Here we are a year and a half after the Bay Bridge East Span has opened and my new book has begun to ship. People who pre-ordered it should have it by now. It is available on Nazraeli Press’s website for shipping immediately. Sales have been good and it appears to be a successful seller. Feedback from those first purchasers have told me it was more than they expected and were delighted.
I still have a soft spot for this project, as it took so much work over the past 7 years and this book is a culmination of all that work. I’m very proud of it.
I made hundreds of 4×5 film views of the project and many of the images have not been seen. What I’d like to share below are images from the book that have never been in my blog or in the press.
Here is an early image which shows the temporary bypass (the dreaded “S-Curve”) under construction shot in October 2008. The original Bay Bridge is still very much in operation (on the left).
Here we are looking beneath the Temporary Bypass and at the Coast Guard Station on Yerba Buena Island with the Port of Oakland beyond. This exposure is 30 minutes, as I wanted to see the abutment on the right of the original bridge. It was much darker to the eye than appears here. The streaks of lights are aircraft taking off from Oakland Airport, in the distance at center. I was on a steeply sloping dirt hill to get this vantage point, making it very difficult to maneuver. The blue glow is from the car headlights lighting up the bypass ironwork.
I was surprised that I’ve never shown this image (although I did make it into a promotional postcard). I feel it’s one of the strongest in the series. There are so many colors in this image, were there appeared to be so few at the time. It is shot from a very rickety catwalk high above the island. I had to ask my escorts to move off the catwalk because of potential movement and I had to stand perfectly still for the the 12 minute exposure. This time I was lucky and the image is very sharp. The yellow streak is a tug boat coming through, which at the time made me smile as I knew it would add interest–which it does!
A typical heavy overcast San Francisco Bay evening is evident in this shot. We were minutes away from the temperature dropping to the dew point where everything becomes wet. The lights from the Port of Oakland coming through the original bridge are making for some interesting shadows on the water. Of course, they weren’t visible to the eye at the time because of the movement of the water.
This image was made from the catwalk at the end of the concrete span. Some have said the image look like it was lit, or processed using HDR, but of course it’s not, as it’s film. The reason for this phenomena is because of the extremely low overcast evening that is bouncing the light from all directions, which fills in the shadows. The stretch we are looking at is now the suspension part of the bridge. Shot in February 2010, there was still a long way to go.
This view, shot near the end of the skyway shows the end of the skyway with the original span beyond. I liked this shot, but I had to shoot it three different times over a period of months because of technical problems. Shooting with a view camera in locations like this was always a challenge. This is that final shot. The lights on the base of the old bridge coming through the temporary structure really shows depth in the image.
This was shot from a temporary crossover between the two skyway roadbeds. This twilight shot shows the Berkeley Hills beyond and it appears that there is a game on that evening at UC Berkeley (the bright stadium lights). Many of the light poles have not been installed yet, as the bridge opening is still 7 months away. Note the red glow from the lamp on the center column base. This might look like a snapshot, but it still is a 45 second exposure. This image was used on the back cover of the book.
There have been some issues with this bridge, but much of it is political. A project of this scale is always going to have some problems. There were hundreds of engineers working on these problems and now that it’s been open and operating for over a year and a half, it’s doing what it was intended–move traffic across the bay efficiently and safely and be beautiful, too.
Representatives from the Joint Venture, the cooperation of the two bridge engineering firms of T.Y. Lin International and Moffatt & Nichol wrote a section in the book explaining the design, complete with illustrations. This gives that much more dimension to the project in the book.