Category Archives: UrbanTexture

Berlin, Berlin Keine Masken Keine Mauern Pt. 1

It was about a year ago, we returned from our family trip to Europe. I’m still working my way through the photos. Berlin holds a special place in my heart.

My Doc Martins, Berlin, Germany
My Doc Martins, Berlin, Germany

I had visited a divided Berlin for the first time in 1987. In fact, I took an old pair of Doc Martins that might have been on my feet on some of the very same streets in the 1980’s.

Ambulance, Berlin, Germany
Ambulance, Berlin, Germany

Though it was a family trip, I still try to shoot stock. Many of my photos would seem rather odd without taking stock photography into account.

Fashionable Hat Shop, Berlin, Germany
Fashionable Hat Shop, Berlin, Germany

Across from our crappy hotel (Hotel Alper, don’t go there) was this hip hats shop that made for some nice photos.

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

One of the first places I remember visiting in 1987 was this Soviet WWII memorial. One ironic twist was though the USSR occupied the Eastern part of Berlin, they controlled a few little spots in the west where this memorial in the Tiergarten lies.

Welcome to our Museum, Comrades

The World Clock in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Capital of the GDR 1987
The World Clock in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Capital of the GDR 1989

Visiting a friend down in the Los Angeles area, Culver City to be exact I had another opportunity to visit the Wende Museum. The Wende Museum is focused on the Cold War, a particular interest to me.

Barren Avenue in Berlin, Capital of the German Democratic Republic, 1989
Barren Avenue in Berlin, Capital of the German Democratic Republic, 1989

Back in 1986/87 I was an exchange student in Southwestern Germany (technically the Federal Republic of Germany or as most English speakers referred to it “West Germany”.) It seems like ancient history now, but in the wake of WWII, Germany was occupied by the major victors divided into zones amongst them.

Intra-German frontier, Berlin 1987
Intra-German frontier, Berlin 1987

Where I lived in Immenstaad, and went to school, (now Bad) Saulgau was in the French occupied zone. I have no idea if the French really “occupied” this area though they did have a Garrison in nearby Friedrichshafen where you’d occasionally see French soldiers and military equipment.

Portrait of Michael Halberstadt on the Spree River, Berlin, 1987
Portrait of Michael Halberstadt on the Spree River, Berlin, 1987

In any case the “democratic” powers of France, United Kingdom, and United States got on pretty well. However the USSR…. not so much. The Soviet occupied Eastern portion of Germany became its own country in 1948. Except the western portion of Berlin and some other quirks, like a few spots in West Berlin that were run by the USSR (like the Soviet Memorials at Treptow and at Tiergarten.)

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

So, my first visit to the GDR was with a friend and classmate from the Gewerbliche Berufsschule Saulgau who had a sister who lived and worked in West Berlin.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

Whew, this is getting longer than I planned. Short story, I visited Berlin, Hauptstadt der DDR in the summer of 1987 and was fascinated.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

So just a couple blocks from my friends house lies the new location for a museum dedicated to my interest.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Vintage Wartburg, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

There were a bunch of busts of Lenin. I had a good time framing them with my new camera setup, I thought it worked well using the new Sigma Art 18-35mm f1.8 (hey, that’s sounding rather capitalistic- a product placement?) I liked the ability to get a shallow DOF with one little Lenin in front of a big Lenin.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Busts of Lenin, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Busts of Lenin, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

I’m kinda bummed my friend is moving. I’d love to go back and spend some more time exploring Ostalgie.

A Rooftop Garden in Oakland

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Kaiser Rooftop Garden – Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

On a rooftop in downtown Oakland there’s a public garden that offers tranquility in an urban core. Built in 1963 the garden is open to the public and offers 3.5 acres of grass, trees, ponds and peace-and-quiet elevated above the hustle-and-bustle of central Oakland.

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Kaiser Rooftop Garden -Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

The Architecture of Death: Mountain View

The Architecture of Death – Mountain View

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA

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!

 

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Oakland Memorial Columbarium, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA

(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)

Alameda Naval Air Station

My lovely town of Alameda might now be known for quaint Victorians, antique fairs and an unusually slow pace compared to its urban surroundings. But it was once home to a huge military infrastructure. After a series of run ins with a security guard I have decided to make documenting Alameda’s Naval Air Station – or at least it’s remnants – a priority.

Here are a few recent photos, with more to come as time permits.

 

Vestiges of a Working San Francisco

Visiting San Francisco in the last decade or two, it’s easy to forget things (that don’t involve typing in an office) got done. Huge ships unloaded cargo. Traincars were loaded and unloaded. People made physical stuff, not code. Not to say there’s anything wrong with coding per se. But the Internet Economy, the one that promised to “make place obsolete” has made huge changes to how some cities work, especially San Francisco, the Peninsula and South Bay by pricing out long existing businesses.

There are a few corners where you can still see the remnants of times long gone. Just out of range of the smell of a $31 Kasmiri Chili Braised Lamb-shank you can get a dusty glimpse of the buildings and streets that fueled previous booms. There’s a stretch leading to the Port of San Francisco right around the bustling Third Street Corridor. Check out a few pics below.

All in Perspective

Here are a few photos from the collection made with perspective control. For those who don’t know, a perspective control lens allows the lens to shift upward leaving the lens parallel to the film (or sensor) plane. This allows for straight lines while looking up at a building, rather than the converging lines achieved by a conventional lens. Back in the day, most “view cameras” had this feature built in.

Izmir at Night

Preface: The whole family (my wife, daughter and I) have just returned from a three week journey from the far West of Europe to the far East and dipping our toes in the sands of the far Western corner of Asia.  We started in Lisbon, Portugal made our way to Athens with a brief stopover in Geneva Switzerland along the way. Then we took an overnight ship from Piraeus (Athens’ port city) to Chios City in the North Aegean region.  After a few days of a beach vacation in Chios we took the short ferry ride to Çeşme, a resort town in Turkey. After a few days we moved on to Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city after Istanbul and Ankara.

As my day job is photography, or at least that’s what I pretend it to be, it makes for a strange group of photos. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the family snapshots from the stock photos and personal projects. As I sell photos for stock, effectively I’m helping somebody else tell their story with my photos. I do a rotten job of telling the typical vacation story that most folks do. There are fun photos of my wife and daughter mixed in with pretty scenics, strategically photographed odd subjects I think might sell, and fun photos I enjoy taking because I love my craft of photography, like night photos and long daylight exposures. So I’d like to apologize in advance to you, whoever you may be. I expect a few visits from friends and family, an occasional referral from Google, Bing, or some other search engine, and  (who knows!)

I’m breaking up these posts into bite sized snippets. Hopefully that way I’ll be able to post most of the photos and descriptions  promptly. Editing and keywording thousands of photos is a daunting task. In the past I’ve never really managed to finish in time to share. We’ll see, but here, in no particular order, is my first installment.

Now on to this story: I’d been lugging around a tripod the whole trip, I might as well use it. So here are few photos taken in Izmir at night. This trip was a family trip after all, and I tried my best to behave. But there were a few times where I had a hard time not stopping to take a few longish exposures. Here are a few.

 

Unique Stock Photos of and from the San Francisco Bay Bridge

 

 

Right Before the New Eastern Span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened I had a unique opportunity to assist a friend and also get some shots of my own. Even for those who live here in the Bay Area some of the skyline photos might not seem so unique without explanation. But basically the only way these photos could be taken were because the bridge was closed to all but a tiny amount of traffic thus allowing long nighttime exposures from the bridge.

And while being allowed to walk right down the lanes of the bridge (both the new and old sections.) I got a few abstract shots of construction, signs, bolts, girders, etc.

Thanks for looking!

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