly my entire life and even now when I see the bridge, I am moved. And yes, although one needs to see it to capture it's magnificence, I never tire of seeing photos of it. Thank you for sharing.

And welcome to the Bay Area!

Sandy said...

Beautiful images of a surreal structure. It takes me back to the first time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

To answer your question - I photograph it and then I write about it. I do my best to capture the moment in both image and word. Sometimes they are still not enough even when put together.

Hayden said...

I've lived in SF since '76 - and this is the first time I've seen a photo of that angle of the bridge (your first photo.) Love it. this is my first visit so I don't know how long you'll be here, but email me if you want - I've got lots of favorite views I'll tell you how to find.

While I can't stop and stare regularly, I always get a catch in my throat when I mount the top of a hill and find the bridges spread out before me.

(and I usually try more word-pictures than photos to communicate)

Gyrobo said...

Usually, I take what I saw and run it through an incomprehensible blog post to create a really warped little story.

photowannabe said...

Yes Carmi, welcome to the Bay Area. I have lived here all my life and never tire of the Bridge and all her moods. I think I have taken a gazillion pictures of it. A walk across it is a wonderful experience.

Thaleia said...

I take lots of pictures, but they never express the 'right' feeling. So I sometimes write postcards and try to describe the feeling I felt when being there. Not just: "Hi! The weather is great! Look at this fantastic building!", but "I felt shivers down my spine on my walk up to this building, just like when we had our first icecream together, remember?"

Sonny Drysdale said...

Southern California is my fave place in the entire world. Even more so than ol' South(ern) London.

As for your question - you can't go wrong in bringing your loved ones back a site-specific snow-globe of your travels.

Like the one sitting in front of me right now of a moveable trolley car in front of the Golden Gate bridge on the left and the skyscrapers of the Financial District on the right.

Only a couple of bucks for hours of enjoyment. Plus - you can even start your own collection!

raehan said...

I see that bridge very, very often. It means a lot to me.

It's nice to know you were so near. : )

byhisgracealone said...

I remember my very first visit to California back in 1979 and the many beautiful sites...at that time, I thought it such a thrill to drive in LA, but visits since then changed my mind....(that and age)I loved San Francisco, have always wanted to go back and drive up highway one.......but the Golden Gate Bridge was the most amazing site I have ever seen....I have one photo album full of my california visits.....crossing donner pass..(I think that was the name of it)....had to put chains on the tires....my children love to hear stories of my ventures no matter where I go...captured in pictures and words...what else is there?