I don’t know how I get away with such dumb jokes. But alas, here’s a few photos of the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland. It really exudes that WPA feeling – a public space with a late 1930’s feel to it. Not forgetting the all too common Mission Style architecture of the cluster of buildings on the site.
After a rare spell of puffy clouds here in the bay area I was trying to figure out where to shoot some long daylight exposures. This has turned out to be a longer series of visits.
The tulip events have begun recently, and there are a number of beautiful flower displays around the cemetery.
I’ve been experimenting with many different techniques and lots of my equipment.
I have several really fancy long lenses I seldom have the opportunity to utilize. So I’ve been having fun with the 120-300mm f2.8 Sigma and the 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary pulling in distant results and blurring backgrounds.
This project has also given me the chance to test my newish Sigma Art 24-70mm f2.8. Frankly it hasn’t been too great for the event work as I had hoped. It’s a bit slow with the MC-11 converter on Sony. But nothing is moving here!
Stay tuned for the next entry, I just don’t have time but hope to continue soon.
The Architecture of Death – Mountain View
Recently returning to Mountain View Cemetery to photograph I was reminded what a fantastic place it is. For those not familiar, Mountain View Cemetery is not actually in the nearby city of Mountain View (think Google HQ) but in the Oakland Hills about 50km away.
The original layout was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. If you’ve never heard of him, you’ve undoubtedly heard of some of his other landscape architecture projects like Central Park in New York. He was also responsible for part of the Landscape Architecture of UC Berkeley and Stanford’s Campuses.
The winding roads nearing the top of the hill are dotted with crypts in various states of decay. Many of the names hewn in marble will seem vaguely familiar to Bay Area residents. Like Merritt- I think of Lake Merritt not knowing the history of Oakland until researching on the computer: Samuel Merritt was mayor of Oakland. I recall seeing signs for the “Pardee House” driving through Oakland and giggling- turns out he was an early Governor of California. Bechtel comes to mind when thinking of the engineers for the BART tunnel- well there’s a nice crypt for him there too.
And if you get a hankering for ice cream and coffee while walking around that may be more than a coincidence. Other names you may have subconsciously taken in include Ghirardelli, the “chocolate king” and Folger of Folger’s coffee fame. In fact right after photographing the Ghirardelli crypt I opted to take my family to Ghirardelli Square for ice-cream.
While technically not part of the Mountain View Cemetery, the Chapel of the Chimes right outside the front gate is worth a visit. This crematory and columbarium was partially designed by the wildly popular female architect Julia Morgan, famous for Hearst Castle, Asilomar, the Berkeley City Club etc.
Well worth a visit!
(Please enjoy the photos – but don’t copy them and use them elsewhere- you can find licensing information on my image library page at SiliconValleyStock.com)
Here I am going through my old hard drive, uploading to cloud servers and doing general stock photo sorting. It’s kind of fun revisiting old memories- that and finding new value in old photos. Turns out that the folder I’m working on – a single day in 2008 was particularly productive.
I started out in the clear early morning with my Sigma 1000mm f8 APO up in the Berkeley hills photographing the texture of the city below. With the crop factor, that lens may well have been too long for its own good. There are some nice tight shots of Downtown Oakland around sunrise.
Years later, I don’t remember the exact chronology, but I can patch together pieces with photos. Looks like I discovered the Chabot observatory during the day and saw it was open to the public that night. I’m interested in all things German- and Altenheim is an interesting cultural relic of when Germans were an important cultural group in the Bay Area. Then (I appear to have gotten) a few stock shots of random people jogging along Lake Merritt and gone to the then quite new Oakland Cathederal. I returned to Skyline boulevard and got some crazy long shots of San Francisco and then on to Chabot observatory for some star gazing.
All in all, 17 November 2008 was a productive day.