Photolalia
December 02, 2007
  The Estuary





(Oakland, 2007. Image copyright Hamish Reid. Click on image above for larger version).

The tangle of masts and wires and cranes that is my extended back yard…. My studio's right next to the Oakland Estuary in Northern California's San Francisco Bay Area, and the place always fascinates me; I walk or ride my bicycle around the place (and neighbouring Jingletown and Alameda) with my camera, looking for shots like this. I knew what I wanted, and I got it: a long lens (Nikon's excellent 70-200mm VR on my handheld D2x), an image busy with shape and activity (in the larger version you might be able to see the figures working on the old tug in the foreground), the colours of sunset, the icons of my neighbourhood (the salvage cranes and dredges moored next to the Dutra yard, the Coast Guard cutters in the background, the running waters of the Estuary, the masts of some of the yachts moored in the marinas, the long bulky shapes of the ocean-going scows, the semi-derelict tug being worked on…. It's a part of the Bay Area that few people notice, let alone see, but it's where I live.

As usual, some of the things I simply didn't notice at the time are probably crucial to the way this image works: the colour of the tug's funnel mirroring and emphasising the colour of the sky, the slight lean of the tug towards the left complementing the masts and crane leaning the other way, the organic textures and reaches of the rushes to the left complementing the steel and straight lines of the rest of the image… but otherwise, for once, it's pretty much what I saw, and what I wanted others to see.

Incidentally, the old green and yellow(ish) tug in the foreground, the "Respect", keeled over and capsized in the channel while being moved, a month or two after this picture was taken (no one was killed or injured, apparently), leaving behind a couple of lighted obstruction buoys and the problem of how to salvage an already once-salvaged vessel. It's still underwater, just to the right of the image, months later as this is being written….

(This image has, not surprisingly, become the splash image for my Around Jingletown site and its associated Around Jingletown photoblog).

 
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About Me
Hamish Reid is a photographer, designer, and software engineer living and working in the Jingletown district of Oakland, California. This is his full Blogger.com profile.

You can get hold of Hamish at xyzphotolalia at ylayalixyz dot com without the xyx's.

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